by Rep. Michael Meredith:
We’ve officially hit the halfway mark of the 2019 legislative session, with much accomplished even as significant activity remains.
In the House of Representatives, this past week was a banner week for a cause not only important to me – but also critical to the safety and protection of Kentucky families. Public safety took a large, bipartisan step forward as multiple bills began moving through the General Assembly that are designed to protect children from obscene crimes, consumers from scans, and some of our most vulnerable citizens from harm.
Nothing is more of a pressing issue for the General Assembly at this point in time than school safety. The School Safety and Resiliency Act took another monumental step forward this past week, advancing through the House Education Committee and to the full House for consideration. I am proud to support this measure, which secures our schools and strengthens our students with a comprehensive approach.
On the consumer protection front, legislation also passed the House that cracks down on telemarketers who engage in “spoofing,” which involves a person misrepresenting their real phone number by disguising themselves under a local number. HB 84 prohibits this practice, and increases fines for multiple offenses.
Bills designed to strengthen our reporting systems for missing disabled persons as well as missing veterans also passed the House this past week. HB 150 creates a “Golden Alert” System to notify the public through the news media and highway signs when an impaired individual goes missing, while legislation I sponsored includes missing or at-risk veterans within a Golden Alert, identifying them separately as a “Green Alert.”
We also recently took up a series of bills to protect unborn life, promote voluntary prayer in schools, and clean up our tax code. House Bill 166 sets aside one day each year for Kentuckians to pray or reflect on the state’s public schools and their students. This measure designates a voluntary “Day of Prayer for Kentucky’s Students” on the last Wednesday of each September, which would coincide with the international “See You at the Pole” student-led school prayer event. Student participation in the event would be voluntary and open to all faiths and religious traditions.
HB 5, legislation that would prevent selective and discriminatory abortions that are based on race, gender, and perceived disability, such as Down syndrome, also began moving through the legislative process. I am looking forward to supporting this bill, which would apply the same civil rights protections that Kentuckians receive after they are born to our unborn. Pro-life measures are continuing to receive attention, and I am pleased to see such strong support building for measures like HB 5.
On another note, we also voted on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis to approve a tax cleanup bill that would exempt all Kentucky nonprofits from collecting the sales tax on admissions to their charitable events. HB 354 also ensures that all nonprofits see their threshold for collecting sales taxes raised from $1,000 to $10,000. Last year, the legislature took a major step forward in making the tax code more pro-business, lowering your income taxes and moving Kentucky in a more consumption-based direction. However, minor adjustments to major legislation like the tax reform package are always necessary as changes are implemented.
I’m proud to have supported critical public safety issues during this legislative session, which will strengthen our communities and protect families. As we enter the final few weeks of the 2019 session, I will continue to keep you informed about progress on issues of importance. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with your thoughts on issues we should address
Rep. Michael Lee Meredith represents the 19th House District, which includes Edmonson County and part of Warren County. Contact him with any questions, concerns, or advice. He can be reached through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at 1-800-372-7181, or via e-mail at Michael.Meredith@lrc.ky.gov