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Shipley: Amended synthetic drug bill moving forward

March 21st, 2012 11:36 pm by Hank Hayes

An all-encompassing legislative amendment containing elements of three anti-synthetic drug bills has been drafted and is moving forward, state Rep. Tony Shipley said Wednesday.

Shipley, R-Kingsport, said the amendment has been tacked on to his anti-synthetic drugs bill and will become the “coordinated legislative package” attacking sellers, distributors and users.

Shipley’s legislation with the new amendment advanced out of a House Judiciary Subcommittee on Wednesday.

“It’s now a completely deconflicted and coordinated bill,” Shipley said of the amendment with merged pieces of two other bills, including one filed by state Rep. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol.

Both Shipley and Lundberg have called attention to synthetic drug deaths and increased hospital emergency room visits while touting their bills.

During the subcommittee meeting, Shipley placed over the podium a black T-shirt showing a bath salts container and the words: “Death Sentence. Save Our Community.”

The lengthy legislative amendment that advanced creates new felonies for manufacturing, selling and distributing synthetic drugs.

It also contains a clause to designate a synthetic drug seller’s business as a public nuisance and permits a landlord to terminate a lease if the business is using the location to sell synthetic drugs.

That amendment also says possessing synthetic drugs would be a misdemeanor offense.

Other elements of the amendment include authorizing the state’s professional boards to strip licenses of those convicted of synthetic drug crimes; denying gun permit applications to those convicted of the felony portions of the bill; and allowing lodging owners to evict people believed to be using or selling synthetic drugs.

Senate versions of the bills have advanced faster and are headed toward floor votes.

But Shipley insisted his amended bill will pass in the House and will then be agreed to by the Senate “because all the work has been done over here”

According to Shipley, his amended bill could be signed by Gov. Bill Haslam in five weeks. Two weeks afterward, Shipley indicated the legislation could become law.

Because of anticipated incarceration expenses, the amended legislation will still have to be funded in the state budget.

For more go to Shipley’s bill is HB 3175.

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