With Legislative Session fully underway, I would like to provide you with an update on legislation that is essential to protecting Floridians.
First, I am opposed to the mega casino resort bill that would allow for a massive expansion of gambling in Florida. Allowing casino gambling to pervade Florida would compromise the safety of our communities and destroy the character of our family-friendly state. Today, the House of Representative's Business and Consumer Affairs Subcommittee chose to postpone consideration of the mega casino resort bill. I hope that today’s decision is an indication that our leaders will not allow the expansion of gambling in Florida.
I am pleased that three of my legislative priorities have already passed several committees.
House Bill 1175 and Senate Bill 1502 both passed unanimously in their respective committees this week. This legislation bans new, deadly synthetic drugs that have been created since last year's ban on "bath salts" and K-2. HB 1175 is sponsored by Representative Ingram, and the Senate companion bill, SB1502, is sponsored by Senator Evers.
This week, House Bill 227, passed another committee stop unanimously. This bill creates a Statewide Task Force on Prescription Drug Abuse and Newborns and will enable us to determine the scope of the problem, the costs associated with caring for babies with neonatal withdrawal syndrome, the long-term effects, and strategies for preventing prescription drug abuse by expectant mothers. HB 227 is sponsored by Representative Stargel, and the Senate companion bill, SB 402, is sponsored by Senator Negron.
Another legislative priority of mine, Senate Bill 1880, passed the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. Human trafficking is a $32 billion industry that exploits and abuses men, women and children. This legislation will provide better tools for law enforcement, ensure tougher sentences for traffickers, and make Florida a zero-tolerance state for human trafficking. SB 1880 is sponsored by Senator Flores, and the House of Representatives companion bill, HB 7049, is sponsored by Representative Snyder.
I am grateful to our legislators for their support and leadership in protecting Floridians. I look forward to continuing to work closely with them as we move toward making Florida safer for all of us.