Many of you advocated for the 2022 Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children policy and budget priorities through legislative meetings, social media posts, attended Children’s Advocacy Week, called or emailed your legislators, and so much more throughout the 2022 legislative session. Your critical efforts paid off with legislative wins for children and positive investments in the state budget.
Many new state laws go into effect 90 days after the last day of legislative session unless the bill was deemed an emergency. In addition, the new state budget took effect July 1st.
Blueprint policy priorities that became law on July 14th:
- SB 97: Requires coroners to immediately notify law enforcement, the Department for Community Based Services, and local health department upon the death of a child and strengthen the process when a child fatality or near fatality occurs, including expanding the External Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Panel.
- SB 102: Requires schools to provide a yearly census of the school-based mental health providers to determine if the ratios of providers to students is meeting the mark.
- SB 151: Permits the administrator of a school that participates in the Federal School Breakfast Program to authorize up to 15 minutes of the student attendance day to provide the opportunity for children to eat breakfast during instructional time.
Other positive bills that passed that we were tracking that became law on July 14th:
- HB 44: This bill provides an option for a local school district’s attendance policy to include provisions for a student’s mental or behavioral health status.
- HB 525: Ensures Certified Community Health Workers as a billable Medicaid service.
- HB 263: Increases penalties if the victim of criminal abuse is under 12 years of age, known as Kami’s Law.
- SB 271: Requires the Criminal Justice Statistical Analysis Center to compile data on domestic violence fatalities, occurrences of dating violence and abuse or domestic violence and abuse, and reports of suspected dating violence and abuse or domestic violence and abuse deaths.
Blueprint state budget priorities included in HB 1 that went into effect July 1st include:
- Full day kindergarten to boost our youngest students’ academic achievement and strengthen their social and emotional skills.
- Increased per-pupil SEEK funding so public schools can ensure all students have the resources to learn and thrive.
- School-based health services supports to ensure students can access services in a school setting.
- Increased funds for the School Food Services Program so students have access to nutritious meals at school.
- Increased funding for Family Resource and Youth Service Centers (FRYSCs), who work with families to remove barriers to student learning and have been a critical lifeline throughout the pandemic.
- Increased investment in the Department for Community Based Services workforce, as well as funds a creative proposal that could allow workers respite from the frontlines.
- HANDS in-home visiting program to ensure this service is available to and utilized by new parents across Kentucky.
- Support for team of child abuse pediatricians and specially trained staff who treat children experiencing abuse and neglect.
- Independent living supports for young people aging out of foster care.
- $2 per day child care provider reimbursement rate increase, as well as funds for the Employee Child Care Assistance Partnership established in HB 499.
- Medicaid and KCHIP funding so children and their families can continue accessing necessary health care services and funding to establish a Bridge Health Insurance program so Kentuckians can continue accessing needed health care services.
- Federal funding to support the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
- Increased funding for domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, and Children’s Advocacy Centers, all of which provide vital services to survivors of abuse.
- Funding for the implementation of the new suicide prevention hotline, 988.
Soon Kentucky children and their families should begin to see the impact of these new policies and investments. And now is the time to continue your advocacy efforts by lending your voices to speak up for those kids and families that these policies and budget priorities will impact, develop new priorities for next legislative session, create an advocacy plan around issues that impact your community and/or you, and educate policymakers!
Review a full list of wins and missed opportunities for kids and families from the 2022 General Assembly here.