The Continuing Saga of Kentucky Cannabis…

Headlines from the past week on the continuing argument concerning Cannabis “legalization” in Kentucky…

Witnesses testify against Kentucky legalizing marijuana

LOUISVILLE (WHAS) — A proposal to balance Kentucky’s pension crisis with proceeds from pot sales has gained a lot of attention on social media. Thursday it was the focus of a hearing in Frankfort.  

Governor Matt Bevin has said he’s against recreational or “adult use” of marijuana but Senator Dan Seum, a powerful member of Governor Bevin’s own party, thinks it’s a way to bail Kentucky out of the pension crisis.

There’s still a way to go before even medicinal marijuana could be approved in Kentucky so the Interim Joint Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection listened to a panel of experts opposed to pot.

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Law Enforcement Group Opposes Legalized Marijuana in Kentucky

As Kentucky lawmakers explore ways to pay for public employee pensions, a coalition of law enforcement groups say legalizing marijuana for recreational use isn’t the answer.

“I’m not willing to risk my grandchildren’s health to save my pension,” Kentucky State Police Commissioner Richard W. Sanders said yesterday while testifying before the Interim Joint Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection. “I don’t think that is the right way to go with this thing.”

Sanders is a 40-year law enforcement veteran with 21 years vested in the state’s hazardous duty pension.

Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy Executive Director Van Ingram testified that marijuana is harmful to society.

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Hearing Held in Frankfort About Legalizing Recreational Marijuana in Kentucky

Hearing Held in Frankfort About Legalizing Recreational Marijuana in Kentucky

A public forum was held with the Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection. The committee heard testimony on cannabis and public safety.

Kentucky State Police, the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Police, the National Marijuana Initiative and Smart Approaches to Marijuana were representative to testify. There was also an opportunity for people who wanted to give their opinion but are not scheduled to testify.

STATE BY STATE: Kentucky Cannabis News

Sen. Dan Seum has said legalizing marijuana and taxing it could help the state dig out of the massive pension hole.

Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rick Sanders says this situation isn’t just about the pension.

“My 40 years in law enforcement tells me this is not the savior,” says Sanders. “I’m not willing to risk my children and grandchildren’s health to save my pension.”

During the meeting a committee voted to send a letter to the Food and Drug Administration asking for continued and accelerated research.

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Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin Will Veto Any Legislative Attempt to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

One Kentucky lawmaker is pushing for legalization as a way to solve the state’s pension problem, but Gov. Bevin says it’ll have to wait until he’s out of office.

With California, Massachusetts and Maine debuting recreational marijuana markets next year, it may seem like legal weed is everywhere. But beyond the country’s progressive coastal hubs, huge swaths of America are still being thrown in jail for cannabis crimes, with politicians who are supposed to be protecting their constituents pushing blatant lies about weed in an effort to protect prohibition’s status quo.

In Kentucky, Republican state Senator Dan Seum is ready to change those tired traditions, and has already voiced plans to introduce legislation to legalize recreational marijuana, with an eye towards funding the state’s floundering pension program through cannabis tax revenue.

However, rationally or not, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin is firmly cemented in the past and will do everything in his power to block Seum’s legalization effort, effectively signaling a death sentence for Kentucky cannabis reform until at least 2020.

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RELATED:

This meeting was not supposed to known to the public… “Frankfort, Anti-Marijuana Discussion”

Additional information here:

KY4MM

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This meeting was not supposed to known to the public… “Frankfort, Anti-Marijuana Discussion”

I have been informed of these meetings taking place in Frankfort, Kentucky, this Thursday, October 12, 2017 @ 1:00pm.  I am posting the information here!  Please follow links to obtain more information!

#1

***Attention mark your calendars for this Thursday’s Anti Marijuana Discussion***

Should KY Veterans, or Public Protection Officers (Fire Fighters, Police, EMT) be criminals for trying to find a better quality of life?
Come show support for KY patient’s safe access to cannabis.
Thursday October 12, 2017 @ 1:00 P.M.
Capital Annex Room 154 (702 Capital Ave., Frankfort 40601)
Veterans, Military Affairs & Public Protection Committee

— in Kentucky State Capitol.

