Legislative Update – January 12, 2018

The threat of extreme winter weather conditions caused us to call off session in Frankfort on Friday, but not before we passed significant bills in the Senate earlier in the week. We hit the ground running during the second week of the 2018 Session—standing committees met to discuss and pass bills which then went to the Senate floor for a full vote.

The first of the bills that passed this week was Senate Bill (SB) 3, a constitutional amendment which would create a crime victims’ bill of rights, also known as “Marsy’s Law.” This bill ensures that crime victims are not forgotten in the criminal justice process. If the House passes SB3, Marsy’s Law will be put on the ballot as a constitutional amendment for voters to decide on in November. I encourage you vote for the measure.

Additionally we passed SB 4, another constitutional amendment that would change elections of statewide officers—including the governor’s office—to even-numbered years. This measure will save the state and local governments millions of dollars by cutting down on election costs. It will also increase voter turnout because elections will be held in federal election years, raising awareness and allowing easier access to the ballot.

Senate Bill 7 was also passed and sent to the House. This bill establishes the Kentucky Rare Disease Advisory Council and creates a Rare Disease Trust Fund to finance the operation of the Council and support rare disease research and treatment.

Friday, January 12, would have been Day 9 of our 60-day Legislative Session, but because we did not meet that day, we have the option of making up that day later in the session. We are scheduled to adjourn sine die on April 13, but the snow day allows us to extend the session to April 14 if necessary.

We return after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend on January 16 to begin the third week of the Session. That same day, Governor Bevin will address a joint session of the General Assembly. He will use the event to present his proposal for our two-year state budget. Passing a budget bill for each branch of state government is the General Assembly’s greatest task during these 60-day sessions, which only take place in even-numbered years.

The pace in Frankfort is picking up and I anticipate an increase in visitors and advocates from across the Commonwealth. As always, I welcome your input on these issues and I am honored to be your voice in Frankfort.

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