A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Chris McDaniel: A legislative update on the final week of the ’22 General Assembly

This week marked the official end of the 2022 Regular Session, including the final days of the veto period and the final two legislative days.

The General Assembly convened to override the Governor’s vetoes on Wednesday and Thursday. In what could be the most active veto override effort in Kentucky history, overridden were eight Senate bills and over 20 state House bills. In addition to these overrides, we passed a few additional bills mutually agreed upon, and I expect those bills will be signed into law.

Sen. McDaniel meets the press at the close of the legislature

With a supermajority in both chambers of the General Assembly, the House and Senate majority caucuses represent Kentucky values. Multitudes of vetoes from the Governor speak to social, cultural, political, and philosophical divides between the executive and legislative branches. The policies successfully defended included:
• Pro-life measures.
• Promoting economic growth and fiscal responsibility.
• Protecting the integrity of women’s sports.
• Strengthening state oversight of state government.
• Investing in Kentucky’s future.

The Governor largely agreed and applauded the General Assembly’s meticulously crafted state budget that invests record funding into education, provides a much-needed pay raise to state employees, and includes several critical wins for Kenton County. This includes $15 million for the Covington Life Sciences Lab, $13 million for South Kenton Investment, $250 million to secure federal matching funds to complete the Brent Spence Bridge megaproject, $23 million for Ludlow schools, and funding for repaving Dixie Highway.

The Governor line-item vetoed several sections in the budget bill (House Bill 1), a few of which the legislature let stand, but a majority we overrode. I take incredible pride in serving our district and in the privilege of being a watchdog for your tax dollars as Senate budget chairman. 

The Governor vetoed the Senate’s bill, ensuring fairness in women’s athletics. Senate Bill 83 requires that those competing in female-sanctioned sports be biologically female, which applies to all sports from the sixth grade through college. Under Title IX, women have worked incredibly hard to have equal sports opportunities. Allowing biological males to compete against females negates their many years of sweat and time investment. The Senate stood in solidarity with dedicated female athletes and overrode the Governor’s veto.

Riley Gaines, a female swimmer for the University of Kentucky, attended Senate proceedings on Wednesday and was allowed to speak on her experience competing and losing a trophy to a transgender female. Sen. Robby Mills held a press conference along with sponsors of the bill, showing support for Gaines and other female athletes across the state. Her visit highlights the importance of this legislation and its goal to protect Title IX and the Kentucky girls and women competing under it.

Also noteworthy are the Governor’s vetoes of Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 9, two education-related bills.

Senate Bill 1 restructured the public school site-based decision-making councils and was supported by the School Superintendent’s Association, putting final curriculum decisions with each district’s superintendent. This provides accountability for curriculum selection, as the school board selects superintendents and the school board consists of elected officials who answer to voters in the district. Kentucky is the only state with these councils, which is unsurprising when realizing how unknown their existence is to the public. Senate Bill 1 strengthens community voices by ensuring the ability to effect change via local school board elections is not in doubt.

Included in Senate Bill 1 are the new United States history standards, requiring the instruction of 24 original, primary source, core documents foundational to the fabric of our country. These new standards conform to middle and high school education standards with those already present in elementary education. The bill promotes unity around the core principles that make America great.

House Bill 9 is widely known as the charter school bill and enables the creation and funding for two charter school pilot programs, one in west Louisville and the other in northern Kentucky. If successful, other schools may be opened in other parts of the state. The bill stipulates that unless it qualifies as an urban academy, a charter may only be authorized in districts with 7,500 children or less, provided the school board and the charter school sign a memorandum of understanding.

It has been an extraordinary session, and I have striven to serve you and our district well. 
Senator Chris McDaniel (R-Ryland Heights) represents the 23rd District, which comprises northern Kenton County. Sen. McDaniel is chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Appropriations and Revenue and co-chair of the 2022-2024 Budget Preparation and Submission Subcommittee and a member of numerous standing committees.


Related Posts

Leave a Comment