LRC Public Information

Many Kentucky lawmakers are probably a bit worn out after another late night session in Frankfort Wednesday. It's become a tradition for state legislators to work a long day right before the end of the session break.

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The Kentucky General Assembly adjourned late Wednesday night for a week and a half while Gov. Steve Beshear considers vetoes—and no bill addressing the state’s rising heroin problems had been passed.


The clock is ticking on legislation to address Kentucky’s heroin problem.

With the days waning in the legislative session, both the state House and Senate have passed their own versions of a heroin bill. A final version — which defines sentencing guidelines for drug traffickers, treatment options and whether a needle exchange will be included — has yet to be nailed down.

LRC Public Information

The state Senate’s first public discussion of the House’s heroin bill on Wednesday highlighted the differences between the two chambers as they seek to address a surge in addiction throughout Kentucky.

The House bill focuses on treatment and enforcement that distinguishes between peddlers, mid-level traffickers and aggravated traffickers.

Eric Molina, Wikimedia Commons

Several Kentucky legislators on Friday spoke against a provision in the House’s heroin bill that would allow local health districts to start needle exchanges—but the chamber unanimously passed the bill.

Update 6:59 p.m.: Needle Program Possible Issue

Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers said Monday it’s unlikely that the state Senate would allow a provision to allow needle exchanges in a final version of the heroin bill.

“I think they would have a very difficult time in the Senate,” said Stivers, a Republican from Manchester.


Leaders of both houses of the Kentucky general assembly remain committed to passage of legislation to address heroin problems. 

House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Senate President Robert Stivers appeared Thursday on WEKU's Eastern Standard program. Both men are confident that a heroin bill will be passed this session.

Stu Johnson / KPR News

In a rare vote for the first week of a short legislative session, a Senate Judiciary committee has unanimously adopted a measure aimed at tackling Kentucky's heroin problems.  The bill calls for increased treatment in jails, tougher sentences for traffickers, and wider distribution of a drug designed to reverse the effects of an overdose. 

Jessica Tomlin lost a sister to heroin.  She says increased treatment is a priority.

FRANKFORT — In his final State of the Commonwealth address, Gov. Steve Beshear celebrated many of his major policy accomplishments during his tenure and called on lawmakers to continue moving the 2015 session toward job-creation initiatives.

The over-riding theme of Wednesday evening’s address was Beshear’s advocacy for workforce development in Kentucky, and the four ways he says he’s strengthened it: early childhood development, education reform, affordable healthcare, and low taxes.

Eric Molina, Wikimedia Commons

One of the most pressing issues before state lawmakers in 2015 relates to heroin addiction.

In the last few years, drug overdose deaths have been a priority concern in many Kentucky cities and increasingly in rural communities.