Kentucky Surging Forward Following Legislative Session

commonwealth of kentucky

Commonwealth of Kentucky
Governor’s Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Woody Maglinger
502-564-2611
Woody.Maglinger@ky.gov

Kentucky Surging Forward Following Legislative Session

Op-Ed by Governor Matt Bevin

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 16, 2017) – On the first Saturday in May each year, the Kentucky Derby captures the attention and fascination of the world and creates special moments that will long be remembered. The Derby is truly unmatched as a sporting event and spectacle.  A brief hush precedes the opening of the starting gate, followed by the roar of the crowd as the horses explode forward powerfully and majestically. The start to the Derby provides a powerful analogy for what we have experienced recently in our state. Thanks to an outstanding effort by the General Assembly and our administration, Kentucky is surging forward.

The 2017 legislative session was one of the most productive in Kentucky history. Much of our agenda was focused on making Kentucky a better place to do business. It should come as no surprise that the three largest economic development announcements in Kentucky history have occurred since January of this year. Amazon announced their decision to invest $1.5 billion in Northern Kentucky where they will build their Prime Air Hub. Toyota announced a $1.33 billion investment in their Georgetown facility. In April, Braidy Industries revealed their plans to invest $1.3 billion dollars in Greenup County, where they will build a state-of-the-art aluminum mill, creating 550 high-paying jobs. CEO, Craig Bouchard, made it clear during his remarks at the announcement that his company would not have considered locating here if Kentucky had not been a right-to-work state. Braidy, Amazon and others have also been very complimentary of our administration’s passion for recruiting businesses to Kentucky.

Just last week, LINAK U.S. announced a $33 million expansion that will create an additional 413 full-time jobs. That announcement follows companies like UWH, TG Automotive, Traughber, Perfetti van Melle, PuraCap Laboratories, Bulleit Distilling Company and dozens of others which have also recently announced expansions or groundbreakings in our state. These announcements are only the beginning. Like those Derby horses bursting from the gate, Kentucky’s economic expansion is just getting started. Stay tuned. There is more to come.

It is important to note, however, the recent legislative session was about much more than just the economy. For instance, bills were passed that will allow our children in failing schools to have an opportunity to learn in high quality public charter schools and, going forward, we will base higher education funding on school outcomes. Another bill will return more authority to local school boards. These bills, now signed into law, will introduce competition into our education system and will result in better outcomes for all our students. Additionally, we passed a medical review panel bill that will lower medical costs and a bill that will allow funding for apprenticeship programs.

Pro-life laws were created that more accurately reflect the values of our voters. Kentucky is overwhelmingly a pro-life state. Huge bipartisan support for the twenty-week abortion ban and the ultrasound bill reflect that. We also moved Planned Parenthood, the nation’s number one abortion provider, to the back of the line for federal funds.

An important criminal justice law was signed to help the children and families of those who have paid their debt to society. The law allows for work release, work opportunities within prison, and the earning of professional licenses. By helping incarcerated individuals train to get work ready, we reduce recidivism and give children and their parents a chance to be a family again.

We passed legislation to better ensure that our state treats foster children with the respect and dignity they deserve. Kentucky will now allow the courts the leeway to place these children with fictive kin. These are non-blood relatives with whom the child already has a loving relationship and who are willing to provide a home for the child. Likewise, foster kids can now obtain their driver’s license at the age of 16, enabling them to gain independence as they acquire the mobility needed to get to school or to a part-time job.

A new law was passed that will put much needed limits (a three day supply) on the amount of opioid pain medication that can be prescribed at one time. Medical professionals were asked for extensive input as this law was drafted. As a result, there are ample exclusions for physicians who are treating patients with cancer and chronic pain, as well as those on hospice care or who have valid need for additional pain medication.

These are merely a few highlights of all that was accomplished during the 2017 legislative session.

