Lawmakers Press To Finish Work; Several Key Bills Still Hanging

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Melissa Lee will be back in Frankfort on Monday, urging lawmakers to pass legislation that would increase the number of inspections at underground coal mines and provide methane detectors for all miners so they can monitor for the explosive gas.

The measure has moved slowly through the legislative process, even stalling at times, before reaching the Senate where it has been fast-tracked.

"I'm hoping and praying that it passes," Lee said. "I am so fatigued and worn out from this."

Lee, whose husband Jimmy Lee was killed in an underground explosion in Harlan County last year, will join a group of widows scheduled to testify before the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee to speak in favor of the measure on Monday. The mine safety legislation is one of several key bills still pending in the General Assembly with only three days left in the legislative session.

Still to be decided is whether to approve more than $300 million worth of construction projects at the state's universities. That measure, which restores construction projects that Gov. Ernie Fletcher vetoed from the budget last year, has been approved by the House but hasn't gotten through the Senate.

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