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KING: House bills head to Senate, committees continue work

The third week of this year’s legislative session began with an opportunity to reflect on the life and contributions of Martin Luther King, Jr.

I had the privilege to attend a walk that day with Harrodsburg Baptist Church. A little chilly weather didn’t deter us from celebrating the life, legacy and leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Mercer County.

We also celebrated Kentucky Youth Advocacy Day this week. This is an opportunity to meet with our county officials at the Capitol.

These were all important and helped set the tone for the week.

Of course, thousands of people from all walks of life visit our Capitol building each session to share their concerns with lawmakers. Frankly, it is a daily reminder of the responsibility I have to serve our state and this district.

We passed a resolution aimed at finding an alternative to the reformulated gasoline (RFG) requirements that are costly to those who buy gas in Bullitt, Jefferson and Oldham counties.

The measure, House Joint Resolution 8, calls for the state to explore alternatives to RFG to meet the requirements of a federal mandate included in the Clean Air Act of 1990.

Gasoline in these counties is regularly between 20 and 30 cents more per gallon than when purchased just a few miles outside of that tri-county area — costing area residents and those who commute for work or entertainment almost $75 million more a year.

Members of the House Agriculture Committee approved legislation that would formalize a long-standing agreement that the state provide financial support and access to students who want to become veterinarians and must attend out-of-state veterinary schools.

Under the provisions of HB 214, Kentucky will continue to reserve slots at universities with veterinary programs. There are no veterinary programs at any of Kentucky’s colleges or universities, and it would be expensive to start and operate one. If a Kentucky student wants to pursue a degree in veterinary education, they must go out-of-state.

This is already in practice, but this bill will give it the permanence of law.

Legislation that expands existing state laws prohibiting registered sex offenders from being on the grounds of or living within 1,000 feet of a public playground cleared the House Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee this week.

Under the provisions of House Bill 204, the same requirements would apply to publicly-operated playgrounds on leased property — an expansion that will protect even more Kentucky children.

This measure builds off the legislation I sponsored in 2017, and I was proud to see my colleagues vote in favor of this protective measure.

The first bill to pass the House this session was, quite fittingly, a nod to our agricultural heritage.

House Bill 236 is part of our ongoing effort to help Kentucky farmers growing industrial hemp.

Its provisions will bring our state further in line with federal guidelines to promote the hemp industry. The measure has the support of many in the agricultural community, including Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles.

HB 236 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Of course, the budget still remains our top priority this session.

I hope to continue updating you on our work in Frankfort. If you have any questions or comments about this session, I can be reached during the week from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. (EST) through the toll-free message line at 1-800-372-7181. They will ask you to share contact information, but I will get the message and I do appreciate hearing from constituents.

You can also contact me via e-mail at Kim.King@lrc.ky.gov.

You can keep track of committee meetings and potential legislation through the Kentucky Legislature Home Page at legislature.ky.gov and you can also follow me on Twitter @KimberlyKingGOP.

State Rep. Kim King represents Kentucky’s 55th District, which includes part of Jessamine County and Mercer and Washington counties.