What was done during first month of general assembly?

Published 9:56 am Tuesday, January 30, 2018


State Representative

As the first month of the 2018 General Assembly nears its end, House Budget Committees are busy meeting and reviewing each line of the Governor’s budget proposal, and some critical bills are moving through the legislative process.

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The first piece of legislation to be sent to the governor of the 2018 session was a constitutional amendment. This amendment, known as Marsy’s Law, provides specific constitutional rights for crime victims, including the right of notice if the accused has been released, right to protections of the accused, and the legal standing to assert each of the 10 rights enacted in the bill.

While there are existing statutory rights outlining some of these guarantees, a lack of enforcement leads to victims slipping through the cracks. Marsy’s law will remedy this issue, and after sailing through both the House and Senate, now heads to the ballot box in November 2018 to be decided upon by Kentucky voters.

Building on the great successes achieved in the 2017 General Assembly, we continue work on multiple pieces of pro-family, pro-child legislation. Jenna’s Law, which expands Kentucky’s rape statutes to codify that no minor can consent to an offender above the age of 28, is near the top of the list. The legislation is named after Jenna McNeil, a Kentuckian whose attacker claimed that an interaction with her when she was a teenager was consensual, and was acquitted as a result. Under this legislation, which has already been approved by the House, Jenna’s offender would have been convicted regardless of any consent-based defense.

Additionally, we are working on comprehensive reforms to Kentucky’s adoption and foster care systems.  These are often overwhelmed with bureaucracy that can keep children from entering safe and loving homes as quickly as possible. It is our goal to reduce the cost of adoption, streamline foster care and adoption placement, and to ensure that every child can be placed in a safe and loving home. This is a priority for our caucus, the first step in an effort that is expected to be ongoing for years to come.

Another bill making its way through the legislative process would allow you to permanently freeze a credit reporting company’s access to your credit information. Currently in Kentucky, consumers can only freeze third-party access to their credit information for seven years. House Bill 46 has recently passed the House Banking and Insurance Committee, and is awaiting action by the full House.

Talks are ongoing between legislative leaders and the Governor’s Office regarding a fix to our pension systems. Our House Majority Leadership has sent several plans to the retirement systems to be scored and returned with much-needed data. We are committed to doing sound, data-driven, and responsible reforms to put our public pension systems on the right track, including full funding for the next two years.

A couple of other issues that got some attention last week included research regarding the potential of medical marijuana as well as cracking down on sanctuary cities. House Concurrent Resolution 34 overwhelmingly passed on the House floor, requesting that the federal government expedite research on the safety and effectiveness of cannabis for medical purposes. And, HB 240 would force all entities in Kentucky who receive state funds to cooperate with the federal government when enforcing immigration laws. This measure, which has just been filed, would make any government that refuses to enforce existing immigration laws ineligible for state funding.

I am honored to serve as your voice in Frankfort. In order for me to effectively represent you, it is important that I get your thoughts on the many pressing issues facing our state. You can reach me through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at (800) 372-7181, or you can contact me via email at daniel.elliott@lrc.ky.gov. You can keep track of committee meetings and potential legislation through the Kentucky Legislature Home Page at www.lrc.ky.gov.

This column was produced by House Majority Communications, and made available for House Republican Members to distribute.