I love the name of this year’s Kentucky Derby winner, “Always Dreaming.” That is the American way. From the beginning of our administration, we have repeatedly stated our vision for Kentucky to become the center of excellence in America for engineering and advanced manufacturing and for each of us, individually and collectively, to become the best version of ourselves. The 2017 legislative session has afforded Kentucky the opportunity to get off to a roaring start towards achieving these goals. I am confident that we will succeed, because #WeAreKY.

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Senator Reginald L. Thomas 2017 Legislative Session Questionnaire

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Dear Friend,

When the Kentucky General Assembly convenes on January 3, 2017, legislators will be making decisions about public policy that affects you and your family. As your State Senator, I value your opinion and want your input on some issues that may be addressed in the 2017 Session. Please take a few minutes to answer these questions and share your concerns. To help me prepare for the upcoming session, I would like to have your responses by Tuesday, December 27, 2016.

To answer the questionnaire by e-mail, click “reply.”  To select your answers, place an “X” next to your choice. To submit your answers, click “send.” (You may also mail or fax the completed questionnaire to the addresses located at the bottom of this questionnaire.)

Thank you.

1. During the 2016 Regular Session, the Kentucky General Assembly passed legislation to allow Kentuckians convicted of low-level non-violent felonies to ask the court to permanently expunge their records five years after they have completed their sentence or probation. The filing fee for an application to have records expunged was set at $500. Do you support legislation to reduce the filing fee for felony expungement from $500 to $200?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

2. Do you support creating a Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights through a constitutional amendment? The projections for crime victims would include the right to be notified of court hearings, the punishment, and the release date for the perpetrator.

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

3. Do you support bringing Kentucky drivers’ licenses and other identity cards into compliance with the federal REAL ID initiative? Without compliant IDs or an alternative ID, such as a passport or military ID, Kentuckians will have future trouble flying on commercial airlines or may face other restrictions after a federally mandated deadline passes.?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

4. Should a person be found guilty of unlawful storage of a firearm when he or she recklessly stores a firearm in a manner that allows a minor to have access to a firearm that is not secured by a trigger lock, and the minor, without legal justification, accesses the firearm?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

5. Kentucky does not require voters to show photo ID. Identification can be proven by personal acquaintance with a poll worker, a social security card, or credit card.  All voters sign the precinct list of voters. Should Kentuckians also be required to show photo ID to vote?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

6. Do you support re-establishing a program for kinship care to provide a more permanent placement with a qualified relative for a child who would otherwise be placed in foster care due to abuse, neglect, or death of both parents?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

7. Currently nurse practitioners are allowed to prescribe controlled substances but physician assistants are not. Do you support allowing physician assistants to prescribe controlled substances?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

8. Should killing a police officer be a hate crime?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

9. Currently, the State Medical Examiner is keeping records of all arrest-related deaths voluntarily but the office is not required to do so. Do you support requiring record keeping on all arrest-related deaths?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

10. Breastfeeding has many benefits to infants and families, including providing the ideal nutrients needed by infants. Should the General Assembly require employers to provide time and space for mothers to express their milk?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

11. Do you support establishing an independent panel of medical experts to review claims of medical malpractice before a lawsuit can be brought in circuit court?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

12. Do you favor requiring doctors to show a woman an ultrasound image of her fetus and explain how it is developing before performing an abortion?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

13. Should students be required to use the restroom and other facilities, such as locker rooms and shower rooms, based on their “biological sex”?

       Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

14. Should students be permitted to use the restroom and other facilities, such as locker rooms and shower rooms, based on the gender with which they identify?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

15. There has been research showing that marijuana has positive medical benefits for patients dealing with illnesses like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and AIDS. Do you support legislation that would make marijuana a Schedule II drug thus legal for doctors to prescribe?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

16. As other states legalize and realize the benefits of taxation and licensure, should Kentucky consider legalizing marijuana as a source of income?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

17. Do you support raising the state minimum wage

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

18. Do you support participation in a public school interscholastic extracurricular activity by a home school student?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

