The 2015 Kentucky General Assembly adjourned at 3:20 a.m. on Wednesday March 25, 2015. School-related issues discussed during the session included the $14 billion unfunded liability in the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System, child abuse & neglect prevention training for school employees, transgender students use of school bathrooms and locker rooms, the voluntary expression of religious or political views by students, student representatives serving on district superintendent screening committees, and flexibility for snow days due to the harsh winter.
- SB 119 PASSED which requires the Kentucky Department of Education to develop training on child abuse and neglect prevention for school employees that must be completed either through web-based or in-person sessions by January 31, 2017, with additional training every two years thereafter. SB 119 also included an amendment for schools to have snow day flexibility:
- Schools have until June 5, 2015 to complete 1,062 instructional hours, but without exceeding a 7-hour school day or holding school on Saturday. Additional instructional hours needed by school districts will be waived.
- No agreement was reached on the $14 billion unfunded liability in the Kentucky Teacher Retirement System.
- No agreement was reached on HB 236 which would allow students to serve as a representative on a school district’s superintendent screening committee. The Senate attached amendments to the bill including the controversial transgender bathroom bill and an amendment for voluntary expression of religious or political viewpoints. Both amendments were separate bills that had failed in the House. The Senate also attached an amendment to make the students non-voting members of the committee. At the conclusion of the session, the Senate removed the “bathroom amendment” but passed the bill 29-7 with the religious/political expression amendment and non-voting amendments in place. The House did not discuss HB 236 on Tuesday night, leaving the bill to fail.
Another bill that passed that could indirectly impact schools is HB 8 which expands civil protective orders to include victims of dating violence, sexual abuse and stalking.
More info about the General Assembly action from 2015 may be found in the Legislative News Releases: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/pubinfo/release.htm#2015.