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Kentucky Senate staying busy, working on budget

By Rick Girdler

State Senator

Receiving the Commonwealth’s two-year, multi-billion dollar budget plan from our colleagues in the House highlighted one of our busiest weeks yet in the Senate as we reached the two-thirds point of the 2018 Session of the Kentucky General Assembly. Hundreds of visitors from all corners of Kentucky packed committee hearings and rallied for important causes in a week that saw no shortage of legislative activity.

We in the Senate will be working hard to review the House’s version of the state budget, House Bill 200, which aimed to restore several cuts made to Education, Veteran’s Affairs, and to Kentucky State Police that were recommended by Governor Bevin. Balancing the fiscal health and future of the Commonwealth while funding vital state programs is no easy task. It will be an intensive review process from this point that will lead to many late nights and weekends for us in the Senate.

We also had the first committee hearing for our proposed pension reform bill, Senate Bill (SB) 1. Senate Bill 1 is the culmination of months of research with input from teachers, public employees, and taxpayers from across the Commonwealth. The committee hosted a hearing-only meeting on SB 1, and a committee substitute was proposed for the bill. The committee substitute looks to fix technical errors and make additional changes that reflect input from various stakeholders. I look forward to continuing the pension conversation as the bill moves through the legislative process.

We passed a number of bills through the Senate this week, including SB 90, which updates laws and financial appropriations relating to the law enforcement and firefighters foundation programs (KLEFPF). Other bills of note passing the Senate were SB 122, related to motorcycle safety education, and SB 104, which would update laws pertaining to natural gas pipeline safety in accordance with the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act.

Senate Bill 112 establishes laws pertaining to telehealth, which allows health care providers to deliver medical and health services via electronic means. Telehealth is essential in our modern world and is especially crucial for our more rural communities where there is not always easy access to face-to-face health care services. A pro-life amendment to SB 112 that also passed prohibits the use of telehealth for abortion in hopes of preventing deadly side effects from oral abortifacients from occurring without the physical presence of a doctor.

Senator Rick Girdler (R-Somerset) represents the 15th District, including Boyle, Lincoln and Pulaski counties.