The sweeping bill is marketed as a measure to fight the opioid crisis.
The House Judiciary Committee OK’d a sweeping bill Thursday to broaden a law that allows prosecutors to pursue stiffer penalties against drug dealers whose product results in the death of a consumer.
Under state law, a drug dealer in Florida faces the possibility of death or life in prison if they sell a controlled substance that is deemed the “proximate cause” of an overdose death.
Prosecutors, however, often struggle with cases involving multiple controlled substances or alcohol.
The proposal (HB 95) — sponsored by Longwood Republican Sen. Scott Plakon — would allow authorities to levy a first degree murder charge if a controlled substance is instead considered a “substantial factor” in a person’s death.
The bill also adds methamphetamine to the list of prosecutable controlled substances and stiffens penalties against drug sales within 1,000 feet of a substance abuse treatment center.
Lawmakers OK’d the measure with a 14-6 vote.
“There’s communities all across our state struggling with how to deal with this,” Plakon said of the opioid crisis.
Several Democrats, including Rep. Andrew Learned of Brandon, took issue with the measure. Learned said he agreed with most portions of the bill. He objected, however, with the mandatory minimum associated with first degree murder in overdose cases.
“We don’t have to lock a 19-year-old up until he dies at the age of 95, (who) you and I have to pay for in the Justice Appropriations Committee for the next 100 years,” Learned said.
Republican. Rep Chuck Brannan of Lake City, however, emphasized the need for the bill. A former law enforcement officer, Brannan explained the complexity of determining a cause of death.
He proposed the following scenario: If a person is shot twice simultaneously by two gunmen — once in the heart and once in the head — what is the proximate cause of death? A gunshot wound to the chest? Or a gunshot wound to the head?
“The (medical examiner) is gonna have a hard time determining what the proximate cause of death was…” Brannan said, later adding: “They’ll both kill him and they’ll both kill him just as good.”
Other Democrats, meanwhile, voiced concerns with lowering the legal standard for a first degree murder charge.
“When you’re talking about restraining somebody’s personal freedom and locking them up, there are certain standards that must be proven,” said Ranking Member Fentrice Driskell.
The House Judiciary’s affirmative vote marks the bill’s final committee appearance. If passed in both chambers and signed into law, the measure would take effect Oct. 1.
‘Presidency Could Use a Reset’: Media Give Joe Biden Negative Press Conference Reviews
The establishment media handed President Joe Biden negative reviews after his press conference Wednesday, the sixth reported solo presser of his presidency.
As the oftentimes Democrat-allied media have tried to protect the president from his gaffes, miscues, and overt blunders by avoiding certain topics while focusing on others, many of the establishment media’s headlines after his two-hour press conference were negative.
“As one Joe builds, another Joe destroys,” a Washington Post op-ed headlined about the press conference. The article used language such as, “Biden admitted defeat” and “Biden found himself negotiating with President Manchin through the assembled reporters.”
“It’s time for him [Biden] to produce — or spare us the naive piety. In democracy’s dark hour, he has already done incalculable harm,” the article dissected the speech.
The leading opinion article in the New York Times Thursday morning highlighted Biden’s polling slide with independents and the president’s “weak approval ratings” before acknowledging Biden failed to destroy election integrity.
“Never mind about voting rights or avoiding another Jan. 6. It’s the economy, Joe,” the article stated, criticizing Biden’s 40-year-high inflation.
PBS News titled its response to Biden’s press conference, “Biden acknowledges setbacks to domestic agenda in rare press conference.”
After noting the solo press conference was his first in ten months, PBS News stressed Biden’s answers to the administration’s crisis: “anxiety over omicron,” “soaring inflation,” and the “stalemate on voting rights legislation.”
The Post published a second headline that insinuated Biden’s presidency is broken. “How Biden can fix his presidency,” it read.
“His presidency could use a reset,” the article bluntly stated. “[I]n recent weeks, the omicron variant has set records for new cases in the United States, jobs numbers are volatile, inflation is up, and the Democrats’ $2 trillion Build Back Better plan has stalled in the Senate.”
The Post also published a third negative headline about Biden’s press conference, which admitted the media’s reviews of Biden’s press conference were negative. “The media wants to paint Joe Biden as a failure. He won’t let that happen.”
“President Biden, while marking the end of his first year in office on Wednesday, met a press corps anxious to paint him as a failure,” the article’s first sentence began.
Upon the conclusion of Biden’s press conference, where he defended himself against polling data that suggests 49 percent believe the president is not mentally fit, the White House had reportedly planned a media “clean up” by Vice President Kamala Harris and White House press secretary Jen Psaki:
MAN! “Kamala” went on The TODAY Show to clean up JOE’S MESSY PANTS from yesterday’s DRUG TRIP of a Press Conference. SHE WAS REALLY SNIPPY ABOUT IT! I mean, Savannah is Fake News but SHE didn’t screw up that Press Conference, JOE DID!!!! pic.twitter.com/uHof7SOkq5
— Greg Kelly (@gregkellyusa) January 20, 2022
Harris was reportedly scheduled on all three cable news networks: CBS’s Morning, NBC’s Today Show, and ABC’s Good Morning America. Psaki appeared on Fox News. And White House chief of staff Ron Klain had a prerecorded message ready to air on MSNBC’s Morning Joe:
Psaki’s Fox News appearance was a quite civil interview. This clip gives you the flavor. pic.twitter.com/mV3laviUck
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 20, 2022
Harris laughs when confronted on Biden’s lie that he would “shut down the virus.” pic.twitter.com/t9IENDw1po
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) January 20, 2022
White House Cleans Up Again After Joe Biden Questions Legitimacy of 2022 Election
The White House spent Thursday morning trying to clean up comments President Joe Biden made questioning the legitimacy of the 2022 midterms.
