Some familiar bills to reappear for 2015 legislative session

12/09/2014 02:00 PM

The 2015 legislative session could be the session of bills getting second and third tries, according to lawmakers at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce legislative preview Monday.

One bill, which both Republicans and Democrats say is a priority in 2015, is legislation to combat the heroin epidemic which is affecting a growing number of areas in the state.

During the 2014 session a heroin bill failed to pass the state House in the final hours of the session.

Rep. John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville, who has been working over the interim on heroin legislation, says one key element of an effective bill is to allow the use of the drug, Naloxone, which can be used to save the lives of overdose victims.

“I think it needs to be distributed in the hands of law enforcement,” Tilley said. “I think it needs to be distributed to pharmacies because it’s not an addictive drug, when someone is overdosing, if used properly, can save the life on someone who would otherwise pass away.”

Tilley warns that even if legislation passes during the upcoming session, it will not be a panacea when it comes to drug abuse.

“Government can’t wave a magic wand and fix the drug problem,” Tilley said. “We’ll make every effort to expand the things that we know can work and can help people.”

Another topic that’s been talked about for the past several sessions is legislation which targets dating violence. Lawmakers plan on bringing back a bill which would extend protection orders to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.

Tilley, along with Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville, have been active in trying to educate their caucuses about the need of such legislation.

“The statutes that we have on the books right now don’t provide the immediacy, don’t provide that immediate protection that these dating protective orders would do,” Westerfield said.

“What we currently have are victims having to do is go to the county attorney, go to law enforcement and file a complaint and then sit and wait.”

Lawmakers are also bringing back the smoke free legislation for a fifth try in the General Assembly in 2015.


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