FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Several bills that would benefit young Kentuckians have made their way through the General Assembly and one children’s advocacy non-profit says it’s excited to see more steps taken to protect the state’s most vulnerable.
“We all know that right now there’s a lot more disagreement than agreement in Frankfort,” Terry Brooke, Executive Director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, said.
However, Brooks says one priority often bridges the gap.
“The one arena that can bring all of Kentucky together is kids,” Brooks said.
He says that’s evident by the four bills focused on young people introduced this session – three of which are awaiting Governor Andy Beshear’s signature.
One of them would raise the statute of limitations to report sexual abuse.
“We know that victims of abuse, especially child sexual abuse – it takes a while for them to come forward,” Brooks said.
Another bill would allow Kentuckians to run in-home child care – something Brooks says would help with the ‘day care deserts’ in rural and low-income communities.
“[It] is especially helpful to parents who work unconventional hours,” Brooks said.
He says inadequate child care affects more than 10-percent of the state’s workforce.
Another measure would allow students to re-do the previous year of school if they feel they missed out on foundational learning due to the pandemic.
“We know, despite best efforts, the very best efforts of teachers, there is no way that those kids have kept up,” Brooks said.
He said he doesn’t think giving athletes another year would be a major issue.
Finally, there’s a bill that would give judges discretion on whether or not to charge a minor as an adult for a firearm offense.
“Make them understand consequences of mistakes, but let’s get them on the right track for the long-term rather than just the easy, quick, efficient response of lock them up,” Brooks said.
Brooks also thinks the legislation would help balance the disproportionate of Black people in prison.