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What General Assembly accomplished

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By Todd Martin

Although most of the major topics – pension reform, redistricting, tax reform, industrialized hemp – were not among the bills passed on to Gov. Steve Beshear by the House and Senate, Kentucky’s legislators did move 107 bills looking to be signed into law, and more could be added in the session’s final two days, March 25-26.

State Sen. Paul Hornback (R-Shelbyville) said he is optimistic that his two bills – on legalizing industrial hemp and on telecommunications restructuring – could be heard and voted on in the House.

“I think if they can be heard, if the House leadership will allow it, then they would pass,” he said.

State Rep. Brad Montell (R-Shelbyville) said he is also holding out hope that the pension reform, one of the most important topics heading into the 2013 regular session, can be finished without a special session.

“It’s still a possibility, and I’m cautiously optimistic that we can get it worked out,” he said. “I think we’ve accomplished some good things, but without pension reform, I don’t know how you can call this session a success.”

Some of the bills sent to the governor by the House and Senate this session are:

  • The Pill Mill Bill: House Bill 217 will clean-up some unintended issues from last year’s bill, which was heavily criticized as too broad and complicated. The changes include exempting hospitals and long-term care facilities from some prescription regulations; requiring physical and mental examinations only when appropriate to patient’s medical complaints; and allowing a 14-day exemption for surgical patients to receive appropriate pain medication.
  • Dropout age: Allowing local public school districts to increase the dropout age to 18.
  • Taxing districts: Providing some transparency with special taxing districts. The bill would require any tax increases to have a public hearing at the county’s fiscal court meeting.
  • Coyote hunting: Would allow coyotes to be hunted year around with no limits, and allow baiting and electronic calls to attract coyotes.
  • Educator evaluation: Would require the Kentucky Board of Education to establish a statewide system of evaluation for all certified employees [those working with students].
  • Ale-8-One: Establish Ale-8-One as the original Kentucky soft drink.
  • Honor Sergeant Charles Floyd: Would declare Aug. 20, 2013, Sergeant Charles Floyd Day in the commonwealth in honor of the valued member of the Lewis and Clark expedition who perished on the journey.