pruntyBELTON, Ky. (1/13/20) — As I write, we have completed the first four days of the 2020 Session. The primary accomplishments include the adoption of the rules and all other administrative procedures to set up the framework for functioning for the sixty-day budget session ahead.

In addition to organizational processes, over 300 bills were filed that include those that had been pre-filed. New bills can be filed up until March 2. Committee work will begin next week and then the debate on the floor will begin.

One of the major changes in the rules was the elimination of the “Consent Calendar”. It was created a few years ago to help move the work of the House along when bills passed unanimously out of committee. Initially, there were a reasonable number of bills per day on the consent calendar, however, in the past few years the numbers have increased to the level that it was determined there were too many that had nay votes on the floor which indicated that some bills need further debate prior to passage. It will change the work of the House and may make for longer nights in order to get what is deemed important passed prior to Sine Die (the last day of Session on April 15), but with new rules limiting the time of explanation, hopefully good work will be accomplished on behalf of the people in a timely fashion.

Legislative priorities for the House will be set at the beginning of next week. Public Assistance and criminal justice reform will most likely be among them.

An issue I have heard quite a bit from home about are concerns regarding any changes to the gun laws in Kentucky. I am in communication with the Chair of the Judiciary Committee where those bills would have to be heard, if they are heard. I want to reiterate that I am a strong Second Amendment supporter which is reflected in my voting record and the Majority Caucus is a strong Second Amendment caucus in both chambers of the legislature.

For those of you specifically concerned about Rep. Donohue’s assault weapon bill (HB 130), he withdrew it and then basically refiled it as HB 192 that in reality would expand the scope of the previous bill. It has been assigned to the Judiciary Committee and I am watching it closely.

I walked over to the Capitol during the KY United Second Amendment Rally on Tuesday. I was glad to support it and look forward to any other visits on this issue.
Personally, I have been advocating for the staff of the Pennyrile Narcotics Task Force who operate out of Central City. Somehow, they were not included years ago when the KLEFP (Kentucky Law Enforcement Foundation Program) Fund was created to assist law enforcement. The plan is to include them in the Governor’s budget this year, then secure it for the future by placing in statute next year. If they are not included in the budget or if they get removed for some reason, I have a bill I can file to include them. Leaving them out was an oversight and has needed to be corrected for years.

In addition, I have made contact at the Economic Development Cabinet on behalf of a local industry that reached out to me to see if there is any assistance the state could provide. The attitude from the new administration in the Economic Development Cabinet was one of cooperation; I was told Economic Development is not partisan. That was music to my ears because that is as it should be.

Thursday evening, I attended the Kentucky Chamber’s 25th Annual Chamber Day Dinner in Lexington. We heard from Ashli Watts, the new President and CEO, Leadership from both Chambers as well as Governor Beshear.

I was asked to be Co-Chair of the Healthcare Subcommittee of the Engage and Empower Caucus, a caucus that will focus on issues that affect those with physical and mental challenges. An issue that I have been working on since elected that hopefully will gain greater support because of the caucus is gaining a Home Modification Tax Credit for those who modify their homes to accommodate physical challenges. Our current goal is to collect the data to prove it saves money to keep people in their homes where many prefer to be rather than place them elsewhere, whether it be with family, assisted living or perhaps a nursing home. If someone can live independently or with the assistance of family or a caregiver in their home, why not help make it easier to do that?

We will hear again from Governor Beshear on Tuesday evening, January 14, when he gives his first State of the Commonwealth address to a combined gathering of the Legislature in the House Chamber. The address will be on KET beginning at 6:00 p.m. Central Time.

I am looking forward to the Rally for Life in the Rotunda next Wednesday, January 15th at noon. I hope many from the 15th District can come for that rally. Attorney General Daniel Cameron will be the main speaker. I look forward to an update on the many pro-life bills passed by the General Assembly in recent years that became law and were then subsequently challenged in court. Attorney General Cameron has hired several from the previous administration to continue defending those laws as they move through the court proceedings.

An update on Representative John “Bam” Carney, our House Majority Floor Leader. He became gravely ill just prior to Christmas with pancreatitis. He was hospitalized in Louisville, underwent several surgeries and the family was told the Friday after Christmas that they had done all they could do. Much prayer has been going up on his behalf and each day he has made progress, however, he had a setback today, Friday, and needs continued prayers.

As always, I welcome your comments and concerns on any issue and can be reached, regardless if in session or not, through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at-1-800-372-7181, at 502-564-8100 Ext. 686, or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Please follow me on Facebook @melindagibbonsprunty. You can also keep track of committee meetings and potential legislation by watching live on KET or through the Kentucky Legislature Home Page at www.legislature.ky.gov.

Note: Representative Melinda Gibbons Prunty represents the 15th House District serving Muhlenberg and SE Hopkins counties which includes White Plains, Morton’s Gap, Anton as well as sections of Nortonville, Earlington and SE Madisonville. She is Vice-Chair of the Health & Family Services Committee as well as the Budget Review Sub-Committee on Health & Family Services. She serves as a member on, the Appropriations & Revenue, Medicaid Oversight and Advisory, Education, and Natural Resources & Energy Committees as well as the Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Advisory Committee http://chfs.ky.gov/dph/ColonCancer.htm.

 

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