Sen. Jimmy Higdon offers update on legislation approved by state Senate

14th District State Senator

Friday, Feb. 17, 2023 — The 2023 Legislative Session is moving along, with Senate committees approving numerous measures for the full chamber’s consideration. Several bills have cleared the chamber and have made their way over the state House.


Before summarizing legislation, I want to acknowledge a special occasion from week three, the 7th Annual Military Kids Day event.

We had more than 100 military kids take part in the legislative process and witness their state government in action. When you added parents and others supporting the day’s events, your legislature hosted nearly 200 people.

Kids served as Senate pages, were honored during a committee meeting and in the House and Senate chambers and were treated to lunch, where they heard from special guest speakers who have served in the armed forces. The event was certainly the most successful yet, and I hope next year will exceed this year’s success.

A bill providing funding for the Bowling Green Veterans’ Center was signed into law in week three, while several bills cleared the Senate. They were:

SENATE BILL 11. Would reopen that portion of Capital Avenue, once more providing residents and out-of-state tourists access to the beautiful campus. The bill allows emergency responders and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to temporarily stop the flow of traffic while fulfilling any duties they may have on State Capitol grounds.

SENATE BILL 24 . Expands homeschooled students’ access to Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship funds. KEES provides money to high school students mainly based on GPA and ACT scores. Homeschooled students are currently only eligible for 20 percent of available KEES money because they don’t have a traditional GPA. The bill will allow the KEES base to be calculated by an equivalent GPA determined by the homeschooled student’s ACT score.

SENATE BILL 25. A clean-up bill from the previous session’s Senate Bill 59. It clarifies the distinction between articulation and dual college credit for school accountability purposes.

SENATE BILL 49 . Seeks to alleviate teacher workforce challenges by extending how long a provisional teacher certificate lasts. This bill provides more time for candidates with baccalaureate degrees to complete alternate teacher certification.

This bill revises the provisional certification period from three to five years for those with baccalaureate degrees who seek alternative teacher certification through Options 6 and 7.

Kentucky, like all states, is facing multi-industry workforce challenges. The same is true in public education. According to recent reporting by the Louisville Courier-Journal using figures from the Kentucky Department of Education, the state is short approximately 1,700 classroom educators. It’s not quite the 11,000 figure sometimes cited by some, but is nonetheless an issue lawmakers are committed to addressing.

SENATE BILL 150 . Strengthens parental engagement and communication within public schools by ensuring school curriculum transparency regarding the subject of human sexuality and requiring notifications of health services offered and recommended by schools. Additionally the bill provides First Amendment protections to both staff and students.

I was happy to have numerous visitors from the 14th District this week, including two leadership groups, the Washington County Teen Leadership and Leadership LaRue County.

In closing, I want to thank a laundry list of people for making Military Kids Day such a huge success. First, Senate Clerk Donna Holiday who done a fantastic job receiving applications and keeping track of attendees. Secondly, my Legislative Assistant Melissa Satterley, who without none of this would be possible. She kept me on track and was pivotal in making the event the best yet. We had awesome support by the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Military Affairs, such as Corey Ann Jackson and Maj. Gen. Hal Lamberton, the Adjutant General and his wife, Karen. I’m grateful for the committed efforts of the Kentucky National Guard, Fort Knox and Fort Campbell. They really got the word out. I also have to thank all of our great Legislative Research Commission staff who keeps the ship sailing, and those in the realm of communications, especially media members who gave this special day and these military kids the attention and recognition they deserve. The list of people to thank could go on and on. I thank all who contributed and participated.

You can follow the previously mentioned bills and more at legislature.ky.gov and watch live legislative activity at KET/org/legislature. You can also track the status of other legislation by calling 866-840-2835, legislative meeting information at 800-633-9650, or leaving a message for lawmakers at 800-372-7181.

If you have any questions or comments about these or any other public policy issues, please call my office toll-free at 502-564-8100 or the legislative message line 1-800-372-7181. You can reach me at (270) 692-6945 (home) or email Jimmy.Higdon@LRC.ky.gov


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