State Senate approves “Dalton’s Law” to combat fentanyl traffickers

The legislation is named after Dalton Bishop who died after taking one fentanyl pill

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Named after Dalton Bishop who died from ingesting fentanyl, House Bill 215 received final approval Tuesday on the Kentucky Senate floor.

The bill would increase from 50% to 85% the minimum time served before those guilty of trafficking can be eligible for probation, shock probation, conditional discharge or parole. It would also make them ineligible for a pretrial diversion, Republican Sen. Jason Howell, of Murray, said.

“House Bill 215 deals with enhancing sentencing for those that are trafficking in fentanyl. For those of us that are involved in this area, fentanyl has become a new, big thing that we’re having to deal with from a drug standpoint,” Howell said.

Republican Rep. Chris Fugate, of Chavies, is the bill’s primary sponsor. However, Howell presented the measure on the Senate floor, where it was approved for final passage with a 30-3 vote.

Senate Majority Whip Mike Wilson, of Bowling Green, said his community has not been spared from deaths stemming from fentanyl.

“This bill came about, I think, as a result of a lot of the deaths that have happened in regards to fentanyl laced drugs,” he said. “And when it happens in your community, that’s when it starts to hit home. We’ve had one family we know have two sons. They no longer have any sons. They’ve lost both of them. Overdose.”

Not only did Wilson recall that family, but also the family of Bishop, who died after taking just one pill.

“If anybody knows anything about the drug and how dangerous it is, it’s a killer” he said, referring to Dalton Bishop.

Democratic Sen. Robin L. Webb, of Grayson, said legislators appear to be piecemealing the criminal justice system even further and moving toward mandatory minimums like “the archaic federal system.” She also expressed concern about costs associated with the legislation.

“But this has a significant fiscal impact and it enhances aggravated trafficking to include heroin. So it’s going to come at a cost, and I have not had the opportunity to digest whether or not the budget will accommodate this, but we probably need to give corrections a little more money,” Webb said.

Republican Sen. Danny Carroll, of Benton, said fentanyl and its derivatives are scourges.

“When you look at the society today and you look at the drugs that are being trafficked, there is no other deadlier drug at this point than fentanyl, carfentanil and the derivatives,” he said.

Carroll said it’s not just users at risk, but also first responders who attend to overdoses and end up in the hospital themselves. Carroll stressed that he has no sympathy for traffickers of deadly drugs.

“They are trafficking death, and as we are being more accommodating on the lower end for users. I think we need to be every bit harsher on the higher end of those who are trafficking and making money off of killing our citizens,” he said.

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