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February 28, 2017 Legislative Update

  • Author: Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

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. 

SB147 passed out of the Senate unanimously and was received in the House on February 23.  The bill passed unanimously out of the House Education Committee today.  We hope to see it pass the full House by the end of this week or the first of next week.  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, which would implement a performance funding model for universities, passed the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee on February 21 and subsequently was passed out of the Senate with one dissenting vote.  The House Budget Review Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education received a briefing on the performance funding model outlined in SB153 from CPE President, Dr. Bob King, and VP for Finance, Bill Payne, on February 23.   

SB153 closely follows the recommendations for a performance 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

SB107 passed out of the Senate State and Local Government Committee with a Senate Committee Substitute on the bill on February 22.  The bill then passed out of the Senate with two dissenting votes and was received in the House on February 23.

To recap, SB107 pertains to gubernatorial appointments to public postsecondary institution governing boards.  SB107 would permit the Governor to remove and replace previously appointed board members to ensure compliance with statutory proportional representation requirements, including political party affiliation and race.  SB107 also permits the Governor to remove and replace entire boards if it is demonstrated that a board is unable to perform its statutory duties.  The public universities and the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) have provided input on this bill, and CPE provided a consensus letter to Senate Leadership with suggestions to improve the processes included in the bill.  You can read the full Senate Committee Substitute for SB107 here: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/recorddocuments/bill/17RS/SB107/SCS1.pdf.

SB17 passed the House Education committee today and is expected to be approved by the full House before the end of the session.  To recap, SB17 seeks to ensure that students are permitted to express religious or political viewpoints in their assignments and that First Amendment speech rights are protected on campus.  You can read the full bill here: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/recorddocuments/bill/17RS/SB17/SCS1.pdf

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-3.pdf

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

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 Last Modified 12/7/17