Senate moves two heroin bills out of committee late Monday

03/24/2015 01:11 AM

FRANKFORT — Seeking to get the ball rolling with the clock winding down on the session, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed two new versions of anti-heroin legislation late Monday night.

Pointing to a collapsed agreement with the House, Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said with sine die approaching, the Senate was still willing to move a compromise bill to deal with heroin abuse in Kentucky.

The Senate amended House Bill 412 with a compromise deal Stivers and others said had been reached with House members on the heroin conference committee. That deal fell apart over the weekend, but with time winding down and few moves left to make, Stivers called for the compromise bill to be passed in committee.

Stivers said HB 412 includes the needle exchange provision but gives fiscal courts oversight of the programs. The bill also includes more strict sentencing guidelines.

Stivers said those caught trafficking less than 2 grams would be charged with a class D felony while those dealing more than 2 grams would face a class C felony. Parole eligibility on both counts would be 50 percent of the time received.

The bill also contains portions which are generally agreed upon by both House and Senate including: overdose halting drug access for first responders, reporting by coroners on related deaths, and dispensing of the drug Vivitrol to wean individuals off heroin.

The legislation moved to the Senate floor with an 8-1 vote, with one member passing.

The Senate planned to pass the legislation when they returned on Tuesday at 1 p.m.

Stivers also has a stopgap in place in the event the House decides to not approve the compromise legislation offered in the Senate.

The second bill passed late Monday night, House Bill 413, had all the same agreements reached by the conference committee, but Stivers said does not contain language on a needle exchange, stricter sentencing or a Good Samaritan provision.

The bill with the divisive elements removed passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with a unanimous vote.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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