House panel endorses tougher version of pill bill as prosecutors, doctors disagree over its effects

04/17/2012 03:06 PM

The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday endorsed a measure to better regulate prescription pain pills in Kentucky over the objections of doctors who argued that it goes too far.

Tuesday was the second day of the special legislative session for lawmakers to deal with the pill bill and a transportation project funding bill. And the House reverted back to the original form of the prescription bill from two months earlier.

The panel approved the legislation by a 12-0 vote with three members passing. Among the bill’s provisions, it requires more doctors to file reports with the statewide KASPER monitoring system when they write prescriptions for pain pills. It moves the KASPER system from the health cabinet to the attorney general’s office to give investigators more access to data. And it mandates that only doctors can run pain clinics.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D- Prestonsburg, told the committee the bill was changed back to its original form from a compromise version that was being worked out last week because, “it’s simply a better bill.”

Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney Rob Sanders underscored the need for the legislation as he recounted horrible accidents related to Kentuckians who were strung out on pills, including deadly car wrecks and smothered babies.

But not everyone is happy about the changes. Bill Doll, a lawyer for the Kentucky Medical Association, said the move to return to the original legislation is a huge step backwards for doctors.

But lawmakers said it’s likely they will end up changing the bill later in the special session, which will last at least through Friday.

“I want to maintain the good faith ability to negotiate this bill,” Committee Chair Rep. John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville, said as he did his best to play the middle, because he could likely end up back in a conference committee negotiating the bill between the House and Senate.

Members voting yes on the measure: Rep’s Bell, Flood, Gregory, Hoover, Jenkins, Kerr, Marzian, Nemes, and Tilley.
Members who passed on a vote: Rep’s Fischer, Lee, and Rudy.

The bill is eligible to be voted on by the full House on Wednesday.


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