State Republican Senate leaders to try again with heroin legislation in 2015

10/16/2014 01:51 PM

NEWPORT — Despite having failed the last two sessions, Senate Republican leaders announced in Northern Kentucky on Thursday that heroin legislation will again be one of their top priorities for the upcoming session and that legislation will target drug traffickers.

Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, will be the main sponsor of the legislation and is currently working with other legislators and professionals to craft a bill which he will file ahead of the upcoming session.

“We will deal with three major components. We will deal with education, we will deal with enforcement and we will deal with addiction,” McDaniel said.

Republican Senate President Robert Stivers said that the proposed legislation will offer help to those who are addicted and provide stiffer sentences to the dealers.

“We want to hit them and hit them hard and delineate and make sure that they have stiff sentences that go with the crimes that they have committed,” Stivers said.

Stivers expressed frustration that Senate Bill 5, the heroin legislation sponsored by Senate President Pro-Tem Katie Stine, R-Southgate, failed to pass the House at the end of the 2014 session while House Bill 1, the House’s priority legislation in 2013, was passed by the Senate, well before the end of that session.

“It’s frustrating to think that policy, politics or personality got in the way of this,” Stivers said. “It shouldn’t have happened. We tried to change the culture of gotcha and we really don’t understand — and it’s beyond our reasoning and rationale to understand on this type on an issue, it should have risen well above politics or personalities or anything else.”

Sen. John Schickel, R-Union, believes a heroin bill could pass in 2015 because of heavier death tolls around the state related to the use of the drug.

“I think there’s much more a sense of urgency at this time and quite frankly, I think after last session, some people heard about it when they didn’t do anything,” Schickel said.

Schickel, a former law enforcement officer, says that implementing tougher penalties for heroin dealers will force those dealers out of Kentucky.

“After we get their attention, history shows they’ll leave this area and they’ll go other places,” Schickel said.

Don Weber

Don Weber is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers politics and education on Pure Politics, Kentucky’s only nightly program dedicated to state politics. Don is a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of Northern Kentucky University. He spent many years covering sports in the Northern Kentucky area before shifting primarily to politics. You can watch Don’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. If you have a story idea you can reach Don at donald.weber@charter.com.

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