Lawmakers fiddling around while Kentucky burns

…And they are off! The 2018 legislative session has opened, and in the next two months or so lawmakers will focus mostly on how to find the millions of dollars needed to fix our state pension mess. Expect deep budget cuts, because the Republican-controlled legislature will resist raising taxes. Or legalizing gambling. Or legalizing pot… But that won’t stop Democrats from trying. Unlike the last session, there are no immediate culture war bills, like the right-to-work and antiabortion bills that passed quickly. Below are synopses of a few prefiled bills that would, among other things:

Legalize casinos

BR 149 — Rep. Dennis Keene, D-Wilder  |  @DennisKeene
Remove the prohibition against casino gaming; require a local option election in any precinct wanting a casino; establish initial licensing fees for full casinos at $50 million with an initial licensing period of 10 years and annual renewal thereafter at $6 million per year; permit limited casino gaming at horse racing tracks; establish requirements for limited casinos; establish a gaming tax of 31 percent and use that money for the state retirement systems for the first 10 years; and create an admission tax of $3 per person per day.
BR 197 — D. Keene; Rep. Rick Rand, D-Bedford  |  [email protected]
Amend the state Constitution to authorize the General Assembly to define and permit casino gaming; prior to July 1, 2029, require that proceeds be used to pay for oversight of casino gaming, and mandate that 100 percent of proceeds in excess of oversight costs go to retirement systems; and after July 1, 2029, allow the General Assembly to allocate proceeds.

Legalize sports betting

BR 155 — Sen. Julian M. Carroll, D-Frankfort
[email protected]
Require the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to institute a sports wagering system; declare it the policy of the Commonwealth to encourage the conduct of wagering on sporting events, when allowed by federal law, and to vest forceful control over sports wagering in the racing commission; include consideration of members of professional and collegiate sports organizations in the governor’s appointments to the commission.

Helmets for kids

BR 363 — Rep. Regina Huff,
[email protected] | @BunchGina
Require bicycle helmets for operators and passengers under the age of 12.

Teach human sexuality

BR 106 — Rep. Tom Burch,
D-Louisville  |  [email protected]
Require the state to establish a plan for school districts to provide human sexuality education in grades four through 12. It shall include age-appropriate information in: the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases including HIV and any other virus linked to AIDS, chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea and 13 relevant types of hepatitis, as well as any other sexually-transmitted 14 infections; personal body safety; human growth and development; human sexuality and development; development of relationship and communication skills needed to form healthy relationships free of violence, coercion and intimidation; and responsible sexual behavior, including but not limited to discussion of: self-esteem, self-discipline and premarital abstinence. Each local school board shall establish a procedure so a parent or legal guardian can list the areas of human sexuality education in conflict with their moral or religious beliefs, excusing their child.

Medical cannabidiol

BR 163 — J. Carroll
Permit a physician to recommend the use of cannabidiol or cannabidiol products.

Drug test welfare recipients

BR 173 — Rep. C. Wesley Morgan, R-Richmond
564-8100, ext. 607
Create a substance abuse screening program for adult recipients of public assistance, food stamps and state medical assistance.

Hot dogs (and cats)

BR 271 — Sen. Danny Carroll, R-Paducah  |  @dannycarrollky
Provide civil immunity for damaging a vehicle if a person enters the vehicle with the reasonable, good-faith belief that a dog or cat is in immediate danger of death if not removed.

Give bicyclists more room

BR 1 — Rep. Jerry T. Miller,
R-Louisville  |  @JerryTMiller
Require vehicles overtaking bicycles to pass at a distance of at least three feet; provide that if there not a minimum distance of three feet available, the passing vehicle is to use reasonable caution; and specify when a motor vehicle may pass a bicycle to the left of the center of a roadway.

Drivers license expiration notification

BR 187 — Sen. Dorsey Ridley, D-Henderson  |  564-2470
Require the state to notify holders of operators’ licenses, instruction permits and personal ID cards of the impending expiration of these documents 45 days prior to their expiration; and allow notice by electronic or postal mail.

Raise minimum wages

BR 65 — Sen. Reginald Thomas, D-Lexington  |  @ReggieThomasKY
Raise the state minimum wage to $8.20 per hour on July 1, 2018, to $9.15 per hour on July 1, 2019, to $10.10 per hour on July 1, 2020, to $11.00 per hour on July 1, 2021, to $12.05 per hour on July 1, 2022, to $13.10 per hour on July 1, 2023, to $13.95 per hour on July 1, 2024, and to $15.00 per hour on July 1, 2025, and to raise the state minimum wage for tipped employees to $2.13 per hour on the effective date of the Act, to $3.05 per hour on July 1, 2019, to $3.95 per hour on July 1, 2020, and to $4.90 per hour on July 1, 2021; and allow local governments to establish minimum wage ordinances in excess of the state minimum wage.