in News

Legislative Update – February 26, 2016

As the Senate eagerly awaits a budget proposal from the House of Representatives, we are busy passing bills both out of committee and through the Senate to send to our House colleagues during the eighth week of the 2016 Kentucky General Assembly.


We welcomed a special guest to the Capitol this week, Stanford University student-athlete Christian McCaffrey, who was in Kentucky to receive the prestigious Paul Hornung Award for his accomplishments in football. While in town, McCaffrey also visited a fellow athlete, American Pharoah, at Ashford Stud in Versailles. The Senate was honored to have Christian visit our chamber.

Several meaningful bills passed the Senate this week and will now move on for consideration in the House of Representatives.

Senate Bill (SB) 43 was one of the most prominent bills to pass this week. SB 43 would create death benefits for Emergency Medical Service personnel killed in the line of duty. This bill was introduced in honor of John Mackey, a paramedic from Jessamine County who was killed in the line of duty last year. We were honored to have his wife, Janine Mackey, join us as we passed this bill through committee and off the Senate floor.

We passed a similar bill in SB 195, which would create death benefits for firefighters who died from cancer presumed to be caused from their duties. Senate Bill (SB) 114 would update regulations on the medical authority of advanced practice registered nurses. SB 154 would clarify laws relating to physician assistants, and SB 155 would amend current statute to correct the office location of the Statewide Independent Living Council.

We also passed SB 115, which restores punishments for first-offense heroin traffickers to the previous level of a Class C felony. The Senate voted 31-6 to approve SB 115. Kentucky lowered penalties for some heroin dealers in 2011. Since then heroin use has increased significantly and overdose deaths have soared, which prompted the Senate to pass this legislation.

Senate Bill 169 is what we often call a “cleanup bill.” It updates regulations pertaining to elections and duties of county clerks in order to create a more efficient and effective electoral process. SB 14 would strengthen punishment for those who own dogs for the purpose of illegal dogfighting. 

We also passed Senate Bill 182, which would change the license renewal date for grain storage businesses and for grain dealers from August 1 to July 1 of each year in addition to revising penalties relating to grain storage violations. Another passed agriculture-related bill is SB191 which would reorganize the State Fair Board to 17 members. SB 191 also mandates the state fair board meet at least 10 times per year.  It would require the state fair board to hold an annual fair on the state fairgrounds and operate the Kentucky State Fair and World’s Championship Horse Show and the National Farm Machinery Show.

We also passed our first House Bill (HB) this week, HB 175, which would protect the power given to Federal Peace Officers under current law and update Kentucky statues to reflect the change. This measure was sponsored by Representative Michael Meredith of Edmonson County.

PHOTO ATTACHMENT: Students from Scott County Middle and Georgetown Middle schools served as pages for Sen. Damon Thayer on Wednesday. (Pictured with Gracie Agee, Sarah Joerendt, Colin Adams, Abby Gillispie, and Alberto Campos) Photo courtesy LRC/Public Information.