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February 20, 2017 Legislative Update

WKU government relations staff, Robbin Taylor and Jennifer Breiwa Smith, met with several legislators last week to discuss priority legislation, including companion bills SB147/HB204 regarding advanced practice doctorates at the comprehensive universities, and SB153, performance funding for universities. 

SB147 was heard in the Senate Education Committee Thursday, February 16, and passed unanimously.  We expect SB147 to pass the full Senate early this week.  WKU Provost Dr. David Lee provided testimony on the bill along with bill co-sponsor, Senator David Givens, and Dr. Jay Morgan, CPE Vice President of Academic Affairs. You can read the full bill here: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/recorddocuments/bill/17RS/SB147/bill.pdf

To recap, SB147 relates to the advanced practice doctoral programs at Kentucky’s comprehensive universities.  Currently, the number of advanced practice doctorate degrees offered at the comprehensive universities is capped.  SB147 would remove that cap and leave determination of degree programs to CPE, consistent with its responsibility for approval of all other academic programs.  WKU was instrumental in achieving passage of the original legislation in 2011 that allowed the University to proceed with offering the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.  We believe it is in the best interests of Kentucky to allow market demands to drive degree program options, and therefore we support removal of the limit based solely on a specific number of degree programs

SB153 is expected to be heard in the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee tomorrow and will likely move out of the Senate this week.  It is also anticipated that the bill will be heard in the House Budget Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education for discussion only on Thursday. 

To recap, SB153 closely follows the performance based funding model for universities that was developed by the Performance Funding Work Group, which was chaired by WKU President Gary Ransdell.  Information on the performance funding proposal can be found on the WKU Government and Community Relations homepage.  You can read SB153 here:  http://www.lrc.ky.gov/recorddocuments/bill/17RS/SB153/bill.pdf

SB1, which makes major policy changes to K-12 education, passed the Senate unanimously last week.  SB1 is sponsored by Senate Education Committee Chair Mike Wilson of Bowling Green.  The bill now goes to the House for consideration.   You can read the full bill as amended in committee and passed by the Senate here: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/recorddocuments/bill/17RS/SB1/SCS1.pdf.

The last days to file new Senate and House bills were Thursday, February 17, and Friday, February 18, respectively. Tomorrow marks the half-way point.  Below is a report from CN2 news on how some members of legislative leadership view the second half of the session is likely to proceed. 

http://mycn2.com/politics/time-for-bills-in-general-assembly-getting-tight-as-lawmakers-head-into-second-half-of-30-day-session

For updates on all the legislation we are tracking on behalf of WKU, click here:  http://www.wku.edu/govrelations/documents/2017-legislative-tracking-report-2.pdf

Continue following regular updates from the 2017 legislative session at www.wku.edu/govrelations

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WKU government relations staff spent much of the last week meeting with legislators on legislation of interest, including SB147 regarding advanced practice doctorates at the comprehensive universities and SB153, performance funding for universities.

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 Last Modified 2/14/17