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Newspaper Archive of
Bath County News - Outlook
Owingsville, Kentucky
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March 4, 2021     Bath County News - Outlook
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March 4, 2021
 

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10 March 04, 2021 Newspaper» News Outlook I hope that you and your family remained safe dur- ing the period of heavy ice and snowstorms. We really cannot say enough about the men and wom- en who work to keep the roads clear and the lights on. Stories across the commonwealth in- cluded county personnel helping other counties, emergency efforts to get necessities to people who were without, and so much more. During times of crisis the general good in people shows through, and the storm is braved together. Thank you to all involved in helping re- store normalcy. Upon legislators re- turning to Frankfort fol- lowing a postponement in session due to weather, the House and Senate got back to work on crafting and passing legislation, including continued work on the state budget. I am proud to announce that I successfully carried my first piece of legisla- tion through the Senate, and it is now on its way to the House for consider- ation. The bill was Senate Bill (SB) 131. It moves the Motorcycle Safety Education Commission and _ Program—which offers motorcycle rider training courses for nov- ice and experienced rid- ers—from the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet to the Kentucky Transpor- tation Cabinet's Office of Highway Safety, It also allows residents of other states to take rider train- ing courses in Kentucky if they are eligible for a motor vehicle instruc- tion permit in their home te. I view this bill as a esaving bill and appre- c1ate all stakeholders' ef- forts. Although I received a little bit of freshman hazing, I am nonetheless grateful for the opportu- nity to pass my first bill. I thank all my colleagues for their support. Another bill of mine that passed was SB 215. It establishes the Sec- retary's Office of Safety within the Transportation Cabinet. Last week, a Franklin County Circuit Court Judge put another injunc- tion on House Bill (I-IB) 1. This comes following litigation filed by the gov- ernor against that bill and SB 1 and 2. By the, time you read this, the judge 'may have already issued a ruling in the case that involves all three bills. No matter what the circuit (court's ruling is, I think we can expect an appeal to be filed and eventually see the case before the Supreme Court of Ken- tucky. Interestingly, during last week's joint meeting of the House Health and Family Services Commit- tee and the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, a representative from the Kentucky Board of Phar- macy testified in support of amending an existing emergency regulation relating to vaccinations. A process that only ex- ists because of the pas- sage of SB 2, which the governor is trying to keep from becoming law through the litigation he has filed. The Board of Pharmacy said that the flexibility. SB provides to allow the amendment of emergency regulations is especially. important during a state of emer- gency because, without it, a tedious process is required to make modi- fications. Thanks to SB 2, the emergency regula- tionfon ordering and ad- ministering vaccinations was amended to allow Kentucky pharmacists to join in on the widespread CQVID-19 vaccination ef- forts. This is a simple but vital update to the current regulation that will result in lives saved. We can all be grateful to the Ken— tucky Board of Pharmacy people for their initiative to make this happen. "Priority" bills seek to address the state's most immediate challenges or focus on areas of the law that are of importance to Kentuckians. Several pri- ority measures relate to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the commonwealth. A few of them continued through the legislative process this week. They included SBs 4, 6, 7, and 10. SB 4 establishes pro- cedures and require- ments for the issuances of a warrant that autho- rizes entry without no—. tice’ while maintaining the ability to act in situa— tions involving a violent offender or life and death situation. Applications for warrants would have to be reviewed impartially by a judge and conducted in service with a SWAT or special response team whose members are trained for special situations. Additionally, due process protections would be put in place, making any evidence collected in violation of the law’s provisions in- admissible in court. SB 4 serves to make danger- ous circumstances safer for law enforcement and the public while strength- ening agencies' trust. SB 6 enacts new safe- guards to ensure ethical behavior within the exec- utive branch, particularly regarding members of gubernatorial transition .. While,.’weafl comp from unique backgrounds, en- teams' haviors. Transition teams consist of folks who help a governor-elect transi- tion from candidate to the official office. They will help select individu- als who will serve in the various positions within the governor-elect’s ad- ministration and help de- termine policy goals and the new administration's general framework. If passed, SB 6 would require the existing Ex- ecutive Branch Ethics Commission to set ethi- cal conduct standards re- lated to transition teams by developing a stan- dard of ethical conduct agreement for transition team members to sign. It would apply to all mem- bers of a transition team and address registered or former lobbyists' roles. Members would be re- quired to disclose certain information, such as their current employer, boards on which they serve as a member, and any non- state sources of funds they receive for their spouses or services. Ad- ditionally, the bill would prohibit transition team members from accessing non-public information regarding matters that could personally benefit them or their spouse, cli- ents, or business they may belong to. SB 7 directly responds to a challenging situ- ation surrounding un— employment insurance. Due to the system', some benefits were awarded to people who did not qualify for them. This is to no fault of the recipi- ents. SB 7 would estab- lish a means by whichre- cipients of overpayments could request a waiver to avoid paying those funds. Recipients would haVe to respond with a waiver re— quest in no less than ten days from the date the Secretary of the Labor Cabinet deposits a notifi- cationin the mail. On a related note, the General Assembly re- ceived testimony from actions and be- ;, COMMUNITY I SENATOR BRANDON]. STORM’S LEGISLATIVE UPDATE State Auditor Mike Har- mon on his recent find- ings that over 400,000 UI-related emails remain unread. The report also cites overpayments made to recipients. I encourage you to watch that