KET Legislative Coverage

Day 54: Road Plans and Cannabis Oil

by Renee Shaw | 03/27/14 5:16 PM

As House and Senate leaders charged ahead with reconciliation on the state's nearly $20 billion spending plan, the pace of other legislative transactions quickened as well. There is positive movement on adjusting the school calendar because of missed snow days, and a medical marijuana-lite bill is almost ready for the Gov. Steve Beshear's signature. Only 13 legislative measures have been signed into law so far this session.

Road Plans Bound for Compromise
Yesterday the Senate Transportation Committee cleared the upper chamber's versions of a two-year, $5.4 billion highway construction plan and the “out years” of a six-year road plan. Both bills were amended in committee by the Republican leadership and then advanced to the full chamber. Sen. Ernie Harris (R-Prospect), chairman of the transportation panel, explained the Senate version of House Bill 237, the biennial road plan.

The chamber approved the two-year road plan with 28 yes votes and 10 pass votes. The House refused to accept the Senate's changes and asked the Senate to recede, which it declined to do. So the road plan will be resolved in a conference committee of House and Senate appointees.

Harris also explained the Senate version of House Joint Resolution 62, a blueprint for the so-called "out years," or the last four years of the six-year road plan.

The Senate passed its version of the "out years" proposal with 29 yes votes and 9 pass votes. The House again disapproved of the amended HJR 62, forcing conference committee talks to broker a compromise.

Seizure Salve Sails Toward Final Passage
Parents of children who suffer debilitating seizures rejoiced over passage of a bill they believe will provide desperately needed relief for their kids. Senate Bill 124 legalizes the medical use of cannabis oil (known as CBD) when recommended and supervised by a physician practicing at the University of Kentucky or the University of Louisville hospitals. The measure also exempts from the definition of "marijuana" those drugs administered in clinical trials or compassionate-use programs.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Tilley (D-Hopkinsville) explained the bill to the full chamber as members of the Epilepsy Foundation and their children listened.

Clara Gilliam is a child in Tilley's district, and her parents lobbied for legalizing cannabis oil to treat juvenile seizures.

The visiting families applauded as the House voted 98-0 to approve SB 124. After the Senate approves the minor House change, the measure is bound for the governor's desk.

Watch Legislative Update tonight at 11 on KET. Follow me on Twitter @ReneeKET.