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Bills to Reduce Number of Legislative Days, Allow Access to Cannabis Oil Advance

Legislative calendar bill clears Senate committee

The Senate State and Local Government Committee unanimously approved a bill today that would let voters decide on a proposed change to the Kentucky General Assembly’s annual legislative session calendars.

Senate Bill 195, sponsored by Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, proposes an amendment to the State Constitution that would reduce the number of working days during regular legislative sessions.

Under the proposal, regular legislative sessions during even-numbered years would be reduced from 60 to 45 working days. Final adjournment would be required as it is currently, by April 15. The bill also proposes cutting odd-numbered year regular sessions from 30 working days to five working days.  An additional ten legislative days could be used to extend an odd-numbered year regular session, or for a special session called by legislative leaders anytime during the biennium.

According to the bill’s sponsor, the governor’s authority to call a special session without time limits would not be affected by this legislation.

The bill would save up to $7 million dollars annually and is an attempt to make legislative offices more accessible to Kentuckians unable to get involved in the process due to work, family or other time constraints, Stivers said.

“This is an attempt, I believe, to return us back to what the framers of our Constitution believed our role should be.  And that is of a citizen legislature,” he said.

SB 195 now goes to the full Senate for further action.  If the measure becomes law, the question will be posed to voters for final ratification in the 2014 general election in November.

Senate approves cannabis oil bill

The Kentucky Senate unanimously approved a bill today that would allow research and limited medical use of cannabis oil.

Senate Bill 124, sponsored by Sen. 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.  The bill also would allow the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville medical schools to conduct studies of the oil which can be derived from industrial hemp or marijuana plants.

Supporters of the measure say it is an effective treatment for certain medical conditions, including pediatric epilepsy.

“This bill is designed to be one more tool in the toolbox for those children to help preserve their quality of life and help preserve their life,” Denton said.

SB 124 now goes to the House of Representatives for further action. 

From the Legislative Research Commission