Kentucky General Assembly session starts January 3rd

Rob Weber

Based on discussions this year in legislative committee meetings, possible issues lawmakers will take up in 2023 that might interest the science community include a measure that would end the state mandate for public water districts to fluoridate their local water supply. Adding fluoride to drinking water is known to promote oral health and has been called on of the 10 great public health achievements by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Opponents, however, say Kentucky’s mandate is government overreach and an unfunded mandate on local water systems. The proposal to end the mandate is opposed by the Kentucky Dental Association.

Lawmakers are also likely to consider the “Science of Reading,” an approach to literacy intervention that adheres to research on how brains most effectively learn to read. One of the most noticeable characteristics of this approach is an emphasis on phonics. Kentucky, however, has largely used a different approach – known as “balanced” literacy – that came under scrutiny in a series of newspaper articles after the state’s fourth-grade reading performance fell below the national average. That prompted lawmakers take a closer look at the issue and resulted in a vote to cut the state’s contract with the Collaborative Center for Literacy Development. That could set the stage for a fresh approach for literacy intervention in Kentucky, though a clear picture of what’s to come is still being formed.

During the first week of the 2023 session, lawmakers will focus on organizational matters, such as electing leaders and making committee assignments. Bills can also start moving through the process at this time. After the first week of work, they will take a recess until early February. The final day of the session is scheduled for March 30.
KAS Newsletter - December 2022

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