Senator C.B. Embry's Legislative Update
Early mornings turned to late nights and spirited debate echoed through the House and Senate chambers as we closed in on the final days of the 2017 Legislative Session in Frankfort. A flurry of bills were sent to Governor Matt Bevin’s desk this week, highlighted by measures to empower our Kentucky teachers and create better learning environments for our Kentucky students.
One of our top priorities in the Senate this session was Senate Bill (SB) 1, which is designed to “let teachers teach” by mirroring the Federal “Every Student Succeeds Act” to foster state and local decision making by our valued educators. The House passed SB 1 unanimously this week and it now goes to Governor Bevin to be signed into law. Senate Bill 1 will bring sweeping changes to reform education in our Commonwealth, and we are confident those changes will improve our schools for many years to come.
Several other important bills moved quickly though the legislative process this week and were delivered to the Governor for his signature:
· Senate Bill 75 updates the state’s outdated campaign contribution laws that have previously encouraged “dark money” and discouraged free speech;
· Senate Bill 89, which I cosponsored, removes barriers in health care plans to allow patients to access smoking cessation treatments;
· Senate Bill 91, another bill I cosponsored known as “Tim’s Law,” is aimed at helping families of those with severe mental illness ensure that individual receives proper outpatient treatment;
· Senate Bill 107, setting up a due process to remove members from dysfunctional or non-compliant state boards, such as university boards;
· Senate Bill 120, comprehensive justice reform that also provides methods for reentry and employment access;
· Senate Bill 136, which offers in-state tuition for all active members of the Kentucky National Guard whether or not they are official residents;
· Senate Bill 159, which I also cosponsored, requiring all public high school students to pass a civics test in order to receive a regular diploma;
· Senate Bill 195, aligning the juvenile criminal record expungement process with that of last year’s House Bill 40, to allow for expungement of certain juvenile crimes;
· And Senate Bill 236, allowing for more thorough background checks on potential child care providers, was another bill I cosponsored.
Multiple House bills also headed to the Governor’s desk for his signature, including:
· House Bill 38, known as the “Playground Protection Act,” prohibits sex offender registrants from being on the grounds of a publicly owned playground without explicit permission from a local legislative body;
· And House Bill 156 promotes outdoor recreation and tourism development by establishing the Kentucky Mountain Regional Recreation Authority, while its committee substitute creates the Kentucky Coal Fields Endowment Authority to aid in economic development in coal-based counties.
Wednesday, March 15, marked Day 28 of the 2017 Session of the Kentucky General Assembly. The Senate is adjourned until March 29 and this brief period of time is known as the “veto period,” during which Governor Bevin can veto any legislation that comes to his desk. When we return on March 29, however, the General Assembly has the power to override the Governor’s vetoes, as long as the legislation was passed before the beginning of the veto period.
We will still likely pass a few more bills on March 29 and 30, so I encourage you to continue watching the movement of legislation. It is an honor to serve you in Frankfort, and I look forward to continue to work on your behalf in the General Assembly.
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.