LOUISVILLE—Kentucky’s new Speaker of the House Jeff Hoover outlined several of his goals for the upcoming session of the General Assembly during a Dec. 6 meeting of the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s Committee on Public Affairs.
Topping his agenda will be legislation to spur economic growth and create more jobs in Kentucky, Hoover said. But, “big ticket” issues such as overhauling the state’s pension system and comprehensive tax reform likely will have to wait for a special session later in the year, he said.
“All of us have a long list of things we’d like to see get done now that we have a legislative majority,” Hoover told members of the Public Affairs Committee, chaired by Hershael York, pastor of Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort. “We’re not going to get everything done that we want to do, but let’s get four or five really good things done, set the foundation for moving forward in a positive manner ….”
As the first Republican House speaker in nearly a century, Hoover said his focus will be passing what he now sees as some “easily attainable bills,” including protecting the rights of crime victims and unborn babies. He noted two potential pieces of prolife legislation—an ultrasound bill and a 20-week pain bill.
Kentucky Baptist Convention Executive Director Paul Chitwood said he was pleased to learn that a prolife bill would be among Hoover’s objectives. “There’s no greater injustice in the world, and no greater amount of blood being spilled than from aborting the unborn,” Chitwood said.
Another passion that he shares with many Kentucky Baptists is adoption, Hoover said, calling the subject “near and dear” to him. “The adoption laws in Kentucky are so complex; we have to simplify the adoption process,” he said.
Republican House member, Rep. Russell Webber, of Shepherdsville, also was in attendance, sharing his perspective on the upcoming legislative session.
KBC Lobbyist Tom Troth, a Frankfort pastor, briefed committee members on four pre-filed bills of interest to Kentucky Baptists:
– BR 64, establishing a task force to develop a strategy and funding mechanism to provide care for medically fragile adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities;
– BR 113, creating criteria for participation in public school interscholastic extracurricular activities by home schools;
– BR 134, permanently establishing a kinship care program; and
– BR 135, creating a central registry for child abuse and neglect, calling the Act “Sophie’s law.” (WR)