Archived News: 2017 Session

Sen. Parrett’s financial literacy bill passes out of committee, headed to Senate floor


FRANKFORT – Senator Dennis Parrett’s bill that would have students completing a financial literacy program before graduating high school passed out of the Senate Education Committee today and heads to the full Senate for further consideration.

“Kids today are really smart – a lot smarter than we were. We are graduating some of the most technologically savvy high school students the world has ever seen,” said Parrett, D-Elizabethtown. “They are smart in a lot of ways, but they are not always financially literate.

“We need to ensure they are learning basic economic concepts and we can do this through required financial literacy education,” added Parrett. “This would be one of the best educational requirements we would have for our students.”

Senate Bill 106 directs the Kentucky Department of Education to develop the Kentucky Financial Literacy Program as a graduation requirement.

Under this measure, each local school council would determine how and where a school would incorporate the financial literacy standards into its curriculum. Also, any student pursuing an early graduation program would be required to complete the instruction prior to his or her graduation. The Department of Education would set a timeline for school implementation and monitoring.

Alex Todd, who has taught financial literacy for 20 years as an elective at Elizabethtown High School, testified with Parrett in front of the Education Committee. He said this legislation would mean that all students would be reached with this practical knowledge before they graduate.

In the past decade, Todd has gone from teaching 20 students financial literacy to 120 students a year. “The students want to be in there, the parents want them to be in there, and we need them in there,” he said.

For the past three years, Todd, who has advocated for this legislation for the past nine years, said the school has given students a financial literacy exam before they begin the course. Before they take the course, the students average 55 percent – financially illiterate. After the course, the students average 92 percent.

Having all students across Kentucky take a financial literacy class would prepare them for their own financial futures. “If we don’t teach the knowledge, we can’t expect the behavior to change,” Todd added.

Financial literacy would really just be teaching students practical financial information that, according to the bill sponsor, would help them in life.


Sen. Webb passes legislation that identifies horses as livestock

FRANKFORT – Legislation, sponsored by Senator Robin Webb, D-Grayson, that would classify horses as livestock and establish consistency within Kentucky livestock statutes today cleared the Senate.

Senator Webb has been working on this issue for several years and is pleased to seeing it moving forward.

“Our statutes have been historically inconsistent with the designation of the horse as livestock,” said Senator Webb. “We have the support of KEEP (Kentucky Equine Education Project), which has taken this position publicly, as well as our major horse-industry groups.”

Senate Bill 139 would be a great step forward for the horse industry, she said, expressing that the designation is important to make sure that horses are not classified as companion animals, similar to household pets.

“Seven years ago, I got my favorite horse,” Senator Webb said. “He’s a big part of my life, and I love him. He’s my companion, but he’s not a companion animal. He’s livestock. It’s important to me as an owner and him as a horse to be so designated, and designated consistently for the protections that designation does allow.”

Senator Webb said her bill does not deal with taxation exemption of the state’s 6-percent sales tax required for feed and other necessities. “We hope to address that at another time, with tax reform or in another measure,” she explained.

SB 139 now goes to the House of Representatives for further consideration.



Sen. Ridley appeared on KET’s “Kentucky Tonight” Feb. 27


FRANKFORT (Feb. 21, 2017) – Senator Dorsey Ridley, D-Henderson appeared on KET’s “Kentucky Tonight” on Monday, Feb. 27, to discuss the 2017 General Assembly.

Also appearing on Kentucky Tonight with host Renee Shaw were Senator Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, and Rep. Wilson Stone, D-Scottsville.

To view the program —


Sen. Ridley to appear on KET’s Kentucky Tonight


FRANKFORT – Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Dorsey Ridley, D-Henderson, will appear on KET’s Kentucky Tonight on Monday, February 27, to discuss the 2017 Legislative Session.

Also scheduled to appear on Kentucky Tonight with host Renee Shaw is Rep. Wilson Stone, D-Scottsville, Senator Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, and Rep. David Meade, R-Stanford.

The program will air at 8 p.m. (ET) on KET and For additional information:

Ridley represents the 4th Senatorial District that includes Caldwell, Crittenden, Henderson, Livingston, Union and Webster counties.



Henderson County Receives $970,000 Community Development Block Grant


Funding for Equipment Purchase to Expand Hansens Aluminum Facilities


FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 27, 2017) – The Kentucky Department for Local Government (DLG) approved funding for a $970,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for the purchase and lease of equipment to Hansens Aluminum for the development of a 75,000-square-foot facility within the Henderson Riverport Industrial Area.

Hansens’ investment totals $18.3 million for the acquisition of 10.3 acres of land, construction of the building and procurement of equipment.  Hansens Aluminum has projected this expansion will create 50 jobs.

“The Henderson community welcomes this new international industry, the much-needed new jobs that will follow, and the boost to our economic climate,” said Sen. Dorsey Ridley. “We stand ready with a dedicated and skilled workforce to meet the company’s needs. I look forward to a long and prosperous partnership between the Henderson community and Hansens Aluminum.”

“I am very pleased to have a dynamic, innovative manufacturer like Hansens Aluminum in Henderson,” said Rep Robby Mills. “The Henderson community is deeply grateful that this South African company chose Henderson as their U.S. home.  Our skilled and readied workforce is more than capable of making this investment venture a success in Kentucky for years to come.”

