KY State CapitolThe 2021 General Assembly is underway! With Part 1 of the legislative session under our belt, many child advocates, partners, and citizens across the Commonwealth experienced a glimpse of a revised schedule, new safety measures in place, flow of committee and chamber meetings, continued budget proposal, and, of course, new legislators.

With so many new and moving pieces it can be daunting to keep track, which is why we’ve drafted a quick reference for advocates!

  • General public access to the Capitol and Annex builds will not be allowed. To enter either building, you will need to have an appointment with a legislator or legislative staff.
  • You will be required to wear a mask covering your nose and mouth the entire time you are in the Capitol Building or in the Annex.
  • Meetings will be limited to 3 persons and will take place in Annex offices. When you arrive at the main visitor entrance of the Annex, contact the legislative assistant or LRC staff who will verify your appointment time and may meet you there to escort you to the meeting. If you do not have a mask or face covering, one will be provided to you.
  • Technology upgrades in the House of Representatives has allowed for House members to vote on legislation from their Annex office or in the chamber. Senators will meet in person in the Senate chamber and will conduct their business there, as usual. Both House and Senate galleries will be closed to the public.
  • Committee meetings are going to be an hour long in the House and Senate to allow for room cleaning.
  • All committee meetings will be streamed online on the KET website for the public to view.
  • A rule change made by both the Senate and the House will allow bills to be placed on the committee agenda with only 24 hours’ notice.
  • Unlike previous years, proposed legislative bills will not be automatically assigned to a committee. We encourage advocates to reach out to Floor leaders in each chamber, Senator Thayer and Representative Rudy, and committee chairs to ensure a bill moves forward.
  • Testimony can be provided in person or virtually. The House will have all of its committee meetings in Rooms 149, 154, 169 and 171, while the Senate will have all of its committee meetings in Rooms 125, 129 and 131. Mask will be required in committee rooms.

Additionally, this legislative session, the General Assembly must pass a one-year continuation state budget. Kentucky kids are counting on leaders to prioritize state budget investments that create a brighter future where all children can thrive. While the process is advancing swiftly, we are encouraged that this action means leaders in the House and Senate and the Governor can begin negotiations that will ultimately lead to that priority and value proposal that supports Kentucky’s kids in the immediate and sets up our commonwealth’s pandemic recovery efforts.

But not everything is new around the General Assembly. Let’s not forget this legislative session is a short 30-day session. The schedule is broken up into two parts. The first part of the legislative session kicked off on January 5th and continues until January 13th.  Then legislators will return back into session, Tuesday, February 2nd for the remainder of the 30-day period.

Over one million Kentucky kids count on their leaders to prioritize them, and on you to let the leaders know what they need to succeed. If you haven’t done so yet, we encourage you to find out who represents you in Frankfort and contact them throughout the legislative session.

View and download the full list of Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children policy and budget priorities. Stay up-to-date on Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children priorities that are good for kids with our Kentucky General Assembly Bill Tracker. Sign up for updates on Children’s Advocacy Week taking place February 1-5.