Stivers hopes conference committee for heroin legislation can begin as soon as next week

02/21/2015 10:09 AM

FRANKFORT — With both chambers of the legislature passing separate bills intended to curb heroin abuse in the state and the likelihood of one side agreeing to the other’s proposal nil, Senate leadership is looking at the calendar and contacting House leaders to set up a conference committee.

Speaking to reporters on the Senate floor Friday, Senate President Robert Stivers expressed frustration at the lack of action taken on his chamber’s version of a heroin bill, but he said the process needs to move quickly.

“We’re going to try to move it quickly so it doesn’t sit there for the last minutes — the waning hours of the session,” said Stivers, R-Manchester. “We referred it (House Bill 213) to judiciary today.

“We have had discussions with several of the members and specifically the chairman of the committee to start dialogue to have an invitation of their members to come up and discuss the bill.”

Stivers said he hoped the House would make a similar offer to sit down with Senate members and look at Senate Bill 5, which passed out of the Senate without opposition the first week of the session.

With the session dwindling and the House’s failure last year to pass a heroin bill in the closing moments of the session, Stivers said he hopes the bill can make it into a conference committee next week or the following week.

“We hope that sometime late next week or early the week after the bill… Well let’s don’t say a bill, let’s say the concept we are discussing gets into a conference committee,” Stivers said.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo said the House is “always open to more input from members on issues, which is what Rep. (John) Tilley and others who helped to write this legislation have been doing all along.”

“That dialog will continue as both Judiciary Committees review the other chamber’s proposals,” Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said in a statement to Pure Politics. “I am convinced that this session will end with a strong bill, and we are on track to achieve that.”

Pure Politics reporter Don Weber contributed to this report.


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