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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

NKY Legislators Look Ahead to General Assembly Session

For now the sixth consecutive year, Northern Kentucky Forum will host a panel of General Assembly delegates representing the region, for an overview of how they plan to represent Northern Kentucky interests during this year’s legislative session.

The panel will include Senators Will Schroder (R-Campbell, Pendleton, Bracken) and Chris McDaniel (R-Kenton, Campbell) and Representatives Dennis Keene (D-Campbell) and Diane St. Onge (R-Kenton). Schroder will be the lone freshman legislator on the panel.

Michael Monks, editor-in-chief and publisher of Covington-based The River City News will moderate.

The 2015 General Assembly saw over 200 bills introduced in its first week, but Northern Kentucky issues were among the first presented to the Assembly.

If one legislative priority has become clear, it is combating the heroin epidemic in the Commonwealth. McDaniel, of Taylor Mill, has already won approval of his anti-heroin bill, Senate Bill 5, which if passed by the House will increase treatment available to addicts as well as punishment passed down to convicted dealers.

“It is no secret to the members of this body, those in the audience or the people of the commonwealth that heroin use has reached epidemic levels here in Kentucky,” said McDaniel, who introduced the legislation, to the General Assembly on Tuesday. “Its use and distribution has become a major issue for our citizens, our employers and our families.”

Freshman Senator Wil Schroder also commented that, even though he’s only been in office for one week, he thinks SB 5 will be one of the most important votes he will ever cast. “This was an issue I dealt with day after day,” he said, referring to his former career as a felony prosecutor. “I’m excited about this bill, not just because of the trafficking levels but the second part of it – the treatment side."

In addition to the region’s struggle with heroin, economic development and job creation were on the minds of Northern Kentucky voters last fall, and Frankfort has already taken notice. Senate Bill 1, dubbed the Right to Work Act, has already passed the State Senate, but not without sparking some heated debate among delegates.

A local option sales tax bill, which proposes a constitutional amendment that would allow communities to implement a temporary sales tax to raise money for a specific economic development project, was the first legislation proposed in the House of Representatives. A local option sales tax was also a topic along the Northern Kentucky campaign trail last fall.

After the legislature’s first week in session, Kentucky lawmakers will not return to their chambers until February. Northern Kentucky Forum’s “Look Ahead” will mark one of the few opportunities voters will have to reach their delegates while they begin to consider the over 200 bills introduced this session.

WHAT: A Look Ahead at the 2015 General Assembly

WHEN: January 22nd, 2015, 6:30-8:00 PM

WHERE:   Campbell County Administration Building
        Fiscal Court Chambers
        1098 Monmouth Street, Newport, KY 41071

Rep. Dennis Keene (D), House District 67 (Campbell)
Sen. Wil Schroder (R), Senate District 24 (Campbell, Pendleton, Bracken)
Sen. Chris McDaniel (R), Senate District 23 (Kenton/Campbell)
Rep. Diane St. Onge (R), House District 63 (Kenton)

Michael Monks – Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the Covington, KY based River City News.

- via Northern Kentucky Forum

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if this group will do as much for equity in school funding that past delegations have done? (Which is nothing.)