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February 24, 2020 10:59am


This long, sixty-day budget session of the Kentucky General Assembly passed its midpoint last week and adjourned on Friday with twenty-eight 28 legislative days remaining in the session. As the days dwindle down, activity has increased with the legislative process getting into full swing and many major pieces of legislation moving in the process. 

  • HB 1, the House’s top priority to revise public assistance programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, and TANF was passed by a party line vote in the House Health and Family Services on Thursday and went to the House floor on Friday where fifteen floor amendments had been filed. After more than two hours of debate and the adoption of some friendly floor amendments, House Bill was adopted, with a vote of 58-31. The provision of most interest to the business and health care communities was related to an employer mandate to provide group health insurance. That provision was removed during committee consideration.
  • SB 2, