Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cincinnati report on Kentucky hemp vote

The events in Kentucky are getting nationwide attention, earlier this month (posted here) there was a New York Times article, and now on Scott Warman is covering the debacle in the Kentucky House where a democrat, that is with a small 'd', is delaying the vote. Read below:

Boos erupted when a vote didn’t happen Wednesday morning in the House Agriculture Committee to provide regulations for an industrial hemp industry.
Ag Committee Chairman Rep. Tom McKee, D-Cynthiana said a vote on Senate Bill 50 might happen this afternoon.
For two hours, members of the House committee heard testimony both for and against the bill that would set up qualifications for licenses to transport and grow hemp and provide GPS coordinates for each hemp field for easy tracking by law enforcement and other regulations. It would only take affect if the federal ban on hemp is lifted.
Then McKee abruptly put the committee in recess citing more questions from lawmakers and said the meeting will resume at 4:30 p.m.
“We ran out of time,” McKee said. “It was not the plan to run out of time. The plan was to vote.”
A committee substitute proposed in the House would scrap the original bill and instead call for more research. It would set up the “Kentucky Agriculture Experiment Station” that would research the potential economic impact and market viability of industrial hemp in Kentucky. Should the federal government lift its ban on industrial hemp or issue a permit to Kentucky, the proposed amended bill would allow the experiment station, in cooperation with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and Kentucky State Police, to grow two five acre “demonstration fields” and issue a report to lawmakers by Nov. 29.
McKee called the committee substitute more aggressive because it would ensure the growing of some hemp as well as research into Canada’s hemp growing industry.
“We think the committee substitute is more aggressive than the bill itself because we are looking at doing total and complete research, including site visits to Canada and it would include the possibility of getting some in the ground in 2013 at the Agriculture Experiment Station,” McKee said.
McKee wouldn’t say whether the bill could get passed with or without the committee substitute.
“We would certainly look at it, the goal would be to adopt the committee sub,” McKee said. “If that doesn’t happen, I’m not sure what the next course of action is. We had a pretty good discussion. The house has been pretty much left out of these discussions so that’s why there were a lot of questions.”
Some accused the delay or block in vote as political.
“In my opinion, it is mostly political” said Sen. Paul Hornback, R-Shelbyville,the bill’s sponsor “There’s some frustration of mine, not only for this bill, but on other bills of mine. As a farmer, when you have an opportunity, you seize it.”
Ag Commissioner Jamie Comer, who has supported the bill, said he doesn’t know why a bill that enjoys the support of both Sen. Rand Paul and U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth as well as a litany of other support from both parties should become so politicized.
“This issue symbolizes what’s wrong with the Kentucky General Assembly,” Comer said. “The majority of the legislators want to do good things. They want to create jobs. They want to create jobs, want to help farmers, but it gets bogged down in political bickering. If the chairman of the committee would just let the bill be voted on, the bill will pass as is.”

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