Legislative Update: Senate passes Oil and Gas Modernization Act, House and Senate continue to discuss heroin bills and more

House Judiciary Committee members hear discussion on Senate Bill 5

The House Judiciary Committee heard testimony Thursday on Senate Bill 5 for discussion only as the two chambers begin to work towards compromise on legislation to address the state’s heroin issue.

Sen. Chris McDaniel, the bill’s sponsor, was joined by many experts and colleagues to discuss his legislation and answer questions from members of the lower chamber.

The two bills, Senate Bill 5 and House Bill 213, differ in a few ways including the sentencing of heroin traffickers. The House version divides traffickers into three tiers in order to charge them while peddlers the Senate bill charges all the same.

“For heroin dealers, we want to provide a great deal of despair. For addicts, we want to provide a great deal of hope,” McDaniel told the committee.

Another difference between the two bills is the inclusion of a local option for needle exchange programs to cut down on the spread of disease in the House bill. The committee heard testimony from both sides of the issue Thursday and will continue to discuss the option.

Each chamber will have ongoing discussions about the two bills and a potential compromise.

Senate passes Kentucky Oil and Gas Modernization Act bill

The state Senate passed the Kentucky Oil and Gas Modernization Act (SB 186) Thursday with unanimous consent, just one day after the House passed companion measure House Bill 386 with a 96-0 vote.

Specifically SB 186 would:

  • Offer regulatory certainty for the development of Kentucky’s deep shale resources.
  • Ensure “Best management practices” for well site reclamation.
  • Begin the effort to reclaim abandoned storage tanks.
  • Establish water quality testing requirements are established for deep horizontal drilling.
  • Require FracFocus disclosure for high volume horizontal fracturing. (NOTE: FracFocus is a national model used by 16 other oil and gas states).

Each measure now awaits action in the next chamber. The Kentucky Chamber will continue to monitor progress of the legislation.

Chamber opposed bill passes House Committee

The House Labor and Industry Committee passed House Bill 256, sponsored by Rep. Sannie Overly. The Kentucky Chamber is opposed to HB 256 as it adds penalties against business of which there is not a clear definition of an independent contractor. The bill now heads to the Senate for a committee votes.  The Chamber encourages the Senate to pass a misclassification bill that would truly help solve the issue and help businesses.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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