The interim test will include some norm-referenced testing - similar to many college entrance exam tests - and current core content testing in math, reading and science with assessment in social studies added to the mix. It will also require K-12 and postsecondary schools to align their content so that high remediation rates can be reduced at Kentucky's colleges and universities. SB 1 passed the House 93-0 and now goes to the governor.
A bill to better supervise payday lending in the Commonwealth passed last week. HB 444 would require that a state database be created by July 2010 for lenders to search for any outstanding loans a customer might have. It would also allow penalties for businesses that violate the two-loan/$500 or less per-customer loan limit now on the books, and prohibit new payday loan stores from opening over the next 10 years.
Also on its way to the governor is Senate Bill 4, which would allow drug addicts and other felony drug offenders to avoid incarceration by successfully completing drug treatment.
SB 4 would require that local jails screen felony drug offenders at booking to determine what treatment, if any, is needed. A judge could order outpatient or some other form of treatment at the person's preliminary hearing, or allow more serious offenders to voluntarily enter a secure treatment facility for at least 90 days, with a total of 18 months to two years supervision. Those whose treatment is successful could eventually have their drug charges dismissed. The bill would also ensure due process for offenders, among other provisions.
Lawmakers are now on break as part of what we call a veto recess, which is a 10-day period near the end of session set aside to allow the governor to veto bills. We will return March 26-27 - the final two days - to consider overriding any vetoes and to pass last-minute bills that may be unresolved.
You can continue to stay informed of legislative action on bills this session by logging onto the Legislative Research Commission Web site at www.lrc.ky.gov or if you would like to share your comments or concerns with me or another legislator about a particular bill under consideration this session, you can call the toll-free Legislative Message Line at 800-372-7181 or my office at (502) 564-2217 if you would like to reach me specifically. It is an honor to serve as your voice in Frankfort.