Editor’s Note: Joanie Prentice has done yeoman’s work on this article, working her way through all the bills filed so far to come up with the best ones. So that her work isn't in vain, we have split the article into three parts. Links to the other two sections are just above the closing.
In this era of extreme partisanship, will the Republican supermajority in the KY23GA work for the good of Kentuckians, or will they punish Democratic legislators and not move forward any of their proposed bills?
They almost certainly won’t promote any legislation suggested by Governor Beshear because they want to have a trifecta in state politics and elect a Republican governor in this year’s general election. As a rule lately, for a Democratic legislator to get a bill heard in committee, a Republican co-sponsor is needed.
So, what can regular folks do to make it known we WANT measures that improve the lives of Kentuckians no matter who proposes the bill? To begin with, we can contact our representatives to let them know we want them to vote FOR the bills below.
Affordable Housing/Rental Agreements
HB 21 – Process outlined for unhoused persons (without a fixed, permanent address) to obtain personal IDs and renewal of driver’s licenses. Forms can be signed through a shelter, health care facility or other social service agency. Unhoused minors over age 16 can apply for ID without signature of parent or guardian. Assigned to Transportation. Sponsored by Randy Bridges (R).
HB 66 – Changes to parameters for disconnecting utility services, including temperature standards, certificate of need attestations for individuals who are at risk if utilities disconnected, prohibition of disconnecting utilities on holidays and weekends and before 8am or after 5pm weekdays. Has not been assigned to a committee. Bipartisan sponsorship by Lisa Willner (D), Randy Bridges (R).
HB 95 – Specifies duties of landlord in regards to abandoned personal property: includes temporary storage, attempt to notify resident by certified mail and signage at property. After 21 days, if the tenant has not responded, the landlord may dispose of the property. Sponsored by Nima Kulkarni (D).
HB 128 – Uniform Residential and Landlord Tenant Act. It is a 62-page document that lays out definitions and the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants. I will leave it to legal minds to interpret the lingo but, knowing Rep. Kulkarni, I have no doubt it is thorough and fair. It has not been assigned to a committee. Sponsored by Nima Kulkarni (D).
HB 17 – Full-time kindergarten. Assigned to Appropriations and Revenue. Sponsored by Timmy Truett (R).
HB 33 – Establish the Innovative Teacher Education Grant Program to enable affordable teacher preparation 2024-2026. Has not been assigned to a committee. Sponsored by James Tipton (R).
HB 35 – Full-day kindergarten, require school districts to provide full-day preschool for eligible 3 & 4 year olds, use SEEK funding for 4 year olds, 3 year olds using grant funding. Has not been assigned to a committee (similar bill filed in 22GA did not move). Sponsored by Josie Raymond (D).
HB 41 – Require Department of Education to create a Foster Care Student Toolkit to assist educators in addressing the unique needs of foster children students. Has not been assigned to a committee. Sponsored by Rebecca Raymer (R).
HB 82 – Require (rather than allow) local boards of education to develop policy on dyslexia and require postsecondary schools who provide teacher preparation to include instruction on dyslexia. Has not been assigned to committee (similar bill filed in 22GA did not move). Sponsored by Tina Bojanowski (D).
HB 88 – Gov Beshear’s education bill. Would give full-time school employee raises, fund universal pre-K for 4 year olds, fund professional development for teachers and textbooks/instructional resources, fund social emotional learning and mental health for students and staff, use Restricted Funds to provide a student loan forgiveness program for public school teachers certified by the KY Education Professional Standards Board. Has not been assigned to committee. Sponsored by Derrick Graham (D), Cherlynn Stevenson (D), and Rachel Roberts (D).
HB 96 – Establish the KY Urban Farming Youth Initiative to promote farming to youth in urban counties. Similar bill filed in KYGA22 did not move. Sponsored by Nima Kulkarni (D).
HB 99 – Have Department of Education develop a professional training schedule for all certified staff and require each school district to implement. Has not been assigned to committee. Bipartisan sponsorship by Jason Nemes (R) and Lisa Willner (D).
HB 126 – Would remove sections of the 2021 bill that created and adjusted benefits for persons who become members of KY Teachers Retirement System after Jan 1, 2022 and make them eligible for the benefits that were in place prior to Jan 1, 2022. This bill would make becoming a new teacher more attractive. It has not been assigned to committee. Sponsored by Cherlynn Stevenson (D).
HB 131 – Major revisions to the rules and regs governing charter school formation including: must be nonprofit service providers, prohibit enrollment financial incentives, requirements for makeup of charter school board, etc. Has not been assigned to committee. Sponsored by Tina Bojanowski (D), Josie Raymond (D).
Maternal and Infant Health
HB 15 – Family Care Leave; would expand definitions and parameters and require employers to allow qualified employees to take family care leave, including after the birth of a child or to take care of a seriously ill family member. Has not been assigned to a committee. Sponsored by Cherlynn Stevenson (D).
HB 54 – Certified Professional Midwifery services to be covered by Medicaid. Has not been assigned to a committee. Bipartisan sponsorship by Russell Webber (R) & Nima Kulkarni (D).
HB 129 – Define Freestanding Birthing Centers, rules and regulations for licensure, require accreditation, have plans for emergency transfers to a hospital if needed, exempt FBCs from certificate of need. Many Kentuckians have to travel long distances for maternity care and births. Midwifery and FBCs could help address lack of access issues. Assigned to Licensing and Occupations. Sponsored by Jason Nemes (R).
HB 16 & SB 38 – Would establish an All Payers Claim Database that would help spot problem areas and make apples to apples comparison of costs. SB 38 assigned to Appropriations and Revenue. Bipartisan sponsorship by Rep. Cherlynn Stevenson (D) and Sen. Ralph Alvarado (R).
HB 67 – Requires insurance plan coverage for chronic pain management by a licensed professional. It would require them to discuss, prescribe or refer to an alternative chronic pain treatment plan before initially prescribing/dispensing a controlled substance. Has not been assigned to a committee. Sponsored by Cherlynn Stevenson (D).
HB 68 – Requires insurance plan coverage for epi pens for youth 18 & under with no cost sharing. Has not been assigned to a committee. Sponsored by Cherlynn Stevenson (D).
HB 69 – Requires KY employers to provide earned sick leave. Defines parameters including the use of earned sick leave after 90 days of employment to include caring for children, spouse or parents. Has not been assigned to a committee. Sponsored by Cherlynn Stevenson (D), Josie Raymond (D).
HB 141 – Establish Urgent Need Insulin Program and a Continuous Access to Insulin Program. Diabetics should not have to ration insulin nor have their access to life saving medication interrupted. Has not been assigned to a committee. Sponsored by Danny Bentley (R).
HB 121 and HB 122 – Both of these bills would reduce the bureaucracy so coal miners could obtain black lung benefits more easily.( I’m not sure why these restrictions were initially put in place, but I would hazard a guess that Coal Mine Owners/Operators had a hand in making it more difficult). Similar bills filed in previous GA’s have not moved forward. Sponsored by Ashley Tackett Laferty (D).
(Part 1 of this series is here; part 3 is here.)
The coming weeks will reveal a lot about how the supermajority is going to move to advance their agenda. It is rumored there will NOT be lots of new legislation, but there will still be lots of political posturing to score points with base groups.
If there are bills you want to see move forward, contact your legislators and the Republican leadership. Send an email letting them know why you think this legislation is important and include a personal story about how a bill impacts your life. A legislator who has since moved on to Washington said it is the personal stories that make a bigger impression.
I would love to see comments about what YOU think the legislative priorities should include during this session. Add them below!