19. Despite many changes in our revenue needs and the fundamentals of our economy, our current tax system has been mostly unchanged since the 1950s. Would you support reforms to modernize our tax code if it also generated additional revenue?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

20. If tax modernization requires a change in the state’s sales or income taxes, would you support expanding the base to include services (such as dry cleaning and physician fees) rather than increasing sales or income tax rates?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

21. Should the General Assembly enact legislation amending the Kentucky Constitution to allow local governments to impose a local option sales tax?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

22. To improve access to the polls by members of our military, do you favor allowing military voters to return their completed ballots via e-mail?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

23. Do you support a statewide smoking ban in public places?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

24. Do you support drug screening or testing for public assistance applicants and/or recipients?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

25. Would you support legislation that would set a cap on the amount you could receive for non-economic damages (pain and suffering) for injuries incurred due to the negligence of a healthcare provider?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

26. Do you favor allowing the people of Kentucky to vote on a constitutional amendment concerning expanded gaming in Kentucky?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

27. Do you support legislation that would permit public money to be used for public charter schools that would be granted special permits to operate outside usual state regulations?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

28. Do you support legislation that would permit public money to be used for private and parochial charter schools?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

29. Kentucky government entities, including schools, are required to pay a “prevailing wage” for major construction projects. This usually equates to workers being paid at or near union-level wages. Opponents say it just increases costs; supporters say it guarantees both union and non-union workers a living wage. Should the General Assembly abolish the prevailing wage law?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

30. Once a majority of a group of workers votes to join a labor union, all are granted union wages and benefits.  Under “Right to Work” legislation, all members of the group continue to receive union benefits and wages, but none are required to pay dues or an agency fee for their fair representation by the union.  Should the General Assembly address “Right to Work” legislation during the upcoming legislative session?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

31. Many Kentuckians get into a debt trap by misusing payday lending services.  Do you support capping the interest rates these lenders can charge and imposing penalties for violating the caps?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

32. Do you support legislation that bans talking on a cell phone while driving?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

34. What do you feel is the most pressing issue facing the Commonwealth?

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

35. How should the Kentucky General Assembly address this issue?   ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Thank you for taking your time to complete this questionnaire. Please feel free to share a copy with other constituents in the 13th senatorial district who would like to share their thoughts. I am always grateful for input from the citizens I serve in Frankfort. If you are not already receiving my legislative updates, please share your e-mail address below so we can stay in touch.

Best Wishes, Reggie

Name: _____________________________________________________________________

Email: _____________________________________________________________________ 

To submit your answers:

Fax:      (502) 564-9536

Mail:    255 Capitol Annex Building

702 Capitol Avenue, Frankfort, KY 40601

E-mail: reginald.thomas@lrc.ky.gov

In the photo above, I am shown receiving the Citizen of the Year Award from the Kentucky Nurses Association (KNA) for my consistent effort to make it a requirement that all elementary and secondary public schools in Kentucky have a school nurse. I was especially honored to accept the award because this was the first time in several years that KNA has given the award. I appreciate the honor and thank all the nurses across Kentucky for the work that they do.

*****

(KY) Calendar set for General Assembly’s 2017 session

 

 

FRANKFORT— (Left to Right) Sen. Perry Clark, D-Louisville, discusses future legislation on medical marijuana as Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, listens during the July 8th meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Licensing and Occupations.

FRANKFORT – The 2017 Regular Session of the Kentucky General Assembly is scheduled to begin on Jan. 3 and will last 30 legislative days.

As usual during an odd-numbered year, in which sessions are half as long as in even-numbered years, the session will have two parts. The first four days of the session – Jan. 3 to Jan. 6 – will focus on organizational work, such as electing legislative leaders, adopting rules of procedure and organizing committees. The introduction and consideration of legislation can also begin during this time.

The second part of the session begins on Feb. 7, with final adjournment scheduled for March 30.

Legislators will not meet in session on Feb. 20 in observance of Presidents’ Day. The House and Senate will also not convene on March 10 or 13.

