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Teacher liability insurance funding bill advances

Rep. David Meade, R-Stanford

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky public school teachers would have employment liability coverage offered by the state under a bill that passed the House budget committee Tuesday.

The Educators Employment Liability Insurance Program that would be created by House Bill 508 would provide up to $2 million in liability coverage for each certified public school employee in the state as of this July, House Speaker Pro Tempore David Meade told the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee. Meade, R-Stanford, is jointly sponsoring the bill with House Speaker David Osborne, R-Prospect.

“We have traveled the state the past year speaking to various groups. As we spoke to educators across the state, the two things that kept coming up the most were out-of-pocket expenses for classroom materials and out-of-pocket expenses for liability insurance,” Meade told the committee. “The one that came out (to be) the easiest to do this session was the liability insurance part.”

HB 508 would appropriate $7 million in funding from the state Budget Reserve Trust Fund for the program over the next fiscal year, per the bill. Future funding could come from the state General Fund, gifts and grants from public and private sources, and federal funds.

“That is simply what it does – it provides liability insurance for all educators across the state,” said Meade.

Rep. Kelly Flood, D-Lexington, asked why the legislation is being introduced this session instead of during the 2020 Regular Session when the General Assembly will consider the next two-year state budget.

The answer, according to Meade, is to “give those teachers some peace of mind.”

While there are other sources of liability insurance for teachers — including the Kentucky Education Association, homeowner insurance policies, among other sources, said Meade — the state fund will, he said, fix a gap in coverage.

“It’s kind of like anything else,” the Speaker Pro Tem said. “None of us likes to pay for insurance, but we’re glad we have it. It’s just to give (teachers) peace of mind.”

HB 508 now goes to the full House for its consideration.