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Local legislators have had busy start to 2018 legislative session

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By Zac Oakes

The 2018 regular session is underway in Frankfort, as the annual legislative session began last Tuesday.

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Campbellsville’s legislators—Rep. John “Bam” Carney (R) and Sen. Max Wise (R)—have been busy in the first week of this year’s 60-day session.

While much of the focus during this year’s session will be directed toward pension reform, the state budget, and possibly tax reform, there have already been several bills introduced in the legislature.

A count of the number of bills that appear on the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission shows 64 bills being introduced in the Senate Chamber as well as another 126 bills being filed in the House Chamber as of Friday afternoon.

While many of those bills may not get much further than being sent to a committee, there will likely be several passed as legislators continue to juggle the overarching issues of this year’s session.

Here are the bills that have been filed that are sponsored by each of the local legislators, according to the Kentucky LRC.

Bills sponsored by Rep. John “Bam” Carney

·      House Bill 128, which would require every public school to provide instruction on the Holocaust and other acts of genocide. The bill lists other acts of genocide as including, but not limited to, those in Armenia, Ukraine, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Sudan. The bill would also allow American sign language courses to meet foreign language requirements in common schools as well as ROTC programs accepted as physical education requirements, among others.

·      House Bill 134, which would create a new section of KRS 141 to establish a separate income tax credit for tuition assistance based on contributions made to a qualified scholarship-granting organization, defined as a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance in the form of scholarships to students from low and middle-income families to attend qualified non-public schools, students in the Commonwealth’s foster care program, and students with special needs.

·      House Bill 141, which would provide loan eligibility for a school district with a significant revenue shortfall due to circumstances beyond the district’s control or other extraordinary financial circumstances, as well as expanding the maximum loan amount from $250,000 to $500,000 and decreasing the maximum loan term from 10 years to five years, among other things.

·      House Bill 142, which would require the chief state school officer to prepare estimates for school district fund allotment and establish an incremental schedule for fund disbursement, allotment, revisions, and equalization.

·      House Bill 147, which deals with seizure action plans in schools. The proposed bill, which would be entitled the Lyndsey Crunk Act named after Scott County student Lyndsey Crunk who has advocated for seizure awareness, requires principals, guidance counselors, and teachers to partake in self-study review of seizure disorder materials, require training to comply with Epilepsy Foundation of America guidelines, and requires parents of students diagnosed with a seizure disorder to collaborate with school personnel to create a seizure action plan, among other things.

Bills sponsored by Sen. Max Wise

·      Senate Bill 3, which would create a new section of the Kentucky Constitution to create a crime victims’ bill of rights. The bill, commonly referred to as Marsy’s Law, was recently referenced by Wise when he spoke to the Campbellsville-Taylor County Chamber of Commerce. Among the rights it would include would be reasonable right, upon request, to timely notice of all proceedings and to be heard in proceedings involving a release, plea, sentencing, or other matters; the right to be present at the trial and all other proceedings, the right to reasonable protection from the accused, and others. As a proposed constitutional amendment, if passed, it would be an issue placed before Kentucky voters.

·      Senate Bill 5, which would require the Department for Medicaid Services to directly administer all outpatient pharmacy benefits. Wise said the bill aims to help smaller, independent pharmacies remain competitive by regulating pharmacy benefit managers.

·      Senate Bill 36, which creates a new section of KRS 141 to establish a separate income tax credit for tuition assistance based on contributions made to a qualified scholarship-granting organization.

·      Senate Bill 57, which creates a new section of KRS 411 to allow a person injured by an act of terrorism “primarily within the Commonwealth” to file a claim for damages against the terrorist. The proposed bill would also establish a crime of terrorism as a capital offense which shall be punished by imprisonment for life without probation or parole, and would create a provision so that a person convicted of terrorism shall not be released early. The bill is known as “Andy’s Law.”

·      Senate Bill 69, which specifies that a board of education must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, and any other applicable federal law in placing a teacher or superintendent on leave due to a physical or mental disability. The bill also aims to amend KRS 161.790 to clarify the causes for which the contract of a teacher may be terminated.

The last day of the legislative session is April 13, according to the Kentucky LRC Legislative Schedule.