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Rep. Randy Bridges Legislative Update
By Randy Bridges
FRANKFORT - I joined legislators from throughout Kentucky in Frankfort this week as we convened for the first portion of the 2019 session of the Kentucky General Assembly. The first order of business was the swearing in ceremony, where all members were given the Oath of Office by Supreme Court Justice Debra Lambert. The oath is a reminder to me that it is a privilege to serve this district and our communities, an honor and responsibility that I take very seriously. I hope to continue communicating with you through these legislative updates, but also invite you to reach out to me directly. We adjourned Friday, January 11 and will reconvene the session on Tuesday, February 5. 

This week we took care of organizational tasks, adopting rules, assigning committees and electing leadership. I received my committee assignments and look forward to serving on the following committees: Education, Transportation, Natural Resource & Energy, and Budget Review Sub Committee Primary Secondary Education WD. As you know, the legislation that comes through these committees has a big impact on our state, but is specifically meaningful to our community.

This year’s session is only 30 legislative days, as opposed to the 60-day sessions we have in even numbered years. Short sessions are a great opportunity to work on issues that might otherwise be overshadowed during a budget session but are equally critical to our commonwealth’s future. I am so pleased to share that this session one of our top priorities will be a school safety measure that provides a starting point in the journey toward protecting our children. This landmark piece of legislation is so important that it has been filed as both HB 1 and SB 1, something that is rarely done. 

The School Safety and Resiliency Act is the result of months of meetings by the legislature’s School Safety Working Group. This group traveled the state and heard from a wide variety of stakeholders, including teachers, parents, law enforcement, students and mental health professionals. The ideas and suggestions gathered were instrumental in putting together this legislation – which takes a series of proactive steps to prevent any more school tragedies. It addresses two major challenges, strengthening the security of our schools and providing resources for troubled youth. 

In addition to school safety, I joined members of the bipartisan Pro Life Caucus in supporting several strong and meaningful pro-life measures. Among them is HB 5, legislation that would prohibit abortion based on race, gender or the perception of disability, such as a child born with Down syndrome. Another bill, HB 48, provides a path for Kentucky to existing KRS language banning abortion in the Commonwealth pending future decisions relating to Roe v. Wade. 

The provisions of HB 1 and SB 1 include setting a goal to provide more school resource officers and mental health professionals in our schools. The legislation also requires school districts to appoint a school safety coordinator; criminalizes making false threats against schools; requires active shooter training for certain school employees; and mandates that all access points to school buildings be secured by July 1, 2022. The School Safety and Resiliency Act would also call for the creation of a new state school security marshal who would be charged with working to keep schools compliant with safety requirements.

This is just one example of what we will be looking at when we reconvene. In the meantime, I would like to share again how seriously I take the privilege of serving this district. I look forward to working for our communities in the Kentucky General Assembly. I hope you will not hesitate to reach out to me to share your thoughts on the issues coming before us in Frankfort, and I look forward to hearing from you.

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

Published 09:22 AM, Friday Jan. 11, 2019
Updated 08:28 AM, Saturday Jan. 12, 2019

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