by Senator Steve Meredith (R), Leitchfield:
When I was sent to Frankfort I promised to find and eliminate waste in Government services, be an advocate for rural communities, and champion common sense legislation that will improve the lives of citizens in the Commonwealth. It was with great pride, then, that I cast my vote to assist in the passage of two priority bills that are about as common sense as one could hope for. Two of these bills are constitutional amendments which means they need a supermajority vote from each chamber to pass. They do not, however, need to be signed by the Governor. If they pass both chambers they will be sent to the ballot this November to be approved or denied by Kentucky voters.
Senate Bill 4 is a constitutional amendment that will shift all elections to even number years. This will save money locally, increase voter turnout, and will reduce the sheer number of elections. I think most would agree that the election cycle in Kentucky seems endless and I, for one, would welcome a reprieve from it. Again, this a decision that is ultimately up to Kentucky voters but I think it makes good fiscal policy and good sense.
Senate Bill 3, named “Marsy’s Law,” is another constitutional amendment which firmly establishes crime victim’s rights. Opponents of this legislation believe that laws already exist to address these concerns but my colleague, Judiciary Chairman Whitney Westerfield, argued that current rights are not sufficient and don’t address the same issues that Marsy’s Law will. Furthermore, even if the rights were adequate, currently the victim has no standing to assert those rights. Simply put, Marsy’s Law is about fairness for victims.
I presented Senate Bill 71 before the Senate Education Committee on Thursday. Senate Bill 71 requires that any sex education program, approved by a local school board and principal, include abstinence education. The ACLU and others argue that Kentucky is already an abstinence-only state but no law can be found on the books that requires abstinence-only education. In fact, no statute in KRS addresses sex education at all. All Senate Bill 71 does is require that any comprehensive sex education program include information relating to the benefit of abstinence.
The threat of extreme winter weather conditions caused us to call off session in Frankfort on Friday to protect legislators driving from all across Kentucky. We did not have session Monday as we honored the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We reconvened Tuesday, January 16, as we continue taking up important pieces of legislation.
If you have any questions or comments about public policy issues, 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.lrc.ky.gov.