Stumbo says a heroin bill could have passed House, says it will be a priority in 2015

04/16/2014 12:21 PM

The heroin bill that failed to pass the House Tuesday night was delayed by difficult negotiations and ultimately killed by opponents who were able to run out the clock, said House Speaker Greg Stumbo.

Stumbo, a former attorney general, said he would have supported any version of the bill aimed at increasing the penalties for dealers and making available more treatment. And he said he thought a version could have passed the House. But with only a matter of minutes to debate it late Tuesday night, it didn’t get a chance.

The Senate, however, had sent the bill to the House on Jan. 16. The House Judiciary Committee didn’t pass it to the House floor until March 26 with only five working days left.

House Judiciary Chairman John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville, had said he was trying to smooth out concerns among some Democrats and Republicans about language affecting the prosecution of traffickers who sold to someone who fatally overdosed from heroin. In addition, Tilley and others wanted a needle exchange program. But the behind-the-scenes negotiations between Tilley and the bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Katie Stine, and others struggled to yield a clear path forward.

Stumbo said he expects a version of the bill to pass in the 2015 session, which begins in January. Stine, the bill’s main proponent though, won’t be there. She is retiring at the end of the year.

Here’s what Stumbo after midnight Wednesday minutes after the House adjourned until January:

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