Legislative Update

February 11, 2019

The Kentucky Council of Churches is hosting Prayer in Action Days at the State Capitol each Tuesday during this year’s General Assembly to pray for government officials and act on behalf of Kentucky’s most vulnerable citizens. The kick-off event was held on Tuesday, January 8 at 11 a.m. in the Capitol Rotunda. Subsequent gatherings, listed below, will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Capitol Annex, room 171.

 2/12/2019: Criminal Justice
2/19/2019: Voting Rights
2/26/2019: Gun Violence
3/5/2019: Death Penalty
3/12/19: Environment/Energy

 “We will pray for our governor and legislators and call them to a higher moral agenda that puts the well-being of Kentucky’s people first.” said Rev. Dr. Donald K. Gillett, II Executive Director of the Council.  Each event will include prayer, education on issues, and a call to action. “We want to engage religious leaders and their congregants in direct justice advocacy.” Prayer in Action Days are inspired by Moral Mondays in North Carolina, where religious leaders created significant change in policies that oppressed the poor and people of color.

 The Kentucky Council of Churches chose these issues based on policy statements approved by all eleven of the Council’s denominational members. The membership includes Protestant and Roman Catholic congregations. The Council works with other state advocacy groups and coalitions on issues, and many of them have committed to support the Prayer in Action Days.

 All Prayer in Action events are interfaith and open to the public and media. For more information contact the Kentucky Council of Churches at KCC@kycouncilofchurches.org, 859-269-7715.

Click on the links below to view additional resource documents

March 7, 2017

We are coming to the end of another General Assembly. Tomorrow is the last day of the regular session, but the work continues with work days and concurrence meetings.

Our advocacy work continues as well. We have one more Prayer in Action Day. Next Tuesday, Rev. Donna Aros and folks from Kentucky Refugee Ministries will lead our time together focusing on immigrants and refugees. Just this week, President Trump issued another order. Come hear what you can do to advocate for immigrant rights. We will meet in Annex Room 111 at 9:30 am.

SB 120, now being called a re-entry bill, has passed the Senate and the House Judiciary Committee. You can help make this bill a reality by contacting your representative TODAY. Encourage him or her to vote “yes” on SB 120. If you know which Representative is yours, you may email them through the Legislature's webste by clicking here. They are listed by county at that link. If you are unsure, or if you prefer to leave a voice message, please call the Legislative Message Line at 1-800-372-7181 (or 1-866-840-6574 to leave a message in Spanish). The operator will be able to get the message to the correct Representative based on your address.

Here are some talking points to use when communicating to your senator:

• SB 120 does not change criminal sentences. It is now a modest re-entry bill.

• The public wants more reform than SB 120, but this has to pass to do more.

• Poor people who cannot pay costs and fees should not go to jail for being poor.

• The single biggest predictor of recidivism is opportunity upon release. By providing job training and work release to inmates, SB 120 improves public safety.

• For offenders being supervised in the community, SB 120 strikes a balance between increased penalties for non-compliance and increased incentives for compliance

• A reformed felon should be able to get professional licenses.

SB 7, that would allow concealed carry without a permit, is still in committee. Hopefully, it will not go any further this session.

Juvenile justice bills SB20 and SB195 have made some progress, and are currently in committees. SB 195, expungement for juvenile ex-offenders, will be heard by the House Judiciary Committee tomorrow.

Bills concerning payday lending and “son of payday” loans seem to be stalled in committees as well. KCC will continue to advocate for a 36% interest rate cap and tougher penalties for companies that break the rules. We will also continue to oppose “son of payday” loans. These loans are even more predatory than the normal ones because individuals can borrow more money each time with the same high interest rates.

Tim’s Law, HB 79, which would enact court-ordered mental health treatment will be heard by the House Judiciary Committee this week. We support this bill because of the dangers posed by mentally-ill persons who refuse treatment that would keep them and their loved ones safe. Contact your Representative about this bill TODAY.

The bill to offer Bible classes in public schools is moving forward, while the death penalty bills are stagnant.

You can search and view all bills at http://www.lrc.ky.gov/lrcsearch.

On the federal scene, Kentucky Voices for Health has sent an update on the new proposal for healthcare coverage. Read more here.