This week the Senate focused on promoting energy and election legislation that did not make it into law during last year’s session of the General Assembly, as well as introducing new legislation focusing on horse racing, child care safety, and the state pension system.
The Senate passed two bills this week that we passed last year, but the House failed to take up. Senate Bill 34 lifts a prohibition against nuclear power plant construction in Kentucky. This does not mean that a plant will be built in Kentucky soon, but it does allow us to be ready for the future if we need to adjust our energy approach due to economic or national security concerns.
Also passed out of the Senate again was Senate Bill 41, which allows Independent voters to vote in either the Democratic or Republican party primaries. There are a large number of individuals presently registered as either Republican or Democrat who in fact, consider themselves independents. There is no reason that a person should be forced to register with a party whose philosophy they do not concur with just to be allowed to participate in the political process.
New legislation passed this week included Senate Bill 24, which allows Kentucky to join the newly drafted National Racing Compact. The compact aims to create uniform rules and regulations for the horse racing industry in the United States.
We also approved Senate Bill 105 that requires a child-care center to have a written plan for evacuation in the event of fire, natural disaster, or other threatening situation. This plan will be updated annually and be provided to local emergency officials and parents.
Finally, Senate Bill 2 will reform the state pension by moving new state employees (with the exception of teachers, who do not participate in Social Security) to a “defined contribution” plan instead of the current “defined benefit” system, which is bankrupting Kentucky. The General Assembly began the process of reforming the state pension system in 2008 but more must be done to put Kentucky’s fiscal house in order.
As always, please feel free to call me toll-free with any questions or comments at 1-800-372-7181 or TTY 1-800-896-0305. You can also find us on the World Wide Web at www.lrc.state.ky.us.