FRANKFORT — We have now entered the final stretch of the 2017 Legislative Session with the completion of the 23rd day of the 30-day session. Our already rapid pace will pick up even more during the remaining days. Everyone, regardless of the chamber in which they serve or their party affiliation, has a common goal – to pass public policy that will positively impact the citizens across the Commonwealth.
Several bills specifically addressed needs and protections for some of our most vulnerable and most valuable citizens – our children.
The intent of one such bill, House Bill 180, is to make it possible for children who are removed from their homes, to be placed in homes with people they are familiar with during what is often an already traumatic time for them.
The legislation specifies that people with emotionally significant relationships with the child are among those with whom the child can be placed with in an emergency. Therefore, HB 180 would allow a child to temporarily live with a close family friend, a babysitter, a neighbor, or a friend from church, even if the person wasn’t related to the child.
SB 190 would allow a foster child to remain in his/her home school by either placing the child with a family in the same district or, if the child is moved out of the district, providing transportation to that school.
With today’s families, our children are often entrusted to others during the time when both parents are working. Senate Bill 236 would help alleviate some of a parent’s worst fears by permitting a parent or guardian to request a background check when employing a childcare provider.
I was glad to support HB 180, SB 190 and SB 236 because I think these initiatives will help to alleviate stress and fear for some of our vulnerable young citizens.
House Bill 192 would remove hurdles for 16- and 17-year-olds in foster care that other teens their age do not face when seeking their driver’s licenses. The legislation would allow a teen’s foster parent to sign an application for a driver’s permit. Currently, state statute requires the application to be signed by a parent.
Senate Bill 195 would allow juvenile convictions to be expunged after two years if the conviction was not for a violent offense or sex crime. Senate Bill 224 extends the statute of limitations for certain civic actions, including child sexual abuse and child sexual assault from five years to 10 years.
Taking care of those who take care of us was the intent of Senate Bill 112. This bill would help shore up the Kentucky State Police Retirement fund. It appropriates $23,354,000 in fiscal year 2016-2017 and $125,000,000 in fiscal year 2017-2018 from the Kentucky permanent pension fund to State Police Retirement System pension fund. Declared an emergency, the bill would go into effect as soon as it is signed by the Governor.
Some of the other legislation that has cleared the Senate and moved to the House for further consideration:
– Senate Bill 39 would require courts to annually pass a resolution detailing the duties and compensation of the jailer for the upcoming year.
– Senate Bill 32 would require the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to forward drug data to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services for inclusion in the KASPER electronic monitoring system.
– Senate Bill 81 requires the Department of Military Affairs to establish the criteria and procedures for death-in-the-line-of-duty benefits for National Guard or Reserve component members.
– Senate Bill 136 would require any active member of the Kentucky National Guard to be treated as a Kentucky resident for tuition purposes when enrolling in a Kentucky public postsecondary institution.
– Senate Bill 218 would improve the framework of the industrial hemp program in Kentucky by establishing program requirements and licensure application procedures. It would make changes to the hemp bill passed during the 2013 Legislative Session to make it better aligned with the 2014 federal Farm Bill.
– Senate Bill 62 is another step to update Kentucky’s business laws by streamlining limited liability company statutes.
Still ahead are some tough decisions and long debate on issues that are important to citizens across the Commonwealth. With time running out, I encourage you to weigh in on the issues that are important to you. Please share your feedback through our Legislative Message Line at (800) 372-7181 or e-mail me directly at [email protected]
Senator Johnny Ray Turner represents Kentucky’s 29th District.