Legislative Update from Representative Sannie Overly

January 10, 2011

Area high school students receive $1.4 million in lottery scholarships for college expenses

Frankfort – Students in the 72nd House District received more than $1.4 million of aid from the Kentucky Lottery last school year, state Rep. Sannie Overly announced today.

"One of the General Assembly's top goals is getting more Kentuckians into a postsecondary school, and for a dozen years now, the lottery has played a critical role financially in that effort," said Rep. Overly, D-Paris. "I am very proud of those who have taken advantage of this opportunity as they pursue a college degree."

According to Rep. Overly, a little more than 1,000 grants and scholarships were awarded to students in Bath, Bourbon and Nicholas counties from the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship Program, more popularly known as KEES. This program rewards high school students who earn good grades and then, after graduating, attend a postsecondary school in Kentucky.

Statewide, students got more than 122,000 grants last school year worth almost $190 million. In the decade since the KEES program began, more than 1.18 million grants and scholarships worth more than $1.55 billion have been provided, and postsecondary enrollment has risen 40 percent.

"Virtually every penny of the state lottery proceeds goes to education, with almost all of that dedicated to these grants and scholarships," Rep. Overly said. "It was a great idea when it began, and it has more than met the high expectations we had for it. I'm glad to see it continue to thrive."


Legislative Update from State Representative Sannie Overly

January 7, 2011

The gavel pounded sharply on the speaker's desk as the Kentucky General Assembly's House of Representatives convened its 2011 legislative session this week. This 30 day session is considered a "short" session. The first week is used as an organizational period where leaders are elected, committee members and committee chairs are appointed and schedules are set.

I was honored to have been reappointed chair of the Budget Review Subcommittee on Transportation. I was also appointed as a member to these committees: Agriculture and Small Business; Appropriations and Revenue; Banking and Insurance; and State Government.

After a three week recess, we reconvene in Frankfort and consider issues and legislation through mid-March. Legislation already filed includes measures affecting payday lending interest rates, Medicaid, smoking cessation, education, pseudoephedrine abuse, and public safety.

One of the most important tasks we tackled this week was to elect our House leadership team. These five individuals are entrusted by House members to make decisions regarding all aspects of the legislative branch.

Making office and committee assignments, overseeing budget appropriations, working closely with the governor and executive branch and prioritizing our agenda are just a few of the many responsibilities House leaders must oversee.

I am looking forward to a productive session and will share our progress through these updates.

You can stay informed of legislative action on bills of interest to you this session by logging on to the Legislative Research Commission website at www.lrc.ky.gov or by calling the LRC toll-free Bill Status Line at 866-840-2835. To find out when a committee meeting is scheduled, you can call the LRC toll-free Meeting Information Line at 800-633-9650.

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 e-mail me at sannie.overly@lrc.ky.gov. I look forward to serving you in Frankfort during this busy 2011 Session.


Legislative Update from State Representative Sannie Overly

October 14, 2010

Rep. Overly, Sen. Palmer say Paris By-pass four-laning project to move forward Oct. 22

Frankfort – A key project designed to make the Paris By-pass completely four-laned will move forward later this month when the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet opens bids from interested road builders, state Rep. Sannie Overly and Sen. R.J. Palmer said today.

Cabinet officials have estimated the project at $11 million, though the exact cost will not be determined until the bids are opened on October 22nd. "What I am really excited about is the fact that the contract requires the builder to be finished by next October," said Rep. Overly, D-Paris. "That gives all of us a definite timeframe so that it's not left open-ended."

"This will greatly ease traffic congestion around Paris, so I'm certainly glad to see this project move forward," said Sen. Palmer, D-Winchester. "While the turning lanes have helped, we've been needing this expansion for quite a while. Building costs are coming in low, making this an ideal time to move forward with it."

Both Rep. Overly and Sen. Palmer serve on transportation-related committees in their respective chambers. Rep. Overly is chair of the House of Representatives' Budget Review Subcommittee on Transportation, which gives her a direct hand in determining the cost and timeline of road projects across the Commonwealth. Sen. Palmer, meanwhile, is on the similar committee in the Senate and is also on the chamber's Transportation Committee, which considers broader transportation-related issues.


Legislative Update from State Representative Sannie Overly

October 1, 2010

Overly Refused Special Session Salary

Frankfort – With recent news reports showing that State Representative Sannie Overly was one of only six state legislators who returned their special session salary to the taxpayers, she said today that she could see no better option.

"In listening to my constituents following the legislature's being unable to reach agreement on the budget, I understood clearly that they thought it was wrong for legislators to be paid for again for a job that should have been done in the regular session," said Rep. Overly (D-Paris). "My parents raised me to know the difference between right and wrong. I knew instinctively that I could not accept being paid to do something we should have done the first time. The bottom line is we should have finished the state's budget in April rather than returning at the end of May and spending more time and money to get the job done. I decided the only way to correct my part of this situation was to just give the money back."

