McCoy: House OKs bills on pension transparency, school sports safety
By CHAD McCOY
50th District State Representative
Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, 3 p.m. — The pace in Frankfort has picked up substantially, as another week of committee meetings, ceremonies, and floor votes have gone by. We have passed a variety of bipartisan legislation that will go far in increasing government transparency and caring for the most vulnerable among us.
At the end of last week, we passed an amended version of Senate Bill 2, which will go back to the Senate for concurrence and then on to the Governor for his signature. This piece of legislation is not flashy, but has serious importance, and is a critical step in the right direction for our state workers and retirees. SB 2 will bring much-needed transparency and oversight to our state’s retirement systems. It gives citizens a complete look into the management of pension investments from the Kentucky Retirement System (KRS), Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System (KTRS), and the Judicial Retirement System.
This is the second pension transparency bill that has passed this session, as we made the pensions of legislators open to the public with Senate Bill 3, which has already been signed into law by Gov. Bevin. The fact that both of these pieces of commonsense legislation have passed with little opposition shows that when politics is put aside, and a vote is given, members of both parties will vote to make government open to the taxpayers who fund it.
Another bipartisan measure that sailed through the House was House Bill 241. This legislation addresses many recent concerns with safety issues in sports, as it strengthens the concussion protocol for Kentucky’s student athletes. Specifically, the bill prohibits a student from returning to play until a physician, or another licensed medical professional, conducts an evaluation and approves them to return to gameplay.
Two more good bills that passed this week were House Bill 237, sponsored by Rep. Phil Pratt, and House Bill 60, from Rep. Michael Meredith. HB 237 provides legal immunity for food providers and grocery stores for giving their excess food to nonprofits. This legislation would encourage more food donations to groups that serve our hungriest, neediest citizens. Meanwhile, HB 60 would codify the pay raises for law enforcement and firefighters from last year’s budget into law, making them permanent. The measure also increases annual stipends to volunteer fire departments from $8,250 to $11,000.
Also, House Bill 13 would provide $10.5 million in state bonding funds to build a veteran’s nursing home in Bowling Green, KY. These funds, along with federal matching funds, will go towards providing quality care to the very people that we should be looking out for the most. Our country’s heroes deserve the best we can provide them, and I am dedicated to continue doing that, even beyond this project.
When everybody in the people’s House works together, and does not get divided along party lines, we are able to work effectively on behalf of all Kentuckians. In the remaining legislative days, I look forward to continue working in a bipartisan manner to make Kentucky a better Commonwealth for all.
I welcome your comments and concerns on any issues impacting our Commonwealth during the 2017 Regular Session. I can be reached through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at 1-800-372-7181, or you can contact me via e-mail at Chad.McCoy@lrc.ky.gov. You can keep track of committee meetings and potential legislation through the Kentucky Legislature Home Page at www.lrc.ky.gov.