Hours after declaring the opioid overdose epidemic a public health crisis, Gov. Rick Scott said he was not aware that a bill targeting corruption in the drug treatment industry had not been called up for a final vote in the Senate.
Although SB 788 unanimously passed its four committee stops and its House companion, HB 807, cleared the floor on Monday with a unanimous vote, Senate leaders have not scheduled the bill for a final vote.
Unknown is whether Republican Senate President Joe Negron has or will act on the bill.
The Senate’s refusal to hear the bill has the bill’s drafters and backers shaking their heads and scrambling. The halt in the bill’s trajectory is also baffling because it is the byproduct of the legislature’s own directive to tighten laws governing the drug treatment industry.
Last year lawmakers gave Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg $250,000 to investigate corruption and propose legislative solutions.
Aronberg created the Sober Home Task Force and appointed Chief Assistant State Attorney Al Johnson to lead efforts to prosecute and propose legislation. The task force has made 21 arrests since October. Johnson held more than a dozen public meetings to craft new legislation.
Those proposals were drafted into HB 807 and SB 788.
“We’re cautiously optimistic,” said Johnson, who is in Tallahasee with Aronberg.