“Lets be clear: The president was not casting doubt on the legitimacy of the 2022 election,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki wrote on social media.
Lets be clear: @potus was not casting doubt on the legitimacy of the 2022 election. He was making the opposite point: In 2020, a record number of voters turned out in the face of a pandemic, and election officials made sure they could vote and have those votes counted.
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) January 20, 2022
During his press conference, Biden repeatedly warned that voting reforms passed by Republicans in states could call into question the results of the election.
“Oh, yeah, I think it easily could be — be illegitimate,” Biden said when asked about the 2022 midterms, as Breitbart News reported.
Biden repeatedly questioned the legitimacy of the upcoming 2022 election, unless bills were passed in Congress to federalize elections.
“I’m not going to say it’s going to be legit,” he said. “It’s — the increase and the prospect of being illegitimate is in direct proportion to us not being able to get these — these reforms passed.”
Psaki claimed Biden was actually trying to support the legitimacy of the election.
Biden questioned the legitimacy of the 2022 midterm elections, after repeatedly lecturing former President Donald Trump and Republicans for casting doubts on the 2020 presidential election. https://t.co/xf5te5BKmg
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) January 20, 2022
“Let’s be clear: The president was not casting doubt on the legitimacy of the 2022 election,” she wrote. “He was making the opposite point.”
She claimed Biden was challenging Republicans for trying to overturn the 2020 election results on claims of election fraud.
“The Big Lie is putting our democracy at risk. We’re fighting to protect it,” she concluded.
Psaki also went on Fox News to try to explain Biden’s comments.
.@PressSec told Fox News that President Biden “absolutely is not predicting that the 2022 elections would be illegitimate.”
— Mediaite (@Mediaite) January 20, 2022
Psaki’s latest attempt to explain the president is not the only thing she had to correct after Biden’s nearly two-hour press conference on Wednesday.
She immediately released a statement on Russia and Ukraine after Biden shocked the world by suggesting Putin “has to do something” on Ukraine and that a “minor incursion” might be allowed.
“President Biden has been clear with the Russian President: If any Russian military forces move across the Ukrainian border, that’s a renewed invasion, and it will be met with a swift, severe, and united response from the United States and our Allies,” Psaki wrote, insisting that Biden “affirmed today that those acts of Russian aggression will be met with a decisive, reciprocal, and united response.”
Del Rio Sector Becoming Busiest for Illegal Border Crossings, Says Chief
A massive migrant surge in the Del Rio Sector is threatening to make this the busiest of the nine southwest Border Patrol sectors, according to Chief Patrol Agent Jason D. Owens. With approximately 4,000 apprehended over the Martin Luther King holiday weekend and nearly 1,000 more on Tuesday, the Del Rio Sector is leading the Rio Grande Valley Sector for January apprehensions.
A source operating under the umbrella of U.S. Customs and Border Protection revealed to Breitbart Texas that Del Rio Sector agents apprehended more than 16,000 migrants so far this month. This compares to the approximately 13,000 apprehended during the same period in the Rio Grande Valley sector. If this trend holds through the end of the month, Del Rio will overtake Rio Grande Valley as the busiest sector along the southwest border with Mexico.
Chief Owens tweeted images of more large migrant groups who surrendered to Border Patrol agents immediately after crossing the border from Mexico into Texas. The chief reported five groups crossed the border overwhelming the limited resources available in the sector. One group alone consisted of more than 265 migrants.
Five more large groups in four days for Del Rio Sector, one had more than 265! Groups that give up all at once like this are extremely taxing on resources, especially for Del Rio Sector, the busiest area of the border so far in 2022! pic.twitter.com/qZKBa98rn6
— Chief Patrol Agent Jason D. Owens (@USBPChiefDRT) January 18, 2022
By the following morning, the agents apprehended more large migrant groups. One of these apprehended during the cover of darkness consisted of more than 400 in a single group.
OVERNIGHT: Already a common occurrence, now happening daily. Large groups cross the Rio Grande & immediately turn themselves in to agents in Eagle Pass.
This time, close to 400 in one group! pic.twitter.com/oEGfp9EIGt
— Chief Patrol Agent Jason D. Owens (@USBPChiefDRT) January 19, 2022
The Del Rio Sector appears to be overtaking the Rio Grande Valley Sector as the busiest in the nation. Breitbart Texas’s Randy Clark reported agents in this sector apprehended more than 4,000 migrants during the first six days of the new year. Another 4,000 were apprehended over the Martin Luther King holiday weekend. As of Wednesday morning, the number of apprehensions is estimated to exceed 16,000.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Face
Randy Clark contributed to this article.
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