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EKU GOV Weekly Report | 1.26.16

Greetings and welcome to first of our EKU GOV weekly reporting for 2016. The legislative session is entering its third week of action. Special elections, snowmageddon v2.0 and the holiday week last week have all led to very few bills managing to make much progress.  
Among those bills that did move, the full Senate passed an "informed consent" bill requiring women to meet in person with a doctor 24 hours in advance of an abortion, a bill to provide more transparency for legislative pensions and a bill to crack down on repeat DUI offenders.  Meanwhile, two hot-button bills passed the Senate's public protection committee:  one bill aimed at limiting public funding for abortion services, and another bill specifying that fetal tissue derived after an abortion cannot be sold.
On the House side, the full chamber passed legislation to expand the address protection program for victims of domestic violence, another bill to provide colon cancer screenings to underinsured individuals, and a bill to expand the definition of reference tobacco (tobacco grown for research). Among key bills filed this week, legislation addressing penalties for heroin traffickers (SB115) was introduced in the Senate, and House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D) introduced a bill to increase the state's minimum wage to $10.10 per hour by July 1, 2018 (HB278).
The pace and activity will accelerate next week. The filing deadline for the 2016 elections is today at 4:00 pm. Every legislator will know whether or not they have a primary and/ or general election opponent at that point.  Tonight, Governor Bevin (R) will give his first State of the Commonwealth Budget Address and lay out his much anticipated budget plans for the biennium. His budget will be filed as a House bill on Wednesday and then the House will begin their work on the budget. On Thursday, Senate President Robert Stivers (R) made a floor speech laying the groundwork for the "austere" budget that the Governor is expected to present next week. We will send post another update after the budget address and filing deadline pass.

David T. McFaddin, Ed.D.

Vice President
Engagement and Regional Stewardship
Eastern Kentucky University

Published on January 27, 2016

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