MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law a bill creating mandatory minimums for fentanyl dealers. It was approved unanimously by both houses of the Alabama Legislature.
Lawmakers said the show of bipartisanship and total support is a testament to how dangerous this drug is. They hope this law sends a clear message.
“We’re not tolerating it,” Sen. Greg Reed (R-Jasper) said following the Senate’s unanimous passage Thursday morning.
HB1 sets mandatory minimums based on the amount of the drug being trafficked. For one to two grams, the dealer would serve at least three years in prison. For eight or more grams, it’s life in prison. The law takes effect in July.
Before this law, pure fentanyl was the only drug in Alabama without mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines, according to bill sponsor Matt Simpson (R-Daphne).
“We just caught fentanyl up with the other drugs in the state,” Simpson said. “Fentanyl was being used. The legislature was behind the times with the drug use that was going on now. We just caught up to date with the dealers and what they’re using.”
Simpson said the drug doesn’t discriminate, killing people all across the state. According to the CDC, more than 150 people die nationally from fentanyl-related overdoses daily.
“You talk to the coroners across the state, the deaths that are going up and the increase that’s gone on,” Simpson said. “The overdoses now, my understanding is that roughly 80% of the overdoses we see for drug overdoses, are fentanyl.”
Ivey signed the bill into law not long after it passed in the Senate. “The entire nation should take note of what we accomplished today in Alabama with the passage of House Bill 1,” she said on Twitter.
This might not be the end of fentanyl legislation this session. Simpson filed a bill earlier this week that would make it a crime to “chemically endanger a first responder” who might come in contact with fentanyl.