Senator Max Wise’s legislative update – Week 8

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As we draw to the close of week eight of the 2022 Regular Session, we passed significant legislation to help people across the commonwealth. 

Senate Bill 194 (SB 194), the Senate’s tax rebate plan was introduced on Wednesday; the proposal to end the COVID-19 state of emergency was voted favorably off the Senate floor and Senate Bill 138 (SB 138), the Teaching American’s Principles Act I sponsored was passed out of the Senate, where it now proceeds to the House.

SB 194 is the Senate’s tax rebate plan in response to inflation hitting a 40-year high.  Under the Senate’s plan, introduced during a special Appropriations and Revenue Committee meeting Thursday, each single working Kentucky taxpayer will receive up to $500 and each household up to $1,000. This tax rebate is possible because of the conservative budget of the commonwealth; unexpected and exceptional revenue growth is expected to yield over $1.94 billion in excess funds that rightly belongs to Kentucky taxpayers. This plan will keep more money in taxpayers’ pockets and empower them with the tools to make appropriate choices for their families.

SB 138, also known as the Teaching American Principles Act, passed out of the Senate with a vote of 28 to 8.  Over the past year, it was drafted in response to the growing number of actual student assignments brought to us from parents and students, which were causing them to question whether the teaching of our nation’s history was tainted with one-sided opinions.  A group of parents actually said they wondered if their students were being indoctrinated rather than educated. This has been a growing trend nationwide causing division and angst amongst parents and school boards. Amid these tensions that are further dividing us, I filed this bill to unify us.  The bill seasons our state’s academic standards with American principles, and encourages teachers to help students explore original core documents, analyze historical and current issues and controversies, and develop as the next generation of Kentucky citizens.

Without invading local curriculum and instruction, SB 138 simply extends an existing elementary academic standard to middle and high school, which says students should “describe the impact of foundational documents on the development of the United States.”  As the bill sponsor, I spent hours talking to legislators, my constituents, educators, and parents on the importance of providing a strong civics foundation for our kids.  Consequently, we included a baseline of 24 of our nation’s primary source historical documents, Supreme Court decisions, and speeches in our bill that embrace the good, the bad and the ugly of the authentic American story. We will continue to rely on our instructors to create and align their lessons and curricula with the academic standards, and help students think critically as they explore and draw their own conclusions about original core American documents.  As future citizens, we understand the imperative to teach students “how” to think rather than “what” to think.

SB 138 preserves classroom discussion of controversial aspects of history.  It also maintains a teacher’s ability to present current events and controversial issues; and it supports civic learning in settings that students may encounter in their lives, such as the legislative process, as long as students aren’t incentivized to campaign for an issue or candidate they oppose. 

Finally, although SB 138 does not diminish employee professional growth and development about topics such as diversity, cultural competency, equity, or biases, it prohibits training that would force an employee to stereotype a particular group of people.

Representing the voices I have heard across the state, it is my resolve to pass legislation that aligns true American principles with state standards, and allows instructors, in nurturing settings, to help the next generation of Kentuckians explore foundational core documents that reveal how Americans have agreed, disagreed, and progressed on the meaning of freedom and self-government.

Senate Joint Resolution 150 (SJR 150), aims to end the COVID-19 state of emergency declared by Governor Andy Beshear on March 6, 2020. It was voted favorably out of committee and off the Senate floor this week.

SJR 150 ends the Kentucky state of emergency, as it gives the executive branch time to determine whether to file administrative regulations based upon existing statutory authority.  It also encourages the Governor to engage the legislature as opposed to unilaterally dictating policy.

SB 124 allows CDL license holders to renew expired licenses within five years without taking both the knowledge and skills tests. This only applies to CDL license holders whose license was not suspended, revoked or disqualified. Drivers must submit medical clearance, self-certification, a criminal background check, a review of driving history and a vision test. Any former CDL license holders whose license was suspended because of a failure to submit medical evaluation, may renew their license. Finally, it allows drivers to keep their hazardous materials endorsements if they retake the required examinations.

SB 133 reorganizes offices within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services by placing the Office of Data Analytics under the Office of the Secretary within CHFS. The bill also expands the responsibilities of Office of Inspector General by establishing the Kentucky Health Information Exchange and oversight thereof, as well as moving the Department of Telehealth Services to the OIG. Lastly, SB 133 moves the Health Benefits Exchange to the Department of Medicaid Services.

SB 148 redefines “controlled environment agriculture facility” to allow the Kentucky Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction to make exemptions to benefit Kentucky’s Agri-businesses by reforming building codes. It defines them as a facility that uses a technologically advanced form of hydroponic or soilless-based production, which includes a combination of engineering, plant science, and computer-managed greenhouse control technologies in growing spaces. All connected sorting, packing, and storage areas are to allow complete and stable control of the plant environment, including temperature, light, and carbon dioxide. It also includes the immediate sorting, packaging, and shipping of fresh produce and shall not be used for retail sales or allow open access to the public.

SB 152 provides that a local government is not required to comply with notice or hearing requirements and wait times before awarding a waste management franchise for the first time. This would only apply when the local government has been the sole provider of the same waste management services in the area, and wishes to add a franchise. This is beneficial because it is predicted this bill will create cost-savings for cities, having a positive fiscal impact.

SB 91 allows licensed dealers to conduct online sales and delivery of a motor vehicle to customers’ residences or other suitable locations if requested by the customer. The bill modernizes the purchase and sale of automobiles, enabling more convenience in the marketplace for both consumer and merchant.

SB 80 requires when a post-mortem examination is needed, the exam shall include genetic testing. If the genetic test results determine the cause of death, the notice of the death must be reported to the state registrar of vital statistics, who shall record the cause of death on the death certificate Information about the deceased person or the genetic test results cannot be released without written, signed and acknowledge consent of a spouse, or, if no spouse, the next of kin, or, if none, whoever assumes responsibility to dispose of the body.

I’m proud to be your voice in Frankfort.  If you have any questions or comments about these or any other public policy issues, please call my office at 502-564-8100 or the legislative message line 1-800-372-7181.  Please contact me anytime at if you see a need for legislation or just want to talk about the wonderful things that make living in Kentucky great. 

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Senator Max Wise (R-Campbellsville) represents the 16th District, which includes Adair, Allen, Metcalfe, Monroe, and Taylor Counties and eastern Warren County.  He is chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Education and co-chair of the Education Assessment and Accountability Review Subcommittee. Senator Wise also serves as a member of the Senate Standing Committees on Health and Welfare, Agriculture, and Transportation, and is a liaison member of the Budget Review Subcommittee on Education. Additionally, he is a member of the 2022-2024 Budget Preparation and Submission Subcommittee and the Legislative Oversight and Investigations Committee.

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