Monday, March 19, 2007

You know what needs to be done, you just don't want to pay for it

More social-worker hires ok'd
Compromise sought on safety
Vos, Sarah, Lexington Herald-Leader, March 13, 2007, pg. C2.

FRANKFORT - Legislators struggled to work out a compromise last night on a bill to improve social worker safety.

The Senate and House, however, had agreed to hire 60 social workers, said Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville.
The main sticking point between the two bodies was whether to appoint a legislative task force or create a safety study group led by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

A compromise proposed yesterday morning would have given the Cabinet for Health and Family Services close to $6 million to hire 60 social workers and address safety issues in regional offices and technology needs for social workers, Williams said.

But the task force, which was in the original House bill, remained an issue. Rep. Tom Burch, D-Louisville, who crafted the original bill, said the blue ribbon task force was key to improving social worker safety. It would allow the legislature to address systemic problems in the cabinet.

"How do you correct a problem in a cabinet unless you got new eyes looking inside it?" Burch said.

Williams argued that the task force should be more narrowly focused on safety and that creating a legislative committee would be pointless.

"We don't need legislators grandstanding on this issue,"
Williams said.

The Senate and House have approved different versions of the bill, and both bodies assigned conference committees yesterday morning to work out differences. The groups had not met by press time last night.

There is still time for the the committees to meet before the legislature returns for the final two days of the session, Burch said.


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