According to last week's Associated Press article, all six legislators who returned their salaries from the May special session were Democratic members of the Kentucky House of Representatives. "I know many of my colleagues donated their salary to other causes, and I think that was appropriate as well. I just chose the path that those I represent wanted," Rep. Overly said. "It's an idea that goes back to 2003, when two current House leaders and several other legislators tried to make sure we did not get paid if a budget wasn't adopted on time, but that proposal was stopped by the State Senate. I want to make clear that I will do all I can to avoid this situation in the future. If it is something beyond my control, I want my constituents to know that I will turn my salary back into the treasury again."


Legislative Update from State Representative Sannie Overly

September 29, 2010

Rep. Overly praises local association for its work in raising awareness of Down syndrome

Frankfort – For the eighth straight year, the Down Syndrome Association of Central Kentucky is hosting a Buddy Walk this Saturday to raise awareness for its cause, a move that state Rep. Sannie Overly strongly supports.

She recently sponsored a citation on behalf of the Kentucky House of Representatives that honors the association for its work. The citation noted that Saturday's parade promotes "enhanced acceptance and inclusion of citizens with Down syndrome, along with increased awareness and education for local families, caregivers and medical and educational professionals."

"I'm really proud of the work this association does for our region," said Rep. Overly, D-Paris. "This parade, which highlights October as National Down Syndrome Awareness Month, has grown into a wonderful fundraiser that directly benefits many of our families. We would all be the poorer without it."

The Buddy Walk, which drew more than 1,600 supporters last year, will be held on Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Thoroughbred Center, which is at 3380 Paris Pike in Lexington. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m., with the walk starting at 11 a.m. A luncheon celebration will begin an hour later. Anyone wanting to take part or serve as a sponsor – 16 organizations gave at least $500 last year – can contact Deanna at 859.576.3406.


Legislative Update from Representative Sannie Overly

July 8, 2010

Rep. Overly promotes scholarship program for college-bound high school female students

Frankfort – State Rep. Sannie Overly is encouraging young women in high school who are planning to attend college to apply for a $3,000 scholarship awarded by the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL) and the National Rifle Association (NRA).

This is the 13th year the organizations have partnered for an essay contest that celebrates the Bill of Rights, with this year’s topic being "Freedom and Civic Virtues." Seven winners from across the country will be chosen for the scholarship and for an all-expenses-paid trip to NFWL’s annual conference in Orlando in November.

"This is an excellent opportunity for local members of the Class of 2010 and 2011," said Rep. Overly, who is a member of the NFWL, which serves women legislators at the local, state and federal level. "This contest will help seven young women enhance their understanding of the role of women in politics through a hands-on learning experience. It provides an excellent opportunity to develop leadership skills while assisting with college tuition expenses."

Rep. Overly added that these students are the future of American politics, and "by understanding and explaining the importance of American virtues and rights, these students can make a lasting impact on American policies. This essay contest is an opportunity for young women to win a college scholarship while making their voices heard on the true intentions of the Bill of Rights."

Entries have to be received or postmarked no later than July 30th to qualify. An NFWL selection committee will judge each essay on the author’s ability to tell a story, how well she understands the Bill of Rights and her original insight.

Questions about this program can be directed to Rep. Overly at her Frankfort office (502-564-8100, ext. 752) or by emailing her at sannie.overly@lrc.ky.gov. Applicants can also call the NFWL office at 202-293-3040, ext. 1005, or by emailing the organization at scholarships@womenlegislators.org.


Legislative Update from Representative Sannie Overly

June 25, 2010

Rep. Sannie Overly one of only 50 selected to take part in national leadership program

FRANKFORT – State Rep. Sannie Overly has been selected to participate in the 2010 Program for Emerging Political Leaders, which is sponsored at no taxpayer cost by the State Legislative Leaders Foundation and the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.

This prestigious program is held every year on the campus of the University of Virginia for a select group of state legislators who have been nominated by the Speaker of the House, President of the Senate or Minority Leader from their state. Leaders are asked to nominate one or more members who by their actions have demonstrated those qualities we associate with leadership—integrity, compassion, intelligence, vision and common sense.

The goal of this program is to inspire these men and women to continue careers in public service. Class discussions will examine qualities and characteristics of leadership including: ethical leadership, the art of compromise and coalition building and the philosophical underpinnings of representative democracy.

Representative Overly is one of only 50 state legislators chosen from a nationwide pool of over 180 outstanding nominees.

As Stephen G. Lakis, President of the State Legislative Leaders Foundation, has noted, "These legislators represent the best and the brightest, and are destined for future leadership roles in their state. After being with these people for several days, you can’t help but feel proud and more confident about our unique system of representative democracy. They are just that good!"


Legislative Update from Representative Sannie Overly

April 5, 2010

Rep. Overly pleased to see new laws helping those diagnosed with mesothelioma, autism

Frankfort - Two bills strongly backed by state Rep. Sannie Overly and supported by most of her House and Senate colleagues will bring more help and better awareness to those suffering from mesothelioma or who are diagnosed with autism.

“I’m proud the General Assembly sent these bills to Governor Beshear on Thursday, because they will both make a true difference in the lives of those who have been diagnosed with these conditions,” said Rep. Overly, D-Paris. “I’m looking forward to seeing the bills become law soon.”

