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March 9, 2020 2:49pm

KYGA20: Ninth Week Wrap-Up

The Kentucky General Assembly adjourned on Friday with 18 legislative days left in the sixty-day 2020 session. The deadline for filing bills passed last week with House members having filed 647 bills and with 286 bills having been introduced in the Senate.

Houses Passes Budget

The focus of the week was the executive branch budget. On Thursday, the House Appropriations and Revenue committee met and unveiled its version of the biennial spending plan,HB 352, which was reported to the full House. On Friday, the House passed the bill 86-10 and sent it to the Senate.

The House version of the $23.4 Billion spending plan:

  • Fully funds the public employees’ pension plans
  • Gives a 1% salary increase for certified and classified school district staff
  • Provides a small increase for higher education under the performance funding formula
  • Takes first steps in school safety funding under 2019 SB 1
  • Appropriates Volkswagen Settlement funds to school districts and transit agencies
  • Does not anticipate new sources of tax revenue, with the exception of new tobacco tax revenue included in HB 69
  • Does not contain across the board cuts to state agencies

Passing along side the budget this week was the annual “revenue” bill, HB 351, that accompanies the budget. The bill does contain some technical tax corrections that we encourage you to review.

Consideration of the Transportation Cabinet and Road Fund budgets did not occur last week, but we expect that to occur once issues can be worked out over the transfer of the Real ID program to the Transportation Cabinet.

Other Legislative Activity

While the budget was the primary focus last week, other issues were also considered, with some prompting partisan divides.

On Friday, the House took up HB 475, a proposed amendment to Section 181 of the state Constitution to give local governments more flexibility in levying taxes and raising new revenue. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Meredith, Speaker Osborne and more than fifty others. Leading up to Friday’s floor vote, the bill had been favorably reported by the House Elections committee with unanimous bipartisan support. However, House Democrats, including several who were co-sponsors, pulled their support of the bill, over frustrations that they had little input into the budget and legislative activity in general. After long and acrimonious debate, HB 475 received only 49 yes votes, well short of the 60 votes needed for adoption of the proposed Constitutional amendment.

SB 2, Sen. R. Mills’ voter ID bill passed the House on a party line vote last week after a lengthy floor debate.

Senate President Robert Stivers’ SB 10 which would remove the Governor’s power to reorganize the State Board of Education and establish proportional representation of major political parties, racial minority representation and gender was heard in the Senate Education Committee and favorably reported to the full Senate.

Senate Health & Welfare heard and favorably reported SB 173, sponsored by Senator Matt Castlen. SB 173 would direct CHFS to develop educational resources for businesses that voluntarily put in place employer-facilitated treatment programs for employees with substance use disorders. The bill is supported by Greater Louisville Inc.,the KY Association of Manufacturers, the KY Chamber of Commerce, and others.

HB 580, sponsored by Rep. Santoro, was introduced on the final day for House bills and raises additional revenue for Kentucky’s transportation infrastructure system. The bill generates a total of $483 Million in new revenue per year and is supported by a large coalition of local governments, businesses, manufacturers, and transportation interests. The Coalition will hold a rally in support of the bill on Tuesday.

Legislative Calendar 

The Legislative Calendar for the session is available online, but here are a few dates to keep in mind under the current calendar:

  • March 31 & April 1 – Concurrence Days
  • April 2 to 13 – Veto Recess
  • April 14 & 15 – Two Final Legislative Days with Sine Die Adjournment scheduled for April 15