Frankfort Local News

House Judiciary Committee Passes PSE Bill

After a week of negotiations, the House Judiciary Committee has passed an amended version of a bill that would regulate pseudoephedrine.

The drug—often called PSE—is a key ingredient in allergy medicines, but it is also used to make methamphetamine. In the fight against meth, lawmakers have long debated various proposals to control PSE. The bill currently making its way through the General Assembly restricts how much PSE Kentuckians can buy without a prescription. It also blocks recent drug offenders from buying PSE entirely. On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee changed the latter provision to only block meth offenders from buying PSE.

“If it’s not something that works, we can come back and tweak it and fix it,” says State Representative Brent Yonts, who sponsored the amendment. “But I think it’s a great first step.”

Frankfort Local News

House Judiciary Committee Has First Hearing on PSE Bill

A proposal to restrict the purchase of pseudoephedrine-containing medicine is now up for discussion in the Kentucky House of Representatives. The cold medicine is a key ingredient in meth production, and lawmakers hope restricting PSE will reduce meth use in the commonwealth.

Earlier this month, the Senate passed a compromise proposal. That bill limits consumers to seven point two grams of PSE-medicines over the counter each month. The House Judiciary Committee heard from supporters of that compromise measure today.

State Representative Linda Belcher is the House point person on the issue. She told the committee that she still wishes for a more restrictive bill.

“This bill is not as strong as I would like. And when I first heard about it and talked with the senators I really wanted to do a couple of things and make a couple of amendments. But again, I feel very strongly this bill needs to pass,” she says.

Frankfort Local News

Stumbo says Senate PSE Bill Will Likely Remain Intact If It Passes

A proposal that limits the amount of pseudoephedrine consumers can buy in a month could make it out the state House of Representatives intact.

The Senate passed a bill last week that would limit consumers to seven point two grams of pseudoephedrine every month, or roughly two boxes of cold medicine.

Now, the bill has arrived in the House. House Speaker Greg Stumbo supports stricter legislation that would make PSE available by prescription only to crack down on meth abuse. But that proposal doesn’t have any hope of passing the Senate, so Stumbo says he hopes his chamber will pass the Senate’s bill.

“I hope so. I mean I prefer a stronger version, but it’s obvious the Senate had problems with it. I expect that we’ll run into some difficulties over here, but we’ll give it our best shot,” he says.

Frankfort Local News

State Senate Passes Bill Regulating PSE Medicine Use

A bill regulating the amount of certain cold medicines consumers can buy over the counter has passed the State Senate. The bill is intended to crack down on meth users, who use cold medicine to make the illegal drug.

Senate Bill 3 passed after an amendment raised the monthly pseudoephedrine allotment to seven point two grams per month—or the equivalent of two boxes of medicine. Previously the bill had been prescription only, then limited over-the-counter purchase to three point six grams a month.

Senator Robert Stivers was the bill’s main supporter. He says he wants tougher restrictions on PSE, but agreed to the compromise.

“I am not satisfied with the floor amendment. But I understand it is a reasoned compromise and that’s what this process is about,” Stivers says.

Frankfort Local News

Current Bill to Regulate PSE Use In Trouble, Another Compromise Possible

A bill dealing with pseudoephedrine usage could be in trouble for the second straight legislative session.

Supporters of restricting PSE use thought they had a compromise. Previous bills have attempted to make the drug available by prescription only. The latest measure would allow the drug to remain over the counter but limits consumers to three point six grams per month and fifteen grams per year.

The bill gained an extra vote in committee today to send it to the Senate floor.

But after multiple caucus meetings, Senator Robert Stivers says the bill doesn’t have the votes to pass right now.

“Status is uncertain. Successful enough to get it out of committee this morning but due to a very successful lobbying campaign by numerous people and entities we are having a hard time garnering the votes and support on the Senate floor to pass the bill as it came out of committee,” he says.

Frankfort Local News

PSE Compromise Passes Committee, Could See Senate Floor Action Today

A supposed compromise on a bill aimed at cracking down on meth production in Kentucky is once again making its way through the state Senate.