Under House Bill 159, autistic children would be eligible for more financial assistance from qualified health insurance plans, a move that Rep. Overly says is needed “because early and intense treatment can work miracles in many cases. Research shows that autistic children who do not receive this kind of treatment could need as much as $3 million for a lifetime of care.”

Under Senate Bill 62, September 26th will now be known throughout Kentucky each year as “Mesothelioma Awareness Day.” Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer that invades the lining of the lungs or abdomen and is directly tied to exposure to asbestos. An estimated 3,000 Americans die from this each year and another 2,000 are diagnosed.

Rep. Overly sponsored similar legislation this year in memory of Ron Cyrus, a former state legislator and grandfather of Disney star Miley Cyrus; and Todd Hall, a young businessman who was a University of Kentucky graduate.

“These men, and far too many others like them, may no longer be with us, but their memory lives on, and this new law will ensure that more people are aware of the dangers of asbestos. Though it has long been outlawed, it is still found in many older buildings today. Hopefully, in the near future, we can end mesothelioma once and for all.”


Legislative Update from Representative Sannie Overly

March 11,2010

Rep. Overly says legislative district to receive $125 million under House plan

Frankfort – The two-year budget and corresponding road plan adopted by the Kentucky House of Representatives this past week includes more than $125 million for needed schools and infrastructure projects in Bourbon, Nicholas and Bath counties, state Rep. Sannie Overly announced today.

"This is the first step in getting a spending plan in place, but it is definitely a step in the right direction," Rep. Overly said. "I will do all I can to make sure that these projects remain funded as House leaders work with the Senate in getting a final budget in place. We need these projects for our students and for those who need better water and sewer service."

The projects are part of a $1 billion "Kentucky Jobs for Kentucky Families" program that, if enacted, would provide new and improved schools and re-fortify our infrastructure across the Commonwealth. It is estimated to create or retain as many as 25,000 jobs.

The projects in Rep. Overly’s district include nearly $100 million for its roads; $3 million in water and sewer projects; nearly $20 million for school renovations; and $2.78 million for library services and historic properties.

The $17.5 billion budget and the $3.4 billion road plan that made it through the House are now in the hands of the state Senate, which will spend several session days working on changes it feels should be made. Barring something unforeseen, a final budget and road plan will be approved by the end of the month.

"I’m proud that the House is strongly supporting these projects and hundreds of others across the state as we look for ways to put Kentuckians back to work," Rep. Overly said. "If the Senate agrees as I hope, we can begin breaking ground soon and move our economy forward."


Legislative Update from Representative Sannie Overly

February 19, 2010

Veterans Legislation in Frankfort

The lives of Kentucky veterans will improve thanks to legislation passed this session by the Kentucky General Assembly.

House Bill 14 allows for permanently and totally disabled veterans who are citizens of Kentucky to stay at Kentucky state parks for up to three nights per year at no cost. And House Bill 75 amends current state government personnel statutes to provide a preference to veterans when hiring. It ensures that state government employees are aware of an applicant’s military service so that our returning service men and women are given every opportunity to become employed. Both of these bills honoring our brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for Kentucky have been signed into law by the governor.

A bill that would ensure our returning combat veterans are connected to available mental health programs when they are accused of breaking the law is now being considered by the Senate after it passed out of the House by a vote of 97-0. Years of war and multiple deployments have taken their toll on the men and women who serve in the Armed Forces, National Guard, and Reserves, and have led to increased cases of post-traumatic stress disorder and other post-deployment difficulties. Unfortunately, combat veterans may not initially seek help to deal with difficulties.

House Bill 377 would require investigators to ask if the veteran has ever been in combat during the pretrial investigation. It would also require pretrial offices to give contact information on the Kentucky National Guard Family Services or similar programs. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

You can stay informed of legislative action on bills of interest to you this session by logging on to the Legislative Research Commission website at www.lrc.ky.gov or by calling the LRC toll-free Bill Status Line at 866-840-2835. To find out when a committee meeting is scheduled, you can call the LRC toll-free Meeting Information Line at 800-633-9650.

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 e-mail me at sannie.overly@lrc.ky.gov. I look forward to serving you in Frankfort during this busy 2010 Session.


Legislative Update from Representative Sannie Overly

September 22, 2009

Rep. Overly encourages Kentuckians to remember mesothelioma victims

Frankfort – State Rep. Sannie Overly is asking Kentuckians to take at least a moment out of their day on Saturday, Sept. 26, to remember those who have suffered or died from mesothelioma, a lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure.

Mesothelioma Awareness Day is a national event that pays tribute to the 3,000 Americans who die from it each year. About 2,000 new cases are diagnosed annually.

Rep. Overly, D-Paris, was a co-sponsor of the House resolution during this year’s regular legislative session that put the chamber in support of the cause.

“This day began as a tribute to a Pennsylvania widow who fought tirelessly for this cause on behalf of her husband,” Rep. Overly said. “September 26th was their wedding anniversary.”

