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Vern Buchanan

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Donald Trump signs provisions of three Vern Buchanan bills into law

Legislation involves fentanyl sanctions, retirement plans, bounties on poachers.

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan enjoyed a legislative present signed by the President last week.

In signing two appropriations bills, President Donald Trump also signed into law three pieces of legislation championed by the Sarasota Republican.

The National Defense Authorization Act included sanctions on China-based drug companies knowingly shipping fentanyl and other synthetic opioids to the United States.

The relevant language comes from the Fentanyl Sanctions Act, filed this year by Buchanan with Massachusetts Democrat Seth Moulton.

Buchanan called the legislation “an important step in holding Beijing accountable for its lack of progress controlling the fentanyl freely flowing out of their country.”

“For too long, fentanyl and other deadly opioids have continued to wreak havoc on communities in Florida and across the country,” he said.

Other Buchanan legislation reached Trump’s desk as part of a sweeping funding bill.

Rolled into the package were both the Retirement Security for Workers Act and the Rescuing Animals With Rewards Act.

Buchanan filed the former with Wisconsin Democrat Ron Kind. The legislation, championed for years by the AARP, lets businesses join in multiple employer plans to share administrative burdens and costs for benefits packages.

“An estimated 42 percent of private-sector workers don’t have access to a workplace retirement savings plan,” Buchanan said. “This provision will help provide that access by making it easier and less costly for businesses to set up and offer such plans.”

The RAWR Act, meanwhile, has been a top policy priority for Buchanan. The bill will allow the State Department to offer bounties to wildlife traffickers targeting endangered species, including lions, rhinos and elephants.

The boost in rewards on poachers was crafted with the help of the Humane Society and championed by Buchanan and Nevada Democrat Dina Titus.

“Wildlife trafficking is a grave and persistent threat to endangered animals across the world,” said Buchanan, co-chair of the Animal Protection Caucus. “My legislation provides another vital tool to crack down on the billions of dollars generated by this illegal industry.”

Buchanan’s office stresses it’s unusual to have three bills signed into law the same day, even when rolled into budget bills.

The successes also come at the end of the first year where Buchanan served in the minority caucus since 2010. Democrats took the chamber in the 2018 mid-terms.

But the Sarasota Republican, who co-chairs Florida’s Congressional Delegation, said he’s used to working across the aisle.

“I will continue to work with both parties to advance our shared vision for moving the country forward,” he said. “We need to end the toxic partisan gridlock that has prevented Congress from acting on the peoples’ priorities.”

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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