FRANKFORT, KY (1/13/12) – The second week of the 2012 Regular Session of the Kentucky General Assembly saw proposed legislation taken up in committee meetings, a vetting process meant to identify and strengthen the most needed and effective bills.
Committee approval is the first step in a long legislative process that, for successful bills, means passage by both the House and Senate, reconciliation of differences between the two chambers, and signing by the Governor. It is a long journey.
Our opening slate of topics this year include some of the most important issues facing the Commonwealth.
We have seen the media reports and heard from our constituents about how substance abuse (especially methamphetamine abuse) is plaguing our State. This is not the first time we have discussed drug problems in the Legislature, and unfortunately it will not be the last. As illicit drug production and distribution schemes evolve, so must our tactics against them.
We began tackling the most urgent current drug-related issues of pill mills and meth labs with pre-filed bills even before the session began. This week that work intensified.
In a joint meeting of the Senate and House Judiciary Committee, we heard from several experts on the State’s meth epidemic. University of Kentucky researchers and seasoned drug enforcement professionals testified on the scope of meth-lab incidents, as well as the effectiveness of previous and current anti-meth legislation in the State and nation.
This is a complex problem that will require thoughtful legislation. We want to curb drug abuse – the scourge of meth especially -- while being mindful of the rights of law-abiding citizens. Our hope is that by April – or before – we will have written and passed such a bill.
Talks began this week about other important topics, as well. Some of the most vulnerable citizens in our State took center stage as legislators discussed schools, long-term care facilities, veterans, open records in child-abuse fatalities, and the Impact Plus behavioral health program. Committee hearings do not always get a lot of attention, but they are key first steps in the process of a bill becoming a law, and citizens are always welcome.
For more details about the work of the General Assembly, you can visit the Kentucky Legislature Home Page, www.lrc.ky.gov. A taped message containing information on legislative committee meetings is updated daily at 1-800-633-9650. To check the status of a bill, you may call the toll-free Bill Status Line at 1-866-840-2835.
Senator Joey Pendleton
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