House continues to put families first in 2020 session
By DAVID MEADE
(Jan. 24) With three weeks of the 2020 Regular Session behind us, I am pleased to report that the House remains committed to making Kentucky the best place to work and raise a family. Our first priority remains to make families stronger. We are doing that by growing our economy, protecting life, defending our most vulnerable, and preserving Kentucky values.
I cannot stress enough how important it is that we craft a balanced, responsible budget for our state. As families, we must determine how we will best spend the money we earn. Similarly, the House and Senate must wisely invest the state’s resources. There is one crucial difference – legislators are spending taxpayer dollars, and I recognize that we must be good stewards of your hard-earned money. Our budget committees have been meeting to discuss their parts of the budget, and we expect to receive the Governor’s budget proposal next week.
In the meantime, I am working on a couple of bills that will make a big impact on our state’s health and workforce. Last week, I filed legislation that we are calling the Cure Bill. When passed, it will spur medical researchers to find cures for major diseases like Alzheimer’s, cancer, or diabetes. The bill, House Bill 5, would enter Kentucky into a multistate compact to offer prizes for curing major diseases equal to five years of taxpayer savings. After several states join the compact, the amount of prize money for a disease could be over $10 billion. This amount is a substantial incentive for the private sector and a fraction of the cost that programs like Medicaid pay to treat conditions. The Cure Bill requires virtually no funding and provides little risk to taxpayers because the savings resulting from the cure funds the money for the prize.
I think it is astonishing that medical researchers have not cured a major disease since 1955, particularly since hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians — thousands in this district alone — struggle with major diseases and chronic conditions. While maintenance drugs make it possible to live, they are expensive, and their side effects are often as difficult to live with as the condition they treat. Those who are struggling or have a loved one struggling with a cruel disease are anxious and holding out hope for a cure. If we can stimulate medical research to seek these cures, we owe it to Kentuckians to adopt the Cure Bill.
Next week, I will join the Speaker in filing House Bill 1, an important measure that will help Kentuckians find their way into the workforce. Our state has one of the lowest workforce participation rates in the nation. That means that too many Kentuckians who could and should be working are not, so we must ask ourselves, “Why?”
We know that people want to get a job, but they risk losing resources they get to support their families. I think we can all agree that public assistance programs were created to help people get back on their feet. However, for thousands of people, they have become a way of life for two and three generations. HB 1 could genuinely be one of the most transformative measures we pass. It could strengthen families, and get more Kentuckians on their feet and back to work.
On a personal note, I was tremendously humbled this week to receive a Champion for Children Award from the Kentucky Youth Advocates. Many of you know that adoption and foster care issues are important to me because these children are close to my heart. We will be building on the foundation we laid with the passage of legislation in 2018 and 2019 with the ultimate goal of giving these children every opportunity for success that we possibly can.
Before I close, I want to thank those of you who responded to the questionnaire I mailed last month to those who have reached out to me and some randomly selected homes in this community. I had a great response rate — one of the highest in the General Assembly — and I am now looking over what people in this district have to say. If you did not receive one but would like to sign up on the list for next year, please contact me and let me know.
I hope to continue updating you on our work in Frankfort. If you have any questions or comments about this session, I can be reached during the week from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. (EST) through the toll-free message line at (800) 372-7181. They will ask you to share contact information and take your message. I do indeed appreciate hearing from constituents.
You can also contact me via email at David.Meade@lrc.ky.gov. You can keep track of committee meetings and potential legislation through the Kentucky Legislature Home Page at www.legislature.ky.gov and you can also follow me on Twitter @DavidMeadeKY.
David Meade represents Lincoln County and part of Pulaski County in the Kentucky House of Representatives. He is the House speaker pro tem.