Rep. Overly noted that mesothelioma has hit especially close to home for the House of Representatives. In 1996, the disease claimed the life of one of its former members, Ron Cyrus, who was also father of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus and grandfather to Disney star Miley Cyrus, both of whom have become advocates in the fight against the disease.

“While there have been great strides made in reducing contact with asbestos, it is still far too prevalent in our society,” Rep. Overly said. “The hope is that, like polio, we can effectively end this disease once and for all, but it will take an effort by all of us to make that happen. The first step is increasing awareness, something I hope this day accomplishes.”


Legislative Update from Representative Sannie Overly

Friday, July 17, 2009

Federal grant will help families with special-needs children, Rep. Overly says

Frankfort – A federal grant just received by the Kentucky Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs will ease the concerns many Central Kentucky families may have about cutting through red tape, state Rep. Sannie Overly said today.

The $95,700 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will enable the commission to establish 12 statewide Family-to-Family Health Information Centers for children 21 and younger, with Lexington being among the first five. The year-long grant, which could be renewed for two additional years, will be overseen by two co-directors who are themselves parents of special-needs children.

"Navigating our healthcare system is difficult under any circumstances, but especially for those families with special-needs children who require ongoing care," she said. "This program, run by those with first-hand knowledge of what works, will benefit families by providing support and reducing the feelings of isolation."

The centers will recruit and train family members to help others better understand their children’s health issues and provide support and information. The commission’s executive director, Rebecca Cecil, said that "families helping other families to increase their ability to be more self-assured and make informed choices about health care will result in improved health outcomes for their children throughout their lives."

The centers will be located in the commission’s regional offices, which provide medical and other clinical services. The Lexington office, which serves Bourbon and Nicholas counties, is located at 333 Waller Avenue, Suite 300; the Morehead office, which serves Bath County, is at 214 W. First St.

Those who need assistance, or who would like to help others, can call Debbie Gilbert in the Louisville office. Her toll-free number is 1-800-232-1160, ext. 279.

"I strongly encourage those families eligible for this program to take advantage of it," Rep. Overly said. "This program holds a lot of potential, and I hope it can continue for many years to come."


Legislative Update from Representative Sannie Overly

Monday, June 29, 2009

After spending only eight days in a special legislative session, the Kentucky General Assembly passed legislation that will give the Commonwealth new economic development incentives, funding for mega-transportation projects and a balanced budget for the next fiscal year.

Our first accomplishment was the passage of House Bill 4, which addressed staggering holes in Kentucky’s budget. Facing a nearly $1 billion shortfall, the House and Senate crafted a budget that does not affect schools, higher education, jails or Medicaid.

We used more than $740 million in federal stimulus dollars and cut $200 million in planned spending to balance the budget.

Our additions to the governor’s proposed budget include taking out a provision that would have required state employees to take unpaid holidays. In these difficult economic times, we could not agree to a reduction in state workers’ paychecks.

We also slightly increased the budgets of prosecutors and public defenders who are struggling to keep up with growing caseloads. We kept funding for county PVAs at current levels and increased funding for state parks by $4.9 million.

We then moved on to House Bill 3, legislation that will allow the state to finance billions of dollars in construction of highway projects such as the $4.1 billion Louisville bridges project Kentucky will share with Indiana.

House Bill 3 also includes measures that would tax car buyers only on the difference between a new car purchase and their trade-in. It would also provide loan support for certain incentive projects and create an extension of tourism development incentives and an income-tax exemption for Kentuckians in the military. A tax credit of up to $5,000 for new home buyers was also added.

House Bill 3 will help businesses, create jobs, support our military and improve our infrastructure. I believe Kentucky will reap rewards from this legislation for many years.

We are adjourned until January 5, 2010, but my colleagues and I will visit Frankfort between now and then for committee meetings and to perform constituent work. If you have any questions, or if you would like to share your comments or concerns with me or another legislator about any issue, you can call the toll-free Legislative Message Line at 800-372-7181, or email me at sannie.overly@lrc.ky.gov. To find out when interim committee meetings are scheduled, you can call the LRC toll-free Meeting Information Line at 800-633-9650.

It is an honor to serve as your state representative. I hope you have a happy and safe summer!


Legistlative Update From Representative Sannie Overly

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Kentucky House of Representatives passed several bills this week and one bill addressed a problem left by the unusually destructive weather we have experienced over the current school year.

Passed by a roll call vote of 92 to 6 in the House, HB 322 would allow the state to grant school districts a waiver from having to make up certain so-called “disaster days” missed because of Tropical Storm Ike last year and winter storms that hit the state in January and February. The bill would require districts, however, to use scheduled makeup days before requesting any disaster days be waived, and would ensure that teachers and classified employees have a chance to work and get paid for the days waived.

We also passed House Bill 327, another school-related bill, by a unanimous vote of 97 to 0. This legislation would address a growing concern about the shortage of assistant coaches for high schools and middle schools. In the past, teachers have been hired with the agreement that they would coach a sport, but as more teachers have retired those positions have been filled by good teachers who do not want to coach. House Bill 327 would allow the Kentucky Board of Education to hire a non-certified person as a coach as long as that person completes a professional development course offered by the state board. This bill supports our schools’ athletic programs and provides employment opportunities to qualified individuals.