The veto recess – the period of time when lawmakers commonly return to their home districts while the governor considers the possibility of issuing vetoes – begins on March 16. Lawmakers will return to the Capitol on March 29 and 30 for the final two days of the session.

The 2017 session calendar can be viewed online at: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/calendars/17RS_calendar.pdf

–END–

Lawmakers discuss pros and cons of medical marijuana

 

 

 

FRANKFORT – A state legislative committee met today to discuss liberalizing marijuana laws for medical purposes.

“We have been literally overwhelmed with correspondence and people wanting to testify before this committee today,” said Sen. John Schickel, R-Union, who chaired the meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Licensing and Occupations.

He said he asked that the subject of medical marijuana be placed on the agenda after several bills concerning marijuana were assigned to the Senate Standing Committee on Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations during the final weeks of the 2016 General Assembly.

“At that time I made a commitment to the people both supporting and opposed to the legislation that we would have extensive hearings during the interim to learn more,” Schickel said. “It is really relevant legislation for our times. We have states all around us that are dealing with it also.”

Sen. Perry B. Clark, D-Louisville, testified about last session’s Senate Bill 263, which would have legalized medical cannabis.

“Where they’ve passed medical cannabis laws none of the cataclysmic predictions have materialized in any form,” he said.

Clark was followed by testimony from Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, who introduced Senate Bill 304 last session. SB 304 sought to legalize medical marijuana for palliative or hospice care.

“If you have eight months to live and something makes you comfortable … why wouldn’t we allow it?” he said. “We prescribe morphine and fentanyl to these same patients – literally drugs that are killing people in Kentucky.”

Dr. Gregory Barnes of the University of Louisville testified about his research into the effectiveness of cannabidiol, known as CBD, in epilepsy.

“It might not only represent a compound that is anti-seizer in character but also a compound that improves behaviors and cognition,” said Barnes. “I think that is a very important point for the committee to understand.”

Jaime Montalvo, founder of Kentuckians for Medical Marijuana, spoke about using cannabis to treat his multiple sclerosis.

“We believe conservatively that this can help over 100,000 Kentucky patients,” he said. “It would create economic growth, and it would potentially get rid of the black market we have today.”

Dr. Danesh Mazloomdoost, a Lexington pain management specialist, cautioned legislators about the dangers of hastily passing medical marijuana legislation.

“We can sensationalize the failures of conventional medicines as a rationale for legalization,” he said, adding marijuana isn’t a fix for these failures.

He said while some, like Montalvo, might find relief from marijuana their stories are not representative of the average medical marijuana recipient.

Kentucky Narcotic Officers’ Association (KNOA) President Micky Hatmaker said 25 other states have expanded access to cannabis for medical purposes either by ballot referendum or legislative intent.

“That is contrary to the process by which all other drugs have been tested and approved,” he said. “All drugs intended for human consumption are required to have been tested and approved by the Food and Drug Administration.”

Hatmaker said the concept of cannabis as medicine began in California in 1996 when they allowed access to cannabis, either smoked or ingested, to treat terminally ill patients and those who suffered from debilitating diseases.

“In spite of the best intentions of these 25 states, raw marijuana either smoked or ingested is not medicine and has never been passed through the rigorous DA approval process to ensure the health and safety of patients,” he said. “The KNOA believes that medications, including marijuana-based drugs, should go through the scientific process, and should be accessed through legitimate physicians.”

— END —

Kentucky comes up short of falling in line with current mainstream Cannabis reform – once again

April 17, 2016

Sheree Krider  

legalize-marijuana-leaf-red-white-blue-flag-300x300

 

Kratom 2016

http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/16RS/SB136/SCS1.pdf

 

The Kentucky General Assembly’s 2016 regular session ended on Friday, April 15 and once again the people’s requests were ignored.

There were a total of five Cannabis and Hemp Bills introduced into this Legislature and not one of them made it.

