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This Week at the Kentucky State Capitol
By Mike Wynn, LRC
Frankfort, KY - The sounds of a legislative session have a flair all their own - the rollcall vote, the crack of the gavel, the chatter on the chamber floor. During the sixth week of the 2022 legislative session, it was the voice of a Louisville fourth grader that brought all ears to attention.
Nine-year-old D'Corey Johnson kicked off the annual Black History Celebration on Tuesday with a rendition of "Lift Every Voice and Sing" that climbed all 212 feet of the Capitol dome. When he belted out the national anthem for the Senate, the normally reserved chamber couldn't help but hoot in applause.
The performance was a perfect fit for a busy week in the General Assembly, which included a visit from Kentucky Men's Basketball Coach John Calipari, a spirited debate on unemployment benefits, and action on a host of other measures related education, children, health and taxes.
Education was a key theme at Tuesday's Black History Celebration, where legislators highlighted the importance of historically Black colleges and universities: particularly Kentucky State University. The event culminated with the 2022 Legacy Award, which posthumously honored state Rep. Darryl Owens.
On Wednesday, the focus turned to Calipari and University of Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart, who testified in the Senate Education Committee on behalf of Senate Bill 6.
The bipartisan legislation would provide a framework in state law for college athletes to generate personal income off their name, image and likeness, known as NIL. Calipari and Barnhart told lawmakers that the proposal would create both parameters and opportunities while also protecting the interests of athletes.
SB 6 cleared the full Senate on Thursday and now heads to the House, where lawmakers spent much of Thursday afternoon in deliberations on unemployment.
House Bill 4 seeks to change the duration of unemployment insurance based on the average rate of unemployment across the Commonwealth. The bill would also require participants to engage in at least five verifiable work search activities each week to obtain benefits.
Proponents said the measure is sorely needed to address workforce shortages and attract more jobs to the state. Critics, however, argued that the legislation would disproportionately impact rural areas of Kentucky where unemployment is highest.
The bill passed off the floor after several hours of debate and now heads to the Senate.
Lawmakers maintained a quick pace throughout the week, both in committee and on the House and Senate floors. The General Assembly advanced measures related to:
Kentuckians have many ways to keep in touch with the legislative process. That includes the Legislative Record webpage, which allows users to review and track a bill's progression through the chambers.
Citizens can also share their views on issues with lawmakers by calling the General Assembly's toll-free message line at 1-800-372-7181.
This story was posted on 2022-02-12 09:07:20
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