|May 3, 2013
Contact: Whitney Ray
Phone: (850) 245-0150
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –Attorney General Pam Bondi applauds the Florida Legislature for passing key consumer, taxpayer, and military protection bills, her top priorities this legislative session. Attorney General Bondi worked closely with the Legislature on bills that: safeguard consumers and businesses from organized retail theft; prevent deceptive practices targeted at military personnel and their families; better protect taxpayers from false claims against the government; direct $200 million of the national settlement funds to help homeowners; securing $500,000 of funding for the life-saving Prescription Drug Monitoring Program; and rid Florida’s streets of dangerous synthetic drugs.
“I am pleased that we have successfully worked with the Florida Legislature to protect taxpayers, consumers and members of the military. Together, we have made Florida a safer state for us all,” stated Attorney General Pam Bondi.
Attorney General Bondi’s 2013 legislative priorities include:
Organized Retail Theft Bill (SB 1404/HB 1173) - The National Retail Federation estimates retailers lose more than $30 billion per year to organized retail theft. The Federal Bureau of Investigation considers retail theft a “gateway crime” committed by major crime rings that use the proceeds to fund other illegal activity, and Florida’s businesses and consumers are the ones that bear the financial brunt of these crimes. This legislation, sponsored by Senator Kelli Stargel and Representative Ross Spano, provides prosecutors and law enforcement with the tools needed to properly prosecute individuals and hold them accountable for this illegal activity.
Military Protection Act (SB 716/HB 1223) – Attorney General Bondi is dedicated to protecting Florida’s military from fraud, and this legislation is critical in stopping scams that specifically target them. This legislation, sponsored by Senator Wilton Simpson and Representative James Grant, deters individuals from preying on Florida’s military members and their families by enhancing penalties for offenses under the Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
False Claims Act (SB 1494/HB 935) – This legislation is critical in preventing fraud against the government, providing additional protection for taxpayers’ money and increasing accountability for companies doing business with the state. This legislation, sponsored by Senator John Thrasher and Representative Dana Young, enhances the Office of Attorney General’s ability to protect taxpayers by enhancing its investigative and prosecutorial authority, including giving the office the power to issue subpoenas in non-Medicaid cases.
Funding from the National Mortgage Settlement (SB 1852/HB 7111) – This legislation, sponsored by Senator Andy Gardiner and Representative Ed Hooper, supports the appropriation of $200 million of the national mortgage settlement funds in accordance with the settlement agreement for housing-related purposes.
The Florida Legislature passed legislation funding the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, which is an important tool in Florida’s efforts to stop prescription drug abuse.
Controlled Substances Bill (SB 294/HB 619) – Synthetic drugs are wreaking havoc on the lives of Floridians, especially our youth. This legislation, sponsored by Senator Rob Bradley and Representative Clay Ingram, adds 27 additional substances to Schedule I of controlled substances, making it a third-degree felony for an individual to “sell, manufacture, or deliver, or possess with intent to sell, manufacture or deliver" these dangerous drugs.