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La. lawmakers advance proposal to mandate life sentences for fentanyl dealers

1 year 2 months 1 week ago Wednesday, May 03 2023 May 3, 2023 May 03, 2023 1:33 PM May 03, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - A bill that would overhaul Louisiana's punishments for fentanyl possession cleared a major hurdle Tuesday as House lawmakers advanced it to the Senate.

HB90, authored by Rep. John Stefanski, was approved on the House floor, 74-29, and now heads to the Louisiana Senate. The proposal seeks to impose mandatory life sentences for those caught with more than 28 grams, roughly an ounce, of the drug.

"If you are 18-45, the number one reason you're going to die, is fentanyl," Stefanski told the house floor on Tuesday.

Currently, those convicted of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl face a five-year minimum and a 40-year maximum, along with fines up to $50,000. That would now only apply if the offender was caught with less than 28 grams.

The legislative proposal comes amid a wave of high-profile cases that have amplified concerns about the drug statewide, including a rash of deadly overdoses involving small children

"Most people that are dying from overdoses, are dying from an accidental fentanyl overdose, they didn't know they had that in the first place," Jon Daily said.

Daily, a recovered addict who now works for the EBR DA's office to help sweep drugs off the streets, says something needs to be done. 

"We're kind of in a crisis. it makes sense to impose some immediate intense responses to it. I think those responses should include some legal deterrent from the legal justice system," Daily said.

The bill was referred to a Senate committee on Wednesday. It's not the only bill aiming to end the fentanyl crisis, read more on HB75 here.

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