A Kentucky lawmaker is taking issue with proposed legislation aimed at tackling the state’s growing heroin problem.
Legislation from Republican Sen. Katie Stine would raise penalties for heroin traffickers and punish dealers by reclassifying overdose deaths as criminal homicide when there is sufficient evidence.
Although Stine says her legislation would also attempt to shore up drug treatment efforts, Sen. Perry Clark, a Democrat from Louisville, says it's another misstep in the failed War on Drugs.
“I’ve voted against it in the past, I’ll probably vote against it in the future. She’s using the same old law enforcement, criminal technique against drugs that don’t work.”
Clark says he does support the idea of a “Good Samaritan” law, in which individuals who bring an overdose victim to the attention of emergency services may be granted immunity. Stine has said her measure would include such a provision.
A report from the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy and the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet says that heroin deaths in Kentucky have risen 550 percent between 2011 and 2012.
A Kentucky lawmaker has filed a pair of bills that will again bring the issue of expanded gaming before the General Assembly.
State Rep. Larry Clark, a Louisville Democrat, has pre-filed legislation that would place a constitutional amendment on the Nov. 2014 ballot asking Kentucky voters if they permit "the General Assembly to pass laws authorizing casino gaming?” according to language in BR 108.
Clark's companion gaming bill, BR 109, would establish the Kentucky Gaming Commission, a body comprised of nine members appointed by the governor that would regulate up to eight casinos under the proposed legislation, with an annual operational budget of no more than $5 million.
Out of a total estimated $830 million in gross revenue generated by the casinos, about $286 million of that amount would be collected in state taxes from casinos by the measure, according to an estimate conducted by the Legislative Research Commission.
Arguing that some Kentucky legislators routinely file bills that would be, if enacted, harmful to women, activists rallied Saturday outside the state Capitol to support what they called "reproductive justice" in advance of the 2014 General Assembly session.
Roughly 75 activists caravanned from Louisville to Frankfort to advocate for legislation that would expand access to abortion and contraceptives, family support programs and comprehensive, science-based sex education.
Speakers at the rally lambasted what some called "religious conservatives" in Kentucky legislature who constantly introduce legislation that they claim harm low-income women.
"In Kentucky, year after year, there are proposals that continue to go before the legislature that would seek to limit a person's access to comprehensive sexuality education; seek to limit a person's access to the full range of pregnancy-related healthcare, including contraception and abortion; and seek to deny family support," Dawn Cooley, a minister at Louisville's First Unitarian Church, told the crowd.
A bill has already been pre-filed for the Kentucky General Assembly's 2014 session—and it deals with the use of drones in the state.
Republican state Rep. Diane St. Onge bill limits how unmanned aircraft can be used. It allows U.S. military personnel to use drones in Kentucky for practice purposes. And it also allows drones to be used by law enforcement agencies if they have a specific warrant to do so.
Under St. Onge's bill, all other drone usage would be banned into Kentucky, including general use by law enforcement and corporations.
The freshman lawmaker from Lakeside Park says she's filing the bill because she's concerned about the threat to civil liberties with frequent drone use.