Here is the short list of them:

March 2, 2016

Senate Bill 262 is AN ACT relating to industrial hempSen. Perry Clark

Friday, March 4, 2016 – to Agriculture (S), Wednesday, March 2, 2016 – introduced in Senate

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Senate Bill 263 is AN ACT relating to medical cannabisSen. Perry Clark

Friday, March 4, 2016 – to Licensing, Occupations, & Administrative Regulations (S), Wednesday, March 2, 2016 – introduced in Senate

*

March 1, 2016 –

HB 584(BR-1994) by Representative Denver Butler, “medical marijuana” .

Mar 01, 2016 – introduced in House, Mar 02, 2016 – to Health & Welfare (H)

*

February 25, 2016

HR 173  A “Resolution” to the FDA to “study medical marijuana”, the Sponsors are David Osborne, Lynn Bechler, and Brad Montell.

Monday, February 29, 2016 – to Health & Welfare (H), Thursday, February 25, 2016 – introduced in House

*

January 6, 2016 – introduced in Senate by Sen. Perry Clark – This was the “Cannabis Freedom Bill” (This Bill was “pre-filed” in December of 2015)!

SB 13(BR-161)/LM/CI

Jan 06, 2016 – introduced in Senate, Jan 07, 2016 – to Licensing, Occupations, & Administrative Regulations (S)

 

As early as January 28th they were already reporting that Legislation to legalize recreational and medicinal marijuana is unlikely to be addressed during this legislative session in Kentucky,

so they KNEW beyond a doubt that they would not take any action on the Cannabis Bills as early as January!

At least Hundreds, maybe thousands of concerned Kentuckians made their way to the Capitol of Frankfort, Kentucky this year to attempt to

impress upon our Legislators just how important the “Cannabis” Bills were, yet I can count on one hand the number of Representatives

in Kentucky that stepped up. 

Louisville, KY’s Sen. Perry Clark is a “stand up” Legislator for the People and he definitely did his homework correctly.  I cannot see one thing

that he could have done differently to persuade a different outcome.  Please send him a note of THANKS for everything he has done this year!

Not only could the Representatives not find time to take up the Cannabis issue, but they MADE TIME to take up the issue of moving “Kratom”,

which is another herbal plant, not a “spice” type of drug, to Schedule I in Kentucky taking yet another plant away from the people via “legislation”.

THIS Bill was introduced by W. Westerfield.  Be sure to send him a note and let him know how much we appreciate him stealing our plants!

Kentucky is a corrupt State.  That’s it and that’s that.

Once again, Kentucky will remain last on the list, at least for now.  But it is not for lack of trying to climb up and out of this corruption, by the people who have stood up and asked to be counted!  It is,

as usual, the Kentucky Government as it exists today and has existed for many years.

There is always next year, and there will be a new President in the White House by that time.  As well, there will be new Legislators in Kentucky.

All we can do is to set our sites on next year, and say a prayer.

WE THE PEOPLE OF KENTUCKY WILL NOT BE SILENCED ANYMORE!

The Legislators can expect to have a LARGER crowd in Frankfort in 2017, expecting them to stand up and do the RIGHT thing!

sk

Kentucky General Assembly’s 2016 session ends

Due to technical difficulties, this news release didn’t reach all of our subscribers last night. Apologies if you’ve already received it. — RW

For Immediate Release

April 16, 2016

Kentucky General Assembly’s 2016 session ends

FRANKFORT — The Kentucky General Assembly’s 2016 regular session ended on Friday, April 15, shortly before midnight, capping off a session in which lawmakers approved the state’s next two-year budget and numerous other measures that will impact people throughout the state.

Most new laws – those that come from legislation that don’t contain emergency clauses or different specified effective dates – will go into effect in mid-July.

A partial list of bills approved this year by the General Assembly include measures on the following topics:

Autism. Senate Bill 185 made permanent the Advisory Council on Autism Spectrum Disorders (established in 2013) and the state Office of Autism (created in 2014). The bodies will continue to ensure there aren’t gaps in providing services to individuals with an autism spectrum disorder.

