During the General Assembly’s fifth week of the 30-day legislative session, 27 bills cleared the Senate chamber. I carried a significant piece of legislation that will make a difference in Kentucky workforce for years to come. 

Senate Bill 33 establishes the Kentucky Cybersecurity Center (Kentucky CYBER) which will be housed at the University of Louisville and will be a regional center. Cyber-attacks are a major and constant problem. There needs to be more qualified individuals to fill the current and future positions in cyber security. Kentucky CYBER will facilitate cooperation with the following:

*Help with grants, funding, curriculum, and instructors for existing education and training programs.

 *Help start and advance programs.

*Work with K through 12 and post-secondary education to start and maintain a pipeline to universities, businesses, government, and the military. 

Kentucky CYBER’s purpose will include educating state and local agencies and private sector participants about maintaining secure cyber infrastructure and accelerating the adoption of cybersecurity systems in the Commonwealth. Many have expressed interest and are excited about this bill which includes elementary, middle, and high schools, universities, the Secret Service, FBI, Kentucky State Police, Homeland Security, state government, and many other businesses.

The following bills gained the Senate’s approval and can now be considered by the state House of Representatives: 

Senate Bill 4 strengthens electric grid reliability in the commonwealth and ensures Kentucky residents are not faced with the dangerous and often deadly consequences of power outages.

If enacted, it would prohibit the Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) from retiring an electric coal-fired generator unless the utility can demonstrate that taking the fossil fueled Electric generator offline will:

•Not harm the reliability or the resilience of the electric grid;

•Not negatively impact the affordability of customers’ electricity utility rates; and Ensure safety.

 The bill will require PSC to submit an annual report by December 1 to the Legislative Research Commission on retiring electric generating units. 

 Senate Bill 29 establishes eligibility criteria for Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs) and limits the number of MCOs contracted by the Kentucky Department for Medicaid Services to no more than three.

 Senate Bill 30 is a consumer protection measure providing more information on simplifying and easing the process of canceling automatic renewals of service or product subscriptions.

Senate Bill 43 is a measure to ensure we are considering the holistic good of loved ones in residential facilities. During COVID-19, families were closed off from those they loved, and sadly some residents in nursing homes passed away without the comfort of a loved one beside them. This bill expands exemptions for essential personal care visitors from prohibitions relating to visiting a resident in a community, health facility, mental hospital, or those receiving home or community-based Medicaid waiver services. 

Senate Bill 81 allows certified private and parochial schools to adopt and operate a school calendar different from the local public school district in the county. The bill maintains the requirement of certified private and parochial schools’ calendars, including the statutory minimum school term and instructional year.

 Senate Bill 120 ensures homeowner associations set fees at appropriate levels to meet maintenance obligations, provides financial openness and financial audit provisions, and enforces fee collection in compliance with deed restrictions. The bill would also require a new homeowner association to file a declaration with the local county clerk’s office and provide bylaws along with organizing documents showing how the association will be organized that identify members of the board of directors and outline the board’s day-to-day functions.

Senate Bill 169 would lower costs and expedite capital project completion for Kentucky school districts by authorizing local boards of education to engage in public-private partnerships (P3s). Our cities and counties are already authorized to engage in P3s under current law. The measure amends the P3s delivery method of awarding contracts for capital construction projects related to the Kentucky Local Government Public-Private Partnership Board by:

1. Adding “local school district” to the definition of a “local government;” and 

2. Adding provisions saying the local board of education is authorized to enter into P3s on behalf of a local school district.

 Senate Bill 229 would strengthen communication between agencies regarding suspected child abuse cases. It requires an agency that is the reporting source also to notify local law enforcement, the Kentucky State Police, the commonwealth’s attorney, or the county attorney when receiving suspected abuse or neglect of a child within their agency. Supervisors must cooperate with investigations of reports. The bill would also allow the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services to determine whether an announced or unannounced visit is necessary after receiving an allegation of child abuse or neglect.

Senate Joint Resolution 79 would establish a nuclear energy development working group, set membership, and task the working group to: 

*Identify barriers to deploying nuclear power generation resources and other related technologies in the commonwealth, including regulatory, statutory, financial, social, environmental, workforce and educational barriers.

*Develop recommendations for how a permanent nuclear energy commission could address the barriers to deploying nuclear power generation resources and other related technologies in the commonwealth.

*Consult with any federal, state, or local agencies, nonprofit organizations, private industry, or other impacted stakeholders on what the role of the permanent nuclear energy commission should be.

*Develop recommendations for a required report on the group’s efforts.

Joint resolutions carry the force of law without reforming existing statutory law.

Watch live legislative activity at KET.org/legislature. You can also track the status of other legislation by calling 866-840-2835, legislative meeting information at 800-633-9650, or leaving a message for lawmakers at 800-372-7181.