Week four of the Kentucky General Assembly marked a momentous occasion for our state. Gov. Matt Bevin gave his first State of the Commonwealth Budget Address, laying out a plan that will guide Kentucky out of the financial mire that has lingered for the past eight years.
Gov. Bevin laid out several priorities in his executive budget recommendation that will ultimately strengthen Kentucky’s financial foundation. He challenged lawmakers to build infrastructure for Kentucky’s future, transform our healthcare delivery system, and invest in education and workforce development. Fighting substance abuse and protecting those who protect us were also among the governor’s priorities. Additionally, he asked that we safeguard Kentucky’s most vulnerable and keep our commitment to all public servants. As Gov. Bevin said, this budget is “saving for a down payment on Kentucky’s future.”
The Senate also had a busy week passing legislation. Senate Bill (SB) 25 was one of our priority bills, which would criminalize the sale of aborted fetus body parts. It passed the Senate with bipartisan support.
Senate Bill 46 would modify and condense local government retirement systems to optimize benefits for retirees and save local cities and governments money. SB 22 would add the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) to the list of nationally recognized accreditation organizations in our state. SB 74 would create a smoother process for submitting title lien termination notices to county clerks and offer the clerks protection when fraudulent notices are submitted.
We also passed SB 16, which would offer civil protection for citizens who retrieve a child from a locked car whom they believe to be in danger, potentially saving thousands of young lives across the Commonwealth. The Senate also passed SJR 36, a resolution urging the Commonwealth of Virginia to respect the second amendment rights of Kentuckians who hold concealed carry permits.
The Senate also passed a potential life-saving measure in SB 33, which would require students to receive CPR training over the course of grades 9-12.
Other priority bills that moved through the committee process in the Senate last week were SB 2, SB 6, SB 15, and SB 20.
The Committee on Appropriations and Revenue reported favorably SB 20, which would streamline the process of medical appeals to Medicaid providers.
The Health and Welfare Committee passed SB 6 which would offer additional legal protection to medical providers and encourage physicians to bring and keep their practices in Kentucky. The State & Local Government Committee passed SB 2, which would add a necessary layer of transparency to address Kentucky’s pension crisis.
Senate Bill 15 was reported favorably by the Senate Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee which would protect religious freedoms in our schools and other educational settings.
If you have any questions or comments about these issues or any other public policy issue, please call me toll-free at 1-800-372-7181 or email me at [email protected] You can also review the Legislature’s work online at www.lrc.ky.gov.
Senator Brandon Smith (R-Hazard) represents the 30th District including Bell, Breathitt, Johnson, Leslie, Magoffin, and Perry Counties. He is the Vice-Chair of the Natural Resources and Energy Committee and the Transportation Committee; and a member of Appropriations and Revenue Committee. He is a member of the Federal Environmental Reg. Impact Assessment Task Force Special Committee.