The CDBG program provides assistance to communities for use in revitalizing neighborhoods, expanding affordable housing and economic opportunities, providing infrastructure and/or improving community facilities and services.

Applications for CDBG funds are also submitted to DLG. To learn more, please visit



Legislators: Do what’s best for kids


Senator Ray Jones re-files ‘Erin’s Law’

Allows schools to have child appropriate programs on recognizing abuse


FRANKFORT – Senate Democratic Floor Leader Ray S. Jones II, D-Pikeville, has re-filed legislation that would allow Kentucky schools to educate children on sexual abuse in a child friendly manner.

Senate Bill 250, which would be named Erin’s Law after a victim of child sexual abuse, would allow the Kentucky Department of Education to develop a program on detecting child physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect and how to report suspected abuse.

“Child abuse is on the rise in Kentucky and we have to step in,” said Senator Jones.

Erin Merryn, the bill’s namesake, is a child sexual abuse survivor who advocates getting Erin’s Law in every state and at the federal level. At 6 ½, Erin was raped by an adult male and later was sexually abused by an older male cousin. Both used fear to silence her. She said she was never educated on what to do or who to tell. Erin has now written two books about her experience, “Stolen Innocence” “Living for Today,” she has earned a master’s degree in social work, and is a public speaker. Her goal in getting Erin’s Law passed is to help other victims – or those with whom they are in contact – to recognize abuse and know where to seek help.

Senator Jones has the same goal. “One in three girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday,” he said. “Ninety percent of the time, the child knows the abuser. This often keeps the child from turning to the parent. They are alone in trying to determine between a good touch and a bad touch or in dealing with their fear of repercussion for reaching out for help.”

Erin’s Law would allow schools to have age-appropriate education programs about recognizing and reporting abuse, which would prevent more children from becoming victims, he added.

“This bill will have a significant impact when it is passed. Please contact your legislators and tell them to support Erin’s Law to prevent other children from being abused,” Senator Jones said.

To leave a message for a legislator, call the toll-free message line at (800) 372-7181. Citizens with hearing impairments may leave messages for lawmakers at the TTY message line at (808) 896-0305.



Senator Ridley’s highway safety bill heads to House


FRANKFORT – A highway safety bill, sponsored by Senator Dorsey Ridley, D-Henderson, passed out of the Senate today.

“Citizens and law enforcement folks have complained to me about the super bright lighting on some vehicles and how distracting it is,” said Ridley, a member of the Senate Transportation Committee. “This distraction presents a real danger for drivers.”

Ridley’s solution comes in the form of Senate Bill 92 that would restrict modifications of vehicles with certain replacement headlights and other lights that emit from beneath the vehicle.

“It is becoming a real safety issue and would be an addition to the road safety laws already on the books,” added Ridley.

SB 92 would not affect the original equipment installed on cars and trucks by the manufacturer, but would only affect equipment or lighting added after the vehicle rolls off the assembly line, he noted.

SB 92 would prohibit vehicles from:

  • Emitting anything other than white light,
  • Require all headlamps to meet US Department of Transportation regulations,
  • Prohibit headlamps that appear to emit a solid color other than white,
  • Prohibit headlamp covers or film that changes the color of the light emitted, and
  • Outline provisions for front, rear, side and undercarriage lighting of a vehicle.
  • Exempt original equipment installed by the manufacturer.

SB 92 has the support of Kentucky State Police, the Kentucky Justice Cabinet, Henderson Police Chief Chip Stauffer, and Henderson County Sheriff Ed Brady.

SB 92 is a safety issue for the Kentucky motoring public, said Senator Ridley.

SB 92 now moves to the House of Representatives for further action.


Harper Angel files bill to include exemptions to abortion laws


FRANKFORT – Senator Denise Harper Angel, D-Louisville, has filed legislation that would provide exemptions to the new abortion laws.

Senate Bill 245 would provide exemptions in cases of rape, incest, medical emergency or medical necessity to the two abortion bills that were passed and signed into law during the first week of the 2017 Legislative Session.

“House Bill 2 and Senate Bill 5 were rushed through the legislative process. I felt that there needed to be more discussion to avoid unforeseen consequences,” Harper Angel said.  “We already know these bills did not take into account victims of rape and incest nor women whose lives may be in danger, which needs to be addressed.  My bill would accommodate these exclusions.

“We need to move Senate Bill 245. I don’t see any reason that the Kentucky General Assembly would not want to help these victims by passing this piece of legislation,” she added.

To contact legislators to support SB 245, call the toll-free message line at (800) 372-7181. Citizens with hearing impairments may leave messages for lawmakers at the TTY message line at (808) 896-0305.


Sen. Neal’s bill to expand the jury pool moves to Senate


The Senate Judiciary Committee today approved Senator Gerald A. Neal’s bill to expand the jury pool.

Senate Bill 133 would amend Kentucky Statue to add holders of adult personal identification cards issued within a county to the master list of potential jurors for that county.

SB 133 now moves to the full Senate for further consideration.


