Budget decision getting closer

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From the Senate

By Sen. Gary Tapp

FRANKFORT - Over the past week in Frankfort, the Senate continued its work in many areas of government policy as we passed legislation dealing with jails, health care, and education.

We also continued to keep a close eye on the budget plan being worked on in the House of Representatives.

We passed House Bill 231, which creates a second level of psychiatric residential treatment facility licensure in Kentucky.

This licensure allows for 24-hour inpatient psychiatric residential treatment and habitation to children who do not meet the medical necessity standards for an acute care or psychiatric hospital but that have needs greater than what can be treated in less restrictive environments.

The impact on this bill to Kentucky families is important to note as currently, children requiring this kind of care are sent to facilities in other states.

The Senate passed SB 142, which requires the Kentucky Board of Education to provide an elective social studies course on the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament of the Bible, the New Testament of the Bible, or a combination of the three.

These courses would provide students, if they elect to take such a course, with knowledge on the content, characters, poetry, and narratives of various translations of these texts.

We also passed Senate Bill 114, a bill that I sponsored.

This school facilities legislation allows a nonprofit school finance entity, such as a school board, to lease land from another government entity in order to build a new school.

It is my hope that areas like Spencer County will be able to use this legislation to help curb costs in their future school building plans.

As I want to keep you updated on the budget process, the House of Representatives is continuing to work on its version of the state budget.

I understand that times are economically challenging right now and we are continuing to study ways to reduce state government spending.

Both House and Senate Appropriations and Revenue chairmen are in close consultation so that when the House budget proposal is finalized, the Senate can begin work immediately.

As always, I look forward to hearing from you throughout the upcoming session.

I would urge you to contact me by calling the Legislative Message Line at 1-800-372-7181.

Senator Tapp represents the 20th Senate District, which includes Bullitt, Shelby and Spencer Counties.