FRANKFORT– The 2023 General Assembly is officially underway, with lawmakers meeting at the state Capitol last week for Part I of the 30-day session. A short legislative session typically consists of minor technical changes to previously passed legislation and policy areas outside the budget, which is conducted in even-numbered years. Even so, it is likely to be a busy year, with several key bills and proposals on the agenda.
Last week, Governor Andy Beshear delivered his State of the Commonwealth address outlining his priorities for the session, laying out his vision for the future of our state. The main focal point was to continue moving Kentucky forward, and I couldn’t agree more with his emphasis on strengthening our economy, improving education, and making our communities safer.
The Governor’s commitment to creating jobs and growing our economy is particularly important in light of the ongoing challenges posed by the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. He touted the record-breaking economic investment in Kentucky over the last three years, encouraging the General Assembly to advance measures aimed at supporting Kentucky workers, such as funding universal pre-kindergarten, freezing the gas tax, and ensuring state employee raises, among other things. These are just several of the policies we need to look at that continue to grow our economy and help our citizens move forward as they recover from the pandemic.
Overall, the Governor’s State of the Commonwealth address was a call to action. I am excited to work with my colleagues in the legislature and deliberate on these issues. I am confident that we can make the commonwealth a better place for all residents if we work together and put politics aside.
In the latter portion of the opening legislative week, dozens of bills were filed, and members received their committee assignments. We are now attending meetings and hearing testimony from government officials, advocacy groups, and stakeholders on a variety of public policies. My committees for the 2023 Regular Session include the Budget Review Subcommittee on Justice and Judiciary; Families and Children; Appropriations and Revenue; Natural Resources and Energy; and Agriculture. My Statutory Committee membership consists of the Tobacco Settlement Agreement Fund Oversight Committee; and Capital Projects and Bond Oversight.
One particular committee I am excited to get to work on this session will deal with a wide range of issues affecting Kentucky families. The Senate Committee on Families and Children will focus on child welfare, child protective services, state guardianship, and economic stability for families. Our goal is to create a supportive environment for children and families to thrive and succeed. We will also work to ensure that the rights and interests of children are protected and that they have access to the resources and services they need to grow and develop.
Additionally, I recently received an appointment as a member of the Juvenile Justice working group. The working group will focus on identifying and addressing the issues facing our state’s juvenile justice system, to create a more fair, effective, and rehabilitative system for youth who enter the legal system. We will be examining issues such as detention alternatives, rehabilitation programs, and diversion programs, as well as addressing the needs of youth in the justice system who need special assistance, such as those impacted by trauma, mental health issues, and addiction. We will also be working to ensure that the rights and interests of youth are protected while in the care of the state. Our ultimate purpose is to reduce recidivism and provide young people with the tools they need to be successful and productive citizens.
I am thrilled to have been appointed to the Families and Children Committee and the Juvenile Justice working group. As a legislator and lawyer with years of experience in these areas, I look forward to bringing my knowledge and expertise to the table to work towards creating a better future for families and youth in our state. I believe my background will be a valuable asset as a member of these committees. I am committed to working collaboratively with my colleagues to find meaningful solutions to the challenges before us.
I look forward to representing Senate District 18 and having our voice heard in committee deliberations. When members return to Frankfort on Tuesday, February 7, for the remainder of the 2023 session we will likely hear an abundance of issues, ranging from tax policy to health care, education, and unemployment insurance, there is no shortage of important topics we will delve into during this legislative session.
As always, I intend to closely monitor the legislative proceedings and report on the latest developments to keep you informed. Additionally, there are readily-accessible online tools you can utilize to stay engaged and up-to-date with legislative action throughout the session.
- See the daily schedule
- Tune in to live coverage of legislative meetings
- Find information on legislators
- Contact lawmakers and offer feedback
- Read bills and resolutions
- Receive a notification when a bill advances
- See how lawmakers voted on bills and resolutions
- View materials on committee topics and testimony
- Learn about the legislative process
All that and a plethora of further information is available on the General Assembly Home Page at www.legislature.ky.gov.
If I can ever be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me. To share feedback on an issue, feel free to email me anytime at Robin.Webb@LRC.KY.GOV or call the General Assembly Message Line at 1-800-372-7181. Kentuckians with hearing loss can use Kentucky Relay by dialing 711.