Finally the 2016 Legislative Session has come to an end, and it was a rough one. We hope to provide you some highlights or lowlights of the session. The Governor has 10 days to veto bills (excluding Sundays) from the moment they are received in his office. If the Governor doesn’t veto or sign them sooner, they will become law.
Legislation by the Numbers:
- Number of House Bills Passed: 74
- Number of Senate Bills Passed: 70
- Number of Bills Vetoed so far: 5
- Number of Bills signed into law so far:
- House Bills: 52
- Senate Bills: 59
- Number of Bills that became law without the Governor’s signature: 10
Legislation of Interest signed into Law:
Senate Bill 4 – Informed Consent – Pro-Life Law: Requires a doctor to inform a pregnant mother of the procedure and issues involved in an Abortion. TBK SUPPORTED.
Senate Bill 16 – Safety of Minors in Cars: There always seems to be a story in the news of a parent locking their child in the car in summer, usually on accident. This bill removes liability someone may face for property damage in an attempt to save that child from the extreme heat. However, be careful there are some “reasonable” expectations put in place that one must follow before someone acts.
Senate Bill 228 – Anti Bullying: We have several Concerns about the language of this bill. “Bullying is any unwanted verbal, physical or social behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance and is repeated or has the potential to be repeated.”
- What kind of social behavior?
- What is a power imbalance, and who determines it?
- Who determines if something has the potential to be repeated?
It must occur “on school property, school sponsored transportation, a school sponsored event, OR that disrupts the education process. “
- Apparently this can happen away from school property, transportation, or events?
- How is this adjudicated?
- What is a disruption of education process?
- Who determines something is a disruption to the education process?
Here is where they try and clear things up but don’t quite hit the mark.
“The definition shall not be interpreted to prohibit civil exchange of opinions, or debate, or cultural practices protected under the state or federal Constitution where the opinion expressed does not materially or substantially disrupt the education process”
- Who determines what a civil exchange is?
- Is a constitutional right subject to limits such as materially or substantial disruption the education process?
- We understand that materially or substantially was an attempt to raise the bar a little higher but to what level, because it has become a point of limiting constitutional rights. Current legal limits on Constitutional Rights are if you use them to cause harm. Are we now considering disruption to the educational process a harm?
We would never desire to see anyone bullied, but at the same time this bill is so vague with no definitions we don’t know how any of it could hold up in a court of law. This bill actually contains the potential to make bullies out of people who are not really bullies and thus making them the real victim. What is worse is they used a 7th grader to push this legislation through. We are tired of seeing children trotted out to pass legislation when they haven’t a clue what the consequences of the legislation they are being used to pass will have. This bill is fostering a culture among our children in which they cannot handle opposing viewpoints in society and that disagreement makes them a victim. TBK OPPOSED.
House Bill 40 – Expungement of Non-Violent Felonies: This bill allows for the expungement of Felonies that failed a grand jury indictment as well as Class D Felonies. This bill would remove from a person’s record a failed grand jury indictment. If a grand jury won’t indict then it is not worth having on your record as you didn’t even commit a crime, the prosecution failed to even prove a trial for a crime should be had. It also provides a mechanism for the expungement of Class D Felonies. Class D Felonies used to be misdemeanors and misdemeanors already have a process for expungement. There is not much difference between Class A Misdemeanors and Class D Felonies. There are not your worst of the worst, hardened criminals. Did you know you can get a felony just for writing a cold check, so you made a mistake in timing or balancing your budget, should that really haunt you the rest of your life? TBK SUPPORTED.
HB 204 – Alternatively Educated Law Enforcement: This bill would allow those in law enforcement or wanting to join law enforcement that received an education through homeschooling or a private school can still receive certification to become a law enforcement officer. TBK SUPPORTED.
HB 309 – Public Private Partnerships: Public Private Partnerships is explained in simplest terms as this. A way for the government to spend money it doesn’t have off the books until the for-profit entity comes to collect. This is not a simple lowest bidder process. This is a long term hand over of assets that will allow private businesses and government to gouge consumers and taxpayers. TBK IS SEVERELY OPPOSED TO P3’s: For more specific detail as to why, please CLICK HERE.
Legislation of Interest Becoming Law without the Governor’s Signature:
Senate Bill 169 – Election Changes: There were several of these types of bills this year, all with similar things. TBK did not specifically endorse this bill, but overall it was a good bill. It expanded the types of identification that could be used, clarified electioneering laws and made them less stringent, as well as redacted SSN’s on voter registration cards under FOIA requests (we did specifically support that stand alone bill this year)
House Bill 115 – Colon Cancer Screening: To include eligible underinsured individuals in the colon cancer screening program. TBK has not supported this bill in the past because it is just adding another form of government involvement in medicine for free. However, we did not come out hard against it, from the looks of the vote count it would have been a useless endeavor.
- There are many more bills that became law this year and some of them may be of more interest to you than the ones we listed. So CLICK HERE to see the bills that became law with the Governor’s signature and those without it.
Vetoed Legislation of Interest:
Senate Bill 196 – Books for Brains: We viewed this legislation as a mechanism for the government to get its foot further in the door for early childhood education between the ages of 0-5. There are already private versions of this program this would essentially co-opt, which the state does not have funding to for. Governor Bevin’s statement in his veto echoes these concerns. TBK OPPOSED.
- For a full list of all the legislation vetoed by the Governor so far CLICK HERE.
