Governor Signs KLC Peer Counseling Initiative

Governor Andy Beshear signed into law Senate Bill 64 on Thursday. Senator Mike Wilson (R-Bowling Green) sponsored the KLC initiative that provides confidentiality protections for local first responder peer counseling groups. Senators also advanced two other KLC initiatives; one heads to the House for concurrence, and the other moves to the Senate floor.

Bowling Green city officials attempted to create a peer counseling program, but they learned that not all police officers, emergency medical services (EMS) employees, and telecommunicators had confidentiality protections under state law. Wilson filed Senate Bill 64 to address this shortcoming.

“I can personally attest that for the last two years, this workforce has faced some of the most difficult situations that most of us cannot even imagine, from responding to deadly storms in western Kentucky, reporting to work every day while the rest of us stayed home to protect ourselves from a national pandemic, to helping rescue Kentuckians from severe snow, ice, and rainstorms,” said Beshear.

Senate Bill 64 creates the Task Force for Public Safety Peer Support Best Practices to develop recommendations. The Kentucky League of Cities will have a representative on the 12-person task force.

The Senate approved on Thursday the KLC initiative that will help cities replace lost and damaged documents. House Bill 351 addresses a need for local officials who may discover that documents needed for important funding and other reasons have been lost, damaged, or destroyed.

Representative Deanna Frazier Gordon (R-Richmond) sponsored the measure that passed following a unanimous vote of the Senate State and Local Government Committee last week. After a minor change in committee, it now heads for concurrence in the House of Representatives.

The Senate State and Local Government Committee approved House Bill 565 on Thursday morning. KLC Public Affairs Director Bryanna L. Carroll and police chiefs testified alongside bill sponsor Representative Kim Moser (R-Taylor Mill). The KLC initiative requires the Department of Criminal Justice Training (DOCJT) to promulgate administrative regulations to offer some classes online. The instruction would not include courses that require a demonstration of skill, such as shooting, driving, and physical agility.

Offering some courses online could make it easier for officers to obtain in-service continuing education credits. Additionally, the option could ease the backlog for recruit training.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where they could vote on the measure next week.