Senator Gibson’s legislative update

By Senator Carroll Gibson

February 18, 2014

Last week was a buzz of activity as many school groups, local officials and musicians visited the capital and watched hearings and activity on the Senate Floor. I was excited to host many visitors from my district.

As for legislation, the first bill to pass out of the Senate this week was Senate Bill 78. The intention of this legislation is to keep liability from automatically being attributed to landlords whose tenants own a dog in the event that the dog bites and injures someone on the property. Currently, a property owner can be held liable for a dog bite that takes place on his rented property. Personal responsibility is at issue here, and it is not right for a rental property owner to be liable in these cases.

Another bill that passed is Senate Bill 47 which requires the reporting of newborns with neonatal abstinence syndrome, the medical term for babies born dependent to drugs due to the use of the mother during pregnancy. The legislation requires The Kentucky Department for Public Health to publish on at least an annual basis statistical data on the number of neonatal abstinence syndrome births. The report does not give any identifying information about the mother or the infant; it simply reports regional and county statistics.

House Bill 98 represents a bipartisan effort to solve an issue of safely treating diabetic students in schools, helping thousands of our students and citizens.

House Bill 98 would permit students to inject themselves with their needed insulin while in school, and requires schools to have at least one trained staff member to administer medication for diabetes after they successfully complete the American Diabetes Association training program. With the permission of the parent, trained personnel would administer the shots needed. This would help students who are in need of their medication and will help relieve worries of parents who may not easily be able to get to the school. This bill also is similar to laws in over 30 other states in the U.S.

The Senate also unanimously passed an important education on Thursday. Senate Bill 89 would help protect the data stored on a cloud of Kentucky students by prohibiting the sale or marketing of this information gathered through web-based services at their schools. There are instances of vendors doing this, and I think we need to make information of our students only available to the Department of Education and the school system. The measure also would require school districts to inform parents of the types of student information given to third-party web-based service providers.

Another provision of SB 89 would allow local school districts to adopt academic standards that exceed standards approved by the state Board of Education. We want to give districts local control and freedom to choose more rigorous academic standards. They are better arbiters of their students’ educational needs.

I invite you to come to Frankfort for hearings of interest to you. Citizens are always welcome in our committee meetings. You can also view live-streaming and archived coverage of legislative proceedings at www.ket.org. Also, the work of our caucus can be followed on Twitter @kysenategop.

If you have any issues or concerns, please call my office in Frankfort at 502-564-8100. I appreciate your time and input.