Dr. Tuckson recipient of Legacy Award and keynote speaker at 14th annual Black History Month Celebration


FRANKFORT – Dr. Wayne Tuckson, founder and organizer of The African-American Health Initiative, Inc (TAAHI), was the recipient of the 2017 Legacy Award today at the 14th annual Black History Month Celebration at the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort.

Dr. Tuckson is dedicated to improving the “health IQ” of the community to address the disparities in health status in minority populations in Kentucky. TAAHI has sponsored conferences on topics such as cancer in the African-American community and healthy eating. To reach a broader audience, TAAHI was a producer of Kentucky Health that now airs on the KET network.

A physician, Dr. Tuckson is a graduate of Howard University and the Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, DC. He is vice president of the Greater Louisville Medical Society. He has served as a member of the Louisville Air Pollution Control Board; Park Duvall Family Health Center Board, and the Louisville Metro Department of Health and Wellness Board.

Dr. Tuckson is currently working on a documentation of the role of the Louisville Red Cross Hospital and African-American healthcare in Kentucky during the Jim Crow Era.

“We were honored to recognize Dr. Tuckson, whose work in health care in the African-American community is bringing much-needed attention to this issue,” said Senator Gerald Neal, D-Louisville, chair of the Kentucky Black Legislative Caucus that hosted the Black History Month Celebration.

Dr. Tuckson was also the keynote speaker. This year’s event focused on the “African-American Health: A Kentucky Dilemma.”

“The theme is to focus attention to its history, the current status, and the challenges going forward that will not only impact the health and well-being of all Kentuckians, but that which will certainly affect the African American community with persistent disparities,” said Senator Neal. “We know that the socio-economic prosperity of the Commonwealth is tied to the health and welfare of its citizens. So the degree of this success of all citizens recognizes that every sector of the population, including the African American community is inextricably tied to ensuring that we are a healthy society — physically, mentally and emotionally.”

Senator Neal introduced special guest, Emily Bass. Miss Bass was born with Sickle Cell Anemia, a red blood cell disorder. Just before she turned 4 years old, she began monthly blood exchanges to decrease the risk of a stroke by 90 percent. This made her the 41st child in Kentucky to start the blood exchange program. At the time, she was the youngest child in Kentucky to start the program. She underwent monthly exchanges from age 4 to age 11, when complications made it necessary for her to have a bone transplant. Her transplant journey was filled with complications and setbacks. Almost two years later, she continues to battle life-threatening complications. She has used her story as a platform to motivate others. She has been a mentor to other children going through the transplant process, and works to raise funds and awareness for not just Sickle Cell Anemia, but other organizations.

The event also recognized the contributions of African Americans throughout history.

“America was birthed by men and women of vision who spent their blood, sweat and tears to blaze a path of freedom,” said Gov. Matt Bevin. “To paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; We do not always get it right, but the arc of history bends toward justice. We’ve come a long way since Selma, and I am thankful that the visionaries of today continue to break through barriers and personify the American Dream. The promise of a brighter tomorrow is always worth fighting for.”

Along with Senator Neal, the Kentucky Black Legislative Caucus is composed of Senator Reginald Thomas, D-Lexington and Representatives George Brown Jr., D-Lexington; Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort; Reginald Meeks and Darryl Owens, both D-Louisville, Attica Scott, D-Louisville, and Arnold Simpson, D-Covington.

Several other members of the caucus joined Sen. Neal in speaking on the significance of the Black History Month celebration. Rep. Meeks gave the welcome, Rep. Graham led the Legislative Roll Call, and Rep. Brown, caucus vice chair, gave the closing remarks.

Presenting this year’s moment in history was Sarah Nicole Smith, a University of Kentucky pre-med (psychology) major who worked as a clinical research assistant in education and outreach core of the UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging. At Sanders-Brown, where she is still working, she advocates Alzheimer’s disease and dementia awareness. Accepted at three medical schools, Smith will begin her medical school journey in August 2017.

Origin of Black History Month

Black History Month dates to 1926, when Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the son of former slaves who worked in a Kentucky coal mine as a child, proposed and then launched a weeklong celebration of individuals and occasions having a significant impact on African-American history in America. In 1976, the celebration was extended to the entire month of February. From the initial event, the primary emphasis has been on encouraging the coordinated teaching of the history of American blacks in the nation’s public schools.

“This is not just a celebration of African American history,” Senator Neal explained. “This is a celebration of American history. Black History Month presents us an opportunity to remember the important legacy of African Americans in Kentucky and the nation – much of which would have been lost over the years if not for this special time of remembrance. It is important that we know and honor many of the notable citizens who have contributed to our history as well as pay respect to the many, many others whom history has forgotten. I encourage all Kentuckians to join me as we observe Black History Month.”


Other Participants in BHM Program

The Kentucky State Ensemble performed the Black National Anthem and other musical selections.

Pastor James E. Smith, presiding elder of the Kentucky Conference, Lexington district, led the invocation and benediction. Senate President Pro Tem David Givens, House Speaker Jeff Hoover and Chief Justice John Minton delivered greetings.

Sen. McGarvey appears on KET’s “Kentucky Tonight” Feb. 20


FRANKFORT (Feb. 21, 2017) – Senator Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville appeared on KET’s “Kentucky Tonight” on Monday, Feb. 20, to discuss criminal justice legislation.

