Regional
5:45 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Future of Bill That Would Stiffen Penalities For Heroin Dealing Remains Unclear

Democrat Rep. Johnny Bell of Glasgow (left), reviews legislation with Democrat Rep. Brent Yonts of Greenville, in the Kentucky House of Representatives.
Democrat Rep. Johnny Bell of Glasgow (left), reviews legislation with Democrat Rep. Brent Yonts of Greenville, in the Kentucky House of Representatives.
Credit Kentucky LRC

A bill that would raise penalties for heroin traffickers and expand addiction treatment is on shaky ground in the Kentucky General Assembly.

The proposed legislation barely passed a House committee due to concerns over language that would charge drug dealers with homicide in overdose deaths. House State Government Committee chair Brent Yonts says there are “major problems” with the constitutionality of charging dealers for the deaths of people they’re never met.

“One who sells heroin foresees that it’s bad and will kill, and they’re potentially liable for that death even though they may be three people distant from the one who actually gave it or sold it to the one who died,” said Yonts.

Yonts says without changes, he doesn’t think the bill will pass. A bill last year was killed over similar concerns.