Kentucky General Assembly – 1/15/20 Update15 Jan

The message below was sent to CCK’s email list on January 10th, 2020. If you are interested in receiving email updates throughout the legislative session, please consider signing up here.

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As of this week, the 2020 Regular Session of the Kentucky General Assembly is under way! We are hopeful this session will produce several positive pieces of legislation. We also see some potential developments that concern us. Thank you for your willingness to be a Faithful Citizen Advocate and live out our faith by speaking up for the vulnerable

You can call your legislator at 1-800-372-7181 (to leave a message in Spanish call 1-866-840-6574). Or you can GO HERE and enter your address to find your legislator and a link to email them. 

There will be many bills we will share with you in the coming weeks, asking for your help in either supporting or opposing them, but here are just a few that are of great importance, because of the gravity of the issues and because things could move very quickly.

SB 1 – Bills are numbered “1” in either the House or Senate to signify they are the priority bill of that chamber. SB 1 is designed to prevent “sanctuary cities” in Kentucky. Sanctuary cities are cities which adopt a policy of refusing to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement efforts. Kentucky currently has no sanctuary cities.

While there is much about the rhetoric surrounding this issue that is troubling, there is one aspect of SB 1 that is especially problematic. It requires all “public agencies” (any organization receiving more than 25% of its budget from state or local government) to “use their best efforts” to support immigration enforcement, with consideration of available resources. It is unclear what that means or what it would require of local health departments, domestic violence shelters, or any number of other agencies. Such a law could create uncertainty among the immigrant population, leading many to avoid seeking help they need from law enforcement or other agencies, even if they have been victims of crime.

Please call or email both your senators and representatives AS SOON AS POSSIBLE to express concern about this bill. It could start moving through the process as early as late next week.

HB 67 – Abortion Neutrality Constitutional Amendment – HB 67 would put a constitutional amendment on the ballot in November that would make it explicit that there is no right to an abortion in the Kentucky Constitution. As movement has developed toward the possible limiting or overturning of Roe v. Wade in the federal courts, increasingly state courts have been asked to find a right to abortion in state constitutions. HB 67, if passed and approved by voters, would prevent that from happening in Kentucky. Please express your SUPPORT for HB 67.

HB 237 – Eliminate the use of the death penalty for defendants with a diagnosed severe mental illness. CCK has long supported this bill and we have reason to believe this could be the year we pass it! Please express your SUPPORT for HB 237.

Scholarship Tax Credits – For several years, House Floor Leader Bam Carney has championed Scholarship Tax Credits and worked hard to get them passed. Unfortunately, Rep. Carney fell ill last month, and he is continuing to fight for recovery. We pass our sincere prayers and thoughts to him and his family as they go through this time.

While we continue our public advocacy efforts, it will be crucial for us to work closely with leadership in determining the appropriate path forward legislatively in light of Representative Carney’s absence. We have been in touch with leadership and will provide an update as soon as we learn more.

A bill will be filed in the coming days and we will then have a bill number. Even though that has not yet happened, it is still important to call legislators now and express SUPPORT for scholarship tax credits. Thank you for your continuing commitment to Faithful Citizenship!

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