Also appearing on Kentucky Tonight with host Renee Shaw were Senator Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville, Rep. Chris Harris, D-Forest Hills, and Rep. Joseph Fischer, R-Fort Thomas.

To view the program —



Black History Month Celebration is Tuesday



FRANKFORT – Legislators will take part in the 14th annual Legislative Black History Month Celebration at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, February 21 in the Capitol Rotunda. Dr. Wayne B. Tuckson, the founder and organizer of The African-American Health Initiative, Inc., will deliver the keynote address.

The theme is “African American Health: A Kentucky Dilemma.’”

A highlight of the program will be the presentation of the 2017 Legacy Award.

Senator Gerald A. Neal, D-Louisville — along with other members of the Legislative Black Caucus – Senator Reginald Thomas, D-Lexington; Representatives George Brown Jr., D-Lexington; Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort; Reginald Meeks and Darryl Owens, both D-Louisville, Attica Scott, D-Louisville, and Arnold Simpson, D-Covington — will be joined at the celebration by other state and local officials and dignitaries.



Sen. McGarvey to appear on KET’s “Kentucky Tonight”





FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 20, 2017) – Senator Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, will be on KET’s “Kentucky Tonight” this evening to discuss criminal justice.

He will be joined by Rep. Chris Harris, Sen. Whitney Westerfield and Rep. Joseph Fischer, along with host Renee Shaw.

The primary topic of discussion will be SB 120, relating to crimes and punishments.

The program will air at 8 p.m. ET on KET, and can be viewed via online streaming at

For more information, click here.



Sen. Webb named Legislator of the Year by American Kennel Club






FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 12, 2017) – Senator Robin Webb, D-Grayson, was named Legislator of the Year by the American Kennel Club.

Senator Webb has served as president of the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucus and is the founder of the Kentucky Sportsmen’s Caucus.

“I appreciate the recognition by the American Kennel Club,” said Senator Webb. “As a loving owner of purebred and non-purebred dogs, I share and partner in the mission of the AKC in promoting the sport of purebred dogs and the well-being of all dogs, while protecting the rights and interests of dog owners. I love and cherish my dogs and will continue to work on maintaining and creating public policy to continue the beneficial canine/human relationship.”

She is an avid lover of animals and the outdoors. Senator Webb enjoys riding, showing and breeding Tennessee Walking Horses.

Sen. Webb is a certified 4-H Equine and Livestock Instructor, serves on the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association By-Laws and Performance Committee, Kentucky Walking Horse Association, and the Ky. Walking Horse Trainers Association.

She has served in the Kentucky General Assembly since 1999. Before being elected to the Senate, she served in the House of Representatives from 1999-2009.

For more information, click here.



Henderson County Gifted and Talented Students work displayed in Frankfort



FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 9, 2017) – Senator Dorsey Ridley, D-Henderson, poses with a quilt that students from the Audubon Arts Series in Henderson County Gifted and Talented Program made that portrays the original “Ruby Throated Hummingbird” painted by John James Audubon in 1821.

The quilt hangs outside of the Senate Capitol Office of Senator Ridley.

The participating gifted and talented students are in the fourth and fifth grades.

Following is a list of the students and the schools they attend:

Bend Gate Elementary – Maggie Ford, Bo Hazelwood, Sarah Beach, Kate Mays and Abbie Gibson;

Spottsville – Owen Dant, Brock Henshaw, Katla Nietzschmann, and Savanna Pendergraft;



East Heights – Mikaela Humphrey, James Murphy, Andrew Bird, Madison Heistand and Hallie Jenkins;

Chandler – Jacy Hargiss, Aysia Powers, Mason Caton, Preston Knight, Adrianna Lorenzana, Lexie Trigg, Raven Masterson and Bradley Carver;

Niagra – Madalynn Harris, Tyler Holcomb, Ben Beck and Jessie Latimer;

South Heights – Jorryn Conrey.




Sen. Webb’s bicycle bill clears Senate committee





FRANKFORT, Ky. (February 8, 2017) – A bill that would make roadways safer for bicyclists and vehicular traffic, sponsored by Senator Robin Webb, D-Grayson, today cleared the Senate Transportation Committee.

“Bicycle use is on the rise for transportation, recreation, and health and fitness therefore accommodation in sharing the road safely is becoming more of a transportation priority,” said Webb. “From a tourism and economic development standpoint — and as part of the Trail Town initiative — the rise in the number of cyclists demands that we address safety on the roadways.”

Senator Robin Webb, D-Grayson, testifies on her bicycle safety legislation (Senate Bill 56) on Feb. 8 before the Senate Transportation Committee.

Senate Bill 56 would require vehicular drivers to allow a distance of three feet when passing a cyclist on the left. It also allows vehicular drivers to cross the double yellow line when passing to ensure the three feet. It would require operators of bicycles to travel on the right side of the highway and not have to travel on the shoulder of the highway.

Webb filed similar legislation during the 2016 Legislative Session. Senate Bill 80 cleared the Senate, but did not get a vote in the House of Representatives. The legislation had the support of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Kentucky Bicycle and Bikeway Commission. In August, the Interim Joint Committee on Transportation held a meeting to hear testimony from Senator Webb, tourism officials, cyclists and others.

