As legislators continued work in Frankfort this week, we voted on bills that dealt with issues ranging from education to communications infrastructure. We also honored athletic achievements of Kentucky students, including the success of the boys and girls UHA Basketball teams in their Tournament this week, and we heard from citizens during rallies in the capitol.
As law makers, education is always at the front of our minds as well as how we can create opportunities for our youth’s advantage.
One such Bill, Senate Bill 16 is legislation that allows computer programming to meet foreign language requirements in public school. Currently, Kentucky high school students must complete two years in a foreign language. Also, entrance into state universities and community colleges requires foreign language courses be taken in high school.
To offer students and districts more flexibility, and provide a means to a marketable skill, this bill allows schools to include computer programming as an option to fulfill the foreign language requirement. Computer programming is a quickly growing field as technology continues to expand in all areas of life. The market for programming is expanding and the job opportunities are vast, not to mention the highly competitive entry-level salaries. Opening the requirements to computer programming will give more control to our students, open opportunities for teachers and create a more career-ready and college-ready student. Clearly foreign languages remain an extremely important requirement but this is an additional skill that may allow students greater job opportunities.
To provide our law enforcement professionals more efficient means to conduct their work, I sponsored Senate Bill 45 and received great support on the legislation. The legislation gives law enforcement the ability to execute search warrants electronically, saving time and man power during an investigation, without harming the important constitutional standards required to make a lawful search. It also added a new requirement that the person whose property is being searched must be provided a written copy of the warrant at the time of the search.
A priority of our caucus in this session is a measure to keep legislation in the hands of the General Assembly. Senate Bill 1 gives the legislature the authority to review and approve or disapprove of regulations enacted by a sitting governor during an interim period. In the past, legislation has been taken to a level that was not intended through such regulations. This is an important “checks and balances” policy. Senate Bill 1 was heard in the State and Local Government Committee this week, and reported favorably.
I continue to work to protect the sanctity of life. I was glad to see and participate in the Right to Life rally in the state capital this week. Also, I presented a pro-life bill in the Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection, Senate Bill 8, which requires an ultrasound to be ordered for patients prior to having an abortion procedure. It is critical that mothers have the opportunity to know the life they expose to those horrific procedures. A constant refrain from opponents to pro-life policy is that a mother would be shamed or guilted into not seeking the abortion. I believe that is a tacit agreement that there is, in fact, a life at stake. Otherwise, what difference would it make? Senate Bill 8 passed committee and will be heard on the floor soon.
As legislation continues, I appreciate your comments and input. Please contact me through the Legislative Research Commission’s toll-free message line at 1-800-372-7181. Also, you can follow the work of the General Assembly at www.lrc.ky.gov. In addition, you can see updates on legislative activity via Twitter at @KyWhitney.
Your input on the issues facing the state, as always, is important to me. I invite you to contact me withissues or concerns. You may call my office in Frankfort at 502-564-8100 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senator Whitney Westerfield (R-Hopkinsville) represents the 3rd District including Christian, Logan, and Todd counties. He is Chairman of the Judiciary Committee and Vice-Chair of the Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection Committee. Senator Westerfield serves on the Agriculture Committee, the Capital Planning Advisory Board, the Natural Resources and Energy Committee, the Tobacco Settlement Agreement Fund Oversight Committee, and the Transportation Committee.