Although the final result wasn't that close, the most contested statewide race in the Democratic primary this past year was for Attorney General, where south Florida state senators Dan Gelber and Dave Aronberg duked it out. The 39-year-old Aronberg lost out to Gelber, but was one of the most dynamic public speakers advocating for the Democratic ticket in events in Tampa leading up to the general election.
But Aronberg is now a man without a seat in the Legislature, the first time that's been the case since 2002. But he's keeping busy. He was recently named by Attorney General-elect Pam Bondi to her transition team to help with the issue of pill mills, something that has always been of great interest to the Harvard educated Democrat, going back to his days working in the AG's office under Bob Butterworth, which included leading an investigation into the marketing practices of OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma.
Aronberg also worked for years in the legislature to establish a prescription drug monitoring database and to regulate those pill mills, so he says when Bondi called him up and asked him to work on the issue, he naturally said yes.
"I've been talking to law enforcement, local elected officials, doctors and others about what we need to do to," Aronberg told CL by cellphone Monday afternoon. He says there are two areas that he's looking into. The first is "to use existing laws, to go after these pain clinics, shut them down, or restrict their ability to distribute drugs so freely. " The second area is to look at any potential changes in the law that would allow the AG's office to deal more efficiently with what is undoubtedly a major crises in the state.
New rules that were to prohibit felons from owning pain clinics, set stricter criteria for doctors who prescribe and dispense pain medication and restricts advertising by pain clinics was supposed to take effect at the end of last month.