Webb explained that this legislation is a matter of safety for both cyclists and vehicular drivers.

“Basically, this is a clarification of what people should already be doing,” Webb said when she testified before the transportation committee. “It is what we learned from our driver’s manual.”

This measure simply codifies safe roadway behavior that drivers of vehicles and bicycles should already be practicing, she added, calling it “good public policy.”

“Bicycles are a growing mode of transportation both in urban areas and rural areas,” explained Webb. “The Department of Transportation is doing a good job with some governments about accommodating cyclists in a safe manner, but we have still had a few tragedies related to cyclists and sharing the road.”

Cycling is not just an urban issue any more. Rural areas also have a lot of bicycle traffic. She said her home is between two Kentucky Trail Towns, Olive Hill and Morehead.

“In my neck of the woods, bicycle clubs are a growing source of tourism,” Webb explained, noting that those riding for recreation, for wellness or as a means of transportation all deserve protection.

Joining Webb at the Senate Transportation Committee meeting were Dr. Dixie Moore, bicycle advocate; Zachary Cassidy, son of Dr. David Cassidy who died as a result of a cycle-vehicle accident, and Troy Hearn, the bicycle pedestrian coordinator for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC).

SB 56 now moves to the Senate floor for further consideration.

Webb represents the 18th senatorial district that includes Boyd, Carter and Greenup counties.



Kentucky State Senate introduces ‘Sunny Page’ program for 2017 session





FRANKFORT, Ky. (February 8, 2017) – Through a bipartisan effort in the Kentucky State Senate, Senator Danny Carroll (R-Paducah) and Senator Dennis Parrett (D-Elizabethtown) introduced the “Sunny Page” program to encourage children with disabilities to participate as pages in the Senate.

“The purpose of this program is to ensure that children with disabilities and their families are aware of the opportunity to serve as a page,” Senator Carroll said. “We also want to ensure that there are no barriers preventing a child with disabilities from participating in the experience of serving as a daily page in the Senate.”

As it stands, The Kentucky Senate and House of Representatives both have established page programs. The Senate’s page program is under the leadership of the Senate Clerk, Donna Holiday. Currently, the Senate’s page program is divided into either full-time pages or daily pages.

“We believe this program will enhance education for children with disabilities by first-hand participation and exposure to state government/political process, increasing self-confidence, self-esteem and a sense of being a part of the honored tradition of public service,” Senator Parrett said.

“This is a wonderful program that allows our students with disabilities to observe our law-making process and our government in action,” Senate Democratic Leader Ray S. Jones said. “I commend Senators Parrett and Carroll for taking the initiative to get this program started.”

“By participating in the Page Programs, it is hoped that students are more likely to actively engage in becoming more educated and aware and also more involved in the political process and democracy as adults,” Senate President Robert Stivers said.

The Senate page program has always been open to students with disabilities and all students; the “Sunny Page” program was designed to teach and further promote the process of state government to children with disabilities.

Both Senator Carroll and Senator Parrett have daughters with special needs and wanted to initiate the “Sunny Page” program to honor their daughters. The senators said they chose the name “Sunny Page” because the presence of these kids is sure to brighten everyone’s day.

Senator Carroll and Senator Parrett also said that they were in the process of planning a press availability with other senators in the near future to further educate the public on the Sunny Day Page Program and encourage children from across the Commonwealth to sign up and be a part of the political process in Frankfort.

To read an article about the program from the Marshall County Daily, click here.

For further inquiries regarding the Sunny Day Page Program, please contact Senator Danny Carroll via email, at [email protected] or Senate Clerk Donna Holiday, at [email protected]. To schedule a child to serve as a “sunny page,” please contact Senate Clerk Donna Holiday’s office at the email listed above.



Sen. Neal files legislation to abolish death penalty




FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 6, 2017) – Sen. Gerald Neal, D-Louisville, filed legislation Tuesday in the Kentucky General Assembly to abolish the death penalty.

Senator Neal’s legislation would eliminate execution as one of the five penalties now available to a jury in a death penalty case, making life without the possibility of parole the maximum sentence.

Read more from Public News Service by clicking here.


Kentucky law enforcement agencies have reached turning point in rape kit backlog


Department of Criminal Justice Training has helped hundreds of agencies improve policies under new law sponsored by Sen. Harper Angel


FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 6, 2017) – Kentucky Justice Secretary John Tilley announced today that every law enforcement agency certified through the Kentucky Law Enforcement Foundation Program Fund has met new requirements on sexual assault policies – a key turning point in addressing the backlog of rape evidence kits.

The policies were mandated under Senate Bill 63 – known as the SAFE Act – which passed in the 2016 General Assembly. It required all agencies that participate in the Kentucky Law Enforcement Foundation Program Fund to adopt a sexual assault response policy by Jan. 1. That includes nearly every law enforcement agency in the state.

Thanks to proactive support from the Department of Criminal Justice Training (DOCJT), every certified agency has met the deadline with time to spare.

“The survivors of sexual assault should never have to endure the uncertainty of another backlog,” Secretary Tilley said. “I’m proud that the Department of Criminal Justice Training and Kentucky’s law enforcement agencies are setting a high new standard on handling evidence kits and helping survivors find justice. DOCJT’s effort to help facilitate these polices has been outstanding.”

