(3/10/17) Senate President Pro Tempore David Givens Week in Review

Senate President Pro Tempore David Givens
Week in Review

A flurry of activity stemming from committee meetings and the passage of bills marked a short but intense Week 6 of the Kentucky General Assembly. Although the Senate was only in session from Monday to Wednesday of this week, committee meetings still met during the later part of the week to give final hearings to a few select bills.

Quite a few pieces of legislation have already made it to Governor Bevin’s desk to await his signature. Senate Bill 17, relating to student rights to political and religious speech, was given final passage by the House this week. Senate Bill 101 would allow pharmacists to administer more immunizations to children, and Senate Bill 117, allowing veterans who meet certain criteria to obtain special teaching certificates, were also finally passed by the House.

The Senate also enrolled House bills to be sent to the Governor’s desk for his signature, including: House Bill 14, which makes committing an offense against a first responder a hate crime; House Bill 93, strengthening penalties for assaulting a law enforcement animal, also known as “Ernie’s Law”; and House Bill 189, increasing transparency within area development districts.

Senate Bill 50 would allow school districts that choose to start the school year no earlier than the Monday closest to August 26 to follow a “variable student instructional year.” Schools which start the school year a little later in August than other schools, would not have to meet a 170-day requirement for the school year, as long as students still receive 1,062 hours of instruction each year, which is considered the equivalent of 170 school days. Senate Bill 50 was passed by the Senate 33-1 on February 9 and approved 77-18 by the House on March 8. It now awaits the Governor’s signature.

Senate legislation that would allow medical review panels to review medical malpractice lawsuits before they go to court was also sent to the Governor last week.  Senate Bill 4 would establish a process for medical review panels to review cases and issue opinions that could be used as evidence in court if a case proceeds. It does not prevent any citizen’s access to the courts. The bill was approved by the Senate 23-13 on January 5 and approved 51-45 by the House on March 1. It was delivered to the Governor on March 6.

The General Assembly is now quickly approaching the end of the 2017 Session. We adjourned on March 8, marking day 26 of 30 of the session, and we will reconvene again on March 14 and 15 before going into the veto period. During that period the Governor has the power to veto bills, but the General Assembly can override vetoes on the last two days of session, March 29 and 30.  If you have questions about the status of bills, please feel free to contact my office or review the Legislative Record online which can be found at www.lrc.ky.gov/record/17RS/record.htm.

If you have any questions or comments about these issues or any other public policy issue, please call me toll-free at 1-800-372-7181. You can also review the Legislature’s work online at www.lrc.ky.gov.

David Givens

Senate President Pro Tem

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KY: SENATOR STAN HUMPHRIES’ LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

Commonwealth of Kentucky
Office of Senator Stan Humphries

For Immediate Release
February 5, 2016
Contact: John Cox
859-492-2963

John.Cox@LRC.KY.GOV

SENATOR STAN HUMPHRIES’ LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

FRANKFORT – The fifth week of the 2016 General Assembly was a time to reflect on the giants that have served before us in the Kentucky State Senate while keeping a focus on the task at hand – being fiscal stewards of tax dollars while navigating the state through an ever-changing world.

The contemplation was prompted by the death of former State Senator Georgia Davis Powers, who laid in state in the Capitol Rotunda on Thursday. What she was able to accomplish in her 92 years of life is a reminder that no matter how slow and deliberate the legislative process can seem, great ideas can – and will – triumph.

Senate Bill (SB) 4 was the first pro-life bill to pass both chambers in over a decade. Senate Bill 4 would require a woman to consult with a doctor either face-to-face or by video-conference at least 24 hours prior to going forward with an abortion procedure. After the bill received concurrence in the Senate Tuesday, it was immediately delivered to Governor Bevin’s office by a large delegation of our Senate members. The Governor signed the bill on the spot, further promoting our efforts to protect the rights of the unborn.

Also passing this week in the Senate was SB 7 which is aimed at defunding Planned Parenthood. I am pleased to say it passed the Senate with bipartisan support.

Other bills advancing to the House of Representatives after passing the Senate include:

· Dubbed the “Jailers with No Jails Act,” Senate Bill 96 would require fiscal courts in counties with no jails to annually pass ordinances that outline the responsibility of their county jailer. The bill would also require jailers to submit to the same fiscal courts a summary of all official duties performed, including information related to inmate transport. The sponsor of SB 96 said he filed it in response to media reports of a few county jailers in counties with no jails drawing salaries “not commensurate” to their duties.

· Pension reorganization legislation, given the designation of Senate Bill 2, was the result of the two years’ worth of work by the Public Pension Oversight Board. Senate Bill 2 would make state retirement systems’ transactions more transparent, hold the systems accountable when contracting out services, and require that pension trustees have actual investment experience. The sponsor said SB 2 is another attempt to provide senators insight into the systems so they can provide appropriate oversight.

· In response to the prohibition of scripture readings in a public school’s stage adaptation of “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” Senate Bill 15 is meant to strengthen the expression of religious or political viewpoints in public schools and public postsecondary institutions. Senate Bill 15 would set forth in statute what some protected activities for students are by enumerating the rights of students to express religious and political viewpoints in public. That would include homework, artwork, speeches, and religious messages on items of clothing. Senate Bill 15 would also enumerate the rights of religious student groups to access school facilities after hours for meetings and to use school-produced media to announce such meetings.

Since we are just over one-third through the session, an increasingly greater amount of our time will be spent on budgetary issues. You can stay up-to-date on the budget negotiations and other legislative actions throughout the session by logging onto the Legislative Research Commission (LRC) website at www.lrc.ky.gov or by calling the LRC toll-free bill status line at 866-840-2835. For committee meeting schedules, please call the LRC toll-free meeting information line at 800-633-9650. To comment on a bill, please call the toll-free legislative message line at 800-372-7181.

You can write to me anytime at my legislative office at 702 Capitol Avenue, Room 209, Frankfort, KY 40601. I look forward to hearing from you.

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Note:  Senator Stan Humphries (R-Cadiz) represents the 1st Senate District including Calloway, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Lyon and Trigg counties. For a high-resolution .jpeg of Senator Humphries, please visit http://www.lrc.ky.gov/pubinfo/senate38.htm

    LINK TO ALL BILLS IN THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION 16RS