Booking photos. Under House Bill 132, websites or publications that use jail booking photographs for profit could face stiff court-ordered damages. The new law makes it illegal to post booking photos to a website or include them in a publication, then require payment to remove them from public view. Damages start at $100 a day for each separate offense, along with attorney fees.

Budget. House Bill 303 will guide $21 billion worth of state spending over the next two fiscal years. The two-year state budget plan is aimed at creating savings in many areas and using more revenue to shore up public pension systems. The budget will pour $1.28 billion into the state pension systems and make no cuts to K-12 education while authorizing the governor’s plan to cut most state agency funding by nine percent over the biennium. State spending will decrease by 4.5 percent for most public colleges and universities.

Chemical munitions disposal. House Bill 106 addresses the acute and chronic health effects of exposure to compounds used in chemical munitions. It requires that after the compounds in the weapons are treated to Energy and Environment standards, the byproducts be reclassified to ensure proper management and disposal.

Children locked in cars. Senate Bill 16 protects prospective rescuers from being sued for any property damage caused in pursuit of saving the life of a child left in a locked vehicle.

Child safety. House Bill 148 allows child daycare centers to receive prescriptions for EpiPen injectors to treat life-threatening allergic reactions while also giving parents more time to legally surrender their newborn under the state’s safe harbor laws. The bill amended Kentucky’s Safe Infants Act by giving parents up to 30 days to surrender their child at a state-approved safe place, instead of the previous standard of three days.

CPR in schools. Senate Bill 33 requires high school students be taught cardiopulmonary resuscitation, taught by an emergency medical professional. The life-saving measure would is to be taught as part of the students’ physical education or health class, or as part of ROTC training.

Distilleries and craft brewers. Senate Bill 11 modernizes the state’s 1930s-era alcohol regulations to aid new interest in bourbon, craft beer and small-farm wine products. Among other provisions, SB 11 allows malt beverages to be sold at festivals and drinking on quadricycles (better known as “party bikes”), and permits bed and breakfasts to sell liquor by the drink. It also raises limits for on-site sales at distilleries from three liters to nine liters.

Drunken Driving. Senate Bill 56 will help increase felony convictions for DUI in Kentucky by allowing the courts to look at 10 years of prior convictions instead of five years. Kentucky law requires those convicted of a fourth offense DUI within five years to be charged with a felony. The clock for determining penalties for offenders is reset after five years under current law. Senate Bill 56 will extend that so-called “look-back” period to 10 years to allow more habitual offenders to face stiffer penalties like felony charges.

Election regulations. Senate Bill 169, which became law without the governor’s signature, changed several election-centered statutes. Among them, it directed county clerks to redact voters’ Social Security numbers before allowing the public to review voter rolls, and loosened restrictions on electioneering from 300feet to 11 feet around polling sites. The law also expanded means of voter identification to include any county, state or federally issued ID.

Felony expungement. Under House Bill 40, Kentuckians convicted of low-level felonies can ask the court to permanently seal—or expunge—their records. The new law allows those convicted of Class D felonies, or those who were charged but not formally indicted, to seek expungement after they have completed their sentence or probation. Sex crimes and crimes against children would not be included in the law.

Harassing telecommunications. House Bill 162 includes electronic communication, if it’s done with intent to intimidate, harass, annoy or alarm another person, to current harassment statutes. Electronic harassment would be a Class B misdemeanor.

Helping the disabled. Designed to allow Kentuckians with disabilities to set up savings accounts for disability-related expenses, Senate Bill 179 allows them to save money in an ABLE account for those expenses without it being taxed, generally. It would also not count against Medicaid and other federal means-based benefits.

Informed consent law. The first bill delivered to the governor’s desk was Senate Bill 4, which requires an in-person or real-time video conference between a woman seeking an abortion and a health care provider at least 24 hours before the procedure.

