Sen. Westerfield (R, Hopkinsville) speaks at the ceremonial SB200 bill signing at the Christian County Day Treatment center in Hopkinsville (formerly CCMS) on August 28, 2014.

After a two year task force process, and an arduous legislative session filled with thousands of hours of writing, studying, debating and re-writing (rinse and repeat), Senate Bill 200 was finally passed by the General Assembly, and signed into law by the Governor.  SB200 is easily my biggest accomplishment to date, and my bill (as well as the task force process that led to it) has already become a model used by states across the country, the most recent of which are West Virginia and South Dakota.  Best of all, the bill has already brought agencies together to collaborate in an unprecedented way.  The trajectory of the lives of Kentucky's children and their families have already begun to change, and it will only get better.

Gov. Steve Beshear prepares to ceremonially sign Senate Bill 200, sponsored by Sen. Westerfield (R, Hopkinsville - 4th from the right) on August 28, 2014.

A critical part of SB200 sets up a temporary group called the Oversight Council (the group dissolves after 8 years so as to avoid creating another permanent governmental bureaucracy).  The Oversight Council is made up of various agency heads and stakeholder representatives, is co-chaired by the Senate and Judiciary Chairs (as non-voting members), and has two objectives:  (1) discuss each agency's SB200 implementation efforts, including a discussion of problem areas to make recommendations for administrative or legislation action to keep the reforms of SB200 on track, and (2) study and debate a handful of policy issues that SB200 did not include, but that we believed warranted further discussion and possible legislative action down the road.

The first meeting of the Oversight Council took place today (September 4, 2014) and uncovered a couple of trouble spots that agencies can begin to work on immediately.  The collaboration amongst agencies is just refreshing - this is the way government is supposed to work, cooperation, communication and openness.  The meeting was a refreshing break from politics, easily one of the more productive meetings I've had on the job.  I hope this keeps up!

Recently, I had a chance to give an interview with Nick Storm at cn|2 Pure Politics about SB200 and the work agencies have already begun.  Read about it here, and watch cn|2 clip of the interview below.

You can download either a two-page summary of the bill or the legislation in its entirety by heading over to this page.