Call to Order and Roll Call
The5th meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Judiciary was held on Friday, October 7, 2011, at 10:00 AM, in Room 171 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Tom Jensen, Chair, called the meeting to order, the secretary called the roll, and a quorum was present.
Members:Senator Tom Jensen, Co-Chair; Representative John Tilley, Co-Chair; Senators Carroll Gibson, Jerry P. Rhoads, John Schickel, Dan "Malano" Seum, Robin L. Webb, and Jack Westwood; Representatives Kelly Flood, Sara Beth Gregory, Joni L. Jenkins, Stan Lee, Mary Lou Marzian, Michael J. Nemes, Darryl T. Owens, and Tom Riner.
Guests: Matthew Leveridge, Commonwealth Attorney, 57th Circuit; Nancy Horn Barker, Corner Drug Store; Allyson M. Taylor, Attorney Generalís Office; Marylee Underwood, Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs; Karen Thomas Lentz, Johnson and Johnson; Sheila Schuster, Kentucky Mental Health Coalition; and Sarah Nicholson, Kentucky Hospital Association.
The minutes of the September 14, 2011 meeting were approved without objection. Representative John Tilley recognized Representative Tanya Pullin as an observer at the meeting.
Unfair competition in Kentucky business
Laurie Self, Microsoft Counsel, Covington and Burling, said an increasing number of Kentucky businesses rely on technology which can mean the difference between success and failure. Foreign companies steal United States and foreign technology and export it to their advantage, 100,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost to China, India, and Mexico, and technology theft is common in many countries resulting in a $50 billion annual loss. Fair trade laws relating to stolen internet technology would improve Kentucky and United States business opportunities by punishing those who use stolen technologies and would promote fair trade. Washington State has enacted legislation prohibiting manufacturers that use stolen IT from selling products in competition with manufacturers and others that use legally purchased IT products.
Bobby Bailey of Louisville Geeks, described how he started his small business several years ago and how it has expanded, how stolen IT makes it hard for honest companies to compete, theft handicaps clients, and honest businesses need leverage to fight back. Senator Jensen called the committee's attention to a document opposing the legislation in the committee folder.
Illegal Methamphetamine Laboratories
Jackie Steele, Laurel County Commonwealth's Attorney, Dan Smoot, Deputy Director of Operation UNITE, Tommy Loving, Bowling Green-Warren County Drug Task Force, and Mark Burden, Kentucky Narcotics Officers Association, presented on the dangers posed by methamphetamine laboratories to the methamphetamine makers, their families and children, the victims of laboratory accidents, law enforcement, and members of the public. It is estimated that 1,458 meth labs will be discovered this year, which is a record high, and Laurel County leads the state in meth labs. Speakers described the medical, clean-up, and other costs, indicated the one essential ingredient for the illegal manufacture of methamphetamine is pseudoephedrine, discussed the hazards of taking pseudoephedrine by persons with diabetes, coronary artery disease and other ailments, and indicated 137 other over-the-counter alternatives to pseudoephedrine exist. Speakers urged that Kentucky follow the example of Oregon and Mississippi that have made pseudoephedrine a prescription drug, which has significantly reduced the number of meth labs in their states, and how this would reduce "smurfing" where persons are paid to go purchase pseudoephedrine for meth makers. Mr. Loving said the methamphetamine problem is statewide, and this was echoed by Mr. Burden as relates to central Kentucky and Northern Kentucky.
Several persons said methamphetamine use is still a problem in Oregon, and Portland, Oregon has a particularly high methamphetamine use. Representative Marzian wondered what would be next if Kentucky makes pseudoephedrine a prescription drug. Senator Jensen urged the members to separate the manufacture of methamphetamine from the use of methamphetamine as two separate issues.