Juvenile court transparency. Senate Bill 40 permits some family court judges to hold public hearings. The new law allows a handful of courts to hold the open hearings as a pilot project. Judges could volunteer their courts for the program, and close proceedings as necessary.

Local government. House Bill 189 makes it easier for local entities – like cities, police and fire departments – to share services. HB 189 sets procedures for amending interlocal agreements without the lengthy process of having to seek approval from the state Attorney General or the Department for Local Government.

Medicaid appeals. Senate Bill 20 gives medical providers access to independent appeals of denied Medicaid claims. Under the new law, the decision of the third-party reviewer could then be appealed to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, where the decision of an administrative hearing tribunal would be the last step before judicial review.

Noah’s Law. Senate Bill 193, also known as “Noah’s Law” for a 9-year-old Pike County boy, extends health insurance coverage to include expensive amino acid-based elemental formula, needed by some children with gastric disorders and food allergies.

Off-duty conceal and carry. House Bill 314 allows current and retired peace officers to carry concealed firearms at any location where current, on-duty officers can carry guns.

Outdoor recreation. Zip lines and other outdoor recreation will be safer, as House Bill 38 became law. The new law directs the state to set standards for the use and operation of zip lines and canopy tours.

Pension oversight. House Bill 271 requires all state-administered retirement systems to report specific information on their members or members’ beneficiaries to the state Public Pension Oversight Board each fiscal year. The information is to be used by the board to plan for future expenses and recommend changes to keep the retirement systems solvent.

Permanent Fund. House Bill 238 creates the “permanent fund” for public pensions funded in the Executive Branch budget bill, or HB 303. It also sets out specific requirements for public pension system reporting, including the requirement that an actuarial audit be performed on the state-administered retirement systems once every five years.

Petroleum tanks. House Bill 187 extends the period of the Petroleum Storage Tank Environmental Assistance Fund to aid in the safe removal of old underground gas and oil tanks. The bill moved back the end date to participate in the program to 2021, from 2016, and the date to perform corrective actions from 2019 to 2024. It also extended a program for small operators by five years, to 2021.

Public private partnerships. House Bill 309, which allows government and private entities to enter into public-private partnerships – known as P3s – to fund Kentucky’s major infrastructure needs. The new law provides a framework for P3s as an alternative financing method for major public projects, including transportation projects.

Sexual assault investigations. Aimed at eliminating a backlog of sexual assault examination kits, Senate Bill 63 establishes new policies and procedures for handling evidence. SB 63 requires police to pick up sexual assault kits from hospitals within five days’ notice, submit evidence to the state crime lab within 30 days, prohibit the destruction of any kits and notify victims of the progress and results of the tests. The new law also requires the average completion date for kits tested not to exceed 90 days by July 2018 and 60 days by July 2020.

Stopping dog fights. House Bill 428 makes it a felony to possess, breed, sell or otherwise handle dogs for the purpose of dog fighting. The bill also defines dog fighting, and allows people who intentionally own, possess, breed, train, sell or transfer dogs for dog fighting to be charged with first-degree cruelty to animals, a Class D felony. In effect, it makes it easier to prosecute perpetrators.

Vulnerable victims. Senate Bill 60 creates a new section of KRS Chapter 501, defining an “offense against a vulnerable victim” and creating a mechanism for charging someone with the commission of an offense against a victim who is under the age of 14, has an intellectual disability, or is physically helpless or mentally incapacitated.

Water resource protection. House Bill 529 created the Kentucky Water Resources Board to research current water resources in the Commonwealth, identify new available resources and examine efficiencies, especially to support farming. The new 11-member board includes officials from state interior and agriculture departments along with six gubernatorial appointees.

