Confusion and last-minute lobbying have potentially derailed what some Kentucky lawmakers considered the hallmark of the current legislative session. House Bill 4 is better known as the prescription pill bill. It's centerpiece is the transfer of the KASPER drug tracking system to the attorney general’s office. Late last week, it appeared lawmakers had struck a last-minute deal to pass the bill before this week's recess. But confusion about which amended version of HB4 was up for a vote mired them in procedural minutiae.
Eventually, legislators decided to give up on the compromise until they come back to Frankfort for their last legislative day on April 12.
“Some people wanted to read through it. And after a week of 3 o clock mornings and things of that nature and the text of the respective things that have gone through today, people were actually tired and desirous of getting back home on the weekend and to their families and children and friends,” says Senator Robert Stivers.
The Kentucky Medical Association says the bill goes too far. House Speaker Greg Stumbo, the bill's chief sponsor, blamed the delay on last minute-lobbying efforts from the association.
“My guess is that some of the Kentucky Medical Association lobbyists out there scurrying around trying to, you know they don’t like the bill, and my guess is there’s a last ditch effort, that’s just my speculation, on their part to try and scuttle the measure,” he says.
If the bill passes later this month, lawmakers won't be able to override a gubernatorial veto. But Stumbo says that's not a concern, because the governor’s office played a major role in the bill’s drafting and passage.