by Michael Meredith:
We are now halfway through the 2023 Regular Session, and several pieces of House legislation have passed the chamber and are now in the Senate for further consideration. With the deadline to file new bills behind us, I look forward to the opportunity to catch my breath and spend time reviewing the bills that will be up for debate in committee and before the full House of Representatives. In the meantime, I want to remind you that you can keep up with legislative news by watching livestream coverage of House proceedings provided by Kentucky Educational Television, and live and archived footage of our committee meetings on YouTube @KYLRCCommitteeMeetings. Another great resource is the House Majority’s YouTube page, @KYHouseGOP. This week, I thought I might take some time to focus on some of the bills that passed the House this week.
HB 153: This bill would make Kentucky a Second Amendment sanctuary state and prohibit law enforcement agencies and officers, public agencies, public officials, or employees of a local government from enforcing federal firearm bans. It would also prevent any federal firearm regulations enacted after January 1, 2022, from being enforced with Kentucky tax dollars or tax-payer dollars.
HB 180: This bill would require health benefit plans to cover biomarker and pharmacogenetic screenings for patients who have been diagnosed with cancer as well as other diseases. Genetic information allows for targeted treatment specific to the diagnosis.
HB 125: This measure would require the Department for Aging and Independent Living to work with the Department of Public Health and the Alzheimer's Association to provide up-to-date information on Alzheimer’s disease and the risk of cognitive decline in educational materials they distribute to the public.
HJR 39: This resolution directs the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) to review and implement programs to address the benefits cliff in Kentucky. These recommendations are a result of the 2022 Interim Benefits Cliff Task Force. Some of those include creating a benefits cliff calculator, looking at ways to tier benefits or gradually phase out benefits, and implementing an outreach program to increase awareness of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit.
As I mentioned, the last day to file bills for the 2023 session has come and gone, so I also wanted to explain a couple of those that were filed this week. A total of 594 bills were filed, but only a fraction will make it through the legislative process to become law.
HB 319 is aimed at helping bring qualified individuals into Kentucky classrooms by adopting the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact, expanding the Teacher Scholarship Program, and establishing an online statewide job posting system. The mobility compact allows educators who hold a license in any eligible state to be granted an equivalent license in Kentucky. Regarding the Teacher Scholarship Program, HB 319 would eliminate the cap on awards available to individuals, allowing students the ability to receive more money towards their education. It also directs the Kentucky Department of Education to establish an online statewide job posting system for vacancies which streamlines the existing hiring process.
HB 538 would protect students and teachers and provide more authority in maintaining the educational process as well as improve the student well-being and safety for students, educators, and school staff. The measure gives schools more guidance and tools to combat disruption in the classroom, as well as giving the student who chronically misbehaves an opportunity to reassess his or her behavior.
As always, I can be reached here at home anytime, or through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at 1-800-372-7181. Feel free to contact me via email at Michael.Meredith@lrc.ky.gov. If you would like more information, please visit the legislature’s website at www.legislature.ky.gov.