News From Frankfort: ‘Teaching American Principles Act’
Published 4:00 pm Sunday, February 27, 2022
As legislative efforts have intensified this week, it became apparent that the ‘buzz’ is back in Frankfort, with many more people and groups visiting the Capitol.
I had the pleasure of speaking to several groups over the past couple of weeks, including University of Kentucky medical students, Lexington Commerce, Kentucky Association of Family Practitioners, Leadership Winchester, the Kentucky Hospital Association, Clark County Superintendent McComas, and BCTC leadership. However, amongst all the visitors, I was granted the privilege of honoring and introducing one guest on the Senate floor, 2022 Kentucky Teacher of the Year – Willie Edward Taylor Carver, Jr.
Mr. Carver teaches English and French at Montgomery County High School. He is beloved by his students and colleagues as both a difference-maker in the classroom and a tireless advocate for those students who have yet to find their true voices as scholars and as citizens. It was my pleasure to introduce him and propose a Senate resolution honoring his award and achievement. If you have a chance to see him, please congratulate him on the wonderful he continues to do.
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Now, to the work of the legislature. I want to inform you about a tax relief measure introduced in the Senate I am excited to support.
Senate Bill 194, a tax rebate plan, responds to inflation hitting a 40-year high and imposing financial challenges on Kentucky residents. Under my bill, each working Kentucky taxpayer will receive up to $500 and each household up to $1,000.
This tax rebate is possible because of the Kentucky General Assembly’s conservative budgeting and unexpected and exceptional revenue growth, which is expected to yield over $1.94 billion in excess funds that rightly belong to Kentucky taxpayers. This plan will keep more money in working taxpayers’ pockets and empower them with the tools to make appropriate choices for their families.
Senate Joint Resolution 150, which I alluded to in the closing of last week’s legislative update, cleared the Senate. It aims to end the COVID-19 state of emergency declared by Governor Andy Beshear on March 6, 2020.
Before the legislature’s involvement in COVID-related decision-making, the Governor imposed widespread damaging mandates across the state.
They ceased elective medical procedures, imposed statewide mask mandates, and closed access to student in-person learning. Mandates even restricted travel, closed businesses and even targeted churchgoers. Since the onset of the pandemic, overdose deaths, suicides and child abuse rates have skyrocketed. We have reached the point where we need to leave this state of emergency behind us. Terminating the state of emergency on March 7 strikes a fair balance.
First, we want to provide the executive branch a window of opportunity to engage with the legislature on any efforts they think may be needed before the state of emergency ends. Secondly, if lawmakers do not terminate this current state of emergency by March 7, it will expire on April 15. The issue there is the legislative session ends on April 14, and the Governor will have the ability to put in place administrative regulations without any oversight from the legislative branch. Lawmakers have spent most of the state of emergency on the sidelines, unable to take action despite constituents requesting it. We will make sure any potential executive measures receive the oversight they need.
With COVID-19 here to stay but tools and knowledge are available to all of us to stay safe, it is finally time for Kentucky to return to normal and declare an end to the two-year-long state of emergency. SJR 150 signals to all Kentuckians that their representatives recognize this reality.
I have previously detailed Senate Bill 138, also known as the ‘Teaching American Principles Act.’ In week eight, the bill passed the full Senate, receiving hours of debate on the Senate floor and rightfully so.
The bill takes a positive approach to heated debate in the education sphere. It takes a positive approach to addressing all stakeholders concerns by expanding elementary school standards to middle and high school, setting up reasonable parameters in student instruction on controversial topics and establishes a baseline required study of 24 core American primary source documents.
I was bothered by some of the comments from those on the Senate floor who opposed this bill. Interestingly, those opposed could not point to anything specific in the bill they disagreed with. Those that did address concerns had little merit in their argument. Opposition to the bill included statements questioning the intelligence and commitment of parents and even calling Kentuckians racists and many other derogatory allegations.
One comment demonized our great nation, saying we have failed to live up to the principle that we are all created equal. As the son of immigrant parents, I had to stand and offer a rebuttal to that comment. As a Christian, I know we live in a fallen world where evil exists. It’s unfortunate to single out America and say our nation has failed when the reality is the world has failed. Evil is not exclusive to America.
Quite frankly, I get tired of the demonization of a nation that has allowed me and so many others to live a good life. America may have challenges, but I reminded my colleagues that we are the shining city on the hill. America is the nation that acknowledges the fundamental truth of equality, while so many others cannot even do that. We are blessed to live in America and the world is better for our nation’s existence.
Senate Bill 91 allows licensed dealers to conduct online sales and delivery of a motor vehicle to customers’ residences or other suitable locations if requested by the customer. It modernizes the purchase and sale of automobiles, enabling more convenience in the marketplace for both consumer and merchant.
Senate Bill 133 reorganizes several departments and offices within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Among provisions of the bill includes expansion of the responsibilities of the Office of Inspector General. This is a measure in several legislative efforts to refocus and refine legislative efforts to address challenges facing Kentucky families and children. I have the honor of serving as chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Health and Welfare and as a member of additional committees under this umbrella.
Additional bills passing in the Senate included Senate bills 24, 80, 133, 148, and 152.
Please feel free to call me about these issues or any other public policy issue toll-free at 1-800-372-7181 or email me at Ralph.Alvarado@LRC.ky.gov. Be safe. God bless.
Sen. Ralph Alvarado (R-Winchester) represents the 28th Senate District, which following redistricting, includes Bath, Clark, Menifee and Montgomery counties and the eastern portion of Fayette County. He serves as chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Health and Welfare. He is also a member of the Senate Standing Committees on State and Local Government and Banking and Insurance. He is a liaison member of the Budget Review Subcommittee on Human Resources. Additionally, Sen. Alvarado serves as a member of the Medicaid Oversight and Advisory Committee and the Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee.