As I write to you, I am wrapping up the first week of the 2013 General Assembly Session, 26 more days to go. Now, since this is a “short” session, when we adjourn Friday, we will not meet again until February 5th. The time is used to get new members, committee chairman, and newly-elected Leadership acclimated and everyone back up to speed.
The Senate President announced Senate Bill 1 which is aimed to making it easier for deployed military to vote. It has not been filed yet since staff is working to ensure that the process for this is as secure as possible. I want to do whatever I can to protect the right to vote of our troops abroad but I also want to ensure that the mechanism is as confidential as it should be. I will be the primary co-sponsor of this bill.
I myself filed Senate Bill 47, my first bill, that allows for law-enforcement to collect a DNA sample upon a felony arrest. The current law already requires a DNA sample be taken upon a felony conviction, but this new bill would assist in resolving unsolved crimes. Individuals who are arrested, and from whom a sample is taken, may petition that the DNA record be removed should the underlying offense be dismissed or result in an acquittal. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) passed a bill in the Senate, on January 1, known as Katie’s Law, providing for funding for the implementation of bills like mine.
As chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I have already been involved in various meetings with my staff as well as experts on the Legislative Research Committee. I have also been studying various issues that will be coming up.
I want to keep you as informed as possible. Your input is not only valued and appreciated, it’s genuinely needed. I encourage you to follow the issues and always welcome your comments and questions. There are many ways you can stay in touch with the General Assembly.
The Kentucky Legislature Home Page, www.lrc.ky.gov, provides information on each of the Commonwealth’s senators and representatives, including our phone numbers, addressees, and committee assignments. The site also provides a bill tracking service, and committee meeting schedules.
By going to our eNews page, www.lrc.ky.gov/pubinfo/listserv.htm, you can subscribe to frequent e-mail updates on what’s happening at the Capitol. In addition, the General Assembly has its own blog, Capitol Notes, www.lrc.ky.gov/pubinfo/capitol_notes.htm, that will allow you to receive legislative updates at your leisure.
You can also follow legislative action in the following ways:
· A taped message containing information on legislative committee meetings is updated daily at 1-800-633-9650.
· To check the status of a bill, you may call the toll-free Bill Status Line at 1-866-840-2835.
· To leave a message for any legislator, call the General Assembly’s toll-free Message Line at 1-800-372-7181. People with hearing difficulties may leave messages for lawmakers by calling the TTY Message Line at 1-800-896-0305.
· You may write any legislator by sending a letter with the lawmaker’s name to: Capitol Annex, 702 Capitol Avenue, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601.
Senator Whitney Westerfield (R-Hopkinsville) represents the 3rd District including Christian, Logan, and Todd counties.