Senate meth prevention bill dead, but new bill could be filed

State Sen. Robert Stivers
State Sen. Robert Stivers
State senators at work in the Kentucky Senate chamber
State senators at work in the Kentucky Senate chamber

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - A bill aimed at reducing the production of meth was supposed to go up for discussion and possibly a vote Thursday. Instead in a surprise move the bill's sponsor and Floor Leader Sen. Robert Stivers withdrew it. That means the bill is dead this session, but could be filed in another year.

Senators could file a new bill, however, and there is anti-meth legislation in the House.

A key ingredient to make meth is pseudoephedrine, which is found in many over-the-counter cold medicines. Since 2008 law enforcement has tracked purchases of these medicines in Kentucky. Across the country 17 other states and soon Virginia will do the same thing. The databases linked.

"We blocked 2 million grams in the United States just in 2007 from being sold outside the law," said Jim Acquisto of Appriss.

Acquisto has 24 years of law enforcement experience and lobbied for the meth tracking legislation, but he's against Senate Bill 50, which would require those over the counter to be prescriptions.

"Apparently making something a controlled substance or even just available by prescription doesn't work real well because those are by far the most abused drugs in the U.S. by everyone's account, certainly in Kentucky," said Acquisto.

The bill has been a talker.

"Can we really afford to miss work or school to go to our doctor every time someone in our family need Claritin D or Sudafed?" said a narrator in a radio ad sponsored by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association.

Stivers talked to reporters after he withdrew it about the advertising campaign against it.

"I won't say it succeeded," said Stivers. "It had an impact."

There were gasps around the Senate when he withdrew the bill. He said he did not poll the republican caucus before making his decision.

"You have to be pragmatic and practical with what you do," said Stivers. "If I can do something maybe not everything that I want, but if I can do something to impede the progress of manufacturing and distribution of meth, I will at least take one bite of the apple this session."

Stivers said he is looking at different ways to move forward, but did not elaborate.

"Oh it's very much alive as long as I'm here," said Stivers.

March 5 is the last day for senators to file new bills.

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