–END–

Additional Links:  (SOURCE)

Became Law Without Governor’s Signature: SB169, 188, 195, 225;
HB38, 111, 115, 497, 499, 529;
HCR101
Signed By Governor: SB4, 11, 16, 17, 19, 20, 33, 40, 43, 46, 54, 56, 58, 60, 63, 64, 74, 84, 90, 97, 103, 113, 114, 117, 118, 120, 122, 128, 129, 134, 140, 141, 154, 155, 167, 168, 170, 174, 178, 179, 182, 185, 186, 193, 203, 206, 209, 211, 214, 216, 217, 228, 230, 238, 242, 249, 256, 269, 293;
SCR9, 135;
HB16, 40, 52, 83, 87, 95, 100, 106, 124, 132, 148, 149, 153, 162, 175, 183, 184, 187, 189, 204, 208, 216, 237, 250, 261, 271, 272, 276, 281, 309, 314, 340, 343, 352, 354, 381, 382, 402, 420, 422, 428, 431, 434, 473, 487, 489, 527, 535, 562, 563, 570, 585;
HCR13, 117, 139, 187;
HJR5, 152, 164, 197

Kentucky Senate approves its version of state budget plan

For Immediate Release

March 23, 2016

Senate approves its version of state budget plan

FRANKFORT—The Senate passed a state budget proposal on Wednesday that restores many of the governor’s priorities for the next two years, including a “permanent fund” for future pension spending, cuts to secondary education funding and performance-based appropriations for college and universities.

All in all, the Senate budget bill includes many of the cuts featured in the Gov. Matt Bevin’s January budget proposal, many of which didn’t survive the House budget plan passed last week.

Still, Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Latonia, the Senate budget committee’s chairman, said it was a balanced effort. Not all the governor’s cuts were preserved.

“The thing I’d say I’m most proud of is that this budget is structurally balanced,” he said. “We do adopt many of the governor’s recommendations for the budget stabilization plan throughout the course of this bill, but we take monstrous steps – historic steps – on maintaining stability and introducing responsibility in addressing the most pressing problem facing us.”

That, he said, is the state pension program challenge, which has unfunded liabilities of more than $31 billion. To start reducing that figure, the Senate budget reinstituted many the governor’s cuts, including a 9 percent reduction in funding for Kentucky colleges and universities.

The budget also resuscitated the governor’s proposal to switch that funding to a performance-based model, with a quarter of the state funding to be based on student retention, graduation rates and other metrics.

The Senate removed from the spending plan a proposal from the House to establish a Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship program, which would make tuition free for high school graduates who enroll in the state’s community colleges. The House budget funded scholarships to the tune of $13 million for the 2017 fiscal year and almost $20 million the following year.

That was cut from the Senate budget, along with funding earmarked for specific projects like school renovations, the Lexington Convention Center and help for areas hit hard by a drop in the coal industry.

The Senate budget passed with only two dissenting votes, while nine Senators passed on the bill.

Sen. Denise Harper-Angel, D-Louisville, said she had reservations about cuts made by the budget, including $1.5 million to Court Appointed Children’s Advocates (CASA) programs, $15 million that was to renovate the Kentucky School for the Blind and $1 million a year to promote breast and cervical cancer screening for women.

“I believe these cuts will adversely affect women, children, families and the disabled. For these reasons and more, I pass,” said Harper-Angel, before offering that she hopes the final budget will offer “better choices.”

Sen. Brandon Smith, R-Hazard, one of two dissenting votes, admitted he was torn. He likes the effort to control the pension problem, but was disappointed in the removal of aide for stricken coal-producing areas.

“I cannot go home this weekend without casting a vote to help bring some reasoning back into this discussion,” he said.

The proposed budget did, however, include some spending not in the House budget, including $32 million in Justice Cabinet funding to fight heroin abuse – the House had reduced it to $20 million – and setting aside $250 million in the “permanent fund” for future pension fund payments. Gov. Bevin’s budget wanted the fund to include $500 million, while the House budget proposed using that money immediately on other expenditures.

The budget is soon expected to land in a conference committee so that Senate and House members can iron out their differences in each of their preferred spending plans.

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