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

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10:00 am, Annex Room 131

PROGRAM REVIEW AND INVESTIGATIONS COMMITTEE

Agenda: Potential Legal Action Against Drug Industry for Contributing to Opioid Abuse in Kentucky; Purdue Pharma Settlement • Attorney General Andy Beshear Presentation of staff report Kentucky’s Foster Care System Responses by • Adria Johnson, Commissioner • Elizabeth Caywood, Executive Advisor, Department for Community Based Services • Kelly Stephens, Manager Court Services, Administrative Office of the Courts Available for questions • Officials from Personnel Cabinet

Members: Sen. Danny Carroll (Co-Chair), Rep. Lynn Bechler (Co-Chair), Sen. Tom Buford, Sen. Perry B. Clark, Sen. Wil Schroder, Sen. Dan “Malano” Seum, Sen. Reginald Thomas, Sen. Stephen West, Sen. Whitney Westerfield, Rep. Chris Fugate, Rep. Brian Linder, Rep. Donna Mayfield, Rep. Ruth Ann Palumbo, Rep. Rob Rothenburger, Rep. Arnold Simpson, Rep. Walker Thomas

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1:00 pm, Annex Room 154

INTERIM JOINT COMMITTEE ON VETERANS, MILITARY AFFAIRS, AND PUBLIC PROTECTION

Agenda: Pledge of Allegiance Distinguished Veteran Marijuana and Public Safety • Richard W. Sanders, Commissioner, Kentucky State Police • Van Ingram, Executive Director, Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy Staff • Ed Shemelya, Director, National Marijuana Initiative • Tony Coder, Director, State and Local Affairs, Smart Approaches to Marijuana School and Campus Safety • Alex Payne, Deputy Commissioner, Kentucky State Police • Mark Filburn, Commissioner, Department of Criminal Justice Training

Members: Sen. Albert Robinson (Co-Chair), Rep. Tim Moore (Co-Chair), Sen. Julian M. Carroll, Sen. Perry B. Clark, Sen. C.B. Embry, Sen. Denise Harper Angel, Sen. Ernie Harris, Sen. Jimmy Higdon, Sen. Stan Humphries, Sen. Dennis Parrett, Sen. Wil Schroder, Sen. Dan “Malano” Seum, Sen. Whitney Westerfield, Sen. Mike Wilson, Sen. Max Wise, Rep. Robert Benvenuti , Rep. Tom Burch, Rep. Will Coursey, Rep. Jeffery Donohue, Rep. Myron Dossett, Rep. Jim DuPlessis, Rep. Chris Fugate, Rep. Jeff Greer, Rep. Chris Harris, Rep. Mark Hart, Rep. Regina Huff, Rep. Dan Johnson, Rep. DJ Johnson, Rep. Donna Mayfield, Rep. Ruth Ann Palumbo, Rep. Brandon Reed, Rep. Rob Rothenburger, Rep. Dean Schamore, Rep. Walker Thomas

SOURCE LINK

http://www.lrc.ky.gov/legislativecalendarv2/sp_bss_calendar_/index

https://www.facebook.com/KY4MM/posts/1461959113839300

https://www.facebook.com/jaime.montalvo.3110?fref=ufi&rc=p

https://www.facebook.com/amy.stalk.3?fref=ufi&rc=p

Republican state Senator will propose recreational marijuana as way to create needed pension revenue

10/04/2017 03:11 PM

VIDEO THROUGH THIS LINK!

With one of the worst funded pension systems in the entire nation in the commonwealth, Republican state Sen. Dan Seum says the need for new revenue could take the state higher, legally.

Seum, R-Fairdale, suggests legalizing marijuana could add badly needed new revenues to the state coffers totaling $100 million or more a year. The money represents an untapped stream of cash to pay down estimated unfunded liabilities ranging from $37 billion to $64 billion in the state pension systems.

“I think desperation might help — we need a billion dollars (a year),” Seum said of the chances of legalizing marijuana in Kentucky.

Legislative leaders expect their proposals to reform the state pension systems will be made public in the next 10 days, but those proposed tweaks are not expected to deal with revenue in a special session likely called this year.

Seum says he will propose legislation allowing adult use of cannabis in Kentucky before the 2018 regular session.

“I’m looking at adult use, because that’s where the money is at,” Seum said.

The upcoming session will mainly focus on crafting and passing a two-year state budget, and Seum thinks the need for money to address unfunded pensions will open the door to marijuana.

