Clock runs out on heroin bill, among others, after House GOP group protest of procedures

04/15/2014 10:16 PM

What amounted to a 45-minute rhetorical exercise in the House over a provision requested by the Secretary of State, effectively ran out the clock on the 2014 session — including the bill aimed at combating heroin.

The heroin legislation was perhaps the most high-profile bill among several that fell short in the final hour of the 2014 legislative session. The measure would have increased treatment availability and education, provided for wider use of the drug Naloxone to combat the effects of an overdose and enhanced penalties for those who are found to have sold the drug to someone who fatally overdosed.

The details of the bill, though, were barely discussed because time simply ran out. The proceeding debate sucked up much of the remaining precious minutes in the session.

House Republicans raised questions about a provision regarding the filings of non-profit organizations. House Democrats had attached that provision, requested by Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, to a bill with bipartisan support that would prevent convicted rapists from getting parental rights for a child conceived during the attack.

As Republicans peppered Rep. John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville, with questions, House leaders moved at 11:15 to limit the debate in order to move on to other bills before the midnight deadline for the 2014 session.

That didn’t go over well with Republicans.

House Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark, D-Louisville, warned, at one point, that time was running out to get to the heroin bill.

But House Republicans didn’t stop raising objections. And House Democrats didn’t pull back the amendment that caused all the fuss until there were just 17 minutes left in the session. The underlying bill regarding parental rights ultimately passed.

Still, with only 15 minutes left and one of the more complicated bills left on the docket, Tilley began to outline the heroin bill, Senate Bill 5. He first tried a version containing compromise language over some of the legal provisions. But that failed, 42-51.

The failure of that version meant the House couldn’t take up another amendment to create a needle exchange program.

Then with just a few minutes, Tilley tried a last-ditch effort to pass the original version of Senate Bill 5.

But as Rep. Johnny Bell, D-Glasgow, spoke about his concerns about that version, the clock struck midnight.

Another key bill that was waiting in the House queue to be taken up late Tuesday was a catch-all bill, House Bill 125, with a number of health-related measures.


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