Consumers will no longer have to pay an unfair tax on vehicles they sold in the month of December, thanks to House Bill 340. In the past, when a vehicle was sold in December, sometimes the new owner would not register it until January of the next year, and the previous owner would be responsible for paying the tax bill. Under House Bill 340, the new owner would be responsible for paying the taxes. The bill also relieves the previous owner from paying a fine for late registration or late payment of property taxes. The bill passed by a unanimous vote of 99 to 0.

A bill that would help cancer patients with medical bills cleared the House this week. Many times oncology patients undergoing chemotherapy and cancer trials are excluded coverage for routine patient healthcare. House Bill 30 would clarify what is covered by clinical trials and what is covered by a patient’s health insurance. House Bill 30 passed by a vote of 99 to 0.

More and more bills are making their way onto the House orders because of this session’s busy committee schedule. It is in the 16 standing House committees where most of the nuts-and-bolts work on bills takes place, making it no surprise that dozens of bills were heard and passed out of committee last week. In the House Education committee, at least one bill that received lawmakers’ approval and stirred some debate last week was a measure to curb rising college textbook costs.

The cost of college textbooks has long been an issue among college students in Kentucky and in the Kentucky General Assembly, where legislation aimed at controlling those costs has been considered in past years. HB 226, which passed out of the House Education committee last Tuesday, tries to address the matter by requiring publishers to both sell bundled materials separately and notify faculty of content changes between book editions. It would also require public colleges and universities to inform students of their options when buying textbooks and materials. The bill now goes before the full House.

Only ten legislative days remain before the General Assembly breaks for ten consecutive days to allow the governor to consider any vetoes of legislation passed so far. When we return to Frankfort on March 26, it will only be for two days to consider overriding possible vetoes or take last-minute votes on bills still unresolved, before adjourning the session on March 27. Much will be happening in the General Assembly between now and then, and I encourage you to stay on top of any issues of importance to you and let your opinions be known.

You can stay informed of legislative action on bills of interest to you this session by logging on to the Legislative Research Commission website at www.lrc.ky.gov or by calling the LRC toll-free Bill Status Line at 866-840-2835. To find out when a committee meeting is scheduled, you can call the LRC toll-free Meeting Information Line at 800-633-9650.

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 e-mail me at sannie.overly@lrc.ky.gov. I look forward to serving you in Frankfort during this busy 2009 Session.


Legislative Update from Representative Sannie Overly

Monday, June 30, 2008

Last week, both chambers of the Kentucky General Assembly unanimously passed House Bill 1, the first step in ensuring the long-term financial stability of the state's employee pension systems.

Solvency is not a simple goal when you consider that our state retirement systems now have over $26 billion in unfunded future retirement obligations. Those commitments (with the exception of annual cost-of-living increases) are protected by inviolable contracts with state workers and must be met—no exceptions. Without meaningful reform, some say the system could go broke in as little as 14 years. That is why we had to act before the new fiscal year begins on July 1 to pass a pension bill that begins to make meaningful, necessary corrections to fund the system.

House Bill 1 focused on the twin pillars of long-term financial stability and fairness to state employees, teachers, police officers, firefighters, and other public servants.

Few changes were made to the retirement plans of current employees and current retirees. However, newly hired state employees will work longer before they can retire with full or partial pension and health care benefits.

We also addressed the concerns of local governments struggling to pay their existing obligations to the systems. They have received significant and immediate budgetary relief as well with House Bill 1.

Of course, we realize that these changes - while monumental in scope - are only the beginning, and that a number of ideas for further changes still need additional study.

The Governor has created work groups that will proceed with this additional analysis. Those work groups are made up of the same folks who helped bring about the passage of House Bill 1, including legislators, executive branch personnel, pension experts, state retirees, and city and county representatives.

If you have any questions about House Bill 1 or if you would like to share your comments or concerns with me or another legislator about any issue, you can call the toll-free Legislative Message Line at 800-372-7181, or email me at sannie.overly@lrc.ky.gov. To find out when interim committee meetings are scheduled, you can call the LRC toll-free Meeting Information Line at 800-633-9650. Enjoy your summer!


Legislative Update from Representative Sannie Overly

Wednesday, April 15, 2008

Rep. Overly, Sen. Palmer Announce $1,410,500 for Nicholas water, sewer improvements

FRANKFORT - The state budget approved Tuesday includes $1,410,500 to improve water and sewer service to Nicholas County, said Representative Sannie Overly, D-Paris, and Senator R.J. Palmer II, D-Winchester.

"Nicholas County residents will greatly benefit from these water and sewer projects we were able to provide in the state budget," said Rep. Overly. "They will also improve our county's economic development potential, while enhancing the quality of life for all of our children and families. I am very proud that we were able to include these projects in the budget considering the difficult financial environment our state is operating under."

