JCTA’s weekly updates on the legislative session.
Week 5 (February 12)
Last week’s session proved to be eventful. The House and Senate Appropriation and Revenue Committees met and heard a presentation on the Governor’s proposed Executive Branch budget from State Budget Director John Hicks. This is definitely a bill to watch. It provides for a $2,000 salary supplement for teachers and funding for textbooks and an increase in SEEK funding.
Senate Bill 7 (the SBDM bill) also began to move, but not thru the normal channels. Instead of being heard in the Senate Education Committee, the bill was heard in the Senate State and Local Government Committee. As a result of effective lobbying by JCTA, the bill was substantially amended to remove several, but not all, of the problematic elements in the bill. It restored the three (3) educator positions to the council [had reduced the number of educator positions to two (2)], but added third parent position. Language was removed that would have allowed teacher members of the SBDM Committee to be involuntarily transferred. The bill would give superintendents outside Jefferson County complete authority to select principals, but language was restored in the bill to leave Jefferson County unchanged from the process put in place last year by Senate Bill 250 in which SBDM councils go through the normal selection process, but their principal selection decision must be approved by the superintendent. (So far, no SBDM decision has been rejected by Dr. Pollio.)
SB7 passed out of the Senate (20-15 vote) before being received by the House and referred to the House Education Committee. KEA is asking its members across the state to continue to call legislators (with a focus on State Representatives) at 1-800-372-7181 and ask them to vote NO on SB 7.
The House Education Committee also met last week and passed the following bills:
HB 22 – filed by Rep. Riley and prohibits the use of corporal punishment; although most school boards have prohibited this type of punishment, it still exists in some areas. JCTA/KEA are tracking this bill.
SB 8 – filed by Sen. Wise is the “school safety” bill and after passing out of committee, it passed out of the House and is now on the desk of Governor Beshear.
HB 340 – filed by Rep. Huff would call on districts to provide a yearly salary stipend to speech-language pathologists if funded by the state; JCTA/KEA support this bill.
The Senate Education Committee also met and passed the following bill:
SB 101 – filed by Sen. Wilson, would require the Council on Postsecondary Education to create a standardized credit articulation agreement for each approved high school career pathway, which would be required to be honored by all public colleges and universities. JCTA/KEA are tracking this bill.
New bills in the mix as of last week are:
HB 381 – filed by Rep. Jeff Donahue that would establish the school resource officer and school counselor fund and create a new state property tax to be paid into that fund to help districts pay for the hiring of either officers and/or counselors; JCTA/KEA support this bill.
HB 385 – filed by Rep Sims would require a vision examination upon a child’s enrollment in kindergarten, public school, Head Start or grade 6; JCTA/KEA are tracking this bill.
HB 390 – filed by Reps Heavrin and Meade; would require employers to provide the same leave policies to adoptive parents and birth parents; JCTA/KEA support this bill.
HB 393 – would increase the dual credit tuition rate ceilng amount and add two career and technical education courses per year to the program; filed by Rep. Tipton; JCTA/KEA support this bill.
SB 143 – filed by Sen. Wheeler would require 1-2 minutes of silence or reflection at the start of each school day; JCTA/KEA are tracking this bill.
SB 145 – filed by Senators McGarvey and Raque Adams; would authorize the General Assembly to define, permit, oversee and regulate all forms of otherwise-permissible gaming; JCTA/KEA support this bill.
SB 147 – would establish criteria for participation in a public school interscholastic extracurricular activity by a home-schooled student; filed by Sen. Westerfield; JCTA/KEA oppose this bill.
Next week, we will hit the halfway point of the legislative session. It’s very important to continue to watch your emails for legislative updates and requests for action as the budget begins to move. We will need your voice to make sure that the budget remains an education first budget!
Week 4 (February 4)
The 4th week of the 2020 Kentucky General Assembly wrapped up early on Friday, January 31, 2020.
As we shared with you on Friday, HB 350, the Backdoor Voucher Bill, has been filed and your association lobbyists in Frankfort need you to actively engage with your legislators and ask them to OPPOSE HB 350! You can call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-372-7181 or send your legislators an email. Let them know you’re an educator, and that vouchers/scholarship tax credits DO NOT actually help low income students. They just take away money that is desperately needed to provide services to these students in our public schools. Continue to call/email and let your voices be heard!
