House Bill 1 (HB1) by State Rep. Matt Simpson (R-Daphne), which adds trafficking fentanyl to the list of substances subject to mandatory minimum sentences in Alabama, has passed the Alabama House of Representatives.

Those found guilty of trafficking two to four grams of fentanyl would be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of 10 years and a $100,000 fine. Four to eight grams of fentanyl trafficked would receive a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years and a $500,000 fine.

Anyone found guilty of trafficking eight grams, or more of fentanyl would serve a minimum sentence of life in prison and pay a minimum fine of $750,000.

second conviction of the same offense would incur an additional penalty of five years of incarceration in a state corrections facility, which is not subject to suspension or probation. A third conviction would merit a sentence of 10 years imprisonment.

Gov. Kay Ivey mentioned HB1 in her State of the State address, where she implored lawmakers to prioritize its passage.  

Stressing the lethality of fentanyl, Simpson brought a table packet of the artificial sweetener, the contents of which in fentanyl, he claims could kill every member of the House of Representatives five times over.

The bill received support across the aisle, but several Democratic lawmakers used debate time in the House to discuss issues less than germane to HB1.

State Rep. Juandalynn Givan (D-Birmingham) took the podium to say she supported the bill but decided to use her full 10 minutes of debate on the Budget Isolation Resolution (BIR).

"All in all, I don't have a problem with the legislation," Givan said. "I only get 10 minutes. You all take everything from me down here, so my people have said to me, whenever I get up here to take my whole ten, and I'm going to take my whole 10."

State Rep. John Rogers (D-Birmingham) attempted to use his debate time to protest a proposed bill by State Rep State Reps. Jim Carns (R-Vestavia Hills) and David Faulkner (R-Hoover) that would overhaul the benighted Birmingham Water Works Board (BWWB).

In a tongue-in-cheek attempt to keep his comments relevant to HB1, Rogers asked Simpson if the BWWB could add fentanyl to their water.

House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) pounded his gavel in an attempt to keep Rogers on point but eventually relented and allowed him to continue.

Despite the brief holdup by Democratic lawmakers, HB1 passed unanimously with a vote of 105-0. The bill will now be assigned to a Senate Committee for deliberation.

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