May 2, 2017
For Immediate Release
By Josh Christian, student news writer, Office of Communications
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky.- “Regardless of whether or not you agree with policy, this legislative session was historical. No one would argue that,” Representative John “Bam” Carney, Kentucky State Representative, said at the Campbellsville University Kentucky Heartland Institute on Public Policy session on April 25.
Carney, Max Wise, Kentucky State Senator, and Ralph A. Alvarado, Kentucky State Senator, discussed this past year’s legislative session at the event.
Carney (R- District 51) represents Taylor and Adair counties; Wise, (R-District 16), represents Adair, Clinton, Cumberland, McCreary, Russell, Taylor and Wayne counties; and Alvarado (R-District 28), represents Clark, Fayette and Montgomery counties.
Carney spoke of the session’s historical significance credited to the Republicans having taken office in the Kentucky House of Representatives for the first time in 95 years. The legislative session was also historic because of its Republican dominated government; the three parts of government now being aligned.
There were 130 bills passed during the legislative session.
Abortion, education and economic policies were impacted by this year’s session, according to Carney.
The abortion bill that was most significant was Senate Bill 5, which prohibits abortions in Kentucky at or after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The prohibition does not apply in cases where an abortion is required to save the life or prevent serious risk of bodily harm to the mother.
Alvarado, a physician, spoke to the bill’s passing. He told a story of a premature baby, born at 23 weeks while he was finishing his residency. He was asked to be present for the birth of the child but was skeptical that it would survive.
His view was altered when, though the baby wasn’t considered to be a live by state law, it wore a medical band around its wrists with its name and had visitors around the clock. The baby lived, which changed Alvarado’s attitudes toward the issue.
Wise also spoke to this bill as if it were “common sense legislation.”
Education was also a “big-ticket” item, with the passing of House Bill 520, which will allow publicly funding charter schools to operate in Kentucky. Senate Bill 1 and 153 also play a major part in educational reform, as Senate Bill 1 creates new rules in the teaching and testing of students and how teachers are evaluated. Senate Bill 153 establishes performance based funding for post-secondary state schools.
“If we believe we have a right to monopolize education, we are wrong,” Carney said.
Carney, chair of the House Education Committee, discussed the issue of charter schools, saying that it gave another option to parents and students who may want to participate in an alternative to public education.
“Some students are just getting left behind,” Carney said.
The first charter school is probably going to be placed in Louisville, Ky. Carney didn’t have specific details of the school but knows that the government is already looking to buy land in Louisville.
House Bill 1 was also a part of the initiative taken by the Kentucky government to better the economy in Kentucky.
House Bill 1, which was the House Majority’s top priority for the session, prohibits Kentuckians from being required to join labor unions as a condition for employment.
Many more bills were passed in this session and include work in religious freedom and expression, criminal justice reform, etc.
“Both sides of leadership did a great job this session,” Wise said.
Campbellsville University is a widely-acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 5,000 students offering over 80 programs of study including 19 master’s degrees, six postgraduate areas and seven pre-professional programs. The university has off-campus centers in Louisville, Harrodsburg, Somerset and Hodgenville with instructional sites in Elizabethtown, Owensboro and Summersville and a full complement of online programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.