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House unanimously approves bill targeting fentanyl traffickers

Gov. Kay Ivey urged the Alabama Senate to pass the bill quickly so she can sign it into law as soon as possible.

An illustration of fentanyl. STOCK
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The Alabama House of Representatives emphatically approved a bill Thursday to create mandatory minimum sentences for trafficking fentanyl.

The full House, all 105 members, voted in favor of the bill, and all but four joined on as co-sponsors to the bill.

“The biggest message I got today is this is bipartisan,” said Rep. Matt Simpson, R-Daphne, who sponsored the bill. “We had 101 cosponsors at the end of the day. That’s huge. I’ve never seen 101 cosponsors on a bill.”

None of the members had anything negative to say about the bill on the floor, either.

“It shows just how dangerous fentanyl is in our community,” Simpson said. “It doesn’t know Republican, it doesn’t know Democrat, it doesn’t know white, it doesn’t know Black, it doesn’t know anything other than the fact that it just kills.”

Gov. Kay Ivey tweeted Thursday that the unanimous passage sends a strong message.

“I’ve instructed ALEA to make combatting this deadly drug a top priority, and I urge our legislators to quickly send HB1 to my desk, so I can sign it into law,” Ivey said.

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It will still have to go through the Senate before it can get to the governor’s office. 

Simpson said Sen. April Weaver, R-Alabaster, will carry the bill in the Senate when the Legislature comes back from spring break a week from Tuesday.

The bill creates a mandatory minimum sentence of three years for possession of one to two grams,  10 years for possession between two and four grams, 25 years for possession of four to eight grams and life in prison for possession of more than eight grams.

“Across the state, from rural to metropolitan areas, we saw lots of loss because of fentanyl and it’s been laced with all kinds of different drugs,” said Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter, R-Rainsville. “People unknowingly taken it sometimes and then even it’s affected our police officers just making routine stops … it’s an epidemic across our country, I think, and certainly in Alabama we’re going to make it where you know that if you’re a dealer and you get caught with it, you’re going to jail for a long time.”

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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