Beshear signs 14 more bills recently passed by KYGA

Bills support students’ mental health, health care worker retention, virtual learning and addiction treatment, prevent peace officers convicted of sex crimes from serving

Forward Kentucky
Forward Kentucky

Via press release from the governor’s office

On Wednesday, Gov. Andy Beshear signed into law 14 pieces of legislation recently passed by the General Assembly.

“Today, I am proud to sign more good pieces of legislation recently passed by lawmakers in Frankfort,” Gov. Beshear said. “These bills are helping us build a better Kentucky by supporting students’ mental health, health care worker retention, virtual learning and addiction treatment, as well as preventing peace officers convicted of various sex crimes from being certified in Kentucky.”

The bills, which will become law on their effective dates, are:

House Bill 44 allows school district attendance policies to include provisions for excused absences for mental or behavioral health reasons. The bill makes it so a student can make sure they’re mentally fit for the classroom without facing repercussions for missed time away.

House Bill 137 adds to the definition of police officer to include joint task force members, county attorney investigators, process servers for juvenile courts, and commonwealth attorney’s investigators. In doing so, it makes them eligible for the annual Kentucky Law Enforcement Foundation Program Fund supplement.

House Bill 206 prevents anyone convicted of various sex crimes from being certified as a peace officer in Kentucky, and the conviction of an existing peace office for any of these crimes will lead to automatic decertification. This bill holds all Kentucky peace officers accountable to the citizens of the Commonwealth and provides an avenue to rid the profession of those who prove themselves unworthy of the trust bestowed upon them.

House Bill 222 seeks to dissuade individuals from filing frivolous lawsuits or threatening court action for the purpose of stifling public debate.

House Bill 566 removes vehicle licensing red tape for nonprofit organizations that use motor vehicles. The legislation exempts not-for-profit organizations from motor carrier licensing requirements as long as their vehicles are used to transport people 18 and older. This change will foster wider service coverage and lower costs for key community partners.

House Bill 573 establishes a needed recruitment and retention tool for addressing the health care worker shortage, especially in rural and underserved areas of Kentucky. The bill provides financial incentives to attract and retain health care providers. The program will supplement federal funding, which requires a state match for scholarships and loan forgiveness, and will expand the list of health care workers eligible to participate and require recipients to work in underserved areas of Kentucky.

House Bill 680 continues work underway at the iLEAD Academy in Carrollton. The school received a Rural Tech Challenge Grant from the U.S. Department of Education last year to create a fully virtual K-12 computer science career pathway. HB 680 is intended to scale up that work statewide to offer virtual access to this coursework to all districts via a newly created nonprofit organization.

Senate Bill 90 creates a pilot program in 10 counties to provide alternative forms of sentencing to individuals who suffer from behavioral health issues. A defendant would have the ability to participate in a behavioral health condition release program.

Senate Bill 102 changes the requirement to report school-based mental health providers, in addition to school counselors, annually to the Kentucky Department of Education. KDE will report annually to the Interim Joint Committee on Education.

Senate Bill 113 supports hair and beauty stylists by making it easier for them to obtain licenses and permits and to operate outside of a licensed establishment under certain conditions.

Senate Bill 133 makes the Division of Geographic Information Systems’ geographic information clearinghouse the sole database of geographic information maintained by state agencies. These changes are being made as part of an effort to fund a digital aerial photography project that will benefit all Property Valuation Administration offices as well as many other state and local agencies.

Senate Bill 178 instructs the Board of Alcohol and Drug Counselors to grant a new credential created by legislation in 2021 to those who were supervisors of alcohol and drug counselors when the law took effect and to allow these grandfathered supervisors up to a year to meet the requirements of the amended statute. The bill also allows licensed narcotic treatment programs to use buprenorphine products to treat substance-use disorders and extends Medicaid eligibility for certain new mothers for up to 12 months postpartum. It also requires the Finance and Administration Cabinet to contract with an independent entity to monitor all Public Employee Health Insurance Program pharmacy benefit claims.

Senate Bill 180 codifies Gov. Beshear’s merger of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet and the Labor Cabinet. In November 2021, the Governor announced that the two cabinets would be combined to create one Education and Labor Cabinet. The goal of this merger is to better serve Kentuckians’ education, employment and workplace safety needs. It combines the strengths of both cabinets to deliver resources and services more efficiently to job-seekers, employers and workers across Kentucky.

Senate Bill 271 requires the collection and analysis of data related to domestic violence in the Commonwealth. The legislation requires the Criminal Justice Statistical Analysis Center (CJSAC) to collect data on occurrences and fatalities related to dating and domestic violence. It also requires the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to provide the CJSAC with detailed information about domestic violence shelter use as well as received reports of child abuse.

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