Greetings from Frankfort – February 2013

Greetings from Frankfort!  The pace of Kentucky state lawmakers’ last week back had a few folks checking their surroundings to make sure we were at the State Capitol in February and not Churchill Downs the first Saturday in May.

It was, in a word, fast.

The 2013 Legislative session should be the session of  reform, reform, reform: Pension reform, tax reform, and constitutionally required redistricting which needs to be completed by 2014.  In addition, I have long believed that Kentucky needs budget reform.

No excuses!  The KY pension system is fractured and close to terminal life support.  This General Assembly must take the  action necessary this session, just as the private employers have done many years ago.   The taxpaying citizens of Kentucky and our State employees deserve our diligence to this task. Pension reform legislation in the House will be vetted by the House State Government Committee, which oversaw the Kentucky Public Pensions Task Force.  Pension-reform legislation was approved by the full Senate by a vote of 33-5 last Thursday and  sent to the House.

I plan to introduce (PBB) Priority-based or priority directed budgeting legislation.  PBB increases efficiency and controls spending, streamlining the activities of agencies, and eliminating waste.  The Legislation proposes that Cabinets and programs utilize outcome measurements and results-driven performance reviews to determine how funding is distributed.  This method differs markedly from baseline budgets, which consist of a base amount and subsequent yearly increases to account for inflation and additional agency needs that may be unnecessary. In priority-based budgeting, any additional spending has to be justified through strategic and measurable cost benefits and outcomes.  The PBB model shifts the focus from the “business-as-usual” approach.

I have also introduced Kentucky Second Amendment legislation along with many of my colleagues.

Additionally, I have reintroduced several pieces of legislation, including: HB 74, Tamper Resistant Narcotics, and HB 3, Human Trafficking Victims’ Rights bill, and the Kentucky Reins Act (aimed at reducing excessive spending by executive branch without legislative approval)

HB 74, STOPP Kentucky Act 2013 (Stop Tampering of Prescription Pills in Kentucky).  STOPP KY prohibits the unauthorized substitution of an FDA-approved opioid product that incorporates tamper-resistant technologies for a product that does not.  Tamper resistant formulations, or TRFs, make it much more difficult to crush, melt, or otherwise alter medication into a form that is easier to abuse.

Rep. Overly and I are  sponsoring HB3, the Human Trafficking Victims’ Rights bill.  Reflected in HB 3 are measures from our 2012 legislation and also provisions for the safe harbor of minor victims of human trafficking including early screening and intervention provided by law enforcement, social workers and human trafficking advocates.  Thank you colleagues – as of  Friday we have sixty-four co-sponsors.  HB 3 should be heard in House Judiciary this week.   Human trafficking is the fastest-growing form of trafficking, along with drugs and guns.

It is a short session, yet critical that we take bold steps, dramatically change the way Kentucky does business and address issues that have long been passed over.  As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.