melinda gibbons prunty CURRENTBELTON, Ky. (2/4/20) — At the close of Session on Friday, this week completed Day 18 of our 60-day Session. Several significant bills passed out of the House and, prior to the end of Session Friday, HB 186 passed out of the Senate and was brought back to the House to be enrolled.

An enrolled bill means it first passed out of one chamber or the other, then passed in the opposite chamber and was sent back to the House for the Speaker to sign or the Senate for the President to sign, verifying it had passed both Legislative chambers. Enrolled bills are then sent to the Governor for him or her to either sign into law or veto. HB 186 clarifies that direct sellers are independent contractors.

HB 24, of which I was a co-sponsor, passed out of the House on Monday. It would allow for monies to be appropriated to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs from a surplus account for this fiscal year to begin the design and preconstruction costs for the Bowling Green Veterans Center.

Due to changes at the federal level, this project got moved up in line and will happen several years ahead of schedule and needed the funding immediately to keep the project moving forward. The Bowling Green Veterans Center would add 90 more beds in an area of the state where veterans are underserved.

HB 151, if passed into law, would raise the minimum amount a local school system could spend for advertising and bidding school building projects from $7,000 to $30,000. It was done to avoid expensive delays and cumbersome rules on small projects, particularly roof repairs.

HB 168 is a legislative ethics reform bill of which I was a proud co-sponsor. It outlines what misconduct is, spells out the consequences for misconduct, allows for the dismissal of complaints if unfounded and allows for complaints to be filed for extended periods of time after someone has left office or no longer works for state government, among other provisions. It has been worked on for the past three years.

HB 190, which I co-sponsored, would update current bullying reporting in schools so that there is a timeline to insure reporting takes place and in a timely fashion. It will also call for the development of procedures to help prevent future bullying. It will be called Alex’s Law if passed into statute.

HB 213, which I co-sponsored, would allow young people age 16 who have no legal guardian, especially homeless youth in our state, the ability to receive mental health services by their own consent. Many are homeless due to mental health issues.

HB 214, if it makes it into law, would establish the Veterinary Contract Spaces Program. The program would secure in statute the current 164 slots for Kentucky students at approved veterinary programs that are located out of state, since Kentucky does not have an in-state school offering that degree anywhere in the Commonwealth. It would also move the administration of the program from the Council on Postsecondary Education to the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority.

The state pays the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition in Alabama so Kentucky students can pay in-state tuition to both Auburn and Tuskegee Universities. Both schools have Veterinary programs that Kentucky students attend.

HB 229 would remove the requirement that 911 call centers prorate their expenses based on a percentage of wireless vs landline calls. Approximately 80% of calls today are wireless. The statute was outdated.

HB 242 will allow taller mobile homes to be transported on our state roads. The height was raised from 13.5 feet-15 feet.

HCR 5, which I co-sponsored, passed which is a resolution encouraging the federal government to speed up research with regards to the safety and efficacy (effectiveness) of marijuana for medical purposes. Universities like Yale are finally beginning to do research for the FDA.

Everyone who is in favor of medical marijuana needs to contact our federal delegation and encourage them to do what they can to get the FDA to change the schedule of marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule II drug so that testing can be done to move it forward in the process. You can call Congressman Comer at 202-225-3115, Senator Paul at 202-224-4343 and/or Senator McConnell at 202-224-2541. https://www.dea.gov/drug-scheduling.

HCR 35 urges local governments to partner with school outreach programs and non-profits to get as accurate a census count as possible. Without an accurate count, we will not receive all of the federal dollars available to help the most vulnerable in the district.

I had a couple of visitors on Tuesday representing the Hopkins County YMCA. They came to say “hello” and make me aware of their concerns with some proposed legislation.

Following that visit, I made my way to the Rotunda for a “Call to Prayer” that was sponsored by the Kentucky Prayer Caucus. Several individuals including Representatives, a Capitol Chaplain, State Treasurer Allison Ball and State Auditor Mike Harmon gave testimony and offered prayer. It was encouraging to be praying in our state’s Capitol.

