The Senate saluted the heroic efforts and sacrifices of our men and women fighting the War on Terror this week by approving HB 80, a measure that will make sure that students called up for active duty in the National Guard will be protected academically and given the opportunity to make up their missed work when they return.
A bill also was approved in committee this week that would allow us to set up a personal loan program for our returning veterans, as well as the spouses of those who are killed in action. Loans of up to $10,000 could be taken out and used for a variety of reasons. We know how financially difficult it can be to serve in our armed forces, both for our service-members and their family, and we hope this can ease some of the financial burden as they re-enter civilian life.
Senate Bill 125, which we passed and sent to the House, is designed to make sure women considering abortions have all the facts and know their options before the day of the procedure. The law currently states that they must receive this information at least 24 hours in advance, but some clinics simply play a pre-recorded message over the phone for their patients, without the opportunity for give-and-take with their health care professional. This bill will make sure women talk to a live person, face-to-face, before they finalize this important decision. In deference to our growing Hispanic population, the proposal also mandates that all literature that is provided also be available in Spanish.
SB 109 would eliminate a loophole in current law by allowing local school officials to re-assign a teacher to non-classroom duties while they are facing drug charges, including illegal use of prescription drugs. Presently, these teachers cannot be moved into positions that do not deal with children until they are convicted. Another section of the bill stipulates that school personnel who are reprimanded or disciplined for drug-related offenses must undergo random testing for 12 months.
Finally, I am happy to announce that our district has been awarded two Community Economic Growth Grants. The Garrard Fiscal Court was awarded $250,000 to restore and renovate the Grand Theater. The Nicholasville City Commission received $450,000 to construct a 30,000 square foot industrial speculative building. Both projects should boost our economic development.
As we enter our last weeks of the 2006 session, we will be debating some of the toughest issues our state faces and working to hammer out compromises that can work for everyone. To keep in touch and give us your opinion, remember to call us at 1-800-372-7181 and leave a message.