Kentucky Governor Martin Beshear signed 14 new bills into law this week, including one that gives students in the state excused absences from school for mental health reasons, one that prevents anyone convicted of sex crimes from becoming a peace officer, and one that attempts to attract healthcare workers to the state.
House Bill 44 allows school districts in the state to offer excused absences for mental or behavioral health reasons. The bill aims to help lift the stigma of mental health issues and offer students a way to handle a mental health issue without having to discuss it outwardly.
Under the provisions of the bill, a parent or guardian would still need to call in the absence, but does not increase the number of excused absences students get per year.
“With students who have been impacted during COVID-19 as we have seen mental health come to the forefront, especially in our students as they struggle in school and to recover from the pandemic,” Sen. Morgan McGarvey (D-Louisville) said. “So I think this is a good bill. A good example of how people can work together.”
Among the bills signed by Beshear this week, House Bill 573 sets up a recruitment and retention program to attract more healthcare workers to underserved areas. State healthcare facilities are facing a major staffing shortage and HB 573 offers financial incentives for healthcare workers to serve in certain areas of the state.
Another bill prohibits any individual who has been convicted of a sex crime from becoming a peace officer, and requires immediate dismissal of any peace officer who is convicted of such a crime while serving.
Governor Beshear says the series of bills are “helping us build a better Kentucky.”
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: HERALD-DISPATCH.COM