Opioids, Wildfires, PTSD among Florida Cabinet Priorities

The Florida Times Union, January 15, 2018 | Go to article overview

Opioids, Wildfires, PTSD among Florida Cabinet Priorities


By Brendan Farrington

Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. | Attorney General Pam Bondi wants new laws to protect people who report sexual misconduct; Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam wants to make sure the state is prepared for a higherthannormal risk for wildfires; and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis wants to expand worker compensation benefits for first responders so that it includes coverage for posttraumatic stress disorder.

While Florida's three Cabinet members can't sponsor or vote on bills, or sign them into law, they hold important leadership roles in state government and each is working with lawmakers to pass legislation and make budget recommendations.

The Associated Press interviewed each of the Cabinet members to discuss their 2018 legislative priorities:

Attorney general pam bondi

Bondi's top priority is fighting sexual misconduct. She wants to amend a state law dealing with the misuse of office by elected and appointed officials to include language that sexual harassment, intimidation or misconduct is an ethical violation.

"Right now it's not an ethical violation, believe it or not," Bondi said.

She also wants to do more to protect victims who come forward with allegations.

"I want it to be all encompassing to protect these women and to make sure there's due process," she said.

Her No. 2 priority is addressing the opioid crisis. She's pushing for a bill that would create new regulations for prescribing opioids.

Doctors would have to limit prescriptions to a threeday supply, or sevenday supply in cases of acute pain. They would have to write "medically necessary" if they prescribe more than three days of opioids. They would also have to take a continuing education course on prescribing opioids and check patients' prescription records before writing a prescription.

"When we have 175 people dying a day throughout this country, we have to do more," Bondi said.

She also wants to make it illegal for drug dealers to possess pill presses that are used to make counterfeit drugs.

AGRICULTURE COMMISSIONER ADAM PUTNAM

Putnam believes Hurricane Irma has potentially created a higher risk for wildfires because trees, branches and plants knocked to the ground during the storm will be dried out and plentiful.

"We're forecasting a dry spring. We believe that this spring will also be a very active wildfire season with an abundance of fuel because of the hurricane," Putnam said.

He's seeking to upgrade firefighting equipment and is working with Gov. Rick Scott to get raises for Florida Fire Service firefighters. …

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