Aronberg on sober home bill: ‘This is a life-or-death issue’

Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay and State Attorney Dave Aronberg outside the Senate chambers on Wednesday.

TALLAHASSEE — Legislation aimed at cracking down on patient brokering, kickbacks and other unethical practices in the drug treatment industry is scheduled for a vote in the Florida Senate today after some tense moments this week for the bill’s supporters.

Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg and one of his top deputies, Al Johnson, were among those lobbying Tuesday and Wednesday for the legislation, sponsored by state Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Atlantis, and state Rep. Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton. The legislature commissioned Aronberg to head a task force to craft the legislation, Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi endorsed it, and the House passed it unanimously.

But the Senate version appeared to be stalled this week and its House sponsor was concerned Wednesday afternoon.

“I would say at this juncture it doesn’t look good, which is very disappointing,” Hager said.

Before the bill was added late Wednesday to today’s Senate calendar, Aronberg — a former state senator — said he hoped the gravity of the issue would persuade the Senate to take action.

“It’s one of these sausage-being-made, end-of-session issues that we are hopeful the Legislature will do the right thing,” Aronberg said. “I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say this is a life-or-death issue.”

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Author: George Bennett

George Bennett has been a Palm Beach Post reporter since 1992. He grew up in Bethesda, Md. and is a graduate of The George Washington University. Follow him on Twitter @gbennettpost

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