Day 23 Notes: Hemp bill has path to the House floor; Senate leaders coy on redistricting

03/04/2013 05:57 PM

A regulatory framework for the hemp industry and new legislative district maps might have slim prayers of passage before the 30-day session ends after all.

After last week’s uncertainty over the hemp bill, House members say they expect SB50 to get an up or down vote in the House Agriculture Committee on Wednesday.

But House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, told reporters before going into the House chambers that he was unsure if the hemp bill would be called for a full House vote if the legislation passes the committee.

Stumbo reiterated that he is not in favor of the bill and said he has asked Attorney General Jack Conway to weigh in on the need for a regulatory framework.

“I’ve written the Attorney General and asked for an opinion if current law suffices in the event that federal government the growing of hemp – as the statute – as I interpret it do what we believe it does. And that is automatically follow suit so there is no need for new language in the statute,” Stumbo said. The asks if the existing statute that’s one sentence long is enough to lay the groundwork for an industrial hemp industry.

Legislative GPS

Day 23 of the General Assembly also meant Day 23 of the House trying to write a new redistricting map. House leaders had hoped to unveil the proposed map Monday. But that didn’t happen, as Democrats from Central Kentucky went off after the House ended its session to finish stitching together their region now that the Eastern Kentucky part of the map was allegedly settled.

The Senate, meanwhile, has been quiet on the prospect that they too will re-draw maps to reflect changes in population this year.

Sen. President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, told reporters in January that the Senate would not be taking up the process of redistricting.

But on Monday Stivers told reporters that some in the Senate leadership had been talking about redrawing the lines for districts in upper chamber.

“There’s discussion of redistricting cause we’re here and we’re talking about it together,” Stivers told reporters.

When pressed if the Senate would unveil a redistricting map in the final days of the session Stivers said, “it’s possible.” However, Stivers said he didn’t think it was likely because, “the House can’t even develop one.”

The Senate would have to wait for the House redistricting map to pass the House and be sent to the Senate for approval where they would amend the bill with their map — the House could then approve the addition.

“I’m not in the mindset of passing a House redistricting plan, without having a Senate redistricting plan,” Stivers said. “…While playing cards you always cut them before the deal, because it’s customary amongst gentleman and necessary among thieves.”


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