Tuesday evening, we were presented with Governor Beshear’s budget proposal for the General Fund in a joint address to both the House and Senate on the House floor. The House will now begin to look closely at what the Governor has proposed, how it will be paid for, are there enough funds, what might have to be cut to cover those costs, what revenues can be generated and is it fair to all Kentucky citizens. Many promises were made citing certain avenues of revenue from specific sources which have not been passed into law yet.

Once it gets adjusted by the House it will be sent to the Senate, sent back to the House for concurrence then sent to the Governor for final approval or veto. I will continue to give you a progress report as we move through the process.

On Wednesday, I visited the BePro BeProud truck lab. The semi was parked in front of the Capitol Annex. It had several stations inside that were simulators for driving a truck, welding, electrical work and other skilled manufacturing jobs. The Kentucky Association of Manufacturers hope to get a truck that will be filled with the types of jobs needed in Kentucky so that it can make its way around the state to introduce high school students to various career paths, possible salaries and job locations once they graduate.

Thursday evening, we enjoyed a full House legislative reception to try and build community and better working relationships among members across party lines. Coach Calipari was a special speaker who challenged us to find common ground. His best quote was: “What’s right isn’t always popular, and what’s popular isn’t always right.”

Saturday was a full day in the district. Saturday morning, I enjoyed a Kentucky Farm Bureau legislative breakfast in Madisonville with members from both Hopkins and Muhlenberg Counties. Issues related to the world of agriculture were discussed considering the upcoming budget proposal as well as current House and Senate bills under consideration.

In the afternoon, I was humbled to be a part of the Historical Marker Dedication Ceremony at the Zion Temple A.M.E. Zion Church. Historical Marker No. 2611 was uncovered after a short ceremony that included music and comments by various individuals. Members of the church who worked hard to submit the application, raise the funds and organize both the placing of the marker and the ceremony are to be commended.

Zion Temple A.M.E. Zion Church is the oldest African American church in Hopkins County. Including the history of Zion Temple Church by the Kentucky Historical Society will help include its role in the collective memory of Madisonville, Hopkins County and the entire Commonwealth.

Later on Saturday, I was pleased to participate in the 2020 Black History Gala at Madisonville Community College. Mr. Bill McReynolds was the Master of Ceremonies. Various community leaders and youth spoke, sang and performed liturgical dance. Throughout the event, several awards were given. One of the awards was the Athlete of the Semi-Century Award that went to Sonny Collins, a native of Hopkins County who played football at North Hopkins, the University of Kentucky and had an illustrious career in the NFL.

The keynote speaker was Derrick Ramsey, the first African American quarterback at the University of Kentucky. Mr. Ramsey spoke about his roots in a small town in Florida where everybody knew who you were and held you accountable; where work ethic was crucial, and support and encouragement were abundant.
He shared how he enlisted in ROTC while in college in order to learn the skills to lead and how he challenged his teammates to be a team, regardless of skin color. He shared how what he learned through sports helped him throughout his post-athletic career and why he plans to live out his days in Kentucky because of the opportunities having played at UK and the support he received from all of Kentucky afforded him and his family. The entire event was enlightening, challenging and inspiring.

As always, I welcome your comments and concerns on any issue and can be reached, regardless if in session or not, through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at-1-800-372-7181, at 502-564-8100 Ext. 686, or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Please follow me on Facebook @melindagibbonsprunty. You can also keep track of committee meetings and potential legislation by watching live on KET or through the Kentucky Legislature Home Page at www.legislature.ky.gov.

Note: Representative Melinda Gibbons Prunty represents the 15th House District serving Muhlenberg and SE Hopkins counties, which includes White Plains, Mortons Gap, Anton as well as sections of Nortonville, Earlington and southeast Madisonville. She is Vice-Chair of the Health & Family Services Committee as well as the Budget Review Sub-Committee on Health & Family Services. She serves as a member on, the Appropriations & Revenue, Medicaid Oversight and Advisory, Education, and Natural Resources & Energy Committees as well as the Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Advisory Committee. http://chfs.ky.gov/dph/ColonCancer.htm.

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