LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – Kentucky’s Constitution requires new laws to take effect 90 days after the General Assembly gavels out for the year. This week, around 200 new state bills become law. Under the umbrella of education, the General Assembly had some bipartisan agreements in health and free speech. House Bill 44 allows schools to build in mental health days in their school attendance policy and Senate Bill 151 requires 15 minutes for breakfast.
Under House Bill 121, school boards will now also be required to hold public comment periods of at least 15 minutes, unless no one signs up. And after Kentucky previously legalized charter schools, they now have a legal path to operate.
“House Bill 9 finishes the job in terms of the legislation and creates a funding mechanism for these innovative public schools,” Jim Waters, President and CEO of the Bluegrass Institute told FOX 56 in April. However, Waters said you likely will not see these schools open until next year.
What will come much sooner could be a change in how your child learns. Senate Bill 1 leaves the choice of the curriculum up to the superintendent and requires teaching a series of civics documents some Democrats called controversial.
“One, we’re going to remove parents from having a say in their child’s education and two, we’re going to limit what your child can learn in areas of history or areas of English,” Sen. Reggie Thomas (D-Lexington) said during debate in April.
“There is nothing in the bill that tells an educator what you can- cannot teach. It does not discipline a teacher it does not tell a student what you can – cannot say,” Sen. Max Wise
(R) Campbellsville said during a Senate committee meeting in March.
Senate Bill 83 also drew fierce debate for banning transgender female athletes from competing in girls’ sports from sixth grade through college. It is a law senator Robby Mills had tried to pass for 3 years.
“This does not inhibit any athlete from competing trans athletes will need to compete with boys, they can still compete,” Sen. Robby Mills (R-Henderson) said during a press conference following a successful overturn of Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto.
Lawmakers also threw legislation at school security with House Bill 63. It requires a school resource officer in each school by August 1st unless the district can’t afford one, but as the clock ticks toward the end of summer, it’s an ask many school districts may have trouble meeting.
“We’re approaching 600 now in the schools in and around Kentucky and obviously there are some places that are struggling that can’t either afford or can’t find an SRO because (pause) the officers are in high demand,” James Poynter, President of the Kentucky Association of School Resource Officers told FOX 56 in June.
The new laws take effect on Thursday, July 14.