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McCoy: House OKs bills on shipping alcohol, open records, personall protection

By CHAD MCCOY
50th District State Representative

REP. CHAD MCCOY

Saturday March 17, 2018 — As we bear down on the end of the 2018 Regular Session, it’s become crunch time in Frankfort. This week has seen many bills pass both the full House and House Committees, but of the most importance to our region is House Bill 400, which passed the House and is now awaiting consideration in the Senate. The bill is known as the “Bourbon Shipping” bill and will finally allow visitors to Kentucky to ship their bourbon purchases home. Two of the most frequent questions I get are: “Why can’t we ship our bourbon home?” and “Why can’t we ship wine into Kentucky?” Well, if this bill receives final passage, you will be able to do both! Bardstown is quickly becoming a tourist destination due to the incredible natural beauty of the area and the bourbon industry specifically, which is growing in international appeal. I’m proud to have had the opportunity to guide this bill through the House, and I look forward to equally swift passage in the Senate.

This week, there was a clear focus on public safety and the brave Kentuckians who dedicate their lives to protecting us each and every day.

House Bill 185, which aims to increase the benefits for family members of officers killed in the line of duty, received incredible support in the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee, and is now on its way to the full House. Even in a tight budget year like we are facing, I am proud to support this increase in benefits for the families of our brave heroes – we simply cannot repay the debt of those who pay the ultimate sacrifice.

House Bill 373 also passed the full House, and would specify when footage from body cameras worn by law enforcement may be accessed and used by the public. The growing popularity of body cameras in use presents the need for the footage from those cameras to be addressed by Kentucky Open Records laws, which provide legal access to public records. Specifically, the bill would allow public agencies to restrict access to footage from body cameras worn by law enforcement in specific cases, including but not limited to things like the inside of private homes, medical facilities, or jails, or a deceased person’s body or sexual assault evidence.

In keeping with the public protection focus, we also passed a bill to add to the list of state attorneys allowed to carry concealed weapons nearly anywhere in Kentucky. House Bill 315 adds the deputy attorney general, assistant deputy attorneys general, assistants, and special attorneys would be able to conceal a weapon during their working or retirement years if they have the proper license. I agree with the bill sponsor that these attorneys handle very dangerous cases and they should have the same protections as other prosecutors in Kentucky.

Switching gears, we also did some important work for young Kentuckians this week. We passed two complementing pieces of legislation aimed toward helping schools with early identification and intervention of dyslexia in Kentucky children, while providing tools to fund help programs.

House Bill 187 is a comprehensive approach to addressing the needs of struggling young readers by identifying the early signs of students displaying the characteristics of dyslexia. The legislation will require the state to provide districts with a “dyslexia toolkit” to guide instruction of students with dyslexic traits, which would be ready next January and in schools by next June. There will be three school districts selected to serve as “laboratories of learning,” with one from an urban, suburban, and rural area each.

The companion bill, House Bill 367, establishes the ‘Kentucky Dyslexia Ready to Read Trust’ to fund the district support of HB 187. The trust would generate funding and support dyslexia programs in Kentucky schools by providing grants and donations through a public private partnership. Additionally, the trust would generate funding for dyslexia support programs by creating a dyslexia-focused ‘Ready to Read’ license plate.

As Kentucky’s opioid crisis rages on, we took more steps to combat it and to improve treatment for those sucked into the wrath. We passed a bill that requires the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to create quality standards and criteria for treatment and recovery programs, based on nationally recognized, evidence-based standards. The bill will also simplify licensing requirements, which often are unnecessary roadblocks to providers seeking to offer treatment. And we also passed a bill to require hospice programs to remove any dangerous opioids from the home of a deceased patient. This is a real battle, and the work continues almost daily to save Kentuckians.

Among so many things we did this week, we turned our focus to faith when we passed House Bill 40 to designate the last Wednesday in September of each year as a Day of Prayer for Kentucky’s students. In these trying times, once we have exercised every resource possible, we must rely on our faith to deliver positive results, and to ensure God Blesses Kentucky.

Thank you for allowing me to serve you. Please reach out to me with any questions or comments on any legislation. You can reach me 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.

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