The new policies will guide collection and transport of evidence kits. They will also govern the process for notifying victims when test results become available.

Last year, DOCJT was tasked with collecting and reviewing each agency’s policy to assist with meeting the deadline. Instead of waiting for agencies to submit acceptable policies, DOCJT took an active role in helping agencies become compliant under the new law.

“I am exceedingly proud of our staff, who met this responsibility with the professionalism and diligence this important issue deserved,” said DOCJT Commissioner Mark Filburn. “The nearly-impossible feat of assisting every law enforcement agency across the commonwealth with meeting such a tight deadline – and succeeding – is just another example of how committed the DOCJT staff is to our clients.”

A Sexual Assault Response Team Advisory Committee, also established under SB 63, finalized a model policy on Oct. 19. With less than 3 months to meet the deadline, DOCJT worked fast to send the model to every law enforcement agency along with instructions on how to adopt and submit their own approved policies.

The committee’s model policy and two other models were added to the DOCJT website along with details of the new requirements and helpful resources. A dedicated phone line and email address were established for law enforcement executives to ask questions and receive immediate assistance. Staff members made personal presentations to multiple DOCJT classes and meetings of law enforcement executives to assist them further with this process.

Between Oct. 19 and Dec. 31, DOCJT staff collected all the submitted policies, which the department’s legal and executive staff then reviewed and approved.

“SB 63 was passed to improve the criminal justice response to victims of sexual assault,” said Eileen Recktenwald, executive director of the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs. “Now that law enforcement agencies in Kentucky have policies in place that ensure a trauma-informed approach to the investigation of this crime, it could mean that lifelong consequences for the victim can be decreased and it increases the possibility that more cases are cleared and successfully prosecuted, making Kentucky a safer place to live.”

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office’s Chief Examiner, Jeff Prewitt, lauded DOCJT’s efforts to assist local agencies with meeting this new requirement.

“Instead of demanding compliance in an autocratic way, DOCJT facilitated compliance in a participatory and collegial way,” Prewitt said. “How refreshing!”

DOCJT Assistant General Counsel Deaidra Douglas said the department serves more than 400 law enforcement agencies across the commonwealth.

“In less than three months, every KLEFPF agency submitted their policy for review and met the deadline,” Douglas said. “From the cooperation we received across the state to the flawless communication with all the involved DOCJT staff, it was an exceptional team effort.”

SB 63 succeeded in the 2016 General Assembly thanks to Sen. Denise Harper Angel and Senate Judiciary Chairman Whitney Westerfield, who both played a crucial role in the final legislation. The legislature also supported a request from Gov. Matt Bevin to allocate $4.5 million toward reducing the backlog. That money will provide much-needed staffing and resources for the Kentucky State Police crime lab.

The next stage in meeting SB63’s new mandates will focus on training requirements for responding to sexual assault. DOCJT’s 2017 training schedule includes a new 40-hour course, which will be taught 19 times this year, both at the DOCJT Richmond campus and regionally across the state.


Sen. Webb appears on KET’s “Kentucky Tonight” Feb. 6




FRANKFORT (Feb. 6, 2017) – Senator Robin Webb, D-Grayson, appeared on KET’s “Kentucky Tonight” on Monday, February 6, to discuss proposed legislation relating to medical review panels.

Also appearing on Kentucky Tonight with host Renee Shaw were Senator Ralph Alvarado, R-Winchester, the sponsor of Senate Bill 4 that pertains to medical review panels and vice chair of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee; Rep. Robert Benvenuti, R-Lexington, and Rep. Chris Harris, D-Forest Hills.

This issue may be addressed when the General Assembly reconvenes February 7.

To view the program online, click here.

Webb represents the 18th Senatorial District that includes Boyd, Carter and Greenup counties.





KentuckyOne Health to conduct hands-only CPR training at University of Louisville Women’s Basketball Game


Senator Denise Harper Angel, D-Louisville, will be one of six local celebrities participating in the “Be a Heart Hero” hands-only CPR training at tonight’s UofL vs. NC State game.




LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Feb. 2, 2017) – University of Louisville Women’s Basketball fans will participate in a unique hands-only CPR training event during halftime of the UofL vs. NC State game on Thursday, Feb. 2. KentuckyOne Health wants fans to “Be a Heart Hero” by learning hands-only CPR in February, American Heart Month. Individuals can be trained in hands-only CPR in as little as five minutes. UofL Athletics is asking fans to dress as their favorite superhero for the game.

UofL Cardiologist Dr. Lorrel Brown will lead the halftime hands-only CPR training with local celebrities such as Senator Denise Harper Angel (D-Louisville); former White House Administrator and Louisville’s longest serving mayor Jerry Abramson and his wife Madeline Abramson; KentuckyOne Health Division Vice President Leslie Buddeke Smart; WAVE 3 News anchor Scott Reynolds; and local radio personality Lynda Lambert, among others.

Six superheroes, the Cardinal Bird mascot “Louie” and the KentuckyOne Health K-Man will be joining in on the fun. While on the court, trainers will demonstrate hand placement and depth of compression on mannequins. KentuckyOne Health staff will also be set up before the game in the KFC Yum! Center lobby to train fans one-on-one. Each participant will be asked to perform 60 seconds of CPR on their own.

