Both chambers of the General Assembly have approved budget bills and a conference committee has been meeting since Monday to work out the differences. One major point of disagreement is funding for school construction. It's a priority for the House. But Senators were not ready to haggle during a Tuesday morning session.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo says the issue is so important to his chamber that a disagreement could derail budget talks.
Kentucky's Senate Judiciary Committee has passed a measure controlling the production and sale of synthetic drugs that mimic the effects of methamphetamine, marijuana and other controlled substances. The legislature had already banned hallucinogenic drugs known as "bath salts" and synthetic marijuana, but chemists have gotten around the ban by slightly altering formulas. The new bill's approach would ban whole categories of compounds. Penalties for first-time offenders could include forfeiture of property, fines, jail time and loss of alcohol sale licenses.
The measure creating an external panel to review child abuse cases involving fatalities and near-fatalities has been revived in a committee moments after dying in another. The bill, sponsored by Democratic Representative Susan Westrom, creates a 13-member panel of experts to review how the Cabinet for Health and Family Services handles cases. It also establishes an independent office of investigation for child protective services. Westrom's bill was heard Tuesday by the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, but it included several amendments favored by Republican chairwoman Julie Denton.