New bill about Fentanyl traffickers becomes law

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Published: Apr. 15, 2022 at 3:19 PM EDT
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PERRY COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - A new bill requiring Fentanyl traffickers to serve at least 85% of their prison sentence recently became state law.

The bill was made possible through a partnership between Perry County’s Commonwealth Attorney and Rep. Chris Fugate.

“I got to go to Frankfort, and I saw him reach across party lines and demographics with other representatives, senators in Louisville, Western Kentucky,” said Scott Blair, the Perry County Commonwealth Attorney. “So, he worked really hard to get this done. I really appreciate it and it’s something that I think we can be proud of.”

Blair said it was a necessary call to action.

“In the year 2020, drug overdoses went up 49% in Kentucky,” he said. “There’s 1,964 people overdosed in the year 2020. So, this is something that we definitely need.”

The new bill is called HB 215, or Dalton’s Law.

“So, if you get a ten-year sentence, which is a Class C felony, five to ten years. If you got a ten-year sentence, then they would have to serve eight and a half years of that ten,” said Fugate.

Rep. Fugate added that the law was named after someone who died from Fentanyl use.

“That was a drug user that got a hold of, I think, prescription medicine that appeared to be Percocet but was Fentanyl,” he said. “It killed him.”

Officials said they hope this is a big first step toward stopping the opioid epidemic.

“If you keep somebody in there who’s selling fentanyl, you might save somebody’s life,” said Blair. “If we save one person’s life, I know that’s so cliché, but if you save one person’s life, then it’s been a success. I definitely think that it’s a step in the right direction.”

Rep. Fugate said he is confident it will do just that.

“It’s trafficking in death and we want them to be held accountable in Kentucky,” he said. “They are going to be held accountable in Kentucky.”

Blair said he was excited and relieved when the bill was passed.

“That was a good phone call. I got a text from him, the Governor signed the bill,” he said. “We were very happy, it was a lot of work. Especially that he did, I just kind of helped a little bit. He did a lot of work to get this through.”

Blair said he would like to someday partner with Rep. Fugate again.

“If there’s something that he can do...anytime we call on him he helps us. He’s a former State Trooper, he knows the people personally who battle this,” he said. “He tries to help them, and he knows the problem and the scourge that it’s been on Eastern Kentucky especially.”

Before the bill was drafted, Fentanyl traffickers were only serving 50% of their sentence.

Rep. Fugate says HB 215 saw bipartisan support and Governor Andy Beshear signed it into law on April 8th.

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