Legislative Update …

Posted March 6, 2019 at 9:16 am

The 2019 Regular Session of the Kentucky General Assembly is quickly drawing to a close. It’s this time of year that bills begin moving much faster and the largest legislative issues are tackled. Legislators have worked all session to craft and win support for their bills.

This past week saw what is likely the signature legislation of this session pass the House. Senate Bill 1 deals with school safety. Last year, following the tragic shooting at Marshall County High School, a bipartisan committee of representatives and senators was formed to examine the issue and make recommendations on ways to improve the safety of our public schools. This bill was the result of that committee’s work.

Senate Bill 1 would provide for additional security staff in schools, as well as focus on the mental health needs of our students. School personnel would receive active shooter training, and suicide prevention methods would be taught to students between grades 6-12. Additionally, criminal penalties will be increased on those who make fake threats of violence in our schools.

While we know we will never be able to prevent school violence entirely, it is my hope that this bill will at least move us in a positive direction. If it saves one student’s life, it was worth the effort! The bill will be followed up on in the 2020 session when the budget is considered. At that time, I will strongly support fully funding these initiatives.

Food labeling took center stage with the consideration of House Bill 311. Scientific improvements have made it possible for meat to be grown from tissue cultures in a laboratory, rather than on a farm. This bill would not prohibit such meat, but would require it to be labeled as such. I strongly supported this bill, as I believe it is important for people to know exactly what they are putting in their bodies. The bill passed the House by a vote of 93-1.

A bill that was universally supported in both the House and Senate was Senate Bill 31. In some cases, the Cabinet for Health and Family services has to separate siblings who have been removed from a home. This bill would require the Cabinet to provide for frequent visitation or other ongoing interaction between the siblings, if desired. At such a rough time in a child’s life, it was thought this could provide a bit of the stability they need. The bill passed the House by a vote of 99-0.

House Bill 5 was another pro-life measure that was advanced this session. This bill would prohibit an abortion for the sole reason of the child’s race, sex, national origin, or disability, except in the case of a medical emergency. This bill was important to those of us who view the baby in the womb as a full human life. Abortion should not be just a means of birth control, and this bill will hopefully help prevent that. The bill passed the House by a vote of 67-25.

As always, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve as the voice for the 83rd District in Frankfort. I welcome your thoughts and opinions on these and other legislation to come before this session of the Kentucky General Assembly.

There are multiple ways to contact me to share your opinions. You can feel free to email me at jeff.hoover@lrc.ky.gov or to use the General Assembly’s toll-free hotline to leave a message. That number is 1-800-372-7181. I would also encourage you to visit the Legislative Research Commission’s newly revamped website to learn more about the bills under consideration this session. That website is www.lrc.ky.gov.

General Assembly action includes school safety, pro-life measures