Hornback holds out hope for hemp compromise and defends AT&T bill

03/15/2013 08:24 AM

The sponsor of the bill create a regulatory system for the growth of industrial hemp doesn’t understand why House Democratic leaders won’t embrace the measure and are now pushing to give law enforcement more say over the industry’s future.

Sen. Paul Hornback, R-Shelbyville, said the Democrats’ latest counter proposal is meant to “kill the bill” as its written — for one reason because it puts the Kentucky State Police commissioner as co-chairman of the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission. Commissioner Rodney Brewer has opposed the bill and raised concerns about the crop.

Hornback asked: “So what does that do to a group that’s supposed to be out there promoting that when you have people who are in charge of it who don’t even want it to be” grown? (1:30)

Hornback said his frustration is that the hemp industry could possible “create revenue, create jobs, create opportunity.” That’s why he said he can’t figure out why Democratic leaders, including House Speaker Greg Stumbo and House Democratic Leader Rocky Adkins aren’t embracing the bill.

Adkins proposed a replacement to the hemp bill Tuesday night. Hornback reacted to that at the beginning of the interview and to other parts of the proposal at 3:20 of the interview:

Hornback’s other major legislation from the session also has drawn opposition from Stumbo and some House Democrats.

The measure is aimed at further deregulating telephone service. It would allow companies, most notably AT&T, to not have to maintain land-line phone service in areas that have adequate cell phone coverage. Hornback said this would enable those phone companies to invest further in cell coverage.

House leaders, as well as the AARP, have opposed it saying it could leave older Kentuckians without access to a phone if, for instance, the line land service is disrupted or broken. The phone companies wouldn’t be required to come back and restore that service if the cell network for that area is adequate.

Hornback said it would affect, at most, 8,500 customers who have basic phone service only, and most of them live in Louisville.

The Public Service Commission has provided facts and figures throughout the debate but has not taken a position on the bill, said spokesman Andrew Melnykovych.

One other provision in Hornback’s bill would remove the Public Service Commission from handling consumer complaints about phone operators.

The measure is currently sitting in the House Tourism, Development and Energy Committee.


Subscribe to email updates.

Subscribe and get the latest political intelligence delivered to your inbox.