These funds will be used for the nine-tenths water line extension on KY 1678 ($90,000); one mile water line extension on KY 1308 ($95,000); Carlisle Regional Wastewater ($125,000), and Lake Carnico Area Sanitary System Project for the Nicholas County Sanitation District #2 ($1,100,500).

"This is a good stewardship that will ensure the quality of water and improve the sewer services in Nicholas County," said Senator Palmer. "Providing reliable, clean and safe drinking water and protecting the environment are top priorities. I am extremely proud of these projects. They are critical to the service to our citizens and growth of our community."

The projects announced this week are part of an ongoing statewide effort to improve water and sewer service. Legislators work closely with local officials in allocating dollars.

"I appreciate all the hard work and effort on Senator Palmer's part and Rep. Overly's part," said Nicholas County Judge-Executive Larry D. Tincher. "Even though it is a tight budget year, we appreciate what's coming our way for the County."

Representative Overly represents the 72nd district, which includes Bath, Bourbon, Nicholas counties, and part of Fayette County. She has served in the House since 2008. Senator Palmer represents the 28th district, which includes Bath, Bourbon, Clark, Harrison, Montgomery and Nicholas counties. He has served in the State Senate since 2001.


Legislative Update from Representative Sannie Overly

Wednesday, April 15, 2008

Rep. Overly, Sen. Palmer Announce $1.75 Million for Bath water improvements

FRANKFORT - The state budget approved Tuesday includes $1.75 million to improve water service to Bath County, said Representative Sannier Overly, D-Paris, and Senator R.J. Palmer II, D-Winchester.

"One of my main goals as a Bath County legislator is to see that all of my constituents have access to clean drinking water and sewer lines, and this budget moves us closer to that goal," said Rep. Overly. "I am very proud that we were able to include these projects in the budget for Bath County, considering the difficult financial environment our state is operating under."

These projects include:

  • Bath County Water District - interconnect project, $206,250;

  • City of Owinsville - US 60 East - Wyoming Road Elementary School project, $350,000;

  • City of Owingsville - US 60 East/Wyoming Road A6 extension project, $450,000;

  • Sharpsburg Water District - water sales machine project, $5,000;

  • Sharpsburg Water District -water tank project, $720,000, and

  • Gateway Area Development District - regional water interconnect - match/debt retirement, $18,750.

"This is a good stewardship that will ensure the quality of water and improve the water services in Bath County," said Senator Palmer. "Providing reliable, clean and safe drinking water is a top priority. I am extremely proud of these projects. They are critical to the service to our citizens and growth of our community."

The projects announced this week are part of an ongoing statewide effort to improve water and sewer service. Legislators work closely with local officials in allocating dollars.

Representative Overly represents the 72th district, which includes Bath, Bourbon, Nicholas counties, and part of Fayette County. She has served in the House since 2008. Senator Palmer represents the 28th district, which includes Bath, Bourbon, Clark, Harrison, Montgomery and Nicholas counties. He has served in the State Senate since 2001.


Legislative Update from Representative Sannie Overly

Wednesday, April 15, 2008

Rep. Overly, Sen. Palmer announce budget sets aside $1,757,900 for improvements for Bourbon water, sewer service

FRANKFORT - The state budget approved Tuesday includes $1,757,900 to improve water and sewer service in Bourbon County, said Representative Sannie Overly, D-Paris, and Senator R.J. Palmer II, D-Winchester.

"I'm very pleased that even in the face of tough financial times, we were able to include important infrastructure projects that will continue to move Bourbon County forward," said Rep. Overly. "Over the next two years these water and sewer projects will help grow Bourbon County economically and provide a better quality of life for our citizens. I'm proud that we were able to secure these important projects in the state budget."

The budget provides:

  • $25,000, City of Millersburg, for various water lines;

  • $425,000 for the Centerville sewer project;

  • $485,000 for the Paris and Bourbon County Industrial Park wastewater expansion;

  • $497,900 for the Bourbon Hills Sanitary Sewer Collection project;

  • $105,000 for the North Middletown sewer system, and

  • $220,000 for the US 68 Bypass Water Transmission Main Extension.

"This is a good stewardship that will ensure the quality of water and improve the sewer services in the community," said Senator Palmer. "Providing reliable, clean and safe drinking water and protecting the environment are top priorities. I am extremely proud of these projects because they will help to improve the quality of life in Bourbon County."

The projects announced this week are part of an ongoing statewide effort to improve water and sewer service. Legislators work closely with local officials in allocating dollars.

Representative Overly represents the 72th district, which includes Bath, Bourbon, Nicholas counties, and part of Fayette County. She has served in the House since 2008. Senator Palmer represents the 28th district, which includes Bath, Bourbon, Clark, Harrison, Montgomery and Nicholas counties. He has served in the State Senate since 2001.


