McCollum encouraged with success of causes

John O'Brien Apr. 1, 2008, 3:52pm


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The state Legislature has, so far, embraced six bills supported by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum.

McCollum on Tuesday noted the success of the bills, which range from stricter marijuana-growing penalties to transparency laws in his own office, as the legislative session reached its midway point.

The Transparency in Private Attorney Contracting Bill is designed to require more disclosures and restrictions from the Attorney General's office regarding the hiring of private attorneys on a contingency fee to represent the State.

Last year, McCollum launched the Government Accountability Project to make government records more available.

"Florida is a national leader in providing open government for the public," McCollum said.

The bill is awaiting action in the Senate Judiciary Committee and is on the House of Representatives Special Order Calendar for Wednesday.

Legislation designed from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy model is awaiting action in the Senate Commerce Committee. The House version of the bill passed two councils unanimously and sits in the House Policy and Budget Council.

The U.S. Chamber owns Legal Newsline.

"Counterfeited goods are not just inexpensive handbags or pirated DVDs," McCollum said. "These goods need to be seen for the dangerous threat they truly are -- counterfeit and potentially deadly prescription medicine, defective medical devices and other unregulated products which could cause serious bodily harm.

"Not only do these goods damage our economy, they can devastate our citizens' health and well-being."

A bill that would help educate consumers who are signing foreclosure rescue contracts has passed the House unanimously and sits in the Senate Judiciary Committee after passing its first committee without opposition.

Law enforcement would be provided specific tools to combat gang activity in the Anti-Gang Legislation, which is also making its way through the legislative process.

Two bills were heard Tuesday: The Exploited Children's Rights Act and The Marijuana Grow House Eradication Act.

The Children's Rights Acts allows victims of child pornography an opportunity to be heard in court and be compensated for the crimes committed against them, similar to federal legislation.

The Marijuana bill would enhance penalties against pot farmers who cultivate hydroponically, a potent form of the drug.

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