This Week in the Kentucky General Assembly
By Sen. Whitney Westerfield

Posted on January 11, 2020 5:46 PM

The first week of the 2020 Regular Session of the Kentucky General Assembly has come to a close. We had a productive week in Frankfort and left with confidence in what the session has in store. It was a pleasure to begin the session on Tuesday with a visit from the 100th Army Band from Fort Knox, who performed an extraordinary rendition of "My Old Kentucky Home" and our National Anthem.

As with the early stages of any session of the General Assembly, some procedural measures were in order. The Senate members have listened to feedback from our constituents and have prioritized several pieces of legislation that are hopeful of passing this session. Those bills, among others, were assigned to their respective committees this week. Committee hearings begin next week and provide the public an opportunity to hear about the legislation.

The legislation I have or intend to file is of significant importance to me. One, in particular, is Senate Bill 9, the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. This bill would require that physicians and other health workers to do everything possible to save the life of an infant born alive after a failed abortion attempt. I am proud to be the sponsor of this crucial legislation to protect and provide dignity to those most in need of it.

As your Senator in District 3, I also feel it is essential to provide dignity to crime victims by allowing them a seat at the table within the criminal justice process. I have once again filed legislation in support of a victim's rights constitutional amendment, known as Marsy's Law. Both the Kentucky General Assembly and more than 800,000 (63 percent) Kentucky voters overwhelmingly supported Marsy’s Law in 2018. Victims across the Commonwealth breathed a sigh of relief knowing they would be afforded the constitutional rights they deserve.

Unfortunately, the Kentucky Supreme Court overturned the clear will of the people on a technicality which ignored more than a hundred years of established legal precedent. It is important to note that the Supreme Court made no ruling on the substance of Marsy’s Law. And, the General Assembly willing, Kentucky voters will have another opportunity to support this important amendment for crime victims on the 2020 ballot.

Bills must be presented at a public committee meeting and passed with a majority vote before heading back to the Senate to be voted on by the entire Senate body. If the bill is approved by the Senate, it heads to the Kentucky House, where the same process occurs. Once a bill is passed by both chambers it is submitted to the Governor for his signature or veto.

The proverbial elephant in the room for the 2020 session is, of course, the General Assembly's duty to pass a balanced two-year budget and two-year road plan. My colleagues and I in the Kentucky Senate are working diligently with members of the Kentucky State House in preparation for this crucial responsibility. We are eager to hear the Governor’s budget address before a joint session of the General Assembly on Jan. 28, and get the budget process moving.

As always, if you have any questions or comments about these topics or any other public policy issue, please call me toll-free at 1-800-373-7181 or email me at . You can also review the Legislature’s work online at and live stream the proceedings and committee meetings of both chambers using the KET app or online at .

Note: Senator Whitney Westerfield (R-Hopkinsville) represents the 3rd District including Christian, Logan, and Todd counties. He is the chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Senator Westerfield also serves as a member on the Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee; the Agriculture Committee; the Capital Planning Advisory Board; the Natural Resources and Energy Committee; the Tobacco Settlement Agreement Fund Oversight Committee; the Program Review and Investigations Committee; the Child Welfare Oversight and Advisory Committee; the Public Assistance Reform Task Force, and as a liaison member of the Budget Review Subcommittee on Justice and Judiciary.

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