By Bob Katzen
The House 110-41, approved a motion that would indefinitely delay an amendment that would impose up to a life sentence, of which a minimum of five years must be served, and a $25,000 fine on anyone who manufactures, distributes or dispenses heroin, fentanyl, methamphetamine, lysergic acid or diethylamide or phencyclidine (PCP) that causes the death of the user.
The motion would allow the measure to take effect only after the state has furnished a study of the legislation’s impact on public safety and the economy of the state and local cities and towns.
Some delay supporters said the amendment is not necessary because under existing law the district attorney can charge the offender with second-degree murder or manslaughter. Others said addiction is a disease and often people who are selling these drugs don’t know what they are selling and are simply dealing to support their habit. They noted that recriminalizing and incarcerating a person with a drug problem does not offer any solutions to the drug problem.
Delay opponents said these dealers are killing our children and argued that they need to know that there will be major consequences if they kill the children of the commonwealth. They noted that fentanyl caused many of the more than 1,933 opioid-related deaths in the Bay State last year.They also noted that the motion made by the Democrats to delay the amendment is sneaky and is simply a way to help Democrats avoid a direct vote on the amendment.
(The vote was on delaying the amendment. A “Yes” vote is for delaying the amendment. A “No” vote is against the delay.)
Rep. Christine Barber Yes Rep. Mike Connolly Yes Rep. Denise Provost Yes