Also of concern is SB 7 – a bill that seeks to weaken SBDM Councils. Your JCTA lobbyists have been working to remove/improve problematic provisions in the bill when a committee substitute is released. And although some progress has been made, one of the most problematic provisions that appears to still be SB 7 proposes to change the composition of site-based councils so that teachers comprise less than half the council. Please call your legislators and ask them not to support SB 7 if it continues to include a provision to weaken educator voice on SBDM councils. Again, the hotline is 1-800-372-7181!
The House Education Committee met on Tuesday, January 28th and passed the following bills:
HB 37 – filed by Rep Mark Hart, requires schools to offer all students instruction in visual and performing arts; JCTA/KEA SUPPORT this bill.
HB 87 – filed by Rep Regina Huff, requires completion of the FASFA form as a high school graduation requirement; JCTA/KEA OPPOSE this bill because we are concerned it may serve as a barrier to graduation for a number of our most vulnerable students and may divert even more time of school counselors away from supporting students in order to deal with the red tape created by this certainly well-meaning bill.
HB 220 – would specify that public charter school authorizers only need to receive training if they actually are in receipt of a charter application; filed by Rep. Regina Huff; JCTA/KEA SUPPORT this bill.
The Senate Education Committee met on Thursday, January 30th, and passed the following bills:
SB 42 – a bill filed by Sen. Denise Harper-Angel, requires student ID badges issued to public middle or high school students to contain the contact information for national crisis hotlines specializing in domestic violence, sexual assault, and suicide; JCTA/KEA SUPPORT this bill.
SB 63 – filed by Sen. Jimmy Higdon, allows virtual high school completion for specific designees who did not finish high school; JCTA/KEA are TRACKING this bill.
There are a number of new bills that have been filed as well:
HB 351 – filed by Rep. Steven Rudy; increases taxes on tobacco, vaping and limited liability entities; JCTA/KEA SUPPORT this bill.
HB 352 – also filed by Rep. Steven Rudy is the Executive Branch Budget bill; JCTA/KEA SUPPORT this bill and will be monitoring it closely throughout the session.
HBs 353/355/356 – all filed by Rep. Steven Rudy; these are the budgets for Transportation/Legislative/Judicial; JCTA/KEA are TRACKING these three (3) bills.
SB 126 – filed by Sen. Morgan McGarvey; establishes public charter school authorizer guidelines for local board of education; JCTA/KEA SUPPORT this bill.
SB 130 – also filed by Sen. Morgan McGarvey; a bill prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation/gender identity; JCTA/KEA SUPPORT this bill
The session continues to pick up speed as we are now officially 20 days in to the 60-day session. Please continue to watch your email and contact your legislators! Action on bills can move swiftly so quick action on your part is often the key to informing legislators of where the teachers stand on the issues! Thanks for you all do!
Week 3 (January 27)
The Capitol was operating at full speed the past week as more bills were introduced and committees began to take action on legislation.
The Senate Education Committee met on Thursday and took up Senate Bill 8. Senate Bill 8, filed by Ma Wise does a number of things including clarifying changes and amendments to last year’s school safety bill (Senate Bill 1, 2019). While more flexibility has been provided via the bill with regard to the manner in which districts may achieve goals set in last year’s SB 1, no flexibility is provided with new language that requires all campuses to have at least one (1) SRO who is armed. Senator Gerald Neal introduced a floor amendment to the bill to provide discretion to the School Board to determine whether to arm the SROs. The full Senate will take up the Senate Bill 8 on Monday, January 27 in the orders of the day for a vote.
SB 7 continues to loom large in the distance. We urge you to continue to contact the members of the Senate State and Local Government Committee and tell them to vote “NO” on SB 7. Let the Senators know that it’s imperative the school council remain a strong and viable voice for parents and educators in the governance of individual schools. Call today! 1-800-372-7181
Also meeting this past week was the Senate Health and Welfare Committee. They took up and passed Senate Bill 79 (filed by Sen. Julie Raque-Adams) which would amend the law on child abuse and neglect (CAN) background checks for school employees to prevent a person from appearing on the CAN registry unless the substantiated finding of abuse or neglect has either been upheld on appeal or was not appealed. JCTA and KEA SUPPORT this bill.
The House Education Committee did not meet this past week but will meet on Tuesday, January 28. On the agenda are the following bills:
HB 220 – filed by Rep. Regina Huff, provides that no charter school authorizer training would be required of any school board unless and until that school board received an application; JCTA and KEA SUPPORT this bill.
HB 87 – also filed by Rep. Regina Huff, requires students to complete the FAFSA (federal college financial aid form) in order to graduate from high school; JCTA and KEA OPPOSE this bill.
