Week 7 of the 2022 Legislative Session

We have officially crossed the halfway point of the 2022 60-day Regular Session. Week 7 of the session included a lot of legislative activity as consequential bills were introduced and more moved through the process. I want to update you on three significant matters: motor vehicle taxes, legislation introduced to address the state’s nursing shortage, and the Teaching America’s Principles Act, which cleared the Senate Education Committee on Thursday.


As the Senate unanimously passed Senate Joint Resolution 99 (SJR 99) on Friday, February 11, chamber members strongly pressured Governor Andy Beshear to do right and exempt Kentucky taxpayers from increased motor vehicle taxes, driven by artificial, pandemic-related inflation. For over a month, the Governor simply denied he had the authority. In fact, his administration sent out a memorandum acknowledging and detailing the reason for the tax increase yet took no action to provide relief. SJR 99 was prepared to force the Governor to take action he had the authority to do but refused until directed by the Senate.

Fortunately for Kentucky taxpayers, the Governor relented and finally signed an executive order that used the precise language in SJR 99. Thanks to public pressure placed on the Governor by the state Senate, Kentuckians will now be relieved from their inflated vehicle taxes and those who have already paid them will be issued a refund. See your local county clerk for more information

One of the most headline dominating topics since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has been education, primarily deriving from parents’ concerns about the quality of their child’s education and fears that students are being taught what to think rather than how to think. The behavior of special interest groups to not only ignore parents’ concerns but even mock and ridicule them has heightened attention on school curriculums and educational standards. The groundswell from the public has been so strong even places like San Francisco are recalling school board members. Elections across the nation, most notably the gubernatorial election in Virginia, are demanding lawmakers take parents’ concerns seriously.

Senate Bill (SB) 138 seeks to educate students on the foundations of America’s principles of equality, freedom and personal agency. It extends existing elementary history standards to middle and high school to create alignment. SB 138 establishes a baseline required study of 24 primary source documents referencing key people, events, struggles, challenges and continued successes. This bill reflects concerns and feedback from educators and parents alike.

In addition to upgrading history standards, SB 138 prohibits students from being required or incentivized to complete political or socially ideological assignments or projects if deemed to be against the values or objections of the student or their family. Tasks assigned must be age-appropriate and relevant to the student’s knowledge level, maturity, and understanding, along with being nondiscriminatory and respectful.

Also included in the bill is a provision that allows educators to opt-out of professional training that pushes specific narratives of racial, ethnic or gender stereotyping. The bill intends to give teachers the ingredients required for instructing American history in a well-rounded manner but allows them to design the recipe by which to do so. Students should be encouraged to think critically about America’s founding. Despite our past and present challenges, America is still the greatest nation ever to exist.

The 24 core historical American documents are proof. They are recognized by the non-partisan Ashbrook Center, which includes work from various social studies scholars and promotes inducing young people to the real story of America — the good and the bad — through primary documents. The bill does not limit study beyond these baseline documents so long as it remains in line with the bill’s other provisions. Lawmakers spend time over the interim reviewing the concerns of constituents. We heard from the non-partisan 1776 Unites organization, which has received high marks from Johns Hopkins. 1776 Unites encouraged to include tenants in the legislation teaching students to strive toward upward mobility, become free critical thinkers and create their own destiny.

Senate priority legislation was introduced in week 7 to address the state’s nursing shortage, stressing our health care systems. I had the pleasure of meeting with the Kentucky Hospital Association. Senate Bill 10 would serve to help our hospitals and assisted-living facilities. The bill removes arbitrary enrollment caps on nursing programs set by the Kentucky Board of Nursing (KBN). It strengthens the reciprocity of licensed nurses from other states and countries to get to work in Kentucky more easily. The bill also restructures KBN to reflect Kentucky’s geographical diversity and, most importantly, provides practicing nurses with a more prominent voice on the board. Additionally, it implements legislative oversight of the nomination of board members.

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