Industrial hemp supporters are ratcheting up the pressure to force a vote on a stalled bill that would allow farmers in Kentucky to grow the crop if federal ban is lifted.
A group led by state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer on Thursday urged House Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom McKee to allow a vote on the bill.
The group included Brian Furnish, a prominent northern Kentucky tobacco farmer who lives in McKee's district.
Furnish, a Republican, warned that the Cynthiana Democrat will face a strong challenge in the next election if McKee stifles the hemp bill. Furnish is no stranger to Frankfort as a member of the state's hemp commission who was also once an agriculture adviser to former Gov. Ernie Fletcher.
In the wake of the high-profile Savannah Dietrich court case, a bill in the Kentucky House would prevent judges from issuing gag orders against sexual assault victims undergoing trial in juvenile court.
If approved, House Bill 115 would allow juvenile crime victims to speak freely about their cases, said state Rep. Keith Bratcher, a Louisville Republican.
Dietrich's name was not spoken at any point during the bill's hearing. But Bratcher said he filed the bill after her case drew national attention—and criticism— last year. A judge threatened Dietrich with contempt after tweeting the names of two boys who'd pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting her, and information about their plea deal.
The plea deal stipulated that Dietrich couldn't speak publicly about the case.
The Kentucky House has narrowly passed two bills dealing with the state's underfunded pension system, but not without controversy.
The House passed an amended version of Senate Bill 2, which keeps the pension systems as a defined benefit and creates a new oversight panel for Kentucky's many pension plans. It passed on party lines 55-45, with Democrats favoring.
It also passed House Bill 416, which takes revenues from the potential expansion and legalization of Instant Racing, from online lottery sales and a new Keno game.
That bill passed with 52 votes, but many Republican members argued that the action was illegal, since revenue bills take a House supermajority of 60 votes to pass in odd-year session.