This week of session stirred the full range of emotions. Abortion, gun rights, net metering—these issues continue make major headlines and produce rousing debates. Adding further complexities to the proposed legislation are the looming gubernatorial and statewide elections this November.
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Week in Review February 11-15
Background: Fetal heartbeat bills have been introduced in multiple states across the country, including the neighboring states of Ohio and Indiana. Pro-Life and Pro-Choice advocates presented compelling testimony before the Senate Health and Welfare Committee. Senator Matt Castlen (R-Owensboro) is the sponsor of this bill with a host of other Republicans.
Action: The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 31-6 and is expected to move through the House this week.
SB150: Permitless carry: allows a person to carry concealed firearms without a license in the same locations concealed carry licensers may carry.
Background: If passed, Kentucky would become the 15th state in the Nation to have permitless carry laws, following in the steps of Arkansas, Missouri, Vermont, and West Virginia. Opponents of the bill cite the successes of concealed carry laws as well as the additional dangers and difficulties presented for law enforcement officers.
Action: SB150 passed through the Senate, 29-8. Now the House must consider what action to take.
SB100: Net metering; would alter the practices regarding compensation for utility consumers with solar panels in their homes or businesses. This has become a battle of coal vs. solar.
Background: As households and businesses alike enter into the developing Kentucky solar energy industry, lawmakers need to address the system. This measure is sponsored by the Natural Resources and Energy Chairman, Senator Brandon Smith (R-Hazard) and if passed will take effect in 2020. However, anyone currently with solar panels will remain under the current law for 25 years.
Action: SB100 passed through the Kentucky Senate 23-12 on Feb. 13th and passed through the Kentucky House 71-24 on Feb. 15th. The House passed an additional amendment to the bill, sponsored by Representative Jim Duplessis (R-Elizabethtown), sending the bill back to the Senate chambers. The amendment is designed to address the concerns of the bill’s outspoken critics including a provision to allow for leasing systems that generate solar electricity.
HB64: Emergency Prescription refill; regarding the dispensing of insulin without authorization by the prescribing practitioner in emergency situations for a 30-day supply.
Background: Over the interim the Diabetes Emergency Task Force met and determined the need for emergency insulin policy. Given the prevalence of Kentuckians with diabetes, access to insulin is essential. Representative Danny Bentley (R-Russell), who sponsors the bill, is both diabetic and a pharmacist.
Action: Passed out of committee without any opposition. It is set for passage today.
HB158: Child welfare; seeks to establish a foster child bill of rights, require background checks on staff members of child-caring facilities and child-placing agencies, as well as institutes a timeframe for father registry searches.
Background: With Governor Bevin and First Lady Glenna Bevin calling for improvements to the adoption and foster care systems in his State of the Commonwealth address, House legislators took the first step with this bill. The proposed legislation promises to improve safety standards for children in the system. Speaker David Meade (R-Stanford), an adoptive parent himself, is sponsoring the bill.
Action: The House Health and Family Services committee passed HB158 unanimously, and it is expected to have no opposition as it moves through the process.
Here’s a look at what’s coming up
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 Last Day of Session