Cannabis Oil, School Calendar Bills Advance in Frankfort

Cannabis oil bill passes Senate committee  

A measure that would legalize limited medical use of cannabis oil was approved by the Senate Health and Welfare Committee today.

Senate Bill 124, sponsored by Committee Chair Julie Denton, R-Louisville, and Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville, would allow doctors at the state’s two university research hospitals to prescribe cannabis oil to patients.

Advocates of cannabis oil use say it is effective at treating certain health conditions, including epilepsy.

“This is going to open the door for some first steps on this issue,” Denton said.

SB 124 now goes to the full Senate for further action. 

School calendar bill clears House committee

School districts would have more flexibility in dealing with snow days and other events that require changes to the school calendar under legislation approved yesterday by the House Education Committee.

House Bill 383, sponsored by Rep. Addia Wuchner, R-Florence, would maintain the same requirement for 1,062 instructional hours annually that schools have now. The minimum number of student instructional days would go from 175 to 170 annually, but school boards that have to to amend school calendars would be given the flexibility to adjust school days by 30 minutes or more if needed to ensure that they are meeting state requirements on student instruction.

“It does not diminish or take away the 1,062 instructional hours that we require…but allows (districts) flexibility in planning their school calendar,” Wuchner said.

The minimum school term of 185 days—including student attendance days, teacher professional days, and school holidays – would not change if HB 383 becomes law.

Wuchner and others testifying on the bill said the legislation would help schools that have lost student attendance days this winter due to bad weather.

HB 383 would also prohibit a district from scheduling a student attendance day on election days.

The bill would also clarify that the commissioner of education can waive up to 10 days from a school calendar when bad weather or other emergencies cause a district to create an approved alternate instructional plan “so that no education is lost during that process,” Wuchner said.

The bill now goes to the full House for further action. It would take effect immediately if it passes both the House and Senate and becomes law.

Pipeline legislation clears House Judiciary

Private property could not be taken by eminent domain for the transport of natural gas liquids under a bill approved today by the House Judiciary Committee.

The committee substitute to House Bill 31 approved by the committee would prohibit the taking of private land by eminent domain for the construction of a natural gas liquids pipeline, such as the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline that could possibly run through 13 Kentucky counties.

HB 31 is sponsored by House Judiciary Chairman John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville, and Rep. David Floyd, D-Bardstown.

“I think there are multiple reasons why there is legal justification and common sense justification” for excluding natural gas liquids from eminent domain powers, Tilley said. “The most overriding factor is that the statutes have never contemplated natural gas liquids. We have a new player in the game, essentially.”

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From the Legislative Research Commission

Photo: Close-up shot of a drop of cannabis oil/Wikipedia