The sponsors of a pair of bills that would ban smoking in public places and some private businesses in Kentucky say their proposed legislation has been stalled in the General Assembly.
Louisville Republican Julie Denton filed one of the bills in the Senate. And she's been frustrated by what she sees as the inability of both parties to support the issue.
“There are so many compelling things that I don’t understand why we can’t get this to move forward in either chamber," said Rep. Denton. "So obviously it’s not a partisan issue, it’s both sides. It’s all sides. I’m frustrated.”
Last week, Democratic Rep. Susan Westrom declared her smoking-ban bill “dead” after House leadership refused to bring the measure to the floor.
A bill that would permit Kentucky universities to study and develop treatments using cannabis oil has been filed in the state Senate.
Senate Bill 124 is an effort by Republican Sen. Julie Denton to one day permit doctors to prescribe the oil to treat certain neurological disorders, including epilepsy.
Denton says the anecdotal evidence of the drug’s positive effects on children suffering from chronic seizures are too great to ignore.
“So these are children who will either die because of their seizure disorder, or they will be so developmentally disabled that they will have no quality of life," the Louisville Republican said. "So this will allow our two research hospitals, U of L and UK, to use this as a treatment for patients of those two institutions, or through an FDA clinical trial.”
The primary ingredient in the oil is a compound called cannabidiol, and contains extremely low amounts of THC, the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana.
Denton says that by avoiding broader language to include medical marijuana, the proposal has a better chance of passing in her chamber.
Two Kentucky lawmakers plan to file bills that would create a statewide smoking ban—an idea supported by Governor Steve Beshear.
The smoking ban measures are being championed by a bipartisan duo: Democratic Representative Susan Westrom of Lexington and Republican Senator Julie Denton of Louisville. The lawmakers point out that January marks the 50th anniversary of the first-ever report from the U.S. Surgeon General on smoking and health. That report is credited with helping to change public attitudes on the dangers of smoking.
Several Kentucky towns have passed ordinances that don’t allow smoking at work or public places. But supporters point out that nearly two-thirds of the commonwealth remains uncovered by such a ban.
Opponents say individual businesses should be able to determine whether or not they allow smoking on their premises.
Gov. Beshear voiced his support for a comprehensive ban during his “State of the Commonwealth” address Tuesday.
A bill moving Medicaid late payment claims to the Department of Insurance appears to have some support in the state Senate.
House Bill 5 would take prompt pay issues with the Medicaid managed care system and put it through the Insurance Department's current claims process. Currently, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services deal with late claims.
Sen. Julie Denton, chair of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, said she plans to give the bill a hearing and supports the bill's attempts to make managed care organizations pay providers.
"I think anything we can do to have more oversight and more assistance in keeping them in compliance with their contracts is a welcome breath of fresh air," she said.
The Kentucky Senate on Wednesday approved that sets up a panel to review abuse cases from nursing homes.
Three doctors would be put on the panel to review abuse cases; the bill would not prevent patients from filing lawsuits, but the findings from the panel could be admissible in court.
The Senate approved Senate Bill 9 on a party-line vote—Republican for, Democrats against.
The bill sponsor, Sen. Julie Denton, a Louisville Republican, said the goal is to crack down on bad lawsuits, while still protecting nursing home patients.
"No one wants to see someone hurt, someone abused, someone neglected and I'm not here to say there aren't some horrible things that have happened to people and that they don't deserve justice, because they do and this in no way precludes that," Denton said.
The chairman of a Kentucky Senate committee is promising to file legislation aimed at preventing Gov. Beshear from setting up two major pieces of the federal health care law without legislative approval.
The Courier-Journal reports Senate Health and Welfare Committee Chair and Louisville Republican Julie Denton says she doesn’t want the Governor to be able to unilaterally establish a new statewide health care exchange or expand Medicaid services to more Kentuckians. Denton and other Obamacare opponents say the state can’t afford the exchange or expanded Medicaid offerings.