“Once we come out of the special session the governor is about to call, then we’re going to have a real, hopefully a real understanding of what the needs are when it comes to revenue,” he said.

Seum refers to marijuana legalization in Kentucky as a “jobs bill,” adding that Kentuckians should look no further than the bourbon industry to see the ancillary revenue that is generated from the industry.

Twenty-eight states have legalized some form of marijuana, and Seum says his bill will largely mirror what’s in place currently in Colorado, which approved legalized use by adults over 21 years old in 2012.

Seum said his son, Dan Seum Jr., visited Colorado this year to see how the 2012 legislation was written and what tweaks have been made in the years following passage, and that’s the model the Fairdale Republican will follow when he prefiles a bill later this year.

Jason Warf, political director of Alliance for Innovative Medicine, said that he thinks the market in Kentucky could be larger than what Colorado has seen, and thus more revenue could be expected.

“Obviously, it’s a time here in Kentucky where we need to look at our options,” Warf said.

Warf said that in Colorado dispensaries are licensed through the Department of Revenue and enforced by a self-funded marijuana enforcement division, a model he thinks Kentucky could duplicate with success.

Seum said he is also in favor of bringing in expanded casino gaming to the state in an effort to create as much new revenue as possible.

“As a legislator I’m not inclined to look at any kind of taxes, new taxes or additional taxes until we have explored the possibility of creating new monies,” he said.

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Beshear Announces Legal Firms Assisting AG’s Office in Litigation against ‘Contributors’ to Opioid Crisis

Terry Sebastian or Crystal Staley

502-696-5300

http://ag.ky.gov/

700 Capitol Avenue, Suite 118

FrankfortKY40601

Agreement ensures state tax dollars not used for costs of litigation

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 22, 2017) – Attorney General Andy Beshear today announced the legal team his office will partner with in the investigation and prospective litigation against drug manufacturers, distributors and retailers where there is evidence that they contributed to the opioid epidemic by illegally marketing, distributing and selling opioids to Kentuckians.

To support this litigation, Beshear in June issued a public request for proposal (RFP) for legal services to assist the Commonwealth in multiple lawsuits and to ensure that Kentucky tax dollars are not used for the costs of litigation.

The RFP criteria, by which bidders were evaluated, included their background and relevant experience, overall cost, technical approach and work schedule. Specific criteria included experience with complex pharmaceutical, health care, Medicaid and consumer protection litigation; the quality and experience of the specific lawyers proposed; and the resources such as document management and investigatory capacity the bidder could provide.

A diverse group of evaluators assessed and scored 17 bids, which included at least 53 firms. The contract was awarded to the highest scoring proposal, which was submitted by the team of Morgan & Morgan; Motley Rice; The Lanier Law Firm; and Ransdell Roach & Royce PLLC.

This team includes three national firms with prominent attorneys, and one Kentucky-based firm, featuring a former Kentucky Supreme Court Justice. Morgan & Morgan and Motley Rice have filed numerous similar opioid cases, and the firms collectively have won billions of dollars from pharmaceutical companies. The Lanier Law Firm has achieved numerous billion-dollar jury verdicts against the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.

“We look forward to working with this experienced team of local and national attorneys who have the resources and knowledge to help this office secure funds,” Beshear said. “We need the best team to help us repair the harm caused by those who have played a role in Kentucky’s opioid crisis.”

The contract provides that the bidder – and not the Commonwealth – will pay the costs of the litigation. State tax dollars will not pay the attorneys, who will instead receive a share of any verdict or settlement.

Morgan & Morgan, headquartered in Orlando, is among the largest exclusively plaintiff law firms in the world with 40 offices in nine states including five offices in Kentucky. Morgan & Morgan filed the first West Virginia lawsuit against drug wholesalers, including McKesson, on behalf of counties and has filed eight such actions since that time with several more pending.

Motley Rice, headquartered in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, is among the nation’s largest plaintiffs’ firms, securing settlements in significant health, environmental and consumer fraud litigation. During the last several decades, Motley Rice has led or participated in some of the most important consumer protection litigation, both for government and for private class actions.

Mark Lanier and The Lanier Law Firm, with offices in Houston, New York and Los Angeles, has built its reputation from billions of dollars in recovery with settlements against the world’s largest medical device and pharmaceutical companies.

