Rep. Al Gentry leads a bipartisan group of legislators on behalf of Kentuckians with disabilities

Frankfort, KY — A bipartisan group of legislators committed to helping Kentuckians with disabilities came together in the Kentucky House chamber today to announce that they were forming the “Engage & Empower Caucus.”  It will be co-chaired by state Rep. Al Gentry, a Louisville Democrat, and Rep. Brandon Reed, a Hodgenville Republican.

“I’m proud to work with Rep. Brandon Reed and our fellow caucus members who feel as strongly as we do and are just as committed to this cause,” Rep. Gentry said.  “We want this group to serve as a direct link between advocacy groups and our fellow legislators.  Our goal is to help make Kentucky a more accessible place in a variety of ways and to support programs that provide pathways for personal achievement and self-sustainability.  We’ve already filed several bills that move us further in that direction.” 

“The challenges that people with disabilities face are not defined by political party or any urban/rural divide, and those issues have no impact, either, on the Engage & Empower Caucus,” Rep. Reed said.  “We may come from different parties and different parts of the state, but we all want to do what we can to bring the private and public sectors together in a way that truly benefits everyone.  We’ve seen the success of this bipartisan work in our adoption and foster care policies and in making our schools safer; this caucus is built on that very same model.”

Both Reps. Gentry and Reed said they came together to form this caucus because they understand the challenges facing those with disabilities.  Rep. Gentry lost an arm due to a workplace accident, while Rep. Reed has cerebral palsy.

During the media event, the caucus highlighted about a half-dozen bills they’ve either filed this legislative session or soon will.

That legislation includes HB 8, which is focused on dyslexia education; HB 150, a Golden Alert system for those with defined impairments; HB 180, which creates a similar Green Alert for veterans at-risk; HB 226, which establishes a farmer-focused mental health program; HB 228, which increases the homestead exemption for disabled veterans; and SB 20, which would establish treatment and restraint rules for children with developmental disabilities.

Other bills to be filed would focus on insurance fairness for amputees and tax credits for those who modify their homes to make them more accessible.

In addition to Representatives Gentry and Reed, other inaugural caucus members include:

Representative Rocky Adkins

Representative Tina Bojanowski

Representative Charles Booker

Representative Bam Carney

Representative Deanna Frazier

Representative Kathy Hinkle

Representative Michael Meredith

Representative Savannah Maddox

Representative Melinda Gibbons Prunty

Representative Rick Rand

Representative Nancy Tate

Representative Lisa Willner

Senator Julie Raque Adams

Senator Jimmy Higdon

Senator Morgan McGarvey

Senator Johnny Ray Turner

Week One Legislative Update from Representative Al Gentry

“Never a Dull Moment in Frankfort” The opening week of odd-year legislative sessions is traditionally dominated by organizational matters such as electing leaders, establishing committees and formally submitting the first round of bills. Although 2017 was a stark departure from that tradition, this year’s opening week reverted back to a more traditional fashion, with one…

Advocacy Works – One Way or Another By John Lynch When State Representative Al Gentry, a Democrat from Louisville, lost his right arm in a devastating workplace accident 25 years ago, one thought gave him hope – golf. “I feel like golf saved my life,” Gentry said when reflecting on the accident that cost him his…

Join Representative Al Gentry for canvassing and erecting campaign signs in October. Our canvass event will be followed by pizza and beverages.  

By Representative Al Gentry – At the end of the 2018 legislative session, two bills were rushed through in one day.  One was the much-publicized pension bill (SB151) that was recently ruled unconstitutional.  The other was a tax bill, which passed as HB366, was vetoed by Gov. Bevin, overridden to become law, then quietly replaced on…

FRANKFORT – In ways large and small, illegal drug use touches all of us.  It steals the future of those addicted, it tears at the lives of their loved ones, it fills our prisons beyond capacity, it strains local and state government budgets, it overwhelms first responders and substance-abuse treatment programs and it keeps businesses from…

Rep. Al Gentry Co-Sponsors Medical Marijuana Legislation

Last week in Frankfort, Representative Al Gentry along with Representative John Sims, filed patient-driven legislation that, if passed into law, would legalize the cultivation, processing, production, distribution, and administration of a tightly-regulated Medical Cannabis Program in Kentucky.  This bill was created and drafted after exhaustive research of the Cannabis Programs in 29 other states, and as…