FRANKFORT, KY. via Kentucky.com — Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear said he likely would not call the Legislature back for a special session as House and Senate leaders continue to blame each other for not passing bills combating heroin use and overhauling state ethics laws.
"Before I would do it we would need to have some agreement on the topics," Beshear said Wednesday. "At this point, my door is not being knocked down with folks that are crying out for a special session."
Republican Senate President Robert Stivers has continued to call for a special session to pass a bill combating heroin use as state officials reported a 650 percent increase in heroin overdose deaths from 2012.
Wednesday, Stivers wrote an editorial for FTM blaming House Democrats for not passing the heroin bill.
"The House received this bill on Jan. 17. Instead of hearing and passing it immediately, they held onto it," Stivers wrote. "The only logical explanation is that they kept this bill to use as a pawn in their political games."
Meanwhile, Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo sent a letter to Beshear to say a special session must include an ethics reform bill the House passed on the next-to-last day of the 2014 session. The bill is in response to the Legislative Ethics Commission's decision to not punish a former Democratic House member accused of sexual harassment.
"While I believe the House did our duty in passing these reforms the Senate failed to act," Stumbo wrote. "This was an unfortunate lapse on the part of the Senate and one that I hope your office will help rectify should you choose to call the legislature for a special session."
Stivers and other Republican Senate leaders say the ethics reform bill - which would clarify that the commission has jurisdiction over former lawmakers and allow commissioners to be removed if they miss too many meetings - is not needed.