It’s been good to be back among the people of the 47th House District in Carroll, Gallatin, Henry and Trimble counties since the adjournment of the 2017 session of the Kentucky General Assembly on March 30th. I’ve enjoyed talking to so many of you about the many issues we faced and the final decisions that were made, some with my support and some without.
In previous columns, I’ve discussed my disappointment with the passage of legislation that will allow for the creation of for-profit charter schools, which I believe pose a real threat to public education, as well legislation that will hurt our working families through the repeal of prevailing wage standards and the enactment of “right-to-work-for-less” legislation.
Yet there were a number of other subject areas covered during in our short, 30-day session held in odd-numbered years, and I encourage you to consider these bill summaries on legislation approved during the 2017 session compiled by the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission’s
Driver’s licenses. HB 410, known as the REAL ID Bill, will create a voluntary travel ID or enhanced driver’s license to board airplanes and enter federal facilities, including military facilities, as of Jan. 1, 2019. The legislation is designed to meet anti-terrorism standards in the federal REAL ID Act passed by Congress in 2005. It also spells out rules for issuing a “standard” driver’s license, permit or state personal ID card.
Education reform. SB 1 will create new rules for how students are taught and tested and how teachers are evaluated in Kentucky public schools. The legislation will require a review of academic standards in the schools beginning next school year and every six years thereafter while implementing a performance-based assessment of student learning and new benchmarks for measuring college and career readiness.
Fentanyl and other opioids. HB 333 would create strong penalties for trafficking any amount of heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil and fentanyl derivatives that are destroying Kentucky lives and families. It would also clarify definitions and requirements for the prescription of controlled substances, define prescribing authority within long-term care facilities, and allow the Cabinet for Health and Family Services Office of Inspector General to investigative patterns of prescribing and report irregularities to appropriate authorities.
Hemp. SB 218 is designed to improve the state’s industrial hemp production program, first established in 2014. This year marks the Commonwealth’s largest industrial hemp crop under the program with more than 12,000 acres approved for production.
Religious freedom. SB 17 will specify in statute that Kentucky public school and public college and university students have the legal right to express their religious and political views in their school work, artwork, speeches and other ways.
Beginning in June, I will be returning to Frankfort occasionally to attend interim joint committee meetings comprised of members of both the House and Senate as we consider the effects of the legislation just passed and begin planning for our longer, 60-day session that will begin in January 2018. In this longer session held in an even-numbered year, we’ll be focusing on creating the state’s next two-year budget plan and I look forward to speaking out strongly for the economic and educational needs of our region.
Until then, I encourage you to contact me with your questions and concerns, and please also send along information regarding community events in our area. You can call the Legislative Message Line toll-free at 1-800-372-7181 or email me at [email protected]. I enjoy celebrating our way of life throughout the year, but there’s something especially beautiful about gathering with our friends in the springtime. I hope to see you soon!
State Rep. Rick Rand represents the state’s 47th House District in Carroll, Gallatin, Henry and Trimble counties.