During a first-of-its-kind legislative session in 2021, the Governor and the Kentucky General Assembly were tasked with crafting a continuation budget, addressing the systemic injustices that impact our children and families of color, advancing policies to address the COVID-19 pandemic, and other policy priorities that would be good for the communities they represent and the Commonwealth.
After the final gavel last week, KOHC is reflecting on the policy and budget priorities that were successful during the 2021 General Assembly. We saw several priorities make it through the legislative process or be included in the final budget that should be celebrated:
- Sustained funding for:
- Increased funding for:
- SB 36 which allocates funding from the American Rescue Plan to the Drinking Water and Wastewater Grant Program to ensure Kentucky has clean drinking water and modernized infrastructure in place.
- HB 140 which allows for permanent regulations around telehealth services and requires reimbursement rates to be the same for telehealth services as in-person services.
- SB 10 which establishes the Commission on Race and Access to Opportunity, which is tasked with providing research driven policy proposals and required to publish an annual report.
- Successfully advocated against House and Senate bills aimed to reduce community water fluoridation across the state.
A missed opportunity this legislative session includes allowing city and county governments the option to regulate the use, display, sale, and distribution of tobacco products – including e-cigarettes – to curb tobacco use among youth. Research has shown that tobacco use, including e-cigarettes, can have a negative impact on the user’s oral and overall health. Tobacco control efforts, especially among youth, continues to be a priority for KOHC.
KOHC would like to thank the legislative champions, the advocates, and organizations who made these legislative wins possible. Your efforts were critical during this legislative session.
Although the 2021 legislative session has come to a close, KOHC is excited to begin developing our priorities for 2022. We look forward to working with our members and oral health stakeholders to craft the KOHC 2022 policy and budget agenda in the coming months as it will be more important than ever for advocates and leaders to continue to address the ongoing ripple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, tackle the systemic injustices that impact our Black and Brown communities, and ensures every Kentuckian achieves optimal oral health.