During the 2016 Legislative Session, I focused on strong schools, safe streets and fair laws.
Strong Public Schools
As the chair of the Budget Subcommittee on Primary and Secondary Education, I worked with my colleagues to protect elementary, middle and high schools from 9 percent cuts proposed in the Governor’s budget. Cuts of this magnitude to our schools undermine the reforms Kentucky schools need to excel.
We also lessened cuts to our colleges and universities, yet the impact means tuition increases for families at a time when college has never been more costly. We need to make it easier to get a degree, not more expensive.
To that end, we enacted a bill to allow two-year degree seekers to graduate debt-free. It’s the “Work Ready Scholarships” program, beginning fall of 2017. High school graduates who pursue an associate’s degree at a Kentucky college or university can apply for the state to cover the difference between grants and scholarships a student earns and the total cost of tuition.
I voted for a budget that upheld the commitment to state employees and retirees’ pensions by investing $1.2 billion and by ordering an independent audit.
I sponsored a bill to keep repeat DUI offenders off the road. The law now looks back 10 years, instead of 5, for past drunk driving violations. I filed this bill in honor of Lexington attorney Mark Hinkel, who was killed last year by a drunk driver during the Horsey Hundred cycling event. I also advocated for a bill that would have required vehicles to maintain a three foot radius when passing bicyclists on the raodways.
I secured $5.5 million to renovate Alumni Drive and install new lighting, making our community safer while traveling in town.
I supported a singular marriage license for all Kentuckians, now the law of Kentucky, and worked to protect reproductive health-care access for poor and under-employed women and families.
The impact of 9 percent cuts across the rest of government – health care for families especially – means many are still struggling unnecessarily. I will be an advocate for efficient and cost-effective governance, as I call us to care for the most vulnerable citizens in our midst. Some of our neighbors’ lives depends on it.
To read about bills passed in the 2016 legislative session visit the LRC webpage.