CB Embry photoKENTUCKY (2/21/20) — We began the week by remembering our founding fathers and the noble leaders who helped shape our great nation. On Presidents Day, we salute all U.S. Presidents, past and present, especially Kentucky’s son, Abraham Lincoln.

If you’ve visited the Capitol, you may remember the grand statue of President Lincoln in the rotunda. There is a century-old tradition of rubbing his left boot for good luck. Especially popular during the session months, lawmakers and visitors frequently touch the statue as they pass through the rotunda. While the hustle and bustle of the session could always use a little more positivity and luck, the statue serves as a daily reminder of Lincoln’s remarkable leadership and moral courage he displayed as a lawmaker, the type of Kentuckian we should all aspire to be.

Week seven marks the halfway point of the 2020 Regular Session of the Kentucky General Assembly. For the past couple of months, I, along with my colleagues in the Senate and House, have been working diligently to pass legislation on a wide variety of issues facing Kentuckians and our Commonwealth. With a little fewer than 30 days left in the session, we want to make sure

SB 111 passed with bipartisan support this week. This bill relates to our first responders and law enforcement personell who are killed in the line of duty. SB 111 would require, upon the family’s approval, the American flag to be draped over the casket of a police officer, firefighter, emergency medical services provider or coroner killed in the line of duty. SB 111 would apply when the first-responder’s body is returned from the medical examiner’s office. The bill also states a coroner should professionally transport the remains according to the family’s wishes. SB 111 passed by a 34-0 vote. As vice chairman of the Senate Veterans, Military Affairs & Public Protection Committee, I was pleased to see its passage.

Also passing in the Senate with bipartisan support was SB 50. This is a technical measure regarding pharmacy benefits and seeks to remedy unfair practices by Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) within the Medicaid program. SB 50 tackles many issues including preferred drug lists, reimbursement methodology, and dispensing fees within Medicaid managed care. SB 50 would provide transparency by requiring the contracted PBM to disclose any potential conflict-of-interest with the state Medicaid department, managed care organizations, pharmacies and other groups involved in the pharmaceutical industry. Also, the PBM would have to disclose any fees it imposes on pharmacies.

The amended version of SB 50 would protect a nearly 30-year-old federal arrangement, titled the 340B Drug Pricing Program, which requires pharmaceutical manufacturers to provide drugs to some health care organizations, such as Kentucky’s rural hospitals, at significantly reduced prices. I am a proud co-sponsor of SB 50 and hope to see its passage in the House of Representatives soon.
Other bills moving to the House for consideration are:

SB 91 protects patients and healthcare providers from harmful surgical smoke by requiring licensed health facilities that use energy generating devices (tools using heat, laser, or electricity) to use a smoke evacuation system during any surgical procedure that produces surgical smoke.

SB 103 would exempt some agricultural buildings on farms of five acres or more from certain sewage disposal and plumbing requirements. This would not include residential buildings or structures within a city’s limits. Currently, the farm has to be at least 10 acres or more to qualify for the exemption.
SB 134 would establish the Optometry Scholarship Program to provide students the opportunity to attend an optometry school and become a certified practitioner in Kentucky. A minimum of one-third of the amount spent on scholarships would be awarded to students attending the Kentucky College of Optometry at the University of Pikeville. The remaining amount could be spent on scholarships to out-of-state institutions. SB 134 would also create a trust fund for the program.

Thank you for your calls, emails, and visits to the Capitol. With more than 30 days of the legislative session behind us, our main focus will continue to be the state budget and road plan as we lay out the Commonwealth’s financial path for the next two years.

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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I am grateful for the opportunity to represent you in the 6th District and welcome your feedback throughout the 2020 Session.

Note: Senator C.B. Embry, (R-Morgantown), represents the 6th District including Butler, Hopkins, Muhlenberg and Ohio counties. He is vice chairman 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 Natural Resources and Energy Committee; the Transportation Committee, and the Budget Review Subcommittee on Education. 

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