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Bill to make fentanyl traffickers serve more time before parole eligibility advances as session nears end

Kentucky State Senate
Stu Johnson
Kentucky State Senate

Legislation calling for increased jail time for importing or trafficking fentanyl is before the full Senate. The House-backed bill moved out of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. If given final passage, it would increase time served from 50% of a sentence to 85% before offenders are eligible for parole. Louisville Democratic Senator Karen Berg expressed her support for the measure in committee.

“I really appreciate this bill because fentanyl is killing thousands and thousands of Americans every week here now and thank you, thank you,” said Berg.

Philip Lawson with the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers testified before the legislative panel. He said the change would make Kentucky’s parole eligibility tougher than federal law.

Lawson said he recognizes the seriousness of the illegal drug but is not sure if this change would help public safety.

“I would hope that some of that money with corrections, that we’re spending so much on, between the two, county and state, it’s almost a billion dollars. Maybe, instead of throwing more money at sentencing, we start redirecting that to treatment,” said Lawson.

The bill is on the Senate’s Orders of the Day for Tuesday.

Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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