2000

HB 296. Removing juveniles from adult jails was my top priority in my first term of office. I succeeded with HB 296, which specified in state law that secure detention of juveniles does not include any facility where adults are confined. It also specified timeframes for detention hearings.

HB 148. For the first time in Kentucky, certification of assisted living communities was required under this legislation passed in my first term with my primary co-sponsorship.

HB 202. Passage of this bill ensured that Kentuckians with inherited metabolic diseases have medical coverage for necessary PKU (toe pin-prick test for newborns) testing and other medical access from birth. I would go on to sponsor and pass related legislation to HB 202 in future sessions.

2001

HB 138. I joined as a primary co-sponsor of this bill aimed at providing better oversight of physician assistants. It passed, requiring that licensed health care facilities have policies for credentialing, oversight, and appointment of physician assistants as well as oversight over a physician assistant’s clinical privileges.

HB 174. Health insurance coverage for assisted living benefits and adult day care services in long term care policies was strengthened under this legislation which I joined as a primary co-sponsor. Consumer protection for long term policy holders was greatly enhanced under this bill.

2002

HB 353. Believe it or not, there was a time when school children in Kentucky could not self-administer their asthma inhalers in school. That changed under this legislation, allowing students to self-administer their asthma medication in school with written permission from the parent and health provider.

HB 358. Improves returns on investments by allowing certificates of deposit and savings accounts to exceed FDIC limits if fully secured by irrevocable letter of credit, surety bond, or other acceptable means.

HB 395. This bill continued my work on inherited metabolic disease by increasing caps for medical formulas and low protein modified foods to address inherited diseases and conditions.

HB 464. Strengthening of local health departments was the purpose of this legislation, which increased the membership of the urban-county board of health to 13 and allowed creation of a public health taxing district to fund health department facilities.

2003

The Subcommittee on Horse Farming. This panel was the first created to specifically address the needs of Kentucky’s signature horse industry. I was selected as the House chair of the subcommittee and set out immediately to explore and assess all matters important to the Kentucky equine industry. The subcommittee took significant steps toward elevating the horse industry in Kentucky and preparing Kentucky for major equestrian events that lie ahead, including Kentucky’s role as host of the 2010 World Equestrian Games (WEG) at the Kentucky Horse Park.

HB 287. Mortgage loan officers have an important job and their clients expect excellence. This bill, for which I was a primary co-sponsor, required mortgage loan broker and officers to be registered by the Department of Financial Institutions.

HB 328. This was my bill that brought primary care centers into our schools. It authorized licensed primary care centers to contract with boards of education to provide school-based health care, ensuring that our children would have health care services at school if nowhere else.

2004

HB 262. Kentuckians with disabilities deserve the same services as all other Kentuckians, and HB 262 was a means to that end. This bill created the Accessible Electronic Information Service Program, set out the non-profit bidding process for program administration, and required the periodic surcharges to fund the program.

2005

HB 88. This bill resulted from a case in Lexington where a student was assaulted by an unclassified school employee with a criminal record. HB 88 was created to give superintendents the authority to conduct a national background check for unclassified employees living in another state or who have not lived in Kentucky for a certain period of time. I was the primary sponsor of HB 88, which eventually passed in an amended form of SB 189 (see below).

HB 294. After several cases of consumer fraud by credit counselors, this bill made Kentucky one of the first states to regulate the occupation by requiring registration of credit counselors, limiting their fees, and requiring them to undergo an annual audit.

SB 189: This was an amended version of HB 88 which broadened criminal background checks for school employees. It allowed schools to designate someone to administer insulin to students who are unconscious due to a health episode. Its passage was celebrated by the American Diabetes Association and the Epilepsy Association.

2006

HB 121. Long-term care patients deserve to be safe from threats to their safety if at all preventable. This public safety bill requires long-term care facilities to disclose if a sprinkler system is not in place at the time a patient is admitted.

HB 468. Funds in the 2006 state budget bill were authorized to be used for telecommunications equipment for deaf Kentuckians after the passage of this legislation.

SB 11. This important legislation was the first shared attempt in the General Assembly to define the crime of human trafficking and make it punishable as a felony. It was a natural extension of the Human Trafficking legislation that I had sponsored and passed through the House (but which stalled in the Senate) in 2004. A similar fate awaited this bill, which had passed both chambers but was not given final passage in the Senate. Another attempt to fight the scourge of Human Trafficking would come in 2007, resulting in successful passage of SB 43.

