It was a busy but productive fifth week of the 2020 Regular Session as we passed a wide array of bills through the Senate and continued biennial budget discussions.
As we wait to receive a budget proposal from the House of Representatives, where all spending bills must originate, the Senate Appropriations & Revenue (A&R) Committee has already begun an intensive review process of the budget proposed by the Governor. Crafting the Commonwealth’s two-year financial plan is a lengthy process, but I am confident that the final product will be fiscally responsible, while ensuring sufficient funding for our critical programs. As Vice Chairman of the Senate A&R Committee, I will keep you updated on the status of the budget in the coming weeks.
The Senate Majority made notable progress on the 2020 legislative agenda, successfully passing 11 bills over the course of the week, including Senate Bill (SB) 1 and SB 7.
Also known as the Federal Immigration Cooperation Act of 2020, SB 1 ensures the cooperation of state and local governments with the federal government in the enforcement of federal immigration laws. The bill will create no additional responsibilities for law enforcement or agencies, but it does require no less be done than what federal statutory law already states. SB 1 preemptively prohibits local municipalities from enacting sanctuary immigration policies. While many can agree that federal immigration law needs to be addressed by Congress, current policies should be enforced to ensure the safety of the public and provide law enforcement with the tools they need to enforce these laws in good faith.
SB 7, relates to School-Based Decision-Making Councils, and would return the appointment of the school principal to the Superintendent after consultation with the school council and equalizes council membership of teachers and parents.
A number of bills with bipartisan support passed through the Senate this week. SB 63 is a measure that would allow high school dropouts who are at least 21 years of age to complete their graduation requirements through online programs. SB 45 requires licensed child-care centers to have standards on nutrition and physical activity. SB 45 also incorporates state and national expertise in developing new standards regarding screen time and sugary drinks.
SB 42 would require issued student identification badges to contain emergency hotline numbers for domestic violence, sexual assault and suicide prevention. The suicide rate among young people is a true epidemic. I encourage you to have honest conversations with the young people in your life and let them know they are loved. Tragic stories arise far too often of someone who has taken their life out of depression or perceived hopelessness. Life is precious and we should take time to let others know that they are loved and not alone.
Also passing in the Senate this week: SB 102, legislation to remove unnecessary red tape in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services by repealing 48 outdated and obsolete statutes. SB 87, an act to remove the automatic transfer of a child from a district court to circuit court to be tried as an adult in cases involving the use of firearms was approved. SB 40, legislation that would provide additional protection for Kentucky’s vulnerable children by requiring fingerprint background checks for employees of child protection and child welfare agencies. SB 60 is a measure to add SMA to the list of heritable conditions tested at birth. This screening would be provided at no additional cost to the family or the Kentucky taxpayer.
For ambitious students who want to be a part of this year’s legislative process, the Kentucky General Assembly offers a variety of page opportunities for all ages. Students interested should contact my office at (502) 564-8100, Extension 870, to make a formal request. More information regarding the page programs can be found at www.legislature.ky.gov
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 Stan.Humphries@LRC.ky.gov.
Sen. Stan Humphries (R-Cadiz) represents the 1st District including Calloway, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Lyon, and Trigg Counties. Senator Humphries serves as vice chairman of the Appropriations and Revenue Committee and co-chairman of the Capital Planning Advisory Board and the Public Assistance Reform Task Force. He also serves as a member of the Agriculture Committee; the Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee; and the State and Local Government Committee, and the 2020-2022 Budget Preparation & Submission Statutory Committee. Additionally, he serves as an ex-officio member of the Senate Budget Review Subcommittee on Economic Development and Tourism, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection; Education; General Government, Finance, and Public Protection; Human Resources; Justice and Judiciary; and Transportation.