Gov. DeSantis signs bills cracking down on fentanyl dealers, child rapists

Gov. Ron DeSantis announces the signing of three bills. (Copyright 2023 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

TITUSVILLE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis was in Titusville on Monday to sign three bills including one aimed at cracking down on those who sell fentanyl.

House Bill 1359 strengthens penalties for people who sell, manufacture, or deliver fentanyl and people who possess it with the intent to do so, but only if it meets certain criteria such as it looks like candy or a branded food product. The bill is in response to fears over rainbow fentanyl, a brightly-colored product that looks like candy but is laced with the opioid, WTSP reported. The bill makes those who traffic substances targeting children eligible for a life sentence.

DeSantis also signed HB 1297, a bill that ensures the minimum sentence for all child rapists is life in prison without the possibility of parole, and advances reforms to reinstate capital punishment. For years, the U.S. Supreme Court and Florida Supreme Court have ruled that it is unconstitutional to execute defendants in rape cases. DeSantis said he thinks that decision is wrong and hopes to challenge the precedent with this bill. The bill was sponsored by Florida. Rep. Jessica Baker, R-Jacksonville.

“We really believe that part of a just society is to have appropriate punishment,” DeSantis said. “The worst of the worst crimes deserve the worst of the worst punishment.”

Another bill signed Monday was HB 1627 which requires the Florida Supreme Court to set up a statewide bond schedule and add the crimes of DUI manslaughter, fentanyl trafficking, written threats to kill and extortion to the list of crimes eligible for pretrial detention.

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