HB 3. Before HB 3, sexual predators who exposed themselves to minors were only subject to a fine. With my amendment, this bill made repeated offenses a felony and required these predators to become part of the state Sex Offender Registry. It continues to hold those who prey on our children accountable in a meaningful way.

2007

HJR 137. A report by the Office of Inspector General in 2007 revealed proof that some social workers with Child Protective Services were preventing children from having any chance of reunion with their family in exchange for a federal subsidy to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Under this joint resolution, the Office of the Ombudsman with CHFS is expected to track and report citizen complaints about child protection programs and services.

SB 43. The successful passage of this legislation allowed more documentation, tracking and services for victims of Human Trafficking in Kentucky. Sponsored by Sen. David Boswell, I was the House floor sponsor of this important bill to create civil and criminal penalties related to exploitation and forced labor of persons. The bill made Human Trafficking a felony punishable by five to 10 years in prison, with stiffer penalties if the victim is injured or a minor.

SB 111. Delayed jury duty for nursing mothers was the intent of this legislation, a companion measure to my HB 241 permitting judges to delay jury duty for mothers who are breastfeeding. This was the third or fourth year the bill was filed, with advocates working tirelessly to see that it passed into law.

2008

HB 202. Passing the ban on Alcohol Without Liquids (AWOL), a liquor vaporizing device marketed to college students, was a huge victory for Kentucky. Today the device is illegal to buy, sell, or own in Kentucky. Its passage received national press attention as Kentucky prioritized the brain cells of our children.

HB 204. This bill started the invaluable service provided by the Bluegrass ITN (Independent Transportation Network) of transporting senior citizens to appointments in their personal vehicle. I filed and passed similar legislation in 2009.

HB 328. Qualifications and annual registration of Pharmacy Technicians were established under this legislation to ensure public safety.

HB 384. In 2000 I passed HB 296, which removed status offenders from adult jails. Kentucky fell out of compliance with federal regulations, however, jeopardizing federal funding for alternative placements. Several agencies worked with me to draft this bill to clearly reflect federal requirements and secure federal funding.

SB 90. This was a Senate bill to which I filed companion House legislation to allow establishment of interpreter training for the deaf and hard of hearing at additional state institutions. I eventually dropped my bill and carried SB 90 in the House, securing its passage.

2009

HB 129. Underage drinking enforcement tools increased with the passage of HB 129. The bill clarified where minors can congregate at concert venues where alcohol is sold by the drink. It also more clearly defines who is responsible when an establishment sells alcohol to a minor.

HB 139. This was a continuation of my 2008 work on HB 204, a bill regarding the Bluegrass ITN. Although that bill passed, it was not signed by the governor by midnight which raised issues about its viability. We ran the bill again in 2009 as HB 139, which was passed and signed into law without issue. The legislation allows communities to provide dignified transportation without taxpayer money. To find out more about the ITN program in Lexington, go to itnbluegrass.org.

2010

HB 167. This was one of several attempts to pass a tasting events bill for the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, the wine industry, and state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC). It was an important part of the WEG games that year – many WEG sponsors were members of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association who wanted to showcase their product at that historic event. Politics got in the way of its passage, despite my having the votes to pass the bill.

HB 269. While rural health departments were allowed to make purchases up to $20,000 without a bid, the state’s largest health departments in Lexington and Louisville were capped at $2,500. This legislation made the purchase limits uniform, allowing urban departments to purchase refrigeration units needed to prepare for the swine flu crisis predicted at the time.

2011

HB 441. You see the headlines far too frequently: a child being abused to the point of death. When this happens, even legislators cannot request information from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services because of confidentiality. HB 441 was my first attempt to pass a child fatality review panel to review child fatality or near fatality occurrences, set out the duties of the panel, and allows release of information to ensure that social workers are properly trained in responding to the life-of-death needs of a child. Although final passage was delayed, the legislation would get another chance in 2012.

HB 288. This legislation was brought to my attention by a group of real estate appraisers who wanted to strengthen their profession by limiting interference from unlicensed out-of-state appraisers. HB 288 required registration of real estate management companies and employees, thereby elevating the profession and consumer protections. It was one of my “miracle” bills – an unexpected win during this short session.

