Senate Republicans have nominated Greensburg business owner David Givens to become the second-highest ranking official in the state Senate.
Republicans chose Sen. Givens to replace retiring Sen. Katie Stine as Senate president pro tem during a closed-door meeting on Tuesday. It is the first leadership position for Givens, who lost to Sen. Damon Thayer as majority floor leader two years ago. Givens represents parts of Allen, Barren, Green, Metcalfe, Monroe and Simpson counties.
Republicans also ousted Sen. Brandon Smith as majority whip, replacing him with Sen. Jimmy Higdon of Lebanon. Higdon will resign as chairman of the Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee.
Senate President Robert Stivers was nominated for another term. The Senate president and president pro tem must be voted on by the full Senate. But Republicans will control 26 of the 38 Senate seats, all but ensuring their nominee will win.
Senator David Givens says he understands that some people may get the wrong idea when they hear about legislation he is proposing concerning computer science and foreign language classes.
A bill Givens is sponsoring in the Kentucky General Assembly would allow computer programming courses to count towards a high school student’s foreign language requirements. The measure also ensures that computer programming language courses be accepted as meeting foreign language requirements for admission to public postsecondary institutions.
The Green County Republican insists that he doesn’t have anything against students learning a foreign language. He says his bill is simply a response to an increasing demand in today’s job market.
“We have a shortage of computer programmers in the United States,” the Green County Republican said while sitting in his office at the state capitol in Frankfort. “By the year 2020, the projection is that we will have one-million unfilled computer programming jobs. So the challenge is how do we, in Kentucky, provide opportunities for students and flexibility for schools to be able to take advantage of that, of those job opportunities.”
A bill that would allow computer programming courses to count toward foreign language requirements in Kentucky schools has passed out of a Senate committee.
Republican Sen. David Givens of Greensburg sponsored the measure and told the committee it's needed to prepare Kentucky’s students for a modern economy.
“Part of the challenge goes to the fact that less than 2.4 percent of college students graduate with a degree in computer science, and the numbers continue to decline as the job opportunities increase."
Givens also says his bill would help close a knowledge gap for women and minorities, groups he says are under-represented in the fields of computer science.
A state senator who represents parts of south-central Kentucky isn't betting on major changes to the state's tax code this upcoming legislative session. Overhauling what's been described as an antiquated tax system is at, or near, the top of many lawmakers' agendas.
Sen. David Givens, who represents Allen, Barren, Edmonson, Green, Metcalfe, and Simpson counties, says while there's a lot of talk in the air about streamlining Kentucky's tax code, he doubts anything will pass during the 2013 General Assembly.
"From what I gather, I don't think the tax reform issue is far enough down the road that we can make those sorts of changes in the session ahead, with it being a short session," the Greensburg Republican told WKU Public Radio.
After more than a decade under the same leader, Senate Republicans are poised to choose their chamber's next president Tuesday in Frankfort. But regardless of the outcome, insiders are predicting the GOP majority will maintain an aversion to gambling, the very issue that many believe triggered a change in leadership.