FRANKFORT, Ky.- While I was not completely satisfied at the end of the 2015 General Assembly Session, I felt the legislature made great strides toward creating Kentucky jobs and strengthening Kentucky families in 2015. Several major priorities outlined by the Senate Republicans at the beginning of the session were passed, including anti-heroin legislation, a telecommunications reform bill, a measure to address dating violence and funding for a new medical research center at the University of Kentucky.
Below is a brief outline of those major issues addressed during the 2015 Legislative Session:
Heroin. In the Senate, one of our major priorities over the past three years has been to pass legislation that would stop the scourge of heroin trafficking and abuse and to reduce heroin-related deaths that have affected so many Kentucky families. Senate Bill 192 was signed into law by Gov. Beshear to combat the heroin epidemic. The bill will provide increased treatment for addicts and increase penalties for dealers, hopefully sending a message that when it comes to heroin, Kentucky is closed for business.
Telecommunications Reform. Another piece of legislation the Senate has repeatedly worked hard to pass was House Bill 152, which has been referred to as the “telecommunications bill.” HB 152 will deregulate current telephone requirements to provide more private-sector funding for broadband, wireless and mobile phone expansion throughout the state, thus making the Commonwealth more attractive to prospective businesses and improving the quality of life for many citizens.
Dating Violence. We also answered the call to address dating violence, sexual abuse and stalking in the form of a protective order by giving final passage to House Bill 8. Before this bill was signed into law, victims of dating violence in Kentucky had to file criminal charges against their partner in the hope of preventing ongoing abuse. This legislation adds an important layer of protection to victims of dating violence and hopes to slow down this abuse in Kentucky with new sanctions.
Medical research center. House Bill 298 will make possible the construction of a state-of-the-art medical research center to target prevalent diseases in Kentucky, including cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The legislation authorizes the issuance of bonds to help build the research center at the University of Kentucky. The University will match the amount of bonding in order to construct the new research building.
The remainder of the year my trips to Frankfort will be for important interim committee meetings to study legislation and prepare for the 2016 Legislative Session next January. If you have any thoughts about the work we accomplished, or want to voice your opinion about the next session, please call me toll-free at 1-800-372-7181 or email: [email protected].