Senate invoice seeks to extend training, workforce readiness for highschool graduates | Opinion

We have officially crossed the quarter mark of the 60-day 2022 Regular Legislative Session and I have a few high points I’d like to share.

On Tuesday, we received a visit from United States Sen. Mitch McConnell, who provided an update from Washington and encouraged caucus efforts this session. McConnell spoke to members of both chambers and surveyed the damage that wrecked western Kentucky. He also affirmed his commitment to Kentucky by the $5 billion infrastructure package coming Kentucky’s way for critical infrastructure needs that will connect Kentucky with neighboring states, increasing traffic, and ultimately bringing more commerce to the Commonwealth.

Senate Bill 59 is an education and workforce readiness measure creating school accountability conditions that will dramatically increase the percentage of high school graduates with college credit, high-demand workforce credentials, and industry-approved internship hours. The bill clarifies college credit must include at least an entire three-hour dual credit course, approved by the Kentucky Department of Education, or a college-level exam, such as Advanced Placement, that awards at least three-hour college credits. This bill will provide graduating seniors a step up as they enter college or more opportunities to enter the workforce sooner if they choose.

Senate Bill 88 establishes the framework for what a special session would look like if initiated by the General Assembly. Currently, only the governor can call a special session, as the Kentucky Constitution outlines. In last year’s session, House Bill 4 passed that will place a constitutional amendment on the next general election ballot for you and fellow voters to determine if you would like the General Assembly to call a special session of its own accord. You’ll recall that last year, legislators were unable to respond to your pleas for relief from arbitrary closures negatively impacting your families, businesses, church attendance and overall livelihood. Kentucky is currently one of only 14 states in the nation that does not allow the legislative branch to call a special session. In the interest of being responsive to constituents’ needs, I encourage your support of the constitutional amendment that will be on the ballot this fall.

The Senate received Senate Bill 100 back from the House on Thursday. This bill is a direct result of the limits put in place by the governor during the pandemic that refused residents in assisted-living facilities, long-term care facilities, and mental health hospitals nearing the end of their life a visit from a ‘compassionate caregiver .’ A compassionate caregiver could be a family member, legal guardian, outside caregiver, friend, or volunteer, allowed at a resident’s bedside. The bill extends the original provision put in place by lawmakers during the recent special session. Prior to action by the Kentucky General Assembly, reports detailed heart-wrenching stories of elderly residents passing away alone, separated from those who made their lives meaningful. SB 100 considers the holistic well-being of those in their last days by giving equal attention to social, emotional, and spiritual needs.

Senate Bill 45 aims to bring efficiencies to the Medicaid program by limiting the number of Managed Care Organization contracts accepted by the state. This bill will alleviate some of the burdens our healthcare providers experience with the tedious process and minutia of working with only three Medicaid providers instead of six, ultimately cutting administrative costs, passing the savings on to Kentuckians, especially those in more rural areas.

As always, I am here in our Commonwealth’s capitol fighting for your best interest. It’s an honor to serve as your Senator and voice in Frankfort. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out.

Sen. Jason Howell (R-Murray) represents the 1st District, which includes Calloway, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Lyon, and Trigg Counties.

Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of the Murray Ledger & Times.

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