Senate Judiciary chair happy with progress of bills this session, holding out for a few more key bills this session

03/24/2016 03:19 PM

FRANKFORT – Senate Judiciary chairman Whitney Westerfield is pleased with the movement of key judiciary bills during the 2016 session and is looking for a few more key pieces of legislation to pass before April 12.

Westerfield said that the several pieces of legislation that he’d like to see action on before the end of the session is a juvenile justice cleanup bill, Senate Bill 294, which deals with the expungement and sealing of juvenile records, and Senate Bill 270, which would require quarterly reporting of statistics, including age, race and gender, to determine whether there is disproportionate minority contact with the juvenile justice, social welfare, and educational discipline systems.

“There have been a couple of floor amendments that I actually don’t have much of an objection to, but they drive the cost of doing this way, way up because it’s not data they usually collect,” Westerfield said. “The one that hasn’t been through the committee process that I’d really like to hear is actually the language of Senator Morgan McGarvey’s DUI ignition interlock bill, which is Senate Bill 302.”

Westerfield says the highlight for him this session was the passage of Senate Bill 4, a bill he sponsored, which required a private medical consultation between a pregnant woman either with the physician who is to perform an abortion or with a referring physician through real-time visual telehealth services.

“It’s a huge personal victory, huge political victory, tickled to death by that, and I think it’s good to give women the opportunity to see their physician face-to-face, like what everybody else does when they see their doctor for procedures,” Westerfield said.

With time running out, one way bills which haven’t been heard can still see action is by adding them as amendments to other bills.

“Because of where we’re at in the calendar, we’re looking at something that’s already gone through one chamber,” Westerfield said. “So, I’m looking at House bills that I’ve already got in my hands that we can add it to, and send back over, because we just don’t have enough days left to send a brand new Senate bill over there.”

Westerfield admits that sometimes passing a bill is a multi-year process.

“Sometimes these things take multiple sessions to marinate long enough,” Westerfield said. “Some of them take too long, and some probably need to take longer than they do, but that’s just part of it.”


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