Julie Denton, Republican senator from Eastern Jefferson County, is increasingly at odds with her GOP Senate leadership.
Late last year, she announced she would run against David Williams for Senate president but relented for lack of support.
Last week, she publicized details of a Senate Republican Caucus meeting and called the lightning speed at which a bill was rocketing through the legislative process “a travesty of justice.”
Senate Bill 110, which vastly expands the practice of optometry, has been front-page news because of its unprecedented momentum. Mighty money and powerful sponsors — including Senate Republican leader Robert Stivers, are propelling it at a record pace.
Increasingly, Denton’s fellow Republicans are giving her a hard time on bills she sponsors or promotes.
Yesterday afternoon, upon adjournment of the Senate, Denton convened a special meeting of the Senate Health & Welfare Committee she chairs. After a brief hearing, Denton’s Senate Bill 102, which permits qualified mental health professionals to conduct an evaluation or examination using telehealth services, failed on a party-line vote. Democrats sided with Denton; Republicans opposed her, saying they needed more time to study the bill.
“Okay, well, it doesn’t pass,” Denton said. “The optometrists weren’t up here pushing it, but we’ll get them back up here to push it and, by golly. If we just had optometrists in here, we could’ve had this thing passed out in a jiffy. I don’t know why we need more time on this, but on those optometric bills, we pass those through in a jiff!
“Well, this has been fun. Let’s do this again tomorrow.”
Steve Shannon of the Association of Mental Health Centers, who testified for SB 102, left the room visibly disgusted.
Denton’s signature sarcasm prevailed.