Commonwealth Bill #9 Bulldozes Through Both Chambers

A Recap of the 2023 KYA Convention
Commonwealth Bill #9 Bulldozes Through Both Chambers

On Nov. 19, 30 of Central Hardin’s Y-Club members, sponsored by freshman history teachers Katherine Graybeal and Tyler Vessels, traveled to Louisville for the 2023 KYA convention. The following day, they loaded the buses and headed for the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort.

KYA is an immersive introduction to the United States government for middle and high school students that offers an opportunity to act as a delegate. On day one, delegates propose bills in a smaller delegation room to get an overall ranking. Around 30 of the 70 total bills will then advance to be presented to the house and senate at the Capitol on day two. Delegates can also run as candidates in the KYA election.

Juniors Taylor Brackett, Addilyn Johnson, Clark VanZant, and Harper Warrell proposed and passed Commonwealth Bill #9, which promoted the idea of using KEES money for dual credit, AP, and college courses taken in high school. Johnson was attributed with developing this bill after a brainstorming session last winter.

“The bill idea all came about when we were sitting in Culvers on the way back from KYA last year, when we were discussing bills we should do next year. Clark jokingly said we should do it, but then we all actually considered and agreed to it,” Warrell said. “Addi was the one who then went on to write the bill that goes into the ‘bill book.’”

Due to the early onset of their bill, the group had plenty of time to develop it and get all questions answered. Their research began through meetings with a KEES money representative and Kentucky State Senator Matt Deneen. Their hard work showed when Commonwealth Bill #9 got through day one with flying colors.

“We actually did not find out we ranked high enough until I woke up at 2:30 a.m. because my roommate took all the blankets,” Warrell said.

Courtesy of Harper Warrell

“Afterwards I realized that I was nervous for no reason, we had prepared ourselves well and it paid off,” Brackett added.

After presenting to the capitol on day two, their bill was named as 1 of the 17 that made it through both chambers. The legislation would then slide across the governor’s desk to be signed into law or vetoed.

Unfortunately, that is where their peak summited. 

“We then went back to the hotel that night and learned that he [the governor] vetoed our bill because of policy preference,” VanZant said.

Ultimately, this was a huge learning opportunity for all who attended, and will go down in history for Central Hardin’s Y-Club. Passing through both chambers is a rare occurrence. 

A common theme our four delegates took away from the experience was their newfound passion for networking.

“I think the fact that we made so many friends also helped us when it came time for voting. After proposing our bill and waiting on the governor’s decision, the entire conference spent time together doing shout outs, dancing, and singing during mandatory fun time,” Johnson said. 

“My favorite memory from KYA would be the mandatory fun. We attended a silent disco and a talent show where we were able to socialize with people from other schools and make friends,” Brackett said. 

Additionally, Johnson, VanZant, and Warrell all see a future in the government realm.

Johnson and Vanzant share a similar interest in political science. 

“Helping those in other countries has always been an interest of mine so I think working in international affairs is for sure in my future,” Johnson said.

“I want to be a political science professor when I grow up,” VanZant said.

Warrell, on the other hand, could be our future mayor of Elizabethtown.

“I love my hometown, see changes I think should be made, and all around I just have a love for politics and government,” she said. “ I also plan on continuing to come back and volunteer at ‘The Y’ after graduation to give back to this association that I love so much.”

The Central Times applauds these young advocates, as well as their sponsors, for their dedication and commitment to bettering our local communities, as well as using their voice for good. Contact Graybeal (room 419) or Vessels (room 421) if you want more information on joining Y-Club.

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