July 24, 2014

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Legislative perspective on Kentucky General Assembly

In any given legislative session, it is not unusual for the House or Senate to vote for proposals that have been through the chamber before.

Some of these bills may have been stopped previously because of cost, or because time ran out, or because one chamber’s priorities may not always be shared by the other.  Other initiatives may require more time to get the public’s support.

Last week, the House took up several of these familiar pieces of legislation, in the hope that this will be the year they become law.

The most publicized of those would raise the high school dropout age from 16 to 17 in 2017 and then to 18 the following year.  The House passed it with a sizeable majority on Thursday, as my colleagues and I have done several times in recent years.

This is a top priority of Governor and first lady Beshear as well, because we are seeing 6,000 young men and women leave high school early every year.  That decision almost guarantees they will have a difficult time qualifying for most jobs, and they will be more at-risk of costing the state in other ways by increased need of such safety-net programs as Medicaid.