Ransdell Roach & Royse PLLC, headquartered in Lexington, is comprised of three lifelong Kentuckians – Keith Ransdell, John Roach and David Royse. Roach, a former Kentucky Supreme Court Justice and Bevin transition team member, and Royse will spearhead this project for their firm.

“There is not a more professional, committed and capable team than the one assembled for this matter,” said Morgan & Morgan founder John Morgan. “We will use our significant, successful experience and subject matter expertise to deliver a result that both makes the Commonwealth whole and deters future violators from similar conduct moving forward. This is no longer David versus Goliath, but Goliath versus Goliath.”

“The opioid crisis in Kentucky pays no respect to party lines, political ideology or socioeconomic status,” said John Roach and David Royse. “It has blindly ravaged our Commonwealth and its victims come from all walks of life. Ransdell Roach & Royse PLLC, is honored to join forces with a team of top litigators to represent the Commonwealth in bringing accountability to bear for this epidemic.”

Kentucky is one of several states participating in a bipartisan coalition among attorneys general using their investigative tools, including subpoenas for documents and testimony, to address the opioid crisis.

Beshear said Kentucky, like other states, is experiencing personal and economic devastation from the opioid epidemic. According to the CDC, the total economic burden associated with prescription opioid abuse, including the cost of health care, lost productivity, substance abuse treatment and the impact on the criminal justice system in the United States is $78.5 billion a year.

Attorneys general in Ohio, Mississippi, Missouri and West Virginia have recently filed legal actions against drug manufacturers, distributors and retailers and several other states have issued RFPs seeking similar representation.

This agreement for contingency fee legal services is the latest action by Beshear’s office to combat the state’s opioid epidemic.

In August, Beshear launched the Kentucky Opioid Disposal Program, the state’s first initiative to allow Kentuckians to dispose safely of opioid medications at home. That program involves the drug deactivation pouch, Deterra®, which allows Kentuckians to dispose of their unused prescription opioids in a completely safe and environmentally friendly manner.

Beshear this week joined West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey to press health insurance companies to adopt a financial incentive structure for the use of non-opioid pain management techniques when viable for chronic, non-cancer pain. Insurance companies can play an important role in reducing opioid prescriptions and making it easier for patients to access other forms of pain management treatment.

“Nearly 80 percent of heroin users first become addicted through prescription pills,” Beshear said. “If we can reduce opioid prescriptions and use other forms of pain management treatment, we will slow or even reverse the rate of addiction.”

Beshear and Morrisey joined 35 other state attorneys general across the nation in reaching out to health insurance companies.

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Lawmakers hear sobering account of opioid crisis

September 21, 2017

Lawmakers hear sobering account of opioid crisis

FRANKFORT – At one Kentucky hospital, people are actually bringing in heroin and shooting up with patients.

That’s one example of the “very desperate situation” the opioid-abuse crisis has created, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President Dave Adkisson said while testifying before a panel of state legislators yesterday in the Capitol Annex.

He was among more than 25 people from across the country who testified about the best policies to attack the crisis at a rare six-hour meeting of both the Interim Joint Committee on Health and Welfare and Family Services, and the Medicaid Oversight and Advisory Committee.

“Today is a snapshot,” meeting co-chair Rep. Addia Wuchner, R-Florence, said of the topics on the agenda that included prevention, treatment and criminal justice issues.

Co-chair Rep. Kimberly Poore Moser, R-Taylor Mill, said the point of combining the two committees’ meetings was to show the complexity of the opioid-abuse crisis and need for a coordinated, long-term strategy to tackle it.

“We know that everything we have heard about the opioid use disorder problem, heroin problem, is real to many families and our communities,” she said, “and it cuts across all demographics. It touches everyone. We know it doesn’t matter where you live. Addiction doesn’t care how smart you are, where you went to school or how much money you make.”

Office of Drug Control Policy Executive Director Van Ingram testified that 1,404 Kentuckians died of a drug overdose last year. He said the introduction of the synthetic opiate fentanyl into the heroin supply was largely driving the death rate. In addition, fentanyl has been present in 53 percent of the drug overdoses recorded in Kentucky so far this year.

He said the Kentucky General Assembly passed a number of measures in the last five or six years to address opioid abuse, but it takes time for the full impact of those laws to be seen.

