Legislative Update – February 7, 2020

It was a busy but productive fifth week of the 2020 Regular Session as we passed a wide array of bills through the Senate and continued biennial budget discussions. 

As we wait to receive a budget proposal from the House of Representatives, where all spending bills must originate, the Senate the Appropriations & Revenue Committee has already begun an intensive review process of the budget proposed by the Governor. Crafting the Commonwealth’s two-year financial plan is a lengthy process, but I am confident that the final product will be fiscally responsible while ensuring sufficient funding for our critical programs. I will keep you updated on the status of the budget in the coming weeks. 

The Senate Majority made notable progress on the 2020 legislative agenda, successfully passing 11 bills over the course of the week, including Senate Bill (SB) 1 and SB 7. 

Also known as the Federal Immigration Cooperation Act of 2020, SB 1 ensures the cooperation of state and local governments with the federal government in the enforcement of federal immigration laws. The bill will create no additional responsibilities for law enforcement or agencies, but it does require no less be done than what federal statutory law states. SB 1 preemptively prohibits local municipalities from enacting sanctuary immigration policies. There had already been discussions in one of Kentucky’s major cities to enact such policies. These would be irresponsible and dangerous. While many can agree that federal immigration law needs to be addressed by Congress, current laws should be enforced to ensure the safety of the public, and provide law enforcement with the assurance that they can enforce laws in good faith.  
SB 7, priority legislation relating to School-Based Decision-Making Councils, returns the appointment of the school principal to the Superintendent after consultation with the school council and equalizes council membership of teachers and parents. 

A number of bills with bipartisan support passed through the Senate this week. SB 63 is a measure that would allow high school dropouts who are at least 21 years of age to complete their graduation requirements through online programs. SB 45 requires licensed child-care centers to have standards on nutrition and physical activity. SB 45 also incorporates state and national expertise in developing new standards regarding screen time and sugary drinks.

SB 42 would require issued student identification badges to contain emergency hotline numbers for domestic violence, sexual assault, and suicide prevention. Suicide rates among young people are a true epidemic. I encourage you to have honest conversations with the young people in your life and let them know they are loved. Tragic stories arise far too often of someone who has taken their life out of depression or perceived hopelessness. Life is precious and we should take time to let others know that they are loved and not alone.

For ambitious students who want to be a part of this year’s legislative process, the Kentucky General Assembly offers a variety of page opportunities for all ages. Students interested should contact my office at (502)564-8100 to make a formal request. More information regarding the page programs can be found at www.legislature.ky.gov.

To those who have reached out or visited my office in the past weeks, thank you for staying engaged during these early weeks of the session. I appreciate your input and urge you to continue making your voices heard in Frankfort.

If you have any questions or comments about these issues or any other public policy issue, please call me toll-free at 1-800-372-7181 or email me at Damon.Thayer@LRC.ky.gov.  You can also review the Legislature’s work online atwww.legislature.ky.gov

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