FRANKFORT, Ky. (3/12/13) – House Democrat amendments filed to Senate Bill 50, the industrial hemp bill sponsored by Sen. Paul Hornback and supported by Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, would make both the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the Kentucky State Police responsible for testing registered hemp fields.
“House Speaker Greg Stumbo continues to play games at the expense of the people,” Comer said. “Why in the world would anyone put two government agencies in charge of the same exact responsibility, especially when the Department of Agriculture has shown that it can perform testing at $20 per test, and State Police have stated that it would cost them in excess of $750 per test?”
The floor amendments were filed late yesterday by Democrat Rep. Richard Henderson. Comer said he had not been informed of or consulted about the amendments. In hearings in both the House and Senate agriculture committees, Department of Agriculture representatives stated that they could perform testing at $20 per test. State Police stated that testing would cost the KSP in excess of $750 per test and that tasking the KSP with hemp testing would place too much financial burden on the agency’s testing laboratory.
“We told the General Assembly that we would not need any additional funding or personnel to perform the responsibilities in SB 50,” Comer added. “I sure hope that House Democrats will hold any other government agency saddled with the exact same responsibility to the same standard.”
Comer pointed out that the state Department of Agriculture carries out a wide variety of regulatory responsibilities. The KDA checks fuel pumps, price scanners, and commercial scales for accuracy; tests motor fuel for impurities and octane level, inspects amusement rides, conducts random inspections of eggs, analyzes agricultural grade limestone, protects livestock herds from foreign animal diseases, and performs numerous other regulatory functions. Testing industrial hemp could be folded into the department’s other regulatory responsibilities easily and efficiently, Comer said.
Information provided by Ted Sloan
Photo provided by SurfKY Graphics
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