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January 21, 2020 11:11am

KYGA20: Second WEEK WRAP-UP

The second week of the 2020 session of the Kentucky General Assembly came to an end on Friday closing out the ninth legislative day of this long, sixty-day budget session. The tempo of legislative activity picked up last week with the first committee hearings, passage of bills on the floor of the Chambers and, of course, continued bill filings. By week’s end, nearly three hundred House bills had been introduced and nearly one hundred Senate bills had been dropped in the hopper. 

Legislation

Significant legislation getting off to an early start included Rep. Adam Koenig’s HB 137 to legalize, regulate, and tax wagering on sporting events. The sports wagering bill could be voted in the House as early as this week. A Senate priority bill, SB 3 (Sen. McDaniel) was also heard in committee and by week’s end had passed the Senate and has been received in the House.

The Chambers continued their filing of priority legislation for the session. New Senate filings designated as priority bills of interest included:

  • SB 6 – Sen. D. Thayer – SB 6 is a bill to prohibit non-legislative compensation in other state employment positions from being used to calculate benefits in the legislators’ retirement plans, and is in State & Local Government.
  • SB 7 – Sen. J. Schickel — SB 7 would alter the structure and powers of the school-based decision making counsels, giving superintendents ultimate authority to hire principals, and is in Senate State & Local Government.
  • SB 8 – Sen. M. Wise – SB 8 is legislation following the 2019 SB 1 on school safety.  Notably, it would require an armed school resource officer in certain school facilities and is in Senate Education. 

In the House, majority party leaders say their priorities will include public assistance reform and preventing human trafficking, though neither of these bills have been filed to date. One House priority bill has been filed:

  • HB 5  – Rep. D. Meade — HB 5 would adopt the SOLEMN COVENANT OF THE STATES TO AWARD PRIZES FOR CURING DISEASES INTERSTATE CONTACTS.

State of the Commonwealth Address

Gov. Andy Beshear, on Tuesday night, delivered his State of the Commonwealth Address. In speaking before the Republican Supermajorities in each Chamber, the Governor asked for a focus on the needs of Kentuckians, rather than partisan politics.  He declared priorities of this administration to be education funding, including his campaign promise of a $2,000 raise for teachers and ending cuts to higher education, protection of health care, and criminal justice reform. The Governor’s speech was short on details on these priorities and also failed to specify how he would fund them. He will be faced with filling in these devilish details when he makes his budget address to another joint session of the General Assembly on January 28.  

Special Election

Also on Tuesday, a special election was held in Bullitt and southwest Jefferson County to fill the Senate seat left vacant by the retirement of Dan Seum. Republican Mike Nemes defeated a Democrat challenger in the election, holding the seat for the Republican Senate Majority. Nemes, previously served in the House from 2011 to 2013 and also held a position in the Labor Cabinet in the Bevin administration. The election of Mike Nemes is historical in that he joins his son, Rep. Jason Nemes, as a member of the General Assembly. While there have been several instances of parent-child serving in the General Assembly at different times, this may well be the first time that they have served simultaneously. 

House Majority Floor Leader

The House Majority Caucus this week announced that Rep. Steven Rudy will serve temporarily in the capacity of Majority Floor Leader. Rudy will be filling in for Majority Leader Bam Carney who remains hospitalized and seriously ill. House Pro Tem David Meade temporarily acted as Floor Leader during the first two weeks of the session, but will now return to his constitutional duties. Rudy will continue to serve as the Chair of the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee. 

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:

  • January 20 – Legislative Holiday
  • February 21 – Last Day for Bill Requests
  • March 2  – Last Day to File House Bills
  • March 3 – Last Day to File Senate Bills
  • 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