Girdler says bills passed from Senate to benefit education, healthcare

Published 12:50 pm Friday, January 21, 2022

Legislative Update By State Sen. Rick Girdler

Children are the commonwealth’s most precious asset.  Investing in them today makes for a healthier, stronger, more economically sound commonwealth, and the legislative measures introduced this week underscored their importance. Four meaningful bills have been voted on and passed from the Senate Chamber, primarily on education and healthcare.

The following is an overview of bills passed by the Senate this week, which are now on their way to the state House for consideration:

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Senate Bill 9 (SB 9) systematically improves the quality and delivery of reading instruction to K-3 students across the state, by implementing supports, interventions and creating a streamlined curriculum-based foundation in phonics, vocabulary, and comprehension. SB 9 also requires reading-specific developmental training for all teachers K-3.

Senate Bill 11 (SB 11) modernizes and strengthens oversight and care for residents in assisted living communities by transitioning these services from a certification model to a licensure model within the Cabinet for Health and Family Service. This bill brings assisted living communities like nursing homes, under the Office of the Inspector General in CHFS, improving regulatory oversight on par with other states.

Senate Bill 55 (SB 55) gives first responders a more clear indication of where stroke victims should be transported. The bill adds a fourth level of certification called ‘thrombectomy capable, to hospitals caring for stroke patients.  Kentucky currently has three levels of identified care; acute, primary and comprehensive; SB 55 would add thrombectomy-capable as another, signifying the capability of handling blood clots.

Senate Bill 56 (SB 56) aims to save lives by making federally approved ‘opioid antagonist’ drugs more widely available to the public. An opioid antagonist is a drug that can rapidly reverse a drug overdose and is currently only available to first responders; this bill would make it more widely available.

Also, the week of January was National Child Advocacy week, in which our Senate Majority Caucus Chair, Julie Raque-Adams, filed priority legislation to tackle the issue of child abuse and neglect across the commonwealth. This bill aims to address issues in our Commonwealth surrounding child abuse and neglect, in which we rank 50th in the nation. That statistic is horrific and following strong attention during the first few weeks of the session to strengthen education, keep students in school and improve health care, it is imperative for the General Assembly to put measures in place to protect the most vulnerable residents in our state. Above all else, this is legislation that should bridge party lines in order to help our children and those who work to protect them. Expect more attention on this priority bill, Senate Bill (SB) 8, in the days ahead.

Finally, the governor vetoed both the Congressional (SB 3) and the House District (HB 2) maps. The Senate acted expeditiously to override both vetoes, as did the House.

I’m excited about the significant changes in policies we are able to impact for the better education and health of our residents. It’s an honor to represent you.

If you have any questions or comments about any public policy issue or the upcoming 2021 legislative session, I certainly want to hear from you. You can contact me toll-free at 1-800-372-7181 or email me at