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Covington, Kenton County Endorse Special Session in Frankfort for Heroin Bill

"Inexcusable." 

That's how State Senator Chris McDaniel (R-Taylor Mill) characterized the Kentucky General Assembly's failure to pass a heroin bill before the session expired. Senate Bill 5 was introduced and passed in January by Sen. Katie Stine (R-Fort Thomas) in the State Senate. It died in the house as the clock ran out on the 60-day session.

The bill, in its original form, would have increased the minimum time served for higher level traffickers, increased the availability of Naloxone for use as a rescue drug for overdoses, and created immunity for persons seeking emergency help in overdose situations, among other efforts to combat a growing heroin problem in the Commonwealth, particularly in Northern Kentucky.

The bill was received in the House on January 17 and died in mid-April after unrelated amendments were attached to it.

McDaniel spoke on Tuesday night at the Covington City Commission and the Kenton County Fiscal Courts as part of his tour throughout Senate District 23 to inform local governments about the session. 

"It's tragic that it died," McDaniel said at Covington City Hall. He and other Frankfort Republicans have blamed the House for the bill's failure. It has been suggested that Governor Steve Beshear should call for a special session of the legislature to revisit the bill, a move that McDaniel supported. "It was the most disappointing display of politics."

"I would like to see us go back down and deal with it. It shouldn't have failed. The citizens should not have to pay legislators to go down there and make this right."

McDaniel said that he had lunch with Stine on Monday and reported that she could not explain why the bill died. The senator asked for support from both the city commission and fiscal court in endorsing a special session to address the heroin bill. The Covington City Commission passed a resolution at the end of its meeting doing so and the Fiscal Court voted to produce a resolution soon also in support of the session.

Beshear has not indicated yet whether he would call for a special session.

Meanwhile, McDaniel and the Northern Kentucky Legislative Caucus received praise from both local government bodies. Judge-Executive Steve Arlinghaus applauded McDaniel and his fellow local legislators for doing "a yeoman's job" of representing the region during the sixty days.

McDaniel was enthusiastic to report on the securing of funds for Northern Kentucky University's Health Innovation Center, Gateway Community & Technical College's urban metro campus, highway and road projects including a cross-county highway in the southern portion of all three Northern Kentucky counties, and other issues.

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News

Photo: Sen. Chris McDaniel speaks at Covington City Hall on Tuesday/RCN