HB 37 – would require schools to offer certain amounts of visual and performing arts instruction to all students; filed by Rep. Mark Hart; KEA and JCTA SUPPORT this bill.
There were a number of new bills filed this week as well:
HB 243 – filed by Rep. McKenzie Cantrell would replace existing religion classes with course on the various religious texts of the many religions practiced in Kentucky; JCTA and KEA are TRACKING this bill.
HB 245 – filed by Rep. John Blanton; increases the pension income exclusion from $31,110 to $41,110; JCTA and KEA SUPPORT this bill.
HB 251 – repeals existing “right to work” language; filed by Rep. Kathy Hinkle
HB 263 – establishes the goal of increasing participation in computer science courses by underrepresented groups; filed by Rep. Deanna Frazier; JCTA and KEA are TRACKING this bill.
HB 272 – authorizes each district board of education to determine the group insurance plan offered to its employees; filed by Rep. Steve Riley; JCTA and KEA are TRACKING this bill.
HB 278 – filed by Rep. Matthew Koch, the bill requires the inclusion of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test as a measurement of postsecondary readiness for the state accountability system; JCTA and KEA SUPPORT this bill.
HB 295 – filed by Rep. Maria Sorolis, requires at least 25 minutes of student physical activity each school day for students up to grade 8; JCTA and KEA are TRACKING this bill.
HB 296 – filed by Rep. Lisa Willner; requires school districts to provide comprehensive sex education instruction to all public school students; JCTA and KEA are TRACKING this bill.
HB 301 – filed by Rep. Jim Duplessis; requires successful completion of a one-half credit course on financial literacy as a requirement for high school graduation; JCTA and KEA OPPOSE this bill.
SB 96 – requires public employers to have an appeal process for an employee who violates a drug-free policy using legal industrial products; requires an appeal process for those public employers who require drug testing; filed by Sen. Perry Clark; JCTA and KEA SUPPORT this bill.
Week 2 (January 23)
The pace picked up somewhat last week at the Capitol. The Governor also gave his State of the Commonwealth Address which laid out his priorities for legislation. In the address, Governor Andy Beshear foreshadowed his budget proposal saying it would be an “education first budget.” Governor Beshear noted that public education has the power to transform and it will be prioritized during his administration. Beshear will unveil his proposed budget in an address at 7:00 p.m. ET January 28, on KET and at ket.org/live. Themes of the budget highlighted in the State of the Commonwealth were protecting public pensions, educator raises, and building infrastructures including high-speed internet so that students and educators can work at home as well as at school.
On Thursday, January 16, both the Senate and House Education Committees met. The Senate Education Committee heard a presentation on the implementation of Senate Bill 1 (2019), the School Safety and Resilience Act. Since becoming law, many facets of the bill have already been implemented, with other elements of the bill are awaiting action due to lack of funding, personnel, training, or a mixture of all the above. The 2019 legislation addressed several issues, from mental health needs to school resource officers (SROs). It also required districts to appoint a school safety coordinator and created the position of state school security marshal. The state has hired 12 regional compliance officers and is looking to add one more. The Kentucky Department of Education is continuing to review how school counselors use their time and how trauma informed care can be better utilized in schools. Legislators also learned that 11 school districts in the state do not have SROs.
The House Education Committee heard and passed the following two bills:
HB 190, filed by Rep. Kevin Bratcher, would require that the code of conduct include appropriate staff reporting requirements of incidents of bullying, specify time requirements for investigation and response of incidents of bullying, and procedures for appeal and review of each incident of bullying, to help ensure that appropriate responses are made to such incidence or complaints. JCTA and KEA are TRACKING this bill.
HB 14, filed by Rep. Rob Rothenburger, which would extend public college tuition waivers to spouses and children of emergency medical services personnel who have died or been rendered totally and permanently disabled in the line of duty, and also limit the total amount of waiver to a maximum of 128 credit hours of undergraduate instruction. JCTA and KEA are tracking this bill.
The House Education Committee also heard a presentation on school assessments. The Kentucky Department of Education walked the committee through the various testing requirements at the federal and state levels and how the state ensures both federal and local compliance to those requirements.
New Legislation was filed last week as well. JCTA and KEA have not yet taken positions on the majority of bills below:
HB 243 – filed by Rep. McKenzie Cantrell, replaces existing religion classes with courses on the various religious texts of the many religions practiced in the Commonwealth.
HB 245– filed by Rep. John Blanton increase the pension income exclusion from $31,110 to $41,110; JCTA and KEA SUPPORT this bill.
