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Talks to continue on 'Amanda's Bill'

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A bill aimed at keeping electronic tabs on
domestic abusers, spurred by the death of a former lawmaker's
ex-fiance, appeared back on track Thursday after seeming in danger
of being derailed in the waning days of Kentucky's legislative
session.
The sudden turnaround from recent political bickering came after
House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman
Tom Jensen met privately to discuss the high-profile bill. They
emerged to say House and Senate negotiators would meet in coming
days to pursue a final version.
"I think we'll have a productive end result," said Stumbo,
lead sponsor of the bill aimed at keeping domestic abusers away
from their victims.
Jensen, R-London, said he hoped the measure would win final
passage when lawmakers return April 14 for a two-day wrapup
session.
The bill is named after Amanda Ross, who was gunned down outside
her Lexington home last year. Former state Rep. Steve Nunn has been
charged with killing her and has entered a not guilty plea. After
the breakup of their engagement, Ross had obtained a domestic
violence protective order.
The legislation is aimed at protecting domestic violence victims
by attaching ankle monitors to suspected abusers. Under the
Senate's version, judges could order the electronic tracking
devices for people who violated domestic violence orders. The
House's rendition would allow judges to order people named in
domestic violence orders to wear the ankle monitors.
Ross family spokesman Dale Emmons said Thursday that the family
had been distraught when the bill appeared to be in trouble. He
said the family was hopeful it will win final passage.
"They remain committed to improving the plight of people who
suffer from abuse in domestic violence situations," Emmons said in
a phone interview. "They're anxious for there to be a resolution,
and we feel like this is a step in the right direction."
Separate versions of "Amanda's Bill" have passed the House and
Senate, but the proposal has stalled as negotiators from both
chambers tried to work out a final version.
Democratic Rep. John Tilley of Hopkinsville, chairman of the
House Judiciary Committee, said earlier Thursday that conferees
were "fairly far apart" on a couple of key issues.
Jensen said earlier in the day that negotiators had not reached
a consensus, and some groups raised fresh concerns. At that point,
Jensen said the bill probably would require a rehearing.
Later, Jensen said the bill had run into "a lot of outside
interference," but sounded considerably more optimistic about its
chances.
"It seems like every time we get to one point where we've
almost got an agreement, we've got a whole new group coming in
wanting to do something new and different," he said. "I think if
we stay the course on where we've been at and what we have agreed
to, we can get this done."
Nunn was one of the most recognized men in Kentucky politics -
as the son of a former Kentucky governor and a one-time Republican
gubernatorial candidate himself.
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The legislation is House Bill 1.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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