The bill passed committee quickly this morning. The bill’s sponsor, Senator Robert Stivers, says the bill could be voted on the Senate floor as soon as this afternoon.

The compromise will allow pseudoephedrine—a key ingredient in meth—to continue to be bought over the counter, but will limit consumers to only three point six grams, which is equivalent to one box of cold medicine, a month.

It also limits the annual amount to 15 grams a year. But not everyone is on board with the compromise, including Carlos Gutierrez of the Consumer Health Products Association.

Frankfort Local News

Stivers Says He’s Considering Compromises on Anti-Meth Bill

A Senate bill that would have made pseudoephedrine available by prescription only has surprisingly been killed by its sponsor.

State Senator Robert Stivers withdrew Senate Bill 50 Thursday, to the objection of several of his colleagues.

Pseudoephedrine, or PSE, is a key ingredient in both over-the-counter cold medicines and meth. The bill was meant to curtail meth production by restricting pseudoephedrine sales. The measure barely made it out of committee earlier this session. And Stivers says he killed the bill so he could look into proposals that have a better chance at passing the Senate.

We’re looking at potentially different alternatives to what we may do,” he says. “We plan to look at some alternatives very first thing next week.”

Stivers declined to say what those compromises may be. But Senator Jerry Rhoads has sponsored a bill that would cap the amount of PSE individuals could buy in a year. And it would require convicted meth offenders to have a prescription to buy cold medicines that contain PSE.

“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,” says Stivers.

Stivers believes lobbying done by citizen and healthcare groups against his original measure hurt its chances of passing.

Frankfort Local News Politics

PSE Bill Narrowly Clears Committee

A bill that would make pseudoephedrine available only by prescription in Kentucky has cleared its first legislative hurdle.

PSE is commonly found in cold medicines and is also used to make meth. The Senate Judiciary Committee heard another hour of testimony on the issue from law enforcement officers and former meth addicts today before passing the bill out of committee.

Before the vote, sponsor Robert Stivers promised to continue pushing the measure regardless of it’s eventual fate.

“I don’t know if we have the votes in the chamber or on this committee to pass it. If we do I’ll be grateful, if we don’t I will still be a person who will continue to bring the issue to the attention of the public and someday maybe it will change,” he said.

Opponents of the measure say it unfairly limits law abiding citizens’ access to a legal drug. But supporters say meth use is out of control in Kentucky and must be curtailed. 

Frankfort Local News

Debate over Psuedoephedrine as Prescription Only Getting Personal

The debate over how to regulate psedudoephedrine is becoming more polarized.

Lawmakers are wrestling with the idea of whether to make the drug, known as PSE, available by prescription only. Law enforcement supports that idea, while health care and citizen groups don’t.

The debate has led one state Senator to dial back his leadership on the issue due to personal attacks. But Senator Tom Jensen says he’s going to continue to advocate to make PSE prescription only.

And Jensen said this year he’s going to make his colleagues vote on the Senate floor on Senate Bill 50.

“Let me tell ya, we’re gonna vote on it in this floor this time,” Jensen said. “Not just committee, it’s gonna happen on this floor and people will have to live or die with that vote. But they’re gonna have to vote.”

Frankfort Local News

Jensen Reduces Role on Psuedoephedrine Bill After Personal Attacks,

The primary sponsor of legislation attempting to make pseudoephedrine available by prescription only is taking a smaller role. State Senator Tom Jensen announced today that he will no longer be the main sponsor of Senate Bill 50.

Jensen said opponents of the legislation were quickly attaching him personally to the controversial bill, something he wanted to avoid. That’s because those opponents were using Jensen’s career as a lawyer against him when arguing against the bill. Some of the attacks focused on Jensen’s past helping with paperwork to form Operation UNITE, a federal drug enforcement group located in Eastern Kentucky.

“But one term that we use as a lawyer is you don’t want to have any appearance of impropriety,” Jensen said. “And to take that issue off, because the issue is not about Tom Jensen on the pseudoephedrine bill. To take that off Madam President I wish to move to withdraw as primary sponsor of Senate Bill 50.”

Opponents of Senate Bill 50 say they don’t want to make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to get medicines for common illnesses.