HB 251 – filed by Rep. Kathy Hinkle would enable collective bargaining.
HB 263 – filed by Rep. Deanna Frazier; establishes goal of increasing participation in computer science courses by underrepresented groups; require KDE to report on public school students participating in computer science courses.
HB 272 – would authorize each district board of education to determine the group insurance plan offered to its employees; filed by Rep Steve Riley.
HB 278 – filed by Rep. Matthew Koch; require inclusion of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test as a measurement of postsecondary readiness for the state accountability system.
HB 281 – requires the KDE to develop informational materials on the potential harms of sexually explicit Internet content; require each public school to distribute the materials to parents and guardians; filed by Rep. Nancy Tate.
SB 7 – filed by Sen. John Schickel; would centralize local education administration for benefit of KSBA and KASS. Allow a local board to require an annual report of activities from a school council; reduce the minimum number of teachers serving on the council to two; specify that a council decision is appealable to the local board; require the local board of education to review of a school council decision; specify the alignment of council policy with local board policy; allow a teacher to be transferred while serving on the school council; specify that local board members may attend council meetings; permit a superintendent to forward qualified applicants to the principal instead of the council; alter principal hiring process requiring principal to be selected by the superintendent after consultation with school council; require school council authority to be transferred to the superintendent if a school is identified for comprehensive support and improvement; JCTA/KEA oppose this bill.
SB 8 – filed by Sen. Max Wise; school safety legislation. Clarify the definition of “school resource officer”; allow the superintendent to specify any individual to serve as the district’s school safety coordinator; clarify which facilities are required to have school resource officers and to require that school resource officers are armed with a firearm; specify that the goal is to have at least one school counselor per public school and to have at least one school counselor or school-based mental health services provider for every 250 students; specify that the commission of a special law enforcement officer employed as a school resource officer shall be for four years; specify that the Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training is to prepare an active shooter training video in consultation with the Department of Education. JCTA is TRACKING this bill.
SB 96 – requires public employers to have an appeal process for an employee who violates a drug-free policy using legal industrial products; require an appeal process for those public employers who require drug testing; filed by Sen. Perry Clark.
We urge you to contact your call the members of the Senate State and Local Government Committee now and tell them to vote “NO” on SB 7. Let the Senators know that it’s imperative the school council remain a strong and viable voice for parents and educators in the governance of individual schools.
Call today! 1-800-372-7181.
Week 1 (January 17)
Last week marked the first week of the 2020 Kentucky General Assembly. Even for having a new Governor and several veteran lawmakers either ill or retiring, this week was seemingly a return to normal.
No legislation was taken up or passed this week. Instead, legislators were named to committees, rules for each chamber were taken up and voted on, bills were customarily filed or withdrawn, no committee meetings took place, and all members took part in the required ethics training.
This week (January 13-17, 2020) will see committee meetings begin to meet and the business of the session begin.
To note, this is the “long” session which means this is a sixty (60) day long session in which the primary function of the Legislature is to pass the biennium budget. We anticipate Governor Beshear’s budget will focus heavily on funding for public education and his commitment to public school educators.
The House and Senate will convene Monday, January 13, 2020 at 4pm. You can watch the legislative coverage live on KET at www.ket.org/legislature.
Both the House and Senate Education Committees are scheduled to meet on Thursday, January 16th. The Senate will meet at 11am (EST) and the House will meet upon adjournment.
Budget address set for Jan. 28
State legislators convened this week with everyone in agreement that developing a biennial budget is the most important issue, the highest priority bill, and a very difficult task given the level of expected tax revenues and rising costs across government. The process will begin when Gov. Andy Beshear releases his proposed budget, which he has promised will put public education before all other priorities, even if that means painful cuts in other areas. Beshear will give his budget address at 7 p.m. ET, Jan. 28 on KET and on KET.org/live.
HB 9, filed by Rep. Attica Scott (and others), would require African history instruction in certain middle and high school world history and civilization courses and require Native American history in certain middle and high school United States history courses. JCTA supports this bill.
HB 22, filed by Rep. Steve Riley, would prohibit the use of corporal punishment in public schools. (Note: This is already the case in most districts by local board policy.) JCTA and KEA are tracking this bill.
HB 25, filed by Rep. Attica Scott (and a number of others), would repeal charter schools. JCTA and KEA support this bill.