Jim Acquisto of Appriss, Inc. markets the Meth Check program, which is used to tracks pseudoephedrine purchases in Kentucky. This program has been expanded in several other states to block pseudoephedrine purchases by persons convicted of drug offenses. Mr. Acquisto said the legislation in Oregon and Mississippi has not reduced methamphetamine use. Eighteen states have adopted the enhanced program that blocks pseudoephedrine purchases by drug offenders for 7-10 years, including Tennessee, which is financed by pseudoephedrine manufacturers and is available to states at no cost. Carlos Gutierrez, Director of State Government Relations, Consumer Health Products Association, representing pseudoephedrine manufacturers and other consumer health care products, said there is no public outcry to make pseudoephedrine a prescription drug. It would increase health care costs, deny the most effective cold remedy to those who could not afford to see a physician, and would not allow persons to immediately seek cold relief. Representative Riner asked about contraindications and side effects from the use of pseudoephedrine and asked if enhanced warnings on packages would be of use, to which the response was they would be costly for manufacturers and would not be of benefit.
Senator Greg Higdon discussed his prefiled 12 RS BR 188, which would require the State Board of Medical Licensure to license and regulate pain management facilities, provide for suspension or revocation of licenses for violations of standards, require prompt hearings on complaints, require pain management facilities to be owned by physicians, require criminal record checks, and establish training requirements for all health care practitioners functioning in a pain management clinic.
Van Ingram, Director of the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, presented information on the prescription drug abuse problem in Kentucky, the number of accidental overdose deaths, and indicated while the problem is perceived to be an eastern Kentucky problem, it is actually statewide and increasing in the Purchase Area and Louisville. Drugs of abuse included Xanax, Oxycodone, Hydrocodone. In a 2010 survey of Kentucky tenth graders, 1.6 percent reported using Oxycontin in the previous 30 days. Mr. Ingram described the success in limiting pill mills in Florida and Ohio, but the result has been an increasing number of pain clinics in Kentucky. Senator Higdon said a pain clinic in his area is advertising within a 150 mile area and operates as a cash only business. Mr. Ingram recommended licensing, strict standards, mandatory physician use of the KASPER program to detect drug diversion and multiple prescriptions, and supported Senator Higdon's bill. Bill Doll, representing the Kentucky Medical Association, and Preston Nunnelley, MD, President of the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure, expressed support for the proposed legislation. Dr. Nunnelley said there are 44 active cases under investigation, and 22 of them involve pill mill allegations at pain clinics. Dr. Nunnelley said the board does an excellent job of disciplining physicians and has a national reputation for doing so.
Eric Friedlander, Deputy Secretary, Cabinet for Health and Family Services, presented on the KASPER prescription monitoring program and how it can aid in detecting overprescribing and drug diversion in cooperation with licensing boards and law enforcement. Robert McFalls, Kentucky Pharmacists Association, and Dr. Nancy Horn, owner of Corner Drug in Winchester, Kentucky, said they were concerned with the problem of drug diversion and drug abuse and that as the Florida pill pipeline is closing due to tighter regulation, there is now an increase in similar Kentucky prescriptions. Dr. Horn described receiving 30 calls a week about filling prescriptions from pain clinics in Georgetown, Dry Ridge, and Winchester and said she restricts filling these types of prescriptions to established patients. Tony Goetz, Kentucky League of Cities, and Brian Roy, Deputy Director, Kentucky Association of County Officials, spoke of the problems cities and counties incurred when they recently attempted to regulate pain clinics through local ordinance and were thwarted by Attorney General Opinion 11-03, which specified only the state, not local governments, could regulate heath care professionals and health care facilities.
Review of Executive Order 2011-772 relating to the membership of the Kentucky Law Enforcement Council.
Ken Schwendeman, Director of Government Relations, Department of Criminal Justice Training, said the executive order adds representation from Lexington and Louisville to the membership of the council, increases the quorum for council votes, and permits the members to send voting alternates to council meetings. The measure was accepted by the committee by voice vote.
Senator Jensen announced the next meeting of the committee would be on December 9, 2011, to hear from the Court of Justice, followed by a second meeting on December 16, 2011. The meeting adjourned at 12:00 noon.