Many of you joined us in advocating for the 2021 Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children policy and budget priorities through virtual meetings, calling, or emailing your legislators, attended Children’s Advocacy Week, and so much more throughout the 2021 legislative session. Your critical efforts paid off with legislative wins for children and positive investments in the state budget. These new laws went into effect June 29th and the new state budget will take effect July 1st.
Blueprint policy priorities becoming law:
- Senate Bill 32, sponsored by Senator Whitney Westerfield, eliminates the mandatory transfer of youth ages 14 and older to adult court for situations involving a firearm.
- Senate Bill 84, known as the Dignity Bill 2.0 sponsored by Senator Julie Raque Adams, supports the health and well-being of pregnant mothers who are incarcerated and their babies.
- House Bill 472, sponsored by Representative Lynn Bechler, strengthens the statute of limitations timeframes for misdemeanor sexual abuse offenses.
Blueprint state budget priorities going into effect in July include:
- Critical investments to protect children’s safety such as:
- The Relative Support Benefit for kinship caregivers stepping up to care for children who have been removed from their home for safety reasons;
- The HANDS home-visiting program; and
- A $20 million appropriation from the General Fund to support prevention services for families, like those included in the Family First Prevention Services Act.
- Appropriation of $300 million for the infrastructure of broadband services across the commonwealth to ensure every child has adequate access to online learning tools and telehealth services.
- Enacting a $2 per child per day increase for the Child Care Assistance Program within the final state budget – a critical investment that allows parents to go to work knowing their child has access to safe, quality child care.
- Investing in the early education outcomes of our youngest students with a $140 million appropriation to support full-day kindergarten next school year.
Soon Kentucky children should begin to see the impact of these new policies and investments. And we are certain that advocates like you will continue to lend your voices to speak up for those kids and families as these policies and budget priorities take effect.
Review a full list of wins for kids and families from the 2021 General Assembly here.