Friday, April 9, 2010

House Bill 350 is dead despite an attempt by a lawmaker to pass the bill by hiding it in other legislation

We are pleased to announce that Kentucky House Bill 350 is officially dead! At the last moment however, David Watkins, a Junior Representative, attached House Bill 350 to Senate Bill 127, a bill he knew the Governor would sign because it was an education bill.

However, by attaching the bill, it went back to the House of Representatives for concurrence, which they withheld.

"The Kentucky House Health and Welfare Committee knew House Bill 350 was dangerous, refused to post it, and no one voted on it. The Committee was wise enough to realize the requirements for licensed care providers must remain in place," stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. "Representative David Watkins used an underhanded technique used at the end of sessions to move pieces of legislation that haven't moved before by hiding them in other places."

House Bill 350 would have dismantled the education and prevention efforts performed by the Kentucky HIV/AIDS Branch, a unit of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. In addition, House Bill 350 would have removed the requirement that podiatrists, physicians, acupuncturists, physician's assistants, athletic trainers, chiropractors, dentists, dental hygienists, registered nurses, advanced registered nurse practitioners, licensed practical nurses, pharmacists, optometrists, physical therapists, laboratory personnel, and social workers complete HIV/AIDS education and training as a condition of being licensed to practice in the Commonwealth.

Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer and other volunteers had several meetings with Senior Representative Tom Burch, Chairman of the House Health and Welfare Committee about the bill.

"Citizens of the Commonwealth will continue to have educated licensed care providers, and the Kentucky HIV/AIDS Branch can continue to perform the wonderful job they struggle to do [not enough funding] in educating the public about HIV/AIDS," Palmer stated. As of March 15, 2010 exactly 3,115 Kentucky citizens signed our action alert condemning House Bill 350; once Representative David Watkins realized House Bill 350 was dead, and attached it to Senate Bill 127 we issued another action alerts with our coalition allies, adding another 2,348 signatures for a total of 5,463 signatures. This was citizen advocacy in action, the people spoke and the House of Representatives listened."

Kentucky Equality Federation would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to Kentucky Senior Representative Tom Burch (Chair of the House Health & Welfare Committee), Kerri Richardson with the Governor's Communications Office, the Kentucky HIV/AIDS Advocacy Action Group, and more importantly, all of the citizens around the Commonwealth that signed our action alert.

Click here to view a copy of Senate Bill 127, signed into law by Governor Beshear, which contacts no provisions of House Bill 350 (link is courtesy of the Executive Journal of the Kentucky Secretary of State's Office).

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