“People do get better,” Ingram said. “People do recover, although for those people on the front lines, it doesn’t seem that way.”

In what he described as a “rare bright spot, there were 70 million fewer dosage units of opioids prescribed last year in Kentucky than in 2011. (That percentage doesn’t include buprenorphine, a semisynthetic opioid that is used to treat opioid addiction.) There are still about 300 million dosage units of opioids being prescribed in Kentucky.

“This whole problem is the overexposure of opioids to our country and state,” Ingram said. “We are reducing that overexposure.”

He said the passage of House Bill 333 earlier this year would further drive down the number of opioids prescribed. It prevents doctors from prescribing more than a three-day supply of opioid painkillers, with some exceptions allowed. It also increased penalties for trafficking in opioids and authorized the state Office of the Inspector General to investigate trends in drug usage and trafficking.

Department for Medicaid Services Medical Director Dr. Gil Liu testified on the impact of opioid abuse disorder on Kentucky’s Medicaid program.

At the beginning of 2014 Kentucky spent about $56 million in Medicaid money on behavioral health and substance abuse treatment, he said. By the end of 2016, Kentucky was spending about $117 million in Medicaid money on those treatments.

Rep. Danny Bentley, R-Russell, asked what percent of people with substance abuse disorder have a behavioral health disorder, outside of the drug issue.

“Well over half of the people,” Liu said.

Adkisson said the impact of the opioid crisis on Kentucky’s health was staggering.

“Less obvious, however, is the toll that is taken on the state’s economic growth and development,” he said. “In Kentucky the opioid crisis has contributed to a low workforce-participation rate.

“At a time when job openings and investment in Kentucky are reaching record highs, we must provide the healthy productive workforce needed to grow the economy.”

Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, asked how the state could fund the mental health, treatment and prevention programs needed after the governor recently proposed cuts of 17 percent for most state agencies in the current fiscal year to make up for an expected budget shortfall.

Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities Medical Director Dr. Allen J. Brenzel said grant money is helping to pay for programs to tackle the opioid crisis.

“The good news … is that resources are coming,” he said. “That is something I don’t often say. We have received funding from the legislature, the governor’s budget and we have received a significant number of grants.”

Kentucky was recently awarded a $10.5 million federal grant to help on programs for opioid overdose victims, pregnant and parenting women, individuals re-entering society upon release from criminal justice settings and adolescents and young adults at risk of addiction.

“Now, what is very critical, is that we use those dollars, and guide those dollars to the most effective evidence-based intervention,” Brenzel said.

Wuchner said the grant money couldn’t come fast enough.

“Opioid addiction is a ravenous beast because its increasing tolerance requires individuals to take higher doses to stave off withdrawal and addiction spiral can happen quickly,” she said. “It fractures families, lives, communities and futures. It fills our headlines daily. It fills our courtrooms, our jails, our hospital ERs, our NICUs (neonatal intensive care unit). It fills our court dockets, and it fills our morgues.”

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Police used hidden video camera, microchips to track marijuana found at ex-sheriff’s farm

526275994

By Bill Estep

bestep@herald-leader.com

September 18, 2017 11:49 AM

Former Jackson County Sheriff Denny Peyman allegedly supplied marijuana plants to two other men to grow on Peyman’s farm, a state police detective testified Monday.

Peyman was a participant in the state’s experimental effort to develop hemp as a commercial crop for farmers.

Darren Allen, the state police detective, said he suspected that Peyman and the two men allegedly involved with him thought police would think the marijuana was hemp.

Allen testified that state police spotted suspected marijuana plants at Peyman’s farm during aerial surveillance in July. The plants were in a tree line and were surrounded by weeds about 350 yards from the industrial hemp on Peyman’s farm in the southern part of Jackson County, Allen said.

State police sneaked to the plants without Peyman’s knowledge, took samples, mounted hidden cameras near the plants and a nearby parking spot, and put tracking microchips in six of the 61 plants at the site, Allen said.

Police covertly checked the plot on Sept. 5 and found that the marijuana had been harvested. The video showed two men who were allegedly involved with Peyman harvesting the plants the day before, Allen said.

Police got a warrant to search Peyman’s barn and house on Sept. 6 and arrested him after finding suspected marijuana plants. The plants were in a hidden room in his barn, Allen said.