HB 193. This was first of many attempts I made toward passing Smoke Free Kentucky – a statewide initiative to prohibit smoking in public spaces and workplaces. This odyssey began after I was approached by leaders of the Smoke Free Kentucky movement to become principal sponsor of a statewide smoking ban in workplaces and enclosed public spaces, such as bowling alleys and barber shops. Although I had once supported a local-only option for smoking bans, the loose patchwork of ordinances (and the confusion they had created) in Kentucky changed my mind. The bill did not pass, but all was not lost: the experience prepared me for future session battles regarding the Smoke Free Kentucky bill.

HB 465. Creation of an interstate compact for the horse racing industry was the purpose of this carefully drafted legislation. The intention was to provide compact member states with more uniform and effective practice, programs, and rules for the industry, thereby improving racing and wagering. 2011 SB 24 would eventually be amended to incorporate provisions of HB 465, allowing my general legislative intent to pass both chambers and become law.

2012

HB 200. Creation of child fatality response teams to address child abuse related deaths in cooperation with county coroners was the purpose of this bill. Additionally, this was a second attempt to establish the child fatality and near fatality review panel – my proposal to ensure proper handling of Kentucky child abuse and neglect cases, and proper training of front line social workers assigned to those cases. The legislation stalled in the Senate, but not before more discussion and progress on the issue was made.

HB 237. HB 237 was an attempt to ensure that only licensed social workers could be employed in positions involving foster care management, child protection and adult protection. Disciplinary procedures for a social worker found guilty of a crime, contempt of court, or whose license had been revoked were also addressed in the bill. Unfortunately, this was a budget session and — like many public protection bills containing a fiscal note — this one stalled in the Senate.

HB 289. I continued to work toward my Smoke Free Kentucky initiative as a primary co-sponsor of HB 289 with then State Rep. (now Senate Majority Caucus Chair) Julie Raque Adams. HB 289 was a bit different from prior attempts: this bill including a specific exemption for private residences unless used for child or day care. Smoking would have also been permitted in designated open public spaces under the bill. The changes were good ones but could not keep the bill from stalling in the House despite continued support for the bill by a majority of voters.

2013

HB 120. Improvements to the real estate appraisal industry was the reason for this bill. Signed into law, HB 120 established an appraisal management company education, research, and recovery fund to cover claims filed by licensed or certified appraisers who have suffered a loss after final court judgement. The Real Estate Appraisers Board is directed to assess an annual registration fee for the fund and maintain a minimum fund level of $300,000 for recovery and guaranty purposes.

HB 172. This was the “EpiPen Bill” that changed state law to allow students with life-threatening allergies to have access to an epinephrine auto injector in school. Schools are required to keep the auto injectors in more than location because of this legislation.

HB 190. Smoke Free Kentucky legislation again received my attention and support when I filed HB 190, again with primary co-sponsorship of then-Rep. Julie Adams. Again, the bill stalled in committee. We would have to try for passage another time.

HB 290. My many years of work toward creation of the Kentucky Child Fatality and Near Fatality External Review Panel finally paid off when HB 290 passed into law. This legislation established the Panel, its duties, and its membership. Today the Panel continues to conduct comprehensive reviews of reported child fatalities and near fatalities suspected to have been caused by abuse or neglect.

2014

HB 157. Pediatric abuse prevention training became part of the continuing education requirement for physicians under this bill for which I was a primary co-sponsor. The requirement is still part of state Board of Medical Licensure standards today.

HB 173. Another attempt at passing Smoke Free Kentucky legislation happened under this legislation which I again co-sponsored by Rep. Adams. Again, passage was thwarted by members who wished to leave this a local-only option. This was my third-to-last attempt at passage of the legislation this decade.

HB 297. My support for the horse industry and equine farming led to my co-sponsorship of HB 197. The bill would have exempted feed, food additives, seeds, commercial fertilizers, and farm machinery, water, fuels, and chemicals used in equine farming from sales and use tax.

