The 2014 Regular Session has begun, and I have filed a couple of the more important pieces of legislation I'm focused on. As I've been writing and talking about for several months, juvenile code reform is at/near the top of the list but that bill is rather large and is still undergoing edits with stakeholder input. It will come later this month. For now, I'm focused on these: Senate Bill 8 (SB8), one of the Senate Majority's "Top 10" legislative priorities, does two things: (1) requires a pre-operative ultrasound (this is done by some physicians already), and (2) allows a woman seeking the abortion to view the ultrasound image if she wishes, prior to giving informed consent for the procedure.

Senate Bill 46 (SB46) makes common sense changes to the public assistance programs in Kentucky in an effort to crack down on the fraud and abuse that everyone agrees goes on. This is an area where we can be better stewards of tax dollars, and prevent precious resources intended for those in need from being used by those who are not in need.

Senate Bill 47 (SB47) makes a simple adjustment to sentence passed in a measure during the 2013 Regular Session. Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) occurs in children who are born drug-dependent due to drug/alcohol abuse by their mothers during pregnancy. Kentucky, prior to last year, was able to publicly report statistics on the exploding number of babies diagnosed with NAS. However, a simple, small paragraph tucked away in a bill passed near the end of the 2013 Regular Session prohibited that information from being made public. I believe it's important that we know how bad the problem is, to bring awareness to NAS, and to further demonstrate the dangers of substance abuse, particularly when pregnant. SB47, all of half a page long, requires that data be reported.

Senate Bill 57 (SB57) is of particular significance because, as far as I know, it hasn't been filed in the Kentucky Senate before. I believe life begins as conception, so I further believe that all abortion should be banned. A step in that direction, and based on new medical evidence supporting its claims, SB57 bans all abortion after 20 weeks because the unborn child is capable of feeling pain. The procedures for abortion are horrific - like something lifted from a modern day horror movie - and no one would question the procedures would constitute murder under any other circumstance. As life begins at conception it hardly surprises me to learn that these children can feel the pain of drowning, suffocating or being dismembered. Some evidence suggests children at 8 weeks react to painful stimuli. No one can defend performing these procedures on life who can feel them but is cruelly unable to speak up for themselves.

Also filed today, but not as critical to me as protecting the unborn, is Senate Bill 45 (SB45) which expands the current electronic arrest warrants program in use throughout the Commonwealth to include search warrants. As a former felony prosecutor, I prepared a number of arrest warrants using the e-warrant system and found it improved the efficiency of the justice system. Including search warrants in the system would accomplish more of the same with cost and time savings. The bill does not change the constitutional standard for obtaining a search warrant - a judge still must read it and find sufficient cause to issue the warrant. Without sufficient cause supported by the sworn affidavit, the warrant, electronic or written, fails, as it should.