Legislative Update from Representative Sannie Overly

February 29, 2008

Health care legislation that would give more Kentuckians access to colon cancer screenings, provide cheaper prescription drugs, and give chiropractors comparable reimbursement for their services passed out of the House of Representatives this week.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 153,000 Americans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer this year and 800 people died from the disease in Kentucky in 2007. Many of these deaths could have been prevented with early screenings. House Bill 162, which passed the House by a vote of 96 to 0, would require health insurance companies to cover colon/colorectal cancer screenings based on the American Cancer Society's guideline, with no increases in premium costs.

Another colon cancer screening initiative also passed the House of Representatives this week. House Bill 415 would provide colon cancer screening services to uninsured individuals ages 50 to 64, and others at high risk. Under this legislation, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services would establish the Colon Cancer Screening Advisory Committee which would require the Kentucky Cancer Program to establish a colon cancer screening education and outreach program - focusing on individuals who lack access to colon cancer screening - in each of the area development districts.

House Bills 162 and 415 would help save lives and reduce cancer costs across Kentucky, and both pieces of legislation have gone to the Senate for consideration.

Many Kentuckians struggle with the high cost of prescription drugs and even with insurance co-payments; the cost can be prohibitive for families and seniors on a tight budget. House Bill 7, which passed the House of Representatives with a vote of 95 to 0, would require that the governor ask that the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services permit Kentucky's licensed pharmacists, distributors, and wholesalers to import drugs. The Cabinet would be prohibited from creating a state drug importation program unless the FDA certifies the imports' safety and low-cost advantage.

It has been reported that our chiropractors are facing tough economic times, with many leaving the state to practice elsewhere, because of Kentucky's low reimbursement fees. House Bill 148 would remedy that situation by requiring insurance companies to reimburse chiropractors for their services and procedures at the same fee schedule used for workers' compensation. The bill would also permit a reduction of up to 10 percent of the fee if the chiropractor enters into an approved agreement with a managed care plan. With applause from members and spectators in the House gallery, House Bill 148 passed with a vote of 80 to 7.

The House of Representatives passed many other bills this week:

  • House Bill 479 would modernize Kentucky election law by allowing voters to request an absentee ballot application via email. The bill would improve Kentucky’s elections by allowing voters to return absentee ballots unmarked and still be eligible to vote on Election Day. The bill passed with a vote of 73 to 15.
  • House Bill 600 would address a $26 million unfunded liability in Kentucky's public employee retirement systems, protect future state retiree benefits, and shore up funding for retiree health insurance. The goal of House Bill 600 is to bring the system to solvency by 2020 through measures mostly affecting future hires, such as including incentives to work longer, closing loopholes that benefit only a few employees, and limiting hazardous duty benefits. The bill passed with a vote of 96 to 0.
  • As a final note, the House Elections, Constitutional Amendments and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee approved a constitutional amendment that would authorize no more than nine casinos in Kentucky. The amendment would allow up to five of the casinos to be located at Kentucky race tracks; however, no licenses would be set aside for the tracks. The amendment, approved on a 7-2 vote, will now go to the full House for consideration. If approved by both the House of Representatives and Senate, the measure would be placed on the ballot to be decided on by Kentucky voters.
  • You can stay informed of legislative action on bills of interest to you this session by logging onto the Legislative Research Commission website at www.lrc.ky.gov or by calling the LRC toll-free Bill Status Line at 866-840-2835. To find out when a committee meeting is scheduled, you can call the LRC toll-free Meeting Information Line at 800-633-9650.
  • 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 email me at sannie.overly@lrc.ky.gov. I look forward to serving you in Frankfort during this busy 2008 budget session.

Legislative Update from Representative Sannie Overly

February 15, 2008

To honor Abraham Lincoln's 199th birthday anniversary, the House of Representatives and the Senate met in joint session Tuesday at the Old State Capital in downtown Frankfort, Kentucky. The Kentucky State University choir sang a resounding version of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and a resolution honoring our 16th president was read. It was a moving celebration and a fitting tribute to Abraham Lincoln, remembered for his lasting influence on the United States.

Governor Beshear may need some of Lincoln's political savvy to help pass his casino gaming legislation announced this week. The governor said Thursday that he will file legislation to support a constitutional amendment that would allow 12 casinos in Kentucky. This would include seven at existing racetracks and five at unspecified locations. The five free-standing casinos would require approval from voters in the city or county in which they locate.

Gov. Beshear also proposed legislation that would implement the amendment requiring the five free-standing casinos to be located in Daviess County; Kenton or Campbell County; Boyd or Greenup County; Christian County; and Laurel or Whitley County.

The amendment also specifies how tax money from casino gambling can be spent: 50 percent for education; 20 percent for health care; 5 percent each to city and county governments; 3 percent for host cities and counties; $2 million for compulsive gambling treatment programs; and 17 percent for other programs including veterans' programs, tourism, fish and wildlife, agriculture, livestock research, and economic development.

Separate accounts will be established for support of racing and to further improve the various breeds of horses found in Kentucky. Horse tracks that could apply for a casino include Keeneland and The Red Mile in Lexington, Turfway Park in Florence, Kentucky Downs in Franklin, Ellis Park in Henderson, Bluegrass Downs in Paducah, and Thunder Ridge in Floyd County.

