Katie Stine's Senate Bill 5, "that (would have fought) the scourge of heroin that is spreading throughout Kentucky" passed the Senate January 19. "Unfortunately, there have been many people (that died) of overdose; at least 24 in Kenton County alone, since then," said Katie Stine through her legislative update sent on April 11. "Hopefully the House will act before more people die."
Last night at midnight the time ran out on SB 5.
The failure of the House to pass a heroin bill was called “tragic,” by Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, who vowed to meet with Gov. Steve Beshear Wednesday and urge him to call a special session.
There was a 45-minute rhetorical exercise in the House over a provision requested by Secretary of State and Senate candidate, Alison Lundergan Grimes, that essentially ran out the clock. The details of the Senate Bill 5 were hardly debated because the proceeding debate took the time needed to pass the bill.
House Republicans asked about non-profit organizations, which House Democrats had attached to the bill with bipartisan support that would prevent convicted rapists for getting parental rights for a child conceived during an attack.
The bill regarding parental rights was eventually passed, but there was simply no time to revive the heroin bill.
Before the 2014 legislative session even began, a bipartisan group of lawmakers unveiled legislation aimed at curbing the rising scourge of heroin in Kentucky. The three-tiered bill would have provided education, treatment and tougher penalties for those people caught trafficking the drug.
The bill hit speed bumps throughout the session specifically over language that would have shifted the burden of proof to the defendant rather than having prosecutors have to prove the guilt of the defendant.
Sen. Katie Stine, R-Southgate, removed that language on Monday while re-attaching the bill to a separate piece of legislation in the House, but that version was never heard in the House.
A frustrated Stivers told reporters after the session that the problem is of “epidemic proportion.”
“I think the Commonwealth would think if we came up here in five days and spent $300,000 to do something to stop or curb this problem that would be money well spent,” Stivers said.
“I will discuss the issue with him [Wednesday] to see if he feels it warrants it and see when we can come in if he feels it can be done.”
Attorney General Jack Conway, who was part of the bipartisan group pushing for the bill, said he was “disappointed” the legislation didn’t pass, but called on the group to redouble their efforts.
“We must refocus our efforts to pass this legislation and expand treatment for opiate addiction to address the abuse of prescription painkillers and heroin,” Conway said.