Weekly Update: February 18

Week two of part two of the 2013 Regular Session of the Kentucky General Assembly saw a flurry of new bills being filed, bringing the total in the House to 409. The last day to file new bills in the House is Tuesday, February 19.

A number of bills cleared the House, and I will take this opportunity to discuss a few. One bill was HB 3, appropriately called the “Human Trafficking Victims Rights Act”. I was proud to be a co-sponsor of this legislation which cracks down on the crime of human trafficking and makes provisions for the protection of the youth who have been victimized by the horrific acts of those who prey on vulnerable children. State law enforcement and prosecutors from across the Commonwealth joined forces in support of this bill.

HB 47 was passed out of the House. This legislation allows someone convicted of a single incident of a violation, a misdemeanor, or a Class D felony to petition the court to have his or her record expunged if the person has not been convicted of another violation, misdemeanor, or felony within five years. The
county attorney and the victim of the crime are to be notified and will have the right to testify before the record is expunged. I voted for passage.

House Bill 49 was also passed. This bill establishes a garnishment process for those who have defaulted on their school loans. I voted for passage.

I voted no on HB 184, a bill that created a new administrative body to be attached to the office of the Governor. The Early Childhood Advisory Council, in my opinion, was redundant. While the intent of the legislation is commendable, we are well past the time where we can create bodies that are tasked with increasing subsidies and awarding monetary awards without first cutting government spending to offset the increased burden to the taxpayer. We simply can no longer afford to do this. I will support this legislation if money is taken from another body to fund the council.

Among legislation generating the most discussion in Frankfort are a number of bills that deal with the issue of a burgeoning debt in the Kentucky Retirement Systems. SB 2 cleared the Senate and is awaiting a hearing in the House State Government Committee. This bill mirrors what the Governor’s Pension Reform Committee suggested. I anticipate that many changes will be suggested in committee.

So far, however, no bill has been passed by both the House and Senate.

Last week I reported that I submitted HB 267 to protect our Second and Tenth Amendment rights. Because of questions about how the bill was worded, I withdrew HB 267 and introduced HB 382 in its place. HB 382 is a much more straight forward piece of legislation that prohibits the enforceability of any new federal law, rule, regulation, or order relating to the ownership or registration of certain firearms, magazines, or other firearms accessories. This bill has been sent to the Judiciary Committee for its consideration.

I submitted a Resolution that Representative Coursey co-sponsored, HR 88, urging the United States Army Corps of Engineers not to restrict boater access above and below dams on the Cumberland River. I was pleased to work with Livingston County Judge Executive Lasher and Lyon County Judge Executive White on this issue that is so important to the boaters and fishermen in the District.

As always, I look forward to hearing from you; your input is most welcome. I can be reached through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at 800-372-7181, directly at 502-564-8100 ext 665, or by visiting the Kentucky Legislature Home page at www.lrc.ky.gov and clicking on the “Email Your Legislator” link. You can also keep track of legislation for the 2013 session through the Kentucky Legislature Home Page and clicking on the “2013RS Record” link.