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House continues work on legislation, committees working on state budget

By CHAD MCCOY
50th District State Representative

Friday, Feb. 7, 2020 — The first full week of February saw several key pieces of legislation deliberated in committee and on the House Floor. At the same time, members of the Appropriations and Revenue Committee and budget review subcommittees continue to work on the House version of the state budget. The budget must reflect our commitment to spend taxpayer money wisely, lay the groundwork for a solid financial future, and provide necessary services. We are working now to keep that commitment.

REP. CHAD MCCOY

While the budget is an ongoing commitment, we continue to send legislation from our committees to the full House, and from the full House to the Senate for consideration. On Thursday, the House voted 91-1 to pass HB 135, legislation aimed at increasing access to health care by allowing physician assistants (PAs) to prescribe certain controlled substances. Approximately 1,800 physician assistants practice in Kentucky, and a majority of them act as primary care providers. In fact, a quarter of practicing PAs serve in rural areas where access to medical care is otherwise limited. Kentucky is the only state in the nation that does not allow PAs to prescribe some level of controlled substances.

This week we also passed legislation that strengthens our ability to keep children safe as they ride and exit school buses. HB 34 would allow local school districts to install cameras on school bus stop arms – those mechanical signs that come out when school buses stop to let children on and off. As you know, it is illegal – and dangerous – to pass a school bus that stopped to allow children to disembark. However, there seems to be a growing disregard for this law and the safety of our school children. The bill also provides for cost and revenue sharing agreements with third parties to pay for camera installation and manage the enforcement. HB 34 also increases the fine for illegally passing a school bus.

We are continuing our work to make Kentucky more welcoming to members of our military and veterans. The Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection Committee approved a bill that would allow military families relocating to Kentucky after retiring or an honorable discharge to start their children in the school district where they are moving. This bill builds on legislation we passed last year that allows those in active duty to enroll ahead of their assignment.

Before I finish, I would like to share some information about the General Assembly’s Legislative Page Program. This is a great educational opportunity to experience democracy in action by serving a day on the House Floor during the session. They work on the floor, delivering messages, running errands, and copying materials. Page supervisors oversee the program, ensuring that pages are safe and behaving appropriately. Children must be ten and older, and a parent or guardian must also be present. We all enjoy having the children in the chamber and, frankly, they serve as a fitting reminder that the work we do will impact our state for generations.

As you can see, we are off to a busy start. If you have any questions or comments about this session, I can be reached during the week from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. (EST) through the toll-free message line at 1-800-372-7181. You can also contact me via e-mail at Chad.McCoy@lrc.ky.gov and keep track of committee meetings and potential legislation through the Kentucky Legislature Home Page at www.legislature.ky.gov.

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