2015

HB 145. Second-to-last attempt this decade of passing the Smoke Free Kentucky bill. The bill narrowly passed the House this time but was held in Senate committee with no hope of passage. That forced us to file a “discharge petition” – a parliamentary procedure to force a bill from committee so that it can be voted on by the full chamber. The petition was unsuccessful, leaving the bill to die in the Senate. This was the closest I came to passing the Smoke Free Kentucky bill after five successive attempts.

HB 357. This is perennial legislation required to “pay the state’s bills,” as state lawmakers like to say. Officially, the bill authorizes payment of claims against the state that have been approved but left unpaid due to lapsed or insufficient appropriations.

HB 426. A move toward greater employment and financial transparency at Kentucky’s Area Development Districts (ADDs) was the reason behind this legislation. HB 426 would have required that ADD directors be selected from a pool of candidates and that a training manual be prepared and issued to staff. The bill would have also required sharing of ADD financial data and a state audit of the ADDs every four years. Although the bill died in committee, it would resurface in future years.

2016

HB 310. My commitment to Kentucky’s signature Bourbon industry led to my primary co-sponsorship of this measure to phase down the wholesale sales tax rate on distilled spirits. The bill ran into a snag in the House budget committee but received wide bipartisan support (including co-sponsorship) among House members.

HB 351. My final attempt at passing Smoke Free Kentucky legislation, at least temporarily, was HB 351. The filing of a floor amendment to exempt a defined “smoking establishment” was the last action taken on the bill. The Smoke Free Kentucky odyssey is a lesson in how special interests often supersede the wants and needs of citizens. Continued education about the bodily and economic harm caused by smoking and vaping is needed to overcome the obstacles this legislation still faces.

HB 438. Kentucky ADDs were again on my radar when I filed this bill to attempt yet again to bring transparent employment and financial practices to the agencies. Although not as stringent as HB 426 filed the previous year, the bill remained stuck in Senate committee at session’s end. Victory would have to wait. House Joint Resolution 115. Emphasis on school lunch and lunch period was my reason for filing this legislation, which would have instructed the state Board of Education to require that public schools provide at least a 30-minute lunch period for children in K-5. We all know that a lack of nutrition, and energy, means poor school performance for the children who would have been helped by this measure which stalled in House committee at session’s end.

2017

HB 189. This was the year that my efforts to reform our ADDs came to fruition. The winning legislation – for which I was a primary co-sponsor — was HB 189, requiring ADDs to use specific hiring practices and comply with state accountability and transparency standards. The legislation also requires the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet to report to the Legislative Research Commission (the Kentucky General Assembly’s administrative agency) on funds allocated to ADDs, and requires ADDs to report on their use of both state and federal funding.

2018

HB 233. My support for Kentucky businesses remains strong, as does my commitment to fair wages and labor. That is why I chose to be a primary co-sponsor of this bill which would have required a prevailing wage on public works projects. The reason for my support is safety: better wages lead to higher quality work, and public works projects are taxpayer funded. To not sponsor this bill would betray my responsibility as a good steward of taxpayer money. Although HB 233 died in committee, its introduction was a step toward better government.

HB 487. HB 487 – also known as the “Wayfair Bill” — was passed in advance of the June 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in South Dakota v. Wayfair that effectively removed the physical location requirement for state sales tax collection from out-of-state vendors. HB 487 defined “remote retailer” as a company with no physical presence in the state and required remote retailers over a certain gross receipts threshold in Kentucky to collect state sales and use tax in the Commonwealth. I was a strong supporter of this legislation and expect it to create at least $250 million in much-needed annual revenue for our state.

2019

HB 193. Another “pro-employee” bill of mine was this legislation that would have made it a discriminatory action to base salary and hiring decisions on a person’s previous salary or wages. Previous salary would have been allowed to be considered by employers where required by law, if discovered while looking at non-salary information, and for public employee positions. This bill died in committee but may resurface in some future session.

2020

HB 105. I filed this bill to protect mental health professionals and clergy providing pastoral care who are victims of stalking or assault by their patient or parishioner. The bill, which ended the session stalled in House committee, would have allowed victims to petition for an interpersonal protective order from the state.

HB 134. Concern for the well-being of Kentuckians struggling daily with addiction was the focus of this effort to expand access to “sober living homes” — transitional living homes for persons in recovery. Had it passed, HB 134 would have defined sober living homes under state law, required the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to provide access to certification of the homes, and required that a directory of certified sober living homes be made available on the CHFS website.