Last night, Kentucky lawmakers prioritized the protection of children from abuse and neglect and sent SB 119 to the Governor for signature. The bill will make sure educators have the information they need to recognize signs of child abuse and neglect. Recognizing and responding to child abuse early-on can mitigate the more serious consequences of long-term abuse and neglect.
The issue has been a bipartisan measure from start to finish. SB 119 was filed by Senator Julie Raque Adams, while Representative Rita Smart filed a companion bill in the House – HB 301. On Monday of this week, the House Education committee chaired by Representative Derrick Graham passed SB 119, and Senator Raque Adams welcomed Representative Smart to the table during testimony on the bill. Next door, the Senate Education committee chaired by Senator Mike Wilson was meeting and passed HB 301.
As the session wound down last night, the last day before veto days, both House and Senate leadership again took action on this issue. The House heard SB 119 (along with a committee change made to address school snow days). The Senate agreed with the changes. We thank leadership in both chambers for making this bill a priority.
Beyond our legislators, several other groups helped make this win for Kentucky children possible. Kosair Charities was instrumental in supporting this legislation with their leadership of the Face It® Movement to end child abuse. We thank the Charities for prioritizing the important issue of ending child abuse to help keep kids safe and all Face It partners who helped move the bill forward.
School associations also looked beyond their typical areas of focus and weighed in to help keep Kentucky children safe. Kentucky Association of School Superintendents joined the sponsor at the table during testimony before the House Education committee to show their support. Kentucky School Boards Association provided input on bill language to help the bill be effective yet flexible in getting the information to educators during their busy schedules. Other educational leaders provided critical insight and thoughts on striking a balance to get the right information conveyed within the constructs of educators’ busy schedules.
We also thank the many partners of the Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children for promoting these bills and bringing issues that impact kids to the forefront of policymakers’ minds.
SB 119 made it to the Governor’s desk as a result of true collaboration – across party lines and across fields of work. By prioritizing good policy over all else, Kentucky children win.