Even from his perch as Pasco County tax collector, Mike Fasano is still making his presence felt in the Capitol when it comes to his signature legislation, the state's prescription drug monitoring database.
When lawmakers ended their annual session Friday, they had not set aside any money for the program aimed at controlling prescription drug abuse. Fasano knew there was only enough money to operate the database through October.
"A $77 billion budget, and the governor and the Florida Legislature did not fund a program that is saving lives," he said of the database, which costs $500,000 a year to run.
Over the weekend, Fasano reached out to the project's highest-profile supporter in Tallahassee, Attorney General Pam Bondi.
Bondi announced Monday that she will use $2 million the state received as part of a 2008 national prescription drug fraud settlement with Caremark Rx to keep the database going for four more years.