Legislative Update – 2/17/17

A wide array of bills were heard in committees and voted out of the Senate in a busy and fast-paced third week of the 2017 Session. Because this year’s 30-day meeting of the Kentucky General Assembly is considered a “short session,” we focus on maximizing our time here in Frankfort.

We passed nearly 20 bills this week with topics ranging from tobacco use on school property to campaign finance reform to transportation issues. One of the most noteworthy bills, however, is Senate Bill (SB) 14, which strengthens penalties for trafficking in heroin. Kentucky made national news these past few weeks for the rash of devastating overdoses that occurred. In Louisville, for example, there were over 50 overdoses in a 32-hour period—an unprecedented number. People dealing heroin are dealing in death, and they must be harshly penalized. Another important piece of legislation the Senate passed this week was SB 1, which is comprehensive education reform that is desperately needed to help our schools. With approval from teachers, administrators, and other education stakeholders from across the commonwealth, SB 1 allows “teachers to teach” and returns control to our local districts. I am happy to report this bill passed the Senate with bipartisan support and is now heading to the House for consideration.

We also passed SB 117, which would allow a veteran with a bachelor’s degree in any area to be issued a provisional teaching certificate if other criteria are met. This legislation would ultimately make it easier for veterans to teach in a classroom. I am dedicated to helping our veterans easily integrate back into the workplace.

The Senate has already started to receive House bills, and we have sent Senate bills to the House for its approval. Many of you have already reached out to me regarding certain pieces of legislation, and I appreciate your input and concerns. I urge you to continue making your voices heard in Frankfort.