A report from the Institute of Medicine found that individuals who live in areas where bystanders are more likely to start CPR have a better chance of survival following out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Not only is hands-only CPR easier for the public to learn and remember, but research shows bystanders are more likely to act when they don’t have to do mouth-to-mouth.

Free Hands-Only CPR Training at UofL Women’s Basketball game


Thursday, February 2, 2017
Tipoff – 7 p.m.

KFC Yum! Center
1 Arena Plaza
Louisville, KY 40202

Dr. Lorrel Brown, cardiologist, UofL Physicians
State Senator Denise Harper Angel
Jerry & Madeline Abramson
Leslie Buddeke Smart, division vice president of development, KentuckyOne Health
Scott Reynolds, WAVE 3 News anchor
Lynda Lambert, radio personality
Superheroes and mascots

Photo/video of hands-only CPR training on mannequins at halftime
Photo/video of UofL fans learning hands-only CPR
Photo/video of local celebrity advocates teaching hands-only CPR on the court

For more information and training locations, visit

The American Heart Association’s 60-second hands-only CPR training video is available at



Sen. Ridley files highway safety legislation





HENDERSON, Ky. (Feb. 1, 2017) – Senator Dorsey Ridley, D-Henderson, held a press conference in Henderson today to discuss legislation he has filed that would make driving on Kentucky’s highways safer. Senate Bill 92 would restrict modifications of vehicles with certain replacement headlights and other lights that emit from beneath the vehicle.

Senator Dorsey Ridley, D-Henderson, was joined today by the Kentucky State Police and local law enforcement as he announced Senate Bill 92, a highway safety bill.

The legislation would permit headlamps to emit only white light, except those outlined in the bill that includes halogen headlamps that have a slight yellow tint or others installed by the manufacturer that meet requirements set by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

“I have heard from citizens and from law enforcement about the super bright lighting and how distracting it is,” said Ridley, a member of the Senate Transportation Committee. “The distraction caused by the super bright lighting is a real danger to other drivers and we need to deal with it. This legislation would not have any effect on the original equipment installed on cars and trucks by the manufacturer. It will only affect equipment or lighting that is added after the vehicle rolls off the assembly line.”




SB 92 would prohibit vehicles from:

·         Emitting anything other than white light,

·         Require all headlamps meet US Department of Transportation regulations,

·         Prohibit headlamps that appear to emit a solid color other than white,

·         Prohibit headlamp covers or film that changes the color of the light emitted, and

·         Outline provisions for front, rear, side and undercarriage lighting of a vehicle.

Under Senate Bill 92, any person who violates any of the provisions could be fined not less than $20 nor more than $100 for each offense.

Senate Bill 92 has the support of law enforcement officers and agencies across the state.

Ridley was joined at the press conference by law enforcement officials who support the legislation including, Henderson County Sheriff Ed Brady, Kentucky State Police Post 16 Commander Captain Robert Shoultz and Henderson City Police Chief Chip Stauffer.

“The National Safety Highway Council has endorsed legislation such as this,” said Sheriff Brady. “They are pushing to get it done in all 50 states. We want to be one of the first. We think we’re going to make safer roads by doing this.”

Senate Bill 92 is a safety issue for the Kentucky motoring public, said Senator Ridley.

The bill will be considered by the Kentucky General Assembly during the 2017 Legislative Session.






Sen. Thomas appears on KET’s “Kentucky Tonight”




FRANKFORT (January 31, 2017) – Senator Reginald Thomas, D-Lexington, appeared on KET’s “Kentucky Tonight” on Monday, January 30, to discuss the Affordable Care Act and the impact its repeal will have on the citizens of Kentucky.

Sen. Thomas, who has served in the Senate since 2014, is a member of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee.

The other scheduled guests for “Kentucky Tonight” with host Renee Shaw are:

  • State Rep. Addia Wuchner, R-Florence, chair of the House Health and Family Services Committee
  • State Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, member of the House Health and Family Services Committee
  • State Sen. Stephen Meredith, R-Leitchfield, member of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee

Sen. Thomas represents the 13th Senatorial District that includes a portion of Fayette County.

To watch an archived episode of the broadcast, click here.



Webb sponsors legislation to honor public servants in Carter County




GRAYSON, Ky. (Jan. 20, 2017) – Senator Robin Webb, D-Grayson, participated in Tuesday’s dedication of three memorial highway signs in Carter County.

The Kentucky General Assembly passed legislation spearheaded by Senator Webb and Rep. Jill York, R-Grayson, renaming a portion of KY Rt. 7 in Grayson and parts of US 60 and KY 2 in Olive Hill as memorial tributes.

Honored were:

  • Former Kentucky Senator Pauline Burton Davis Hale, who was from Grayson and was the first female state senator in Kentucky (1957-1961). She filled the unexpired term of her late husband and then was elected to a full term. Senator Webb described her as a pioneer for women and a successful business owner. Her son, Rep. Jim Davis, also served as a state representative. The legislature voted to name the bridge that crosses I-64 in Grayson in honor of Sen. Hale.
  • Carter County EMT Billy Grills of Olive Hill, who died after rendering aid to a patient. Grills, who was active in the community, was described by Sen. Webb as a “dedicated servant.” He had been an EMT for 10 years when in 1986 he suffered a fatal stroke after carrying a patient in his arms down steep steps. A portion of US 60 in Olive Hill was named in his honor. He joins other first responders along that route that received similar tributes.
  • Olive Hill Firefighter Lt. David Wayne Conley, who died while working at the fire station. Sen. Webb described him as a hard-working, dedicated responder. He was honored for his service by having all of KY Rt. 2 that runs through Olive Hill to be named in his honor.

