by: Senator Steve Meredith
Fall is officially upon us, which means the end of the interim is quickly approaching. It is hard to believe that in less than 100 days, the General Assembly will convene at the Capitol for the 2020 Regular Session.
Advancing public policy is one of the cornerstones of the legislative branch. The General Assembly is utilizing this time away from Frankfort to reflect on current structures and better determine which issues should be focused on primarily here in the upcoming session. Several preliminary policy discussions are already underway for 2020, including new measures on education, public safety, economic development, and transportation.
Legislators use this time to meet in groups made up of both Senate and House members called Interim Joint Committees (IJC). Similar to standing committees during the regular session, these meetings are held to introduce new initiatives and policy matters as well as to discuss how current legislation can be improved. Throughout the interim months, committees are hearing from a wide range of constituents, organizational representatives, company officials, and fellow legislators in an effort to gain a deeper understanding of the diverse issues facing our Commonwealth.
In October alone, a pivotal measure to reduce distracted driving has been introduced. While Kentucky law already prohibits drivers from texting while in motion, this measure— Bill Request 166 (BR 166) — would ban drivers from using tablets, mobile phones, laptop computers, and other personal communication devices while operating a vehicle. BR 166 includes exceptions for voice-activated programs such as GPS navigation and Bluetooth features. I look forward to discussing this measure and other pressing safety related legislation in the 2020 Regular Session.
Lastly, I would like to remind everyone that Kentucky is holding elections for statewide offices, including governor, on Tuesday, November 5. The right to cast votes for your democratically-elected officials is one of the great privileges of our society. Please visit Elect.Ky.Gov for information on how to register and where to vote. I strongly encourage everyone go to the ballot box on Election Day and let your voice be heard.
While the interim is slower paced, the General Assembly is gaining momentum for another productive budget session. Thank you for your continued support and for engaging in the legislative process. It is an honor to serve you in Frankfort.
If you have any questions or comments about the issues or any other public policy issue, please call me toll-free at 1-800-372-7181 or email me at Stephen.Meredith@LRC.ky.gov. You can also review the Legislature’s work online at www.legislature.ky.gov.