melinda gibbons prunty CURRENTBELTON, Ky. (1/27/20) — Prior to going back to Frankfort, I was able to attend the White Plains Senior Citizens monthly potluck on Monday, the 20th. It was good to see everyone and give a brief update on what is going on in our state Capitol.

Miss Hopkins County, KayLeigh Ferrell and Miss Teen Hopkins County, Mattie Bennett, were there to share how much they have enjoyed serving in their respective roles representing Hopkins County. Tina Otto from Hillside Villa Care and Rehabilitation Center in Madisonville shared about how to recognize the signs of a stroke, what to look for and how to react in order to minimize any long term negative effects.

The tempo is picking up in Frankfort now that bills are being heard in committee, passing out of committee and coming back to the House, being debated and voted on. The same is taking place in the Senate as well.

Update on John “Bam” Carney: on Thursday he was able to do some physical therapy for the first time in two weeks. He had to have dialysis again but seems to be responding to the medicines as it relates to the infection he has. Please continue to pray.

Some highlights of bills that passed the House side of the Legislature this week include the following:

HB 17, of which I was a proud co-sponsor, passed both in committee and the House and will be sent over to the Senate for consideration. HB 17 would designate the Honor and Remember flag as the state emblem to honor military who have died in service and sacrifice for our country.

Samuel Deeds, a veteran, shared in committee that over 11,000 Kentucky military have died in combat since WWI. Mr. Deeds was present in the gallery when the vote was taken on the Floor and it passed by a vote of 87-0; those not voting were absent when the vote was taken.

He was also present in Muhlenberg County during the “Run for the Fallen” this past September. He airdropped onto the Muhlenberg County High School football field at the beginning of the ceremony that then took place in Felix Martin, Jr. Hall as a major stop for the run as it went through Kentucky. The Run “is a nationwide relay foot run in tribute to every Military service member who has died while serving or as a result of serving during the War on Terror, since October 12, 2000.” https://www.runforthefallen.org/.

The flag will be flown on special days such as the 4th of July, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Gold Star Family Day (the last Sunday in September) and whenever a Kentuckian falls in the line of duty. It will in no way replace the American flag. https://militarybenefits.info/gold-star-mothers-day/
HB 14 would provide state college tuition benefits to spouses and children of emergency response personnel and public employees who have died or were made totally and permanently disabled in the line of duty.

HB 153, of which I am a co-sponsor, if it becomes law, would direct the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to establish and administer a Mental Health First Aid Training Program to train first responders, educators, faith leaders, social workers as well as any others in a community who might desire to get trained, how to identify signs of mental illness and make referrals to the proper resources to get those identified the help that they need. A trust fund would be established to receive grants, donations, matching dollars from the federal government and potentially state funds if/when available to promote trainings across the state.

One of the reasons for this bill is to take a step forward as it relates to SB 1 last year, the School Safety Bill. With the budget being tight, this is an effort to begin to create a funding source that is not just taxpayer dollars to help make these services available to those that need them, in particular our children and youth. The earlier mental health issues can be picked up and treated, the better the long term outcomes.

HB 167, which I also co-sponsored, would allow foster parents anonymity when being a part of the involuntary termination of parental rights cases and would make their participation voluntary. HB 167 is the clarification of HB 446 that was passed in the 2019 General Session.

HB 186 would clarify that direct sellers are independent contractors and not employees. Direct sellers requested this clarification to avoid the potentially expensive requirements for more than 171,000 Kentuckians who operate direct businesses. Direct businesses have offered those that contract with companies to do so the opportunity to make a little extra money for their families or make it their entire career if they so choose.

HB 236 was the first bill to pass the House and is considered the “Hemp Clean-up Bill”. It aligns Kentucky law to federal law, allows for testing by either the University of Kentucky lab or allow them to contract out to other qualified labs, sets a limit on who may transport hemp in and out of Kentucky based on licensing and THC content, prohibits the possession of hemp with more than 0.3% THC content (until the federal government changes the legal level) along with other various technical changes to current law.

I was happy to be a part of the conversation around what labs can test since the Breathitt Veterinary Clinic in Hopkinsville is willing to become a qualified testing lab. This will hopefully assist hemp farmers in Western KY from having to transport their crop all the way to Lexington to be tested; to be continued.

An important safety measure was passed in the House by HR 11. The resolution urges Congress to require car manufacturers to install safety features in vehicles to prevent children from being left in the vehicles in severely hot temperatures.

On Wednesday I was happy to visit with representatives from the Muhlenberg 911 Center in Senator Embry’s office. They were advocating for all filed legislation, both bills and a resolution, which support emergency services. Emergency Services are essential at the time of a crisis and we are blessed in the 15th District to have well qualified individuals serving in both Hopkins and Muhlenberg Counties.

On Saturday, the 25th, I enjoyed the inaugural “Cookin’ for Kids” fundraiser at the Ballard Convention Center in Madisonville. The event was sponsored by the Madisonville Rotary Club and Family Y. Monies raised will allow kids in the region to participate in summer camps and other programs sponsored by the Family Y. It was a great event and was well attended and supported by the community.

Medicare Beneficiaries: if you are currently receiving Medicare and paying your Part B monthly premium, you may be eligible for a program that can help you with that cost. Call Ali Jones at the Pennyrile Area Development District in Hopkinsville at 270-886-9484 or 866-844-4396 to inquire.

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, Morton’s Gap, Anton as well as sections of Nortonville, Earlington and SE 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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