There were 71 plants. It is possible that some of the original 61 split while being harvested, Allen aid.

Allen testified that five of the microchips he had put in the suspected marijuana plants at the back of Peyman’s farm were found in plants in the barn.

Tests showed that the plants had a higher level of the “high”-producing chemical than industrial hemp plants involved in Kentucky’s pilot program are allowed to have, Allen said.

The two men who were allegedly growing the pot on Peyman’s farm, Edward Hoskins and Arthur “Fuzzy” Gibson, told police they understood that Peyman was in danger of losing his farm and wanted to get into the marijuana business to save the farm, Allen said.

Both men said Pyeman supplied them the plants found growing on his farm, and that they were growing the pot for him, Allen testified.

Jackson District Judge Henria Bailey Lewis ruled that there is probable cause to forward Peyman’s case to a grand jury for a possible indictment.

She set a hearing for Nov. 7 for Peyman to answer the indictment if the grand jury charges him.

Peyman is charged with cultivating marijuana and trafficking in steroids. He is free on bond.

Sean Southard, a spokesman for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, said Peyman left the state’s pilot industrial hemp program after he was arrested.

Bill Estep: 606-678-4655, @billestep1

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Kentucky prosecutors warn against budget cuts during legislative committee meeting

For Immediate Release

September 15, 2017

Kentucky prosecutors warn against budget cuts during legislative committee meeting

FRANKFORT—Kentucky prosecutors today told state lawmakers that they have little to nothing to cut from their budgets.

Governor Matt Bevin requested that most state agencies plan to cut around 17 percent from their current budgets in a letter sent to state officials last week. The cuts are expected to save the state around $350 million, state officials say.  But prosecutors like Kenton County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders said the cuts would “not only eliminate (specific programs). They would shut down our offices.”

Commonwealth’s attorney and county attorney office budgets both fall under the Executive branch, which the Governor oversees. 

“We’re talking one in three employees in our office if we implement cuts October 1,” said Sanders. By January, he said possibly 50 percent of his employees would be have to be let go, under the plan. Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Cohron said the same scenario would likely play out across the state, with prosecutors in the largest judicial circuits affected the most.

“The bigger jurisdictions are going to bear the brunt of it. Our conservative estimate is the larger officials would have to look at laying off 60 to 70 percent of our total staff. That’s just not doable,” he told the committee.

Cohron said staff cuts would negatively impact the state’s heroin “Rocket Docket”—an efficiency program in place in over 30 of the state’s 57 judicial circuits that puts treatment ahead of incarceration for certain drug offenses. Local jails statewide are on track to save around $50 million by the end of fiscal year 2018 due to the success of the Rocket Docket program, he said.

Staff cuts could also restrict funding for advocacy of elderly, children and domestic violence victims, Cohron said, since criminal prosecution comes first. All non-court personnel, including victim advocates, would “have to be looked at being reduced immediately,” he said, adding that court appearances and timely disposition of cases would also be impacted by reductions.

“There are human costs to this,” he said.

Henderson County Attorney Steven Gold, who is also the president of the Kentucky County Attorneys Association, said the state’s 120 county attorney offices collect child support, serve as a financial watchdog, and advise and assist county governments. They are also a key player all criminal cases in the Commonwealth, he said, “plus mental health, guardianship, child dependency/neglect/abuse, truancy and runaway” cases and more. While Gold said county attorneys “embrace” their work, they need the funding to meet their obligations. Budget reductions would work counter to that, he said.

“If we are to believe that out of the crucible that is court comes justice, we must have good people—well-funded, well-trained people—on both sides to make that justice a result,” he told the panel.

Rep. Jason Petrie, R-Elkton, asked how much of a cut the prosecutorial system could withstand. None, Sanders said.

“How much of a cut we can sustain when we’re talking about budget reduction? Zero. Because…we’re already going to be short on funds. We’re already going to be laying people off,” he said.

Rep. Robert Benvenuti, R-Lexington, said government’s top priority is public protection. He encouraged prosecutors to make that clear when working with lawmakers in coming months.

“Don’t be shy about saying ‘why is the state spending money on this when we don’t have enough law enforcement officers on the street? When we don’t have enough prosecutors?” Benvenuti said.

A report on factors affecting the state Department of Juvenile Justice and an overview of KASPER (the Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting System) were also presented to the committee.

–END–