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Rep. Randy Bridges' Legislative Update
By Representative Randy Bridges
PADUCAH - After reconvening for the February portion of the 2019 General Assembly on Tuesday, legislators spent the majority of this week filing legislation and meeting with our committees to consider bills and resolutions. On Thursday night, legislators from the House and Senate convened a joint session to hear the Governor’s State of the Commonwealth Address. 

While there are numerous issues under discussion, there is no doubt that school safety is the top priority of this session. That’s why it carries the unique designation of both House Bill 1 and Senate Bill 1 – as securing our school buildings and providing more resources to troubled youth are among the most important actions that the General Assembly could take.

This bipartisan priority began moving this past week, with SB 1 moving through committee and passing the Senate on Friday. The House Education Committee heard and discussed the bill in committee last week, and will be using feedback from stakeholders and other legislators to improve the measure. I look forward to fully supporting this legislation when we take it up to the House, as keeping our students safe in school is of the upmost importance.

In keeping with a culture of openness and bipartisanship, the Public Pension Working Group has also continued to meet throughout January and February to tackle the Commonwealth’s pension crisis. This group was formed in January with the goal of coming to a solution to the state’s $43 billion unfunded liability, which not only threatens the retirement of our valued teachers and public employees, but weakens our ability to pay for other vital services like education, school safety, and more.

Feedback from affected parties on this issue, including taxpayers, is critical to coming to a consensus that stops the bleeding of our pension systems. I hope to continue hearing from many of you on this issue, and the working group will also continue taking testimony from a wide range of stakeholders while working toward a solution.

Some important bills began moving through legislative committees this week that will improve treatment options for our fellow citizens affected by the drug epidemic, boost job opportunities, and more. For example, House Bill 121 passed the Health and Family Services Committee, a measure that would eliminate waiting periods often imposed by insurance companies for medication-based treatment for substance abuse. This bill would allow patients to receive critical life-saving treatment right away, and is a critical step in the fight against the opioid epidemic.

The Health and Welfare Committee also approved HCR 3, a resolution that calls on Congress to expedite research on medical marijuana. Medical marijuana has become a hot topic across the nation as 31 states have already legalized it in some form. The resolution calls on federal regulators to move forward with research into the benefits and risks of the drug in order to provide us with evidence-based and scientifically sound medical marijuana policies before we take any action on the issue. 


Among the bills filed this week is HB 4, legislation that would allow legislators more oversight into the state’s regulatory process, ensuring that the intent of the bills we passed is actually followed when state agencies make regulations. The legislature currently has the ability to monitor regulations and point out issues, but the agencies that write the regulations are under no obligation to actually address legislator’s concerns. House Bill 4 would require the legislature to issue an annual report on regulations that legislators feel do not meet legislative intent. The legislature would then have the opportunity to clarify the issue through new legislation.

On another note, the Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet recently announced plans to allocate $20 million for maintenance and facility upgrades to Kentucky State Parks. These dollars were approved by the General Assembly in 2018 as a bond pool, and will be used to provide critical upgrades to replace dire maintenance needs. These include replacing aging lodge roofs, upgrading campgrounds, repairing swimming pools and more, as part of an effort to ensure that our parks are attractive to tourists from across the country.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with your thoughts on all of the important issues facing us in Frankfort. It is an honor for me to serve as your voice in Frankfort, and I will continue to keep you informed as the 2019 session moves forward. 

Rep. Randy Bridges represents the 3rd House District, which includes part of McCracken County. Contact him with any questions, concerns, or advice. He can be reached through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at 1-800-372-7181, or via e-mail at randy.bridges@lrc.ky.gov. 


Published 10:00 PM, Saturday Feb. 09, 2019
Updated 08:03 AM, Sunday Feb. 10, 2019

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