Gov. Abbott signs new anti-fentanyl legislation in Houston

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Texas has gotten tougher on people selling the extremely dangerous opioid fentanyl.

It's a rising problem here. State troopers seized 95 pounds of the drug in the first quarter of 2021, compared to just 11 pounds during that same period last year.

Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill Wednesday that increases the penalties for making and distributing fentanyl.

Abbott was joined by Senator Joan Huffman and Crime Stoppers of Houston Deputy Director Nichole Christoph.

Under the new law, the minimum sentence for the manufacture or delivery of fentanyl increases to 15 years for an amount of 200-400 grams and 20 years for an amount of over 400 grams.

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Troopers seized 91 pounds of fentanyl in the first quarter of 2021 alone. This new law increases the minimum sentence for the manufacture or delivery of the drug.

In a statement he sent to the ABC13 newsroom, the governor called out the bill's author, State Representative Ann Johnson.

Abbott said Johnson would not be attending the signing ceremony because she, "fled the state with other Democrats who abandoned their legislative responsibilities."

State Representative Johnson told ABC13 she doesn't work for the governor.

"I'm glad that the governor is thinking about me, but I would ask that he refocus his efforts on the power grid, healthcare access being expanded, especially in this moment of an increase variant - the Delta variant of COVID, and lets talk about the rising epidemic in gun violence," Johnson said.

Earlier this month, dozens of Texas House Democrats boarded a plane to Washington, D.C.

The move broke quorum in the house, blocking a vote on the controversial voting restrictions bill.

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