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Americans for Prosperity-Kentucky activists, volunteers, and coalition partners worked hard this legislative session to bring transformational change to Kentucky.
As a result of their efforts, the commonwealth is a more free and prosperous place to live, with more opportunity for all in the areas of education, criminal justice reform, health care, and more.
The chapter’s first victory was the passage of the Educational Opportunity Act (H.B. 563) and the overriding of the governor’s veto of this legislation.
The Educational Opportunity Act will provide educational freedom and opportunity to children in the Bluegrass State for the first time in the state’s history by offering needs-based scholarship opportunities for Kentucky families.
This law provides for private school tuition assistance in the state’s most populous counties, mandatory open enrollment, and financial assistance for public school children for things like tutors and school supplies.
Several principled leaders joined the fight to provide freedom for children and families this session to build a bright future for all Kentucky.
Read AFP-Kentucky’s statements regarding the passing of the Educational Opportunity Act and the overriding of the governor’s veto.
Another area where AFP-Kentucky saw significant progress this session was in criminal justice reform.
HB 126 increases the felony theft threshold in Kentucky from $500 to $1,000.
This is first effort by the General Assembly to address the state’s felony theft threshold in decades.
And while a bill seeking to permanently restore felon voting rights in Kentucky through a constitutional amendment didn’t move this session, the groundwork has been laid for this transformational change in the next legislative session.
Read testimony from AFP-Kentucky Community Engagement Director Nikki Rothwell concerning the restoration of her voting rights and why lawmakers should guarantee the protection of this right for all who have paid their debt to society.
Finally, in the space of policing reform, AFP-Kentucky supported SB4, which restricts the use of no-knock warrants. This law elevates the standard for such warrants to clear and convincing and eliminates no-knocks for many alleged offenses.
In health care, HB 140, which increases access to telehealth services, was passed in bipartisan fashion. This law will allow all health care providers licensed under Kentucky’s 20 health care licensing boards to deliver telehealth.
The bill will also allow health care providers to deliver telehealth through audio-only phone calls and remote monitoring technology.
Currently, providers can only deliver telehealth through audio-video calls and store and forward. In addition, only 10 types of providers can currently deliver telehealth in Kentucky.
HB 140 is truly a win for the residents of the commonwealth.
Another significant victory for AFP-Kentucky was the derailment of a major gas tax increase. Our champions in the legislature stood strong with AFP activists and rejected attempts by special interests to raise the tax burden on hardworking Kentucky families.
The proposed gas tax increase would have hiked the price Kentuckians pay at the pump by 10 cents a gallon, as well as increasing user fees and fees on special fuel vehicles.
Sadly, the efforts to increase the gas tax in the state will continue in the future.
Additionally, AFP-Kentucky was vocally supportive of the efforts by the General Assembly to curb executive powers in the state.
SB1 made many advances for freedom in Kentucky during the time of the pandemic. The law limits certain emergency executive orders and regulations to 30 days without legislative approval and requires the governor to call the legislature into special session before extending certain executive orders.
As the 2021 session concludes, our activists have set high expectations for the interim legislative session and the session coming in 2022.
Criminal justice reform, policing reform, educational freedom, and ensuring economic opportunity will be the guiding priorities and foundation for transformational change in the commonwealth next year. Our activists are excited to see the legislative opportunities to come.