2018 Advocacy Update

The 2018 Kentucky General Assembly ended in a flurry of bills, citizen advocacy, sound bites and – eventually – laws. What happened related to mental health?

Marsy’s Law: Constitutional Amendment including the Victim’s Bill of Rights will be on the November 2018 ballot. Learn more here.

Jeannette’s Law: Prior to this law, when a domestic violence victim wanted to divorce an incarcerate abuser (s)he had to pay for the attorney of their abusive spouse. More details on the law and the circumstances surrounding it can be found here.

HB604, Trauma-Informed Schools: This law passed the House but didn’t get through the Senate. We certainly hope to see something like it against next year! This proposal came from the Marshall County school tragedy, shedding light on the need for more mental health resources in all Kentucky schools. Recent press around that bill is here and here.

Support Animals & Housing: HB 329 allows a person with a disability or disability-related needs to make a reasonable request for an accommodation in housing to maintain an assistance animal. The full bill text is available here.

Child Marriage Law, Senate Bill 48: There was much press around this effort to raise the legal age to marry in Kentucky and we are happy to say it was PASSED and signed by the Governor. An overwhelming number of brides under age 17 in Kentucky are victims of domestic violence and child abuse. Recent press on this issue is here and here.

Death Penalty Exemption for SPMI, Senate Bill 107: Our Kentucky Mental Health Coalition partners NAMI Kentucky were spearheading this effort to exempt people with severe, persistent mental illness from receiving the death penalty. This passed a Senate committee but was not heard again. We expect to see this bill again and will support it.

Pension Reform: A flickering bright light at the end of a tumultuous session was 

Budget Cuts DBHDID Budget Slashed by 6.25%. What does this mean? It’s not clear if programs will be eliminated or budgets simply slashed. We’ll keep you informed!

Safe Disposal of controlled substances bill: requires pharmacists or their designee to inform customers about how to dispose of controlled substances that they don’t finish using.