News briefs from around Kentucky at 1:58 a.m. EST

Thursday, February 27, 2014

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House panel rejects eminent domain for pipelines

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Landowners from across Kentucky testified to a House committee Wednesday that they have been harassed by companies involved in the Bluegrass Pipeline project and been threatened that the state’s eminent domain laws would be used to seize their land if they refuse to sell.

The committee then passed legislation that would bar private natural gas liquid companies from using eminent domain laws to acquire property.

House committee chair Rep. John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville is the bill’s sponsor.

“If the state or anyone else is to condemn private property,” Tilley said, “that should be for public use which our constitution clearly states and we as a legislature have clearly confirmed in subsequent years.”

Tilley added that although the bill cleared the committee by a wide margin, he anticipates strong amendments to be attached to it in the House.

Also in attendance was Tom FitzGerald of the Kentucky Resources Council. FitzGerald said that Kentucky isn’t alone in clarifying its eminent domain laws. He cited recent Texas statutes which distinguish natural gas liquids from utilities which also use eminent domain laws.

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Ky. Senate panel OKs trial use of cannabis oil

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A bill aimed at allowing trial use of cannabis oil for severe childhood seizures gained momentum Wednesday, clearing a Kentucky Senate committee that heard emotional pleas from parents wanting the treatment for their children.

Rita Wooton held up a photo of her 4-year-old son Eli, who has suffered from uncontrollable seizures since birth. Doctors have prescribed more than a dozen medicines that haven’t worked, and a neurologist recently suggested the family try cannabis oil, the eastern Kentucky woman said.

“You don’t know what it’s like ‘till you take my son home with you,” Wooton told the lawmakers, her voice shaking with emotion. “I’m not looking for sympathy or even empathy.

“We’re looking for help, and that’s where we come to you all. It’s your … decision on what my son gets as far as treatment.”

The bill was approved by the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, and now heads to the full Senate. Senate President Robert Stivers later said the measure seems to have strong support in the chamber, and said it appears cannabis oil has “some therapeutic and medicinal value.”

“There doesn’t seem to be any downsides to it,” said Stivers, R-Manchester.

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