Despite the slick roads and thick accumulation of snow across the Commonwealth, the Kentucky General Assembly returned ready to work following the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend. The general atmosphere in the Capitol was one of anticipation as citizens rallied for causes in the Rotunda and met with their legislators throughout the week.
Senate Bill (SB) 8, which I proudly cosponsored, passed the Senate this week with overwhelming bipartisan support and is headed to the House for a vote. The bill provides civil immunity for damaging a vehicle if a person enters the vehicle with the reasonable, good-faith belief that a dog or cat is in immediate danger of death if not removed. Also known as a “Look Before You Lock” law, the bill will hopefully cut down on the amount of heat-related illnesses and deaths of pets in Kentucky.
During even-numbered years members of the Kentucky General Assembly craft a two-year budget for the state. This year’s budget discussions kicked off with Governor Matt Bevin’s State of the Commonwealth Budget Address on the evening of Tuesday, January 16. The budget address by the Governor is one of the first steps in crafting a final budget that will guide Kentucky’s financial decisions for the next two years. Once the Governor outlines his plan, the Kentucky Senate and House will craft their own budget plans, and all three parties—after long discussion and input from stakeholders—will come together to create a final budget.
The Governor proposed that the SEEK “per pupil” funding will remain the same—the highest it has ever been—and 100 percent of lottery proceeds will continue going toward student scholarships. His proposed budget also includes additional funding for law enforcement, public prosecutors, and defenders; additional dollars to fight the opioid and substance abuse crisis; and more support for adoption and foster care initiatives. However, I have a number of concerns about other sections of the proposed state budget. Again, the Governor’s budget proposal is just that—a proposal. We face a months-long process of negotiations, studies, and public hearings before a final draft is crafted. The final product will likely look much different from the Governor’s original proposal, but the driving force behind it remains the same—we must put our state on a financially-sound path forward.
If you have any questions or comments about these issues or any other public policy issue, please call me toll-free at 1-800-372-7181 or email me at CB.Embry@LRC.ky.gov.
Senator C.B. Embry, JR represents the 6th District including Butler, Hopkins, Muhlenberg, and Ohio Counties. He is Vice Chair of Veterans, Military Affairs, & Public Protection Committee and co-chairman of the Tobacco Settlement Agreement Fund Oversight Committee. He also serves as a member of the Agriculture Committee, the Natural Resources and Energy Committee, the Transportation Committee, and the Budget Review.