Heroin Bill Up Against The Clock

Mar 26, 2014

A bill aimed at combating Kentucky’s growing heroin problem is headed to the state House floor, but time is running out to pass it.

Senate Bill 5 received the House Judiciary stamp of approval following testimony from Attorney General Jack Conway. Conway told the panel that the legislation would result in more treatment centers and harsher penalties for heroin dealers.

"I would say to you that we can't afford not to do something in this area because it's an epidemic that's taking lives. It's an epidemic that's keeping our society from being as safe as it ought to be. And this legislation I would hope would have an emergency clause on it, so we can get to work using these new tools to hopefully make a dent in this epidemic," Conway said.

One of the bill’s more controversial provisions would allow prosecutors to file homicide charges against high volume traffickers. Opponents worry that could shift the burden of proof to the defendant.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo has also expressed some reservations as well, but has not elaborated on his concerns. The bill now heads to the full House with only six days remaining in the legislative session.