Family and friends joined those attending from the agencies represented by the honorees, state employees and government officials for the ceremonies held in Olive Hill and Grayson.

“Although these servants have gone on, it was my honor to participate and share the day with the families that all mean so much and have servant hearts,” said Senator Webb, adding that it also serves as “a reminder that our county is a great place to live and (is) full of people that I love.”

For an Daily Independent story on the dedication, click here.



Sen. Neal appears on KET’s “Kentucky Tonight”




FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 20, 2017) – Senator Gerald A. Neal, D-Louisville, will appear on KET’s “Kentucky Tonight” on Monday, Jan. 23, to discuss K-12 education including Senate Bill 1.

Neal, who has served in the Senate since 1989, is a member of the Senate Education Committee.

Also scheduled to appear on Kentucky Tonight with host Renee Shaw are House Minority Whip Wilson Stone, D-Scottsville; Sen. Mike Wilson, R-Bowling Green, chair of the Senate Education Committee, and Rep. John Carney, R-Campbellsville, chair of the House Education Committee.

Neal represents the 33rd Senatorial District that includes a portion of Jefferson County.

To view an archived  broadcast, click here.



Sen. Parrett introduces legislation to support kinship care





FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 12, 2017) – Sen. Dennis Parrett, D-Elizabethtown, introduced legislation last week to restore state funding for kinship care, which provides financial support to relatives who take in and care for children while their parents are incarcerated for substance abuse.

“Kinship Care allows grandparents and other family members that take a child in to their home to get $300 a month,” Parrett told the News-Enterprise. The state provided funding for kinship care through 2013, but has not since then. Senate Bill 29 calls for the reinstatement of that funding.

To read the News-Enterprise article, click here.


Sen. McGarvey to participate in health care forum on Jan. 15




LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Jan. 12, 2017) – Senator Morgan McGarvey will join U.S. Congressman John Yarmuth and other local officials for a public forum “Uncovered:  The Consequences of Repealing the Affordable Care Act in Kentucky” on Sunday, Jan. 15.

The public forum will be held at 2 p.m. at the Louisville Central Community Center, 1300 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd, Louisville, Ky.

For more information, please call (502) 582-5129.


Sen. Jones appears on KET’s “Kentucky Tonight”




LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 10, 2017) – Senate Democratic Leader Ray Jones (D-Pikeville) appeared on KET’s “Kentucky Tonight” on Jan. 9 to discuss the first week of the 2017 General Assembly.

Senator Jones appeared with host Renee Shaw and  guests Kentucky Senate President Pro Tem David Givens (R-Greensburg), Kentucky House Speaker Jeff Hoover (R-Jamestown), and Kentucky House Democratic Leader Rocky Adkins (D-Sandy Hook).

To watch the complete episode, click here.




Sen. Parrett’s bill requires financial and civil literacy classes



FRANKFORT (Jan. 10, 2017) – Senator Dennis Parrett has introduced legislation in the Kentucky General Assembly that would require high school students to complete financial and civic literacy programs by graduation.

“We are graduating some of the most technologically savvy high school students the world has ever seen, but we need to ensure they are still learning basic economic and democratic concepts,” said Parrett, D-Elizabethtown. “We can do this by guaranteeing financial and civic education a more central place in the high school curriculum.”

Known as Senate Bill 106, the legislation would require high school students to receive instruction on opening and maintaining checking and savings accounts, balancing a checkbook and understanding other services offered by banks. The students would also be taught about investing for retirement, purchasing insurance, starting a business and managing debt from student loans.

Parrett said a study by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority found that if a rigorous financial education program is carefully implemented, it can improve the credit scores and lower the probability of credit delinquency for young adults. The study found a Texas financial literacy program improved the credit scores of young adults in that state by 32 points.

“The 2008 financial crisis further demonstrated the need for broad-based financial education,” Parrett said. “One group of particular concern is young adults, as they have been shown to have to be prone to engage in expensive credit behaviors such as using payday loans, paying interest on credit card balances and accruing late fees.”

To meet the civic literacy requirement of SB 106, high schools would be required to give an overview of America’s founding history, including but not limited to key texts, the role and operation of local, state and national governments, exercising the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, federalism, civil liberties and civil rights.

“Evidence from national surveys shows young people who have a civic education are more likely than other students to be able to interpret political information correctly, to discuss political issues with peers and adults, to monitor the news and to feel confident about their ability to speak in public,” Parrett said. “Additionally, students who have experienced interactive civic education show a better ability to clearly express their opinions, have better collaborative group skills and have a better ability to work in culturally diverse teams.”

SB 106 calls for the literacy programs to be in place by the 2017-’18 school year for 10th, 11th and 12th grades. It would become a high school graduation requirement the following school year.