HB 30, filed by Rep. Josie Raymond, would expand the definition of “bullying” to include conduct that occurs at locations or events that are not school-sponsored, or that occur electronically (i.e.: social media or texting), if the conduct creates a hostile environment at school for the victim or disrupts the educational process. The bill would also require the code of conduct to include procedures for notifying the possible victim’s parents of the conduct, for restoring a sense of safety for a possible victim and assessing her/his needs for protection. JCTA and KEA support this bill.
HB 32, filed by Rep. Jerry Miller, would begin taxing electronic tobacco products (e-cigarettes and vapor products) at the same rate as the current state tax on other tobacco products, cigarettes, etc. Currently, electronic products are not taxed by the state at all. This bill would have a positive fiscal impact on state revenues and reduce youth use of these products. JCTA and KEA support this bill
HB 34, filed by Rep. Robert Goforth, would require each school district to install and maintain school bus stop-arm cameras on school buses by Aug. 1, 2023, with some exceptions, and would provide that 80% of fines collected from drivers caught by the cameras passing a school bus would be remitted to the school district. JCTA and KEA are tracking this bill.
HB 41, filed by Rep. Josie Raymond, would require full day kindergarten programs. JCTA and KEA support this bill.
HB 61, filed by Rep. Regina Huff, would revoke the license of any operator of a vehicle for a period of 90 days upon conviction of illegally passing a school or church bus. JCTA and KEA support this bill.
HB 87, filed by Rep. Regina Huff, would require each high school senior to complete the FAFSA (federal financial aid form) in order to graduate, or have their parent submit a form stating they have chosen not to do so. A student would also receive a hardship waiver in accordance with local board policies. JCTA and KEA OPPOSE this bill.
HB 101, filed by Rep. Tom Burch would permit a process of voter preregistration for persons at the minimum age of 16 years; each application for a motor vehicle driver’s license would be a simultaneous application for voter preregistration unless declined by the applicant. JCTA and KEA support this bill.
HB 132, filed by Rep. David Hale, is often called the “bathroom bill.” It would require students to only use bathroom/locker room facilities according the their sex at birth, and provide that school districts would be civilly liable to a student who encountered another student in such a location who had the opposite sex at birth if the school were found to have given that person permission to use the facilities or failed to take reasonable steps to prohibit the person from doing so. JCTA and KEA OPPOSE this bill.
HB 165, filed by Rep. Kathy Hinkle, would require teachers to be provided a minimum of 120 minutes per week for nonteaching (planning) activities, and would specify the certain types of teacher-directed activities to be completed during that time. JCTA and KEA support this bill.
HB 176, filed by Rep. Josie Raymond require employers with 50 or more employees to provide twelve weeks of paid parental leave for an employee who has been employed at least one year. JCTA and KEA support this bill.
HB 190, filed by Rep. Kevin Bratcher, would require that the code of conduct include appropriate staff reporting requirements of incidents of bullying, specify time requirements for investigation and response of incidents of bullying, and procedures for appeal and review of each incident of bullying to help ensure that appropriate responses are made to such incidence or complaints. JCTA and KEA are tracking this bill.
HB 220, filed by Rep. Regina Huff, would provide that no charter school authorizer training would be required of any school board members unless and until that school board received a charter application. At that time, training may be required during the 60-day application review period. JCTA and KEA are tracking this bill.
SB 1, relating to sanctuary city policies and formally titled the Federal Immigration Cooperation Act of 2020. The bill explicitly excluded school districts, school boards, and all district employees and contractors, including but not limited to school resource officers, from all aspects of this bill. This is important because federal constitutional provisions, as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court, already create special rules for schools on these issues. SB 1 therefore does NOT apply to schools in any way. JCTA and KEA are tracking this bill.
SB 14 filed by Sen. CB Embry would increase the pension income exclusion from $31,110 to $41,110. JCTA and KEA support this bill.
SB 35, filed by Sen. Danny Carroll, would provide that upon having reasonable cause to believe that a child has been abused or neglected, school staff shall report that belief to proper outside authorities for their investigation and response, and that school staff shall not conduct an investigation before making the report to outside authorities. JCTA and KEA are tracking this bill.
SB 42, filed by Sen. Denise Harper Angel, would require any student ID badge issued to a public middle or high school student to contain the contact information for national crisis hotlines specializing in domestic violence, sexual assault and suicide. JCTA and KEA support this bill.
SB 63, filed by Sen. Jimmy Higdon, would allow local school boards to create and operate virtual high school completion programs, open only to adults 21 years of age or older. The bill is permissive, not mandatory, and does not allow for virtual programs for students under 21, which would be very concerning. JCTA and KEA are tracking this bill.
Kentucky Legislative Hotline: 1-800-372-7181