testimo- ny that took place during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Economic Development, Tourism, and Labor. It's available online at ket. org/ legislature/ archives. SB 10 also made pas- sage in the Senate. This measure can lead to meaningful dialogue and create a conducive environment for con- sidering solutions for challenges facing com- munities across the com- monwealth. If passed, SB 10 would establish a Commission on Race and Access to Opportu- nity within the legislative branch to conduct studies and research where dis- parities may exist across sectors of educational equity, health care, eco- nomic opportunity, crimi- nal justice, and more. The commission estab- lished would have the authority to hold monthly meetings, seek cement and testimony from vari- ous individuals and or- ganizations, and provide research to recommend data-driven policy initia- tives. During this time of great divisiveness, I think it's essential we consider the benefit of sitting with others in honest, open conversation With the intent to listen. No, that will not always lead to an agreement on policy, but it will lead to better un- derstanding and rapport. deavors like SB 10 pro- mote clearer pathways. I sincerely hope so. Other bills passing in the Senate included: SB 55 prohibits copay- ments or cost-sharing from being paid by any medical assistance recipi- ents. It prohibits deduct- ibles, copayments, and co- insurance requirements for Medicaid telehealth services and copayments charged in the Kentucky Children’s Health Insur- ance Program (KCHIP). SB 55 applies to Medicaid Services or any managed care organization (MCO) contracted by the Cabi- net for Health and Family Services. MCOs have long failed to reimburse for medical services. This has placed financial burdens on hos- pitals and driven up ad- ministrative costs. Anoth- er bill seeks to mitigate the challenges MCOs have created. SB 56 limits the num- ber of MCO contracts to operate the Medicaid pro- gram to three. Currently, there are five. Limiting them to three will in- crease efficiencies within the Medicaid program and lower administrative costs for health care pro- viders. SB 65 nullifies admin- istrative regulations that . were found deficient dur- ing the 2020 Legislative Interim and prohibits their re-enactment for a designated period if iden— tical to or substantially the same. One regulation the legislature found defi- cient last year would have provided SNAP benefits to parents of children who have chosen to be absent in the child's life. SB 86 authorizes local governments to adopt ordinances against open dumping of solid waste on land and water and im- pose a civil fine of not less than $250 and not more than $500. The bill would also assure that any reve- nues resulting from local ordinances are returned to the counties in which they are imposed. SB 115 seeks to build on the Read To Achieve (RTA) Program's tre- mendous success by expanding access to its successful model to more students. SB 135 relates to the postsecondary education performance fund. The bill revises the definition of "formula base amount" and establishes a defini- tion of "funding, floor" for purposes of priority funding for Kentucky in- stitutions. SB 135 would add a' hold-harmless and stop-loss prevention of 0% for the upcoming fiscal year and beyond. It also establishes how amounts distributed from the per- formance fund should be treated during the budget process. SB 141 establishes guidelines for the distri- bution of funds remain- ing in the Kentucky coal workers' pneumoconio— sis fund. It would pro- vide for the distribution of funds claimed by coal companies to pay wages, amounts owed to coun- ties, cities, school sys- tems, school districts, Bath County Memorial Library Updates Due to the Pandemic, the library is altering our services to keep our com- munity safe: The Library is open from 9:30a—5:00p Monday through Friday. .The Li- brary will continue to have computers, printing, copy- ing, and faxservicesavailé able. "7"" The Library will also have materials available and more. Finally, it pro- vides excess funds to go to unpaid workers and the Kentucky coal employers’ self-insurance guaranty fund. SB 148 declares the need for childcare in our communities as essen- tial by requiring CHFS to identify emergency care providers who pro- vide vital child care ser- vices during a state of emergency. It addresses a problem many fami- lies have struggled with throughout the last year concerning . available childcare. The bill would return childcare class- room sizes to pre-COVID numbers and allow them to combine classes dur- ing the opening and clos- ing hours once again. Bills making it to the governor last week for his consideration in- cluded SB 3 and HR 6. SB 3 moves the current Governor's Office of Ag- ricultural Policy, also known as GOAP, under the Kentucky Commis- sioner of Agriculture's jurisdiction. It passed the Senate earlier in the ses- sion and recently passed by the House with minor changes. HB 6 provides COMMUNITY CALENDAR for checkout by request through curbside services. The Library has materi- als available for checkout online if you need a library card, call the library and we will help you check out books, movies, and more for free through Kentucky Libraries Unbound. The Bookmobile service is available. The Library‘will‘ be open“ on Saturdays from 12:30? 5:30 through March. Thank you for your pa- teeth to an already exist- ing legislative committee, which with the passing of HB 6 would become the Legislative Oversight and Investigations Com- mittee. The bill would codify subpoena powers, give the committee au- thority to maintain the confidentiality of inves— tigative documents, and impose fines on those in non-compliance with the committee's efforts. As you can see, the General Assembly is not taking any time for grant- ed. We are now past the halfway point of the 2021 « 30-day session, with much work left to do. I will eon- tinue to provide weekly legislative updates in the weeks ahead. It is a real honor to rep— resent Laurel, Jackson, Estill, Powell, Menifee, and Bath Counties in the Kentucky State Senate. If you have any questions about these public policy issues or any other mat- ter of importance to you, do not hesitate to contact my office toll-free by call- ing 502-564-8100. You can also email me at brandon. storm@lrc.ky.gov. Stay safe. God bless. tience during this time. Bath March 27 Easter Egg Hunt, hosted by Owingsville and Olym- pian Springs Volunteer Fire Depts. Bath County Middle ‘ School, 10:30 am. Fun games for all ages,” TouCh-A-Truck, ' 10,000" eggs, sparky, Marshall and” Smokey, and free lunch tray All NAPAGold" Filters On Sale! FILTERS 50% on: , March 3- 7, 2021 NAPA Auto Farm Suppty 123'! Elizaville Rd Hemingsbur‘sa, 10641041 606-845-2911 Tool & Equipment Sale Up to 35% off