Enrolled Legislation of Interest: In the process of being sent to the Governor for a signature
Senate Bill 245 – REAL ID: This is piece of legislation TBK SEVERELY OPPOSED. Briefly we will list the details of what REAL ID is.
- It is a Federal program that requires citizens to use an ID with a certain set of standards for Federal purposes (i.e. flying on an airline, this is the bait that forces the states into adopting it)
- REAL ID requires your information to be:
- Stored, and
- The type of information is obviously standard demographic information, but also breeder documents such as a birth certificates and SSNs. Reminder this is not just verification, but collection.
- The information will be shared with:
- Other States
- Federal Government
- National & Regional Associations, and
- Businesses (vendors)
- It is global in scale as other countries around the world are participating in similar programs with the same interoperability. Thus other countries will have access to Americans information as well.
- The standards for REAL ID is determined by:
- ICAO a UN Agency
- Biometrics are involved, per the ICAO standards. Right now the only Biometric is Facial (algorithm used to map characteristics on your face giving you a unique identifier that will allow for computer-to-person identification). However two other favorite biometrics of ICAO are Iris and Fingerprints. Facial is choose right now because it seems less intrusive and already incorporates what people already do, but the picture will now be digital instead of “analog” to allow for the algorithm to work. This will allow for easier tracking of citizens by the government
- DHS can change the standards at any time, therefore any of the above Biometrics can be added, RFID tracking chips can be added as well once every state is on board.
- REAL ID is an unfunded Federal program, because of the ability of DHS to change the requirements at any time the cost for REAL ID cannot be accurately determined. In order to comply with REAL ID, Kentucky will have to overhaul its current DL system which is what SB 245 allows for.
- Currently they have tried to set up an opt out for this program in Kentucky, however, it seems this is a façade as both ID’s will go through the same system and vendor. We further believe this to not be a true opt out as both the REAL ID compliant and non-REAL ID compliant licenses will costs the same increased fee of $48 to renew.
- Once 2020 hits the Federal Government will not allow for alternative forms of identification to fly unless it is a REAL ID compliant DL, a Passport, or Passport Card. However, DHS is notorious for giving extensions since 2005 because the states are not complying with this law as quickly as they would like. Some have even said they won’t comply.
- With all the collection, storage and sharing of our information through the REAL ID system, identity theft will become a greater problem, as it will become an attractive target for hackers.
ACTION ALERT: CALL GOVERNOR BEVIN @ 502-564-2611 AND ENCOURAGE HIM TO VETO SB 245
So far the Governor has been a proponent of this legislation, but we still hold out hope he is willing to listen to those that elected him.
For more information on SB 245 and REAL ID CLICK HERE where you can find out the financial concerns, the liberty concerns (including some religious ones Christians should be concerned about as some consider this a precursor to the Mark of the Beast as prophesied in Revelation.)
House Bill 303 – The Budget! This is a pretty big bill, spending $22 Billion (10 Billion state funds, 12 Billion federal funds). We can’t begin to go through all the details, in fact we don’t know how the legislators did when it was finalized just a few days before the end of the session. However, here are some details of interest that were released to the media.
- $1 Billion to the pension, mostly though 4.5% cuts elsewhere in government. Currently the state pension programs are underfunded by $31 Billion.
- 5 % cuts to Colleges and University funding, this is actually a very nominal amount of funds in relation to where the Institutions of Higher Education receive their funding from.
- Judicial Branch is fully funded.
- 2017-2018 Universities and Colleges funding will be funded based on performance, but only 5% of the funding is performance based.
- Funding for Family Resource and Your Center Services, textbooks and professional development for teachers, and increased eligible for pre-school education.
- $25 Million for Work Ready scholarships, allowing for free Community College education for the first 2 years for high school graduates. The question is how long will the funding really last.
- $60 Million for the Lexington Convention Center – This has a taxing increased tied to HB 441 which did not pass, but we are going to have to research to see if this was added to another piece of legislation that did pass.
The passage of a budget by the Kentucky Legislature without a special session is a rare occurrence in recent years and a good start for Governor Bevin. However, $1 Billion in additional funds for a $31 Billion underfunded Pension System and 4.5% cuts might not be enough to save the state fiscally with some of the spending the Democrats were able to muster out of this session. Only time will tell and hopefully Governor Bevin can make more progress on the State’s finances in the future.
- For a full list of the legislation that is currently Enrolled CLICK HERE.
Final Stretch and Forward:
There are a few bills left to be taken care of, and by next Wednesday Governor Bevin will have either signed them into law, allowed them to become law, or vetoed them. There are several things we are going to have to watch. P3 is now law in this state, so we are going to have to watch those like a hawk. If the Governor does not veto REAL ID we are going to have to stop it at the Federal Level as there is repeal legislation at that level. We may have to also put forth legislation to fix the opt out, or give it a shot at repealing our compliance. Advocate against LOST and for Right to Work harder. Keep tabs on the DNA collection bill next year and educate more people on the dangers of that. The interim will start up in June, in which a lot of regulations will be offered up, approved or rejected. We will send you information on that when the time comes. One of the regulations we need to start working on getting rid of is Common Core. Governor Bevin has authority to direct the Education Department in this matter. He said during the election that “Common Core will be no more,” so hopefully we can count on him in that effort.
This has been one of the roughest sessions in a long time. It’s still not completely over, as we still have one last chance to beat back REAL ID. We need to make calls, try and see the Governor and speak to him on this issue even, educate others about the dangers of it, and we need to pray about it. Hopefully the 2017 session won’t be as crazy as this one.