FRANKFORT -- The Kentucky Senate voted unanimous approval this week of a bill requiring all high school juniors to take the ACT exam, one of two major college entrance exams. The ACT has several major advantages, including a quick return of test scores and the ability to compare scores with students in neighboring states. Senate Bill 130, sponsored by Sen. Dan Kelly, R-Springfield, would also mandate the WorkKeys test for students who do not plan to attend college. WorkKeys is an assessment conducted by ACT that evaluates students' readiness for the 21st Century workforce. The bill now moves to the House.
The week wrapped up with House passage of a Senate bill that would give Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners authority to write prescriptions for controlled drugs like Oxycontin and morphine. ARNP's already have the authority to prescribe non-controlled substances like antibiotics under a 1996 state law. Senate Bill 65, would allow ARNPs who enter into agreements with physicians to write limited 72-hour prescriptions for Schedule II painkillers, or longer periods for less-potent drugs like Valium. Kentucky would join 46 other states in giving ARNPs this authority. Supporters say the legislation should prove especially helpful in rural areas where physicians are few. After lengthy debate, the bill passed the House, 77-17.
Many ARNP's practicing in East Kentucky were trained in a University of Kentucky program which is hosted by Morehead State University.
Two important education measures received unanimous support in the Senate this week. SB 115 authorizes a three-year pilot program for civics education and literacy in 10 Kentucky high schools. Students who don't attend one of the 10 participating schools can take part online through the Kentucky Virtual High School. Improving students' math knowledge is the aim of a bill passed by the House Education Committee to establish end-of-year exams in some high school math subjects. HB 197 would create a pilot program for administering year-end exams in algebra, algebra II and geometry by the 2007-08 school year. The measure now goes to the House floor for a vote.