KYGA18 day 43 begins today!
We are 2/3 of the way through the session. For the first time in almost a century, a series of budget-related bills from a Republican-led House has been proposed and passed out of the House. Representative Steven Rudy (R-Paducah) introduced a series of bills this week, all of which were heard in committee: HB200– the complete two-year budget, HB202– road projects, HB203– judicial branch, HB204– legislative branch, and HB366– revenue. This is also the earliest a budget has been passed out of the House, in the past budgets have been introduced in the final days.
Quote of the Week
“The moving sidewalk is ending.” – Jack Fox
Jack Fox, a Louisville voice-over professional who issues this familiar recorded warning in numerous airports around the country had a voice role in Oscar winner The Shape of Water. Michael Shannon, a native of Lexington, was also cast in the film and is a two-time Academy Award nominee. #KentuckyProud
Recently in the News
Article: ‘Vice President Mike Pence to visit Versailles Wednesday’
Article: ‘Some of the 70 programs cut in Gov. Bevin’s budget spared by House; some not.’
Week in Review February 26 – March 2
Wednesday was a big day at the Capitol. First was the pension discussion (SB1). Hundreds of teachers flocked to the Annex to listen and show their opposition to the proposal. Later in the afternoon was the Budget discussion. Here are the major items put forth:
- $0.50 per pack cigarettes tax increase
- $0.25 per opioid pill on tax on prescriptions
- 6% reduction in most state agencies
- Increase in pension funding
- Increase in K-12 education
- Increase in student transportation
- Added 14 programs back to the 70 programs that were cut in the Governor’s proposal.
The cigarette and opioid tax would add $375 million in state revenue over the next two-years. The House restored funding to higher education. For example, University of Kentucky had $16 million added back.
SB95 Medically Necessary Fertility Preservation called “Melissa’s Law” enables children and young adults who battle cancer to preserve options for a biological family after chemotherapy and radiation treatments. With the leadership of sponsor Senator Kerr (R-Fayette) and a host of other cosponsors, SB95 passed unanimously and heads to a Senate floor vote possibly today. You can watch parts of the moving testimony on the KET legislative update (scroll to 8:05-11:55).
School safety is of utmost importance with the recent, tragic shooting in Marshall County and then in Parkland, FL. On Thursday, a joint education meeting focused on this topic and featured a national school safety spokesman who shared testimony based on years of experience. A wide array of bills have been proposed, some of which are listed below:
SR172 Teachers and Firearms: This resolution reaffirms urges the board of education or board of trustees of a school to allow teachers and other school personnel to carry firearms for their own protection. This was passed out of committee 8-3.
HB554 School Safety: Representative Gooch (R-Providence) filed a bill to require that at each school without a school resource or security officer, the local board shall implement an emergency response team.
HB602 Prohibit Bumpstocks: This legislation, filed by Representative Coursey (D-Symsonia) of Marshall County, aimed at eliminating the sale or transfer of bump stock devices, trigger cranks, and other items designed to accelerate the rate of fire without turning a firearm into a fully automatic firearm; create penalties; provide for the destruction of the items after a conviction and any appeals.
HB604 Trauma Informed Schools: In response to the fatal school shooting at his alma mater, Rep. Coursey also filed this bill that requires each school to employ at least one mental health professional for every 1,500 students; require the department of education or make available a toolkit to assist school districts in developing a trauma-informed approach in their schools. That would also require each local board of education to develop a plan for implementing a trauma-informed approach in its schools by the 2020-2021 school year.
Here’s a look at what’s coming up
March 7 Northern Kentucky Day in Frankfort. Our firm is a cosponsor for this event.
The Session Calendar and the Committee Schedule are great to bookmark. We’ll monitor Committees for you as bills pertaining to your issues come through.