House committees took steps to create better cancer prevention policy this week when by approving legislation designed to improve access to screenings for breast and colon cancer. HB 316, which cleared the House Banking and Insurance Committee on Wednesday, would improve breast cancer prevention by requiring health insurers to cover mammograms as part of their basic health benefit plans. The other bill, HB 415, which passed the House Health and Welfare Committee on Thursday, would establish a colon cancer screening program for uninsured Kentuckians between the ages of 50 and 64 and others considered "high risk." Both bills now head to the full House for a vote.

The House Judiciary Committee passed House Bill 367 which would strengthen Kentucky's laws to protect children from online predators by making social networking sites off limits to sex offenders; requiring sex offenders to register changes in email addresses; and creating a searchable database of registered sex offender email addresses. House Bill 367 would also recognize that stalking takes place in person and online and clarifies that it is a crime to transmit sexually explicit images to a child via webcam.

You can stay informed of legislative action on bills of interest to you this session by logging onto the Legislative Research Commission website at www.lrc.ky.gov or by calling the LRC toll-free Bill Status Line at 866-840-2835. To find out when a committee meeting is scheduled, you can call the LRC toll-free Meeting Information Line at 800-633-9650.

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 email me at sannie.overly@lrc.ky.gov. I look forward to serving you in Frankfort during this busy 2008 budget session.


Legislative Update from Representative Sannie Overly

Friday, February 8, 2008

FRANKFORT -- More than 40 bills have passed the Kentucky House of Representatives this session by the end of this week, as legislation to increase long-term care funding for Kentuckians with special needs, provide a tax credit for live-organ donation, and limit double fines in highway work zones made their way through the chamber and were sent to the Senate for a vote.

Kentuckians with disabilities across the Commonwealth would benefit from the passage of House Bill 13, a measure which passed 91 to 0 on Monday. The bill would establish a Kentucky Family Needs Trust Program to supplement any public assistance provided for the long-term care of persons with disabilities, including those in the state's care. The program would be funded through contributions to a trust fund. Those contributions would come from the beneficiaries' families, friends and guardians--not the state, which would be prohibited from using the trust fund for other purposes--and be overseen by a board of trustees. HB 13 now goes to the Senate for its consideration.

Another human services bill that passed the House last week was HB 234, which would provide a tax credit of up to $10,000 for those who donate live organs for transplant. It would also give full-time state employees who donate a live organ up to 30 days paid leave to recuperate. HB 234 passed by a vote of 94 to 0 and will join HB 13 for consideration by the Senate.

The highway bill that passed this week amends current state law requiring that fines for speeding in a highway work zone be doubled whether highway workers are present or not. Under HB 325, which we passed 90 to 0 on Monday, those caught speeding in one of the work zones would not have their fine doubled if no highway workers were present at the time and no signs were posted warning drivers that they would face a double fine for speeding in a work zone while workers were on the job. HB 325 was also sent to the Senate for consideration.

The House of Representatives gained two new members this week as a result of special elections. Former attorney general and Democratic House majority leader Greg Stumbo will represent the 95th House District which covers most of Floyd County. Will Coursey, a banker, will represent the 6th House District seat in western Kentucky. House Democrats look forward to working with these two new members.

Responding to news from the United States' Department of Energy that the Bush administration might drop its support for FutureGen, a $1.5 billion coal-fired power plant located in southern Illinois designed to store carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions underground, Majority Leader Rocky Adkins announced on the House floor that he urged Gov. Steve Beshear to use House Bill 1, energy legislation passed in the previous special session, to attract some of the spin-off projects from FutureGen to Kentucky. The governor agreed and is creating a consortium of experts to pursue this endeavor.

You can stay informed of legislative action on bills of interest to you this session by logging onto the Legislative Research Commission website at www.lrc.ky.gov or by calling the LRC toll-free Bill Status Line at 866-840-2835. To find out when a committee meeting is scheduled, you can call the LRC toll-free Meeting Information Line at 800-633-9650.

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 email me at sannie.overly@lrc.ky.gov. I look forward to serving you in Frankfort during this busy 2008 budget session.


Legislative Update from Representative Sannie Overly

Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2008

Rep. Overly files bill to boost child support collection.

Frankfort - Rep. Sannie Overly (D-Paris) filed legislation today that provides additional tools for the agency tasked with aiding custodial parents in the collection of child support payments. The bill also conforms Kentucky law with federal statutes and regulations on child support collection.

The legislation, HB 405, was drafted in coordination with the Division of Child Support in the Department for Community Based Services. Under this measure, the threshold for driver's license and passport denial of those with past due child support would be reduced by 50 percent and the statute of limitation on child support collections would be extended.

"States across the nation are ramping up their child support collection efforts," said Rep. Overly. "This bill will improve the ability of the Division of Child Support to collect the payments that the custodial parents are due."

"This bill will help make sure our child support program has the tools it needs to better enforce child support orders," said Department for Community Based Services Commissioner Pat Wilson. "We look forward to working with Rep. Overly to help other members understand the importance of this bill."

House Bill 405 will be referred to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.