The Richmond Register

January 12, 2013

Smart to head House subcommittee, serve on five other panels

By Bill Robinson
Register Editor

RICHMOND — As her second two-year term as a legislator begins, Rep. Rita Smart, D-Richmond, has been appointed chair of the House of Representatives’ Education Assessment and Accountability Review Subcommittee.

The committee reviews administrative regulations and advises the Kentucky Board of Education on implementing the state system of assessment and accountability, Smart said. It also provides oversight and direction to the Office of Education Accountability.

In addition to heading a subcommittee, Smart also with serve on another subcommittee and four other committees.

They include: the Budget Review Subcommittee on Post-secondary Education; the Agriculture and Small Business; Education; Local Government; and Veterans, Military Affairs and Safety committees.

“It’s going to be a busy schedule,” Smart said, “but I am looking forward to my new chairmanship and serving on important committees that impact so many Kentuckians, including those in my district.”

Smart said she was pleased that a bipartisan spirit has prevailed early in the General Assembly’s off-year “short session” with the announcement of “an innovative financing proposal to allow our public universities to invest in their schools.”

Gov. Steve Beshear, with the support of leaders in the Republican-controlled Senate and the Democratic-controlled House, joined university presidents in announcing the issuance of bonds by the state’s public universities for campus improvements to be paid with the schools money.

No money from the state’s general fund will be used for 11 university projects, Smart noted.

The cost of the projects, which range from classroom, dormitory and academic building construction and upgrades to new student centers and sprinkler-system improvements, is $393 million. However, Smart said the projects’ economic impact is calculated at $623 million, Smart said, more than 5,100 construction jobs are expected to be created by the projects

Dormitory, dining-hall and athletic revenue, as well as private donations will finance the projects, she said.

Before legislators wrapped up their first week back in Frankfort, they heard reports from committees that met during the interim on issues that will be on the session’s agenda, Smart said. Those include: tax reform, state pension system, redistricting, special taxing districts and Medicaid.

“The fate of expanded gaming may be part of the 2013 legislative discussion as well,” Smart said.

“I am hopeful that we will put our differences aside and reach consensus on these issues that are of great importance to Kentuckians,” she said.

Constituents can keep informed of legislative action on bills of interest to you by logging onto the legislative Research Commission website at www.lrc.ky.gov or by calling the LRC’s toll-free Bill Status Line at 866-840-2835.

To find out when a committee meeting is scheduled, call the

LRC’s toll-free Meeting Information Line at 800-633-9650.