A high-profile measure that would enact tougher heroin laws in Kentucky failed to gain traction in the state House in the waning moments of this year's legislative session.
Lawmakers squabbled until the stroke of midnight Tuesday night, with Democrats accusing Republicans of filibustering an unrelated measure to block a vote on legislation that would raise penalties for heroin traffickers and expand treatment for opiate addiction.
Democratic Representative John Tilley helped push the bill through the House and said GOP lawmakers slowed progress in his chamber.
"This confusing ending to the session had more to do with the previous issue and the filibuster on a senate bill that was technical in nature," Tilley said. "It had a lot more to do with running out the clock on us than any confusion on the heroin bill."
Senate President Robert Stivers called the heroin bill’s demise "tragic."
"This was a bill that everyone in the Legislature and the Governor's office knew needed to be passed," Stivers said. "Senator Stein said that 26 people have passed away in Northern Kentucky since the beginning of the session."
Stivers said Govenor Steve Beshear should call a special session to pass the legislation.