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Education bill fix highlights final day of Kentucky General Assembly ’22 session


There was little drama in Frankfort, Kentucky on Thursday as lawmakers concluded the 2022 General Assembly session.

Legislators concluded most of their work by 9 p.m. The final two days of the session were spent mainly on overturning vetoes by Gov. Andy Beshear. Most of those votes took place Wednesday.

That left the final day to address an issue in a key education bill and try to come to a consensus on a couple of gaming bills.

Earlier in the week, education leaders pointed out to lawmakers that a section of Senate Bill 1 that detailed 24 specific documents for social studies education included criminal penalties for teachers who failed to abide by the law.

Prichard Committee President and CEO Brigitte Blom said an unintentional drafting error caused the issue. The education public policy group’s leader credited state Sen. Max Wise, R-Campbellsville, for working quickly to address the issue in the final two days.

The language was included in a conference committee insertion into House Bill 44, which received a unanimous vote in the House and a 30-3 vote in the Senate.

“With many priorities and nearly around-the-clock work this week, Senate Leadership made protecting Kentucky’s teachers from unnecessary and unintended penalties a top priority,” Blom said in a statement Thursday.

Despite a late push by proponents, a bill to legalize sports betting in Kentucky did not make it out of a Senate committee before adjournment.

House Bill 606 would have made Kentucky the 34th state to allow wagering on sporting events. While it passed the House last month, it failed to gain the necessary traction in the Senate.

State Rep. Adam Koenig, the Erlanger Republican who sponsored the bill, and Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, both expressed disappointment that the bill could not get over the final hurdle.

Thayer, the bill’s top supporter in the Senate, said supporters would continue the fight. Six of the seven states that border Kentucky already have legalized sports betting. The other state – Missouri – may do so in the coming weeks.

“All we did was postpone the inevitable,” said Koenig.

When the Senate failed to act on sports betting, the House decided not to take up House Bill 608, which would have banned skill games, sometimes referred to as gray machines. The slot machine-like games have popped up in convenience stores and other places across the state in the past year.

Proponents of the measure, sponsored by Lexington Republican state Rep. Killian Timoney, said the unregulated games take away from the state lottery and legal charitable gaming activities. However, advocates for the gaming machines say they provide a crucial revenue stream for small businesses and other organizations.

One final veto from Gov. Andy Beshear was overridden Thursday. That was on Senate Bill 167, which gives county governments more control over library systems.

After the House failed to get a simple majority Wednesday to turn aside the veto, Republicans were able to get three more votes Thursday, rejecting the veto by a 52-39 vote.

Barring a special called session by Beshear, the next General Assembly session will start in January.

This article was originally posted on Education bill fix highlights final day of Kentucky General Assembly ’22 session

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