Today is day 9 of 30!
As President Trump was delivering his State of the Union address, Governor Bevin was preparing his State of the Commonwealth remarks. On the whole, the Governor’s speech served as a report card for his first term in office, focusing on economic successes and key legislative victories. The full 45-minute address can be found here.
Tax issues hang in the balance. Over a dozen detailed aspects of the Commonwealth’s tax system have been carefully examined lately. Many contend that the 6% sales tax on non-profits will be taken off.
The Kentucky Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding the constitutionality of the Marsy’s Law, an amendment approved by Kentucky voters last year. Marsy’s Law, which concerns victims rights, appeared on every ballot across the state following Senator Whitney Westerfield’s (R-Crofton) SB30 that was passed in the 2018 session. Although approved by a wide margin (63%), criminal defense attorneys filed suit arguing the question on the ballot did not adequately explain the proposed law. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Marsy’s Law, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes will certify the results and the amendment will be approved. However, if the Court sides with the contesting attorneys, the amendment will not stand.
Recently in the News
Article: Kentucky Republican withdraws challenge in House election lost by a vote
Week in Review February 4-8
SB1: School Safety; Many legislators have referred to this measure as “General Assembly Bill 1” – the top priority.
Background: In direct response to the 2018 tragedies in Marshall County, Senator Max Wise (R-Campbellsville)and Representative Bam Carney (R-Campbellsville)toured the state with various stakeholders to determine a thoughtful, comprehensive solution for school violence. On Thursday, the parents of the two students lost in the shooting testified in front of the Senate education committee.
- Personnel: Establishes school security positions at the district and state level; promotes the hiring of School Resource Officers (SROs) and Mental Health Professionals (MHP).
- Culture of Student Caring: Implements “trauma-informed approach” for students, as well as suicide-prevention awareness.
- Collaboration: Includes the outside community.
- Accountability: Allows for local school district control. Any student who makes false statements/hoax threats will be charged with second-degree terroristic threatening.
Action: SB1 passed the Senate unanimously, 37-0. However, no funding is expected to occur until mid-2020 because of the two-year state budget allocations.
HB11: prohibits vaping and the use of any tobacco product on public school campuses
Background: Vaping and e-cigarette use among Kentucky middle and high school students is now defined by health officials as a “crisis” and “emerging epidemic.” The U.S. Surgeon General has issued an advisory. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Federal Drug Administration (FDA) are both considering tougher regulatory processes surrounding the products. This measure is sponsored by Health and Family Services Chairwoman, Representative. Kim Moser (R-Taylor Mill)and if passed, will take effect with the 2020-2021 school year.
Action: The Kentucky House Health and Family Services committee passed HB11 unanimously, and the bill was placed on the House consent calendar.
HCR5: As medical marijuana continues to be discussed within the Kentucky statehouse and throughout the country, a House concurrent resolution requests for federal regulators release research on the safety and effectiveness of medical marijuana.
Background: Several bills for medical marijuana have been filed this session; advocates from across Kentucky are present daily to support any action.
Here’s a look at what’s coming up
Feb 14 Valentine’s Day
Feb 15 Senate Filing Deadline for new bills.
Feb 19 House Filing Deadline for new bills.
Feb 19 Serving Up Solutions – Bipartisan approach to Fight Hunger.
March 14-25 Veto Days
March 29 Sine Die