Senator Turner’s Legislative Update: Week 5
Published 4:35 am Tuesday, February 8, 2022
The fifth week of the 2022 legislative session ended with severe weather moving into Kentucky on Thursday and Friday. I hope that you and your family are safe during this storm.
The Senate has officially begun the process of reviewing the Governor’s and State House of Representatives’ budget proposals. I will keep you informed in the weeks ahead on significant budget developments from the Senate. Know that we are going through both documents to develop one that is financially smart and takes care of not just east Kentuckians, but residents across the state.
Some of the bills passed in the Senate this past week include:
Senate Bill (SB) 8 is one of the most important bills passed during the 2022 Regular Session. It was initially filed during Child Advocacy Week, was discussed in committee, and then made its way to the Senate floor this past week.
Unfortunately, Kentucky has led the nation three years in a row in rates of child abuse and neglect, and I find that completely unacceptable. This bill expands the opportunity for family preservation services in order to keep children safe, families together and provide additional resources and support for Kentucky’s child advocacy centers. One of the most important parts of the bill is that it specifically distinguishes the difference between poverty and neglect.
SB 23 addresses one of the most frustrating things that far too many of us have had to deal with. This bill updates Kentucky’s mail theft statute, which currently only covers mail packages delivered by the United States Postal Service. If signed into law, the bill will put packages delivered by common carriers such as UPS and FedEx under that same legal umbrella, making ‘porch pirates’ susceptible to more serious criminal charges.
SB 33 continues Kentucky’s efforts to address workforce needs by allowing people convicted of misdemeanors and have paid their debt to society, to re-enter the job market. The primary focus of the bill is to clarify when a misdemeanor offense may qualify for expungement. Existing law does not allow for expungement of a crime that qualifies for additional penalties on an indefinite basis. Currently, a person convicted of a misdemeanor, violation, or a series of convictions arising from a single incident, can petition the court for expungement of their record.
As a Christian, I believe in redemption and second chances. If somebody has paid their debts to society and turned their life around, I think they deserve a second chance. With that being said I am always focused on your safety. This bill does not allow for sex crimes, child-related offenses and violent crimes do not qualify for expungement.
SB 64 allows public safety agencies to establish a peer support-counseling program. This enables those within the same field to use personal experiences to help co-workers deal with post-traumatic stress disorder. The bill will include emergency dispatchers, often the first line of communication for individuals in crisis, distress or trauma, as well as other first responders.
SB 64 was filed following heart-wrenching testimony heard in the Interim Joint Committee on Health, Welfare and Family Services last summer. Emergency dispatchers spoke of the mental anguish they suffer from supporting others during times of high stress and trauma, and detailed the lack of mental health support for those in their profession.
SB 66, also known as ‘Nathan’s Law,’ takes the necessary step to give greater consideration to the grieving process of families by implementing requirements on how the news of a loved one’s death must be delivered. It requires coroners and deputy coroners, within three years of assuming office, to complete a minimum four-hour course that includes instruction of the grieving process and best practices for providing death notice to a spouse or next of kin. The bill also stipulates that news of the death must be delivered in person and respectfully and requires a follow up with the family member within 48 hours. Additionally, the bill would require emergency responders to be on standby.
These bills have now been sent to the state House of Representatives, where I hope they are quickly passed.
The Senate remains focused on helping children, compassion, and changing our workforce to improve the lives of east Kentuckians.
Lastly, I want you to know I am fighting tooth and nail to STOP THIS RIDICULOUS VEHICLE TAX! At a time when so many Kentuckians are struggling, the last thing we need to do is kick them when they are down.
As always, every vote that I cast is with eastern Kentucky’s best interest at mind. Please, if you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to my staff or me.
Senator Johnnie Turner (R-Harlan) represents the 29th District, which includes Bell, Floyd, Harlan, Knott, and Letcher counties. Sen. Turner is vice-chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Energy. He also serves as a member of the Senate Standing Committees on Transportation and Judiciary.
Senator Johnnie Turner
PO Box 351
Harlan, KY 40831
702 Capital Ave
Annex Room 253
Frankfort, KY 40601