Beyond the massive challenge of passing a new state budget and public pension reform, state House Majority Floor Leader Jonathan Shell hopes lawmakers will also address issues impacting youth and older Kentuckians. The Lancaster Republican spoke with KET’s Renee Shaw about several of his legislative priorities for the 2018 General Assembly session.
Shell is a cosponsor of House Bill 1, which will overhaul the state’s foster care and adoption system. He says it focuses on termination of parental rights, creating a child welfare advisory committee, giving foster parents more of a voice in the foster care system, and addressing the caseloads faced by social workers.
“What we want to make sure is that if there’s a child in Kentucky that needs to be in a loving home, that we have the easiest, most affordable path for them to be able to get there,” says Shell, who is an adoptive parent.
The leader is also backing a measure to modernize the power of attorney process so that older Kentuckians have more control over their personal medical and financial matters. Shell says statutes relating to power of attorney haven’t been updated since the 1940s.
A third priority for the Republican is an essential skills bill, which will formalize classroom training of the practical life skills that students will need to be successful in the workplace. He says this instruction will occur from kindergarten through 12th grade.
“We want employability out of our students and this bill seeks to do that,” Shell says.
The interview recorded on Jan. 30 also covers pension reform, education funding, and the opioid crisis.