State lawmakers worked into the early hours Wednesday to pass a series of bills before the Kentucky legislative session draws to a close. Lawmakers passed a comprehensive bill to address the state’s growing heroin problem, set a floor to the tumbling gas tax and extended protections domestic violence victims.

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Kentucky lawmakers say they’ve come a long way in coming up with a legislative solution to the state’s heroin epidemic, but no consensus has emerged on the biggest sticking point—how to punish heroin traffickers.

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More Kentuckians are insured, protected from second-hand smoke and making healthier lifestyle choices, according to a recently released preliminary report on Gov. Steve Beshear’s kyhealthnow initiative.

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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.

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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.

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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.