Yesterday, I posted an article listing 13 bad bills that are still on the move in this year’s General Assembly. At the time, I promised a companion article listing some good bills that are also on the move, to remind us that KYGA is not all doom and gloom.
Some of these are, perhaps, less impactful than the bad bills listed yesterday, and thus have not gotten the attention of those bills. Still, these are bills that, if passed, will make a positive difference in the lives of our fellow Kentuckians.
And as always, if you see one or more bills that you want to help pass, call the Comment Line at 800-372-7181 and let your leges know to vote FOR these bills.
Bills that have already passed one chamber
Here are some positive bills that have crossed over, which means they are halfway to passing.
HB 226 – Read to Succeed act
SB 9 – Read to Succeed act
This is a comprehensive bill to improve the teaching of reading across the state. It is cosponsored by both Repubs and Dems, including by Tina Bojanowski, who teaches reading and helped shape the bill. The twin bills have crossed over, and SB 9 has had a 1st reading in the House.
SB 151 – Use instructional time for school breakfast
This is one of those “of course” bills that nevertheless need to be passed. If a school bus is running late, the principal has a choice: either allow the kids to eat and lose required instructional time, or send them to class hungry. This bill allows up to 15 minutes of instructional time for kids to eat before starting the school day. Since many children don’t get breakfast at home, this bill has a direct impact on their ability to learn. It is on the calendar for passage in the House.
SJR 72 – Medicaid waiver for severe mental illness
This joint resolution, sponsored by Sen. Ralph Alvarado (R), directs the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to “apply for a Medicaid waiver targeting individuals with severe mental illness to provide for supported housing, including respite care, and supported employment.” It is posted for passage in the House.
Assigned to committee
All of these bills have crossed over and been assigned to a committee, but have not had their 1st reading yet. Still, now that they are assigned, they could move. I think HB 174 and 222 both have a good chance of passing.
- HB 174 – Medicaid eligibility for new mothers
- HB 133 – Juneteenth as state holiday
- HB 222 – Anti-SLAPP act
- HB 564 – Voting expansion & requlations
Bills still in their first chamber
Here are good bills that are moving in their first chamber.
HB 499 – Employee Child-Care Assistance Partnership program
This is an ambitious bill that would set up a partnership with employers who want to provide child care for their employees, including funding for the program. It has 62 sponsors in the House, both Democrats and Republicans, and has had its 1st reading.
SB 8 – Expansion of child welfare and protection laws
This is a significant bill that greatly expands the state’s work to support and protect children. It has bipartisan support, and was widely hailed when it passed the Senate. It does the following things, as reported by Imprint News:
- Explicitly distinguish neglect from poverty in child welfare cases
- Permit the state to open cases earlier in circumstances where children are at moderate risk of removal
- Increase resources for Kentucky’s child advocacy centers
- Allow youth emerging from the foster care system to keep accessing educational, job training and other resources to smooth their transition to adulthood
Legalized gambling bills
For years, numerous groups have pushed for Kentucky to join the states that have some form of legalized gambling other than horse racing. In a late-breaking development, five bills were filed last week to address this, and four of the five passed out of committee just today and had their 1st reading.
- HB 606 – Sports betting
- HB 607 – Pari-mutuel wagering
- HB 608 – Regulation of game machines
- HB 609 – Problem gambling assistance
HB 31 – CROWN act
SB 363 – CROWN act
This is the bill Attica Scott has filed in previous sessions, that deals with school disciplinary codes that discriminate against natural hair styles. C.R.O.W.N. stands for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair,” and is a national movement. The House version has already had its 2nd reading.
HB 136 – Medical marijuana
In 2020, the House passed a medical marijuana bill, but it never passed the Senate. This year, Rep. Jason Nemes (R) is back again, and once again, it appears the bill will pass the House with strong support, as it has already had its 2nd reading. We shall see what happens in the Senate.
HB 604 – Establish cannabis research program
Some of the persons who are not in favor of any form of marijuana legalization still voted for this bill, which sets up a research program at the University of Kentucky. It has had its 2nd reading.
HB 373 – 9-8-8 mental health line
This bill would establish a phone number that would act as a “911 for mental health emergencies.” The bill also sets up a board to run the program, and funds it via a service charge on phone bills. It has had its 1st reading.
SB 153 – No statute of limitations for child sexual abuse
This bill does exactly what it says: eliminates the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse. It has had its 2nd reading.
There you have it – more good bills than I bet you suspected were out there. And, just as we hope that the bad bills all die, we can also hope that good bills make it over the finish line before sine die. Make those calls!