News from Frankfurt: Homage to the Cards basketball team; Budget Approved – Winchester Sun

I was trained to handle late nights and heavy workloads as a doctor.

But I have to admit, I’m feeling a bit tired as we enter veto pause with the conclusion of week 13 of the 2022 Kentucky General Assembly. We worked late into the night to ensure important legislation was sent to the governor before the veto deadline. The House and Senate passed over 100 bills this week.

The veto pause allows the governor to review and consider legislation passed by the General Assembly. My colleagues and I in the state Senate and House of Representatives will return to Frankfurt for the last two days of this session on Wednesday 13 April and Thursday 14 April. We then reserved the opportunity to overrule any vetoes by the governor on bills passed by the General Assembly. We still have the opportunity to pass additional bills, but their vetoes cannot be overridden.

The culmination of week 13 was the final passage of budget bills, including those that fund the operations of our three branches of state government: the Executive Branch (House Bill 1), the Legislative Branch (House Bill 243), and the Judiciary Branch (House Bill 244). In addition, we approved the State Transportation Budget and Road Plan, which funds new and improved state highways, roads and bridges.

The Senate played a significant role in each of these crucial bills. I’m excited about what each of them means for the future of our state and our county.

The state budget bill passed the Senate without a single dissenting vote. This is a testament to the conscientious and careful planning of the bill over the last few weeks. Hundreds of hours have gone into crafting the state’s spending plan with careful consideration of the best interests of Kentucky residents. An investment of the time and energy of Kentucky taxpayers made possible the funding opportunities outlined in these budget statements.

Despite the many challenges we have faced over the past two years, the spending plan for the next two years capitalized on the unique funding opportunities available, while at the same time being fiscally responsible and conservative with our valuable taxpayer dollars. We are tackling the issues of COVID-19 and natural disasters head-on, investing in our government employees like never before with significant pay increases.

We’re making further historic investments in education, again paying well above the required amount into state teachers’ pensions, and relieving school districts of financial burdens by subsidizing travel expenses and funding all-day kindergartens. The final budget will help create a safer and brighter home in Kentucky for our families and children.

Although the 13th week consisted of only two legislative sessions, it was undoubtedly the most productive of the session in terms of the number of bills that went through the process. I was happy to support several bills that reached the governor with the Senate fingerprint.

● House Bill 3 is a pro-life measure called the Humanity in Healthcare Act. I had the pleasure of carrying this bill through the State Senate. It addresses several aspects of abortion, including access to abortion-promoting drugs. Following a December 2021 Food and Drug Administration policy change, these drugs are now readily available through online websites with limited oversight and accountability. This bill addresses that troubling issue. I’m also pleased to say that the Senate added an amendment to the bill that would ban abortion if the baby’s gestational age is over 15 weeks.

● House Bill 290 is the House of Representatives’ version of a bill I introduced in the Senate, Senate Bill 129. House Bill 290 provides a crucial one for students accused of violating the student code of conduct at a public college or university Procedural protection in the event of a suspension or expulsion. These are urgently needed procedural safeguards. The bill guarantees that students will be presumed innocent, receive timely written notice of the charges and specific details of the facts leading to the charges, provides ongoing access to the administrative files and evidence held by the institution, and ensures an impartial hearing.

● House Bill 8 is a tax modernization measure that reduces the income tax for Kentucky residents. She is doing this responsibly and will not tear a hole in government revenue. Income tax rates are reduced by half a percent if certain criteria are met. Income tax cuts are made possible by extending service taxes to certain services.

● House Bill 9 is a charter school law. I was proud to support this bill and have championed charter schools throughout my tenure as your state senator. Legislatures introduced the funding mechanisms for charter schools in 2017, but House Bill 9 is the next big step in providing more meaningful opportunities for Kentucky students and families. The bill provides for the first two publicly funded pilot project schools, one in Jefferson County’s West End and the other in northern Kentucky. The bill also establishes the parameters for districts’ ability to opt-in or opt-out of charter schools and how enrollment will be determined.

● House Bill 607 unifies the excise tax on every pari-mutuel bet placed in Kentucky, taxes all such bets from a top of 1.5 percent, eliminates the 15 cent per person entry tax our circuits currently face, and more . The bill plays a vital role in our 28th Circuit’s economy while raising more money for the state’s general fund to go to the estimated state-funded areas in this year’s state budget.

● House Bill 315 underscores the General Assembly’s commitment to improving broadband access for our rural communities. HB 315 mandates $182,769,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund and $67,231,000 from the ARPA State Fiscal Recovery Fund to be reserved for the Broadband Deployment Fund. This crucial legislation will establish the Office for Broadband Development and will clarify how the Office will administer and implement the Broadband Deployment Fund. In addition, the bill allocates $20 million in new funding from the state Fiscal Recovery Fund to establish the Rural Infrastructure Improvement Fund to replace utility poles for broadband construction.

I am also pleased to report that legislation that I have been a major sponsor of has also been turned over to the governor. Senate Bill 66embossed Nathan’s law, is the bill I described in a previous legislative update. As the primary sponsor of this bill, I am pleased to report that this bill has been passed and presented to the governor. The Burnett family, who are my constituents, initiated the bill and contacted my office to detail the tragic loss of their son Nathan and the grief they faced.

Senate Bill 66 takes the necessary step to further accommodate families’ grieving process by introducing requirements for how news of the death of a loved one must be conveyed. Within three years of taking office, coroners and assistant coroners must complete a minimum four-hour course that includes instructions on the grieving process and best practices for submitting obituaries to spouses or dependents. The bill also stipulates that notice of death must be given verbally and respectfully, requiring a consultation with the family member within 48 hours. In addition, the law would require emergency responders to be on call.

I appreciate the help of Clark County Coroner Robert Gayheart in drafting this bill and I have faith that the bill will be signed by the governor.

I am grateful for the signing of Senate Joint Resolution 72. Here, too, I was the main sponsor. The resolution directs the Cabinet of Health and Family Services to seek a Medicaid waiver to provide assisted living for people with severe mental illness (SMI). Currently, 53 percent of adults under state guardianship are diagnosed with SMI and could benefit from services such as assisted living facilities, group homes, family nursing homes, personal nursing homes, medical respite care and supported employment.

I look forward to the implementation of the aforementioned bills and other legislation as I trust they will continue to positively advance our state. I will keep you updated on the numerous bills pending a governor’s decision and ultimately those that may require further action by the legislature.

Also, as is my habit, I plan to provide community updates after this packed session. Further details on the budget and transport financing are in preparation.

Please do not hesitate to call me toll-free at 1-800-372-7181 or email me at [email protected] regarding this or any other public matter.

Two huge congratulations are in order!

First I want to congratulate him George Rogers Clark Cardinals for winning the 2022 boys’ state championship, the first for GRC since 1951 and the second state championship in school history. The team lost just one game all season. This is an incredible achievement and an unforgettable experience for these young men, the school and the entire community. I was proud to be joined by the talented players and staff in the Senate Chamber on Tuesday, March 29, where the team was honored with Senate Resolution 278.

Second, congratulations to the Montgomery County High School Mock Trial Red Team on becoming the 2022 Mock Trial State Champions. The team is led by dedicated coaches and a bright young group of young men and women. They were honored with Senate Joint Resolution 283. I was honored to join them in the Senate as well.

Senate District 28 is the District of Champions!

Senator Ralph Alvarado (R-Winchester) represents the 28th Senate district, including Clark and Montgomery counties and eastern Fayette County. He chairs the Senate Standing Committee on Health and Welfare. He is also a member of the Senate Standing Committees on State and Local Government and Banking and Insurance. He is a liaison member of the Budget Review Subcommittee on Human Resources. In addition, Senator Alvarado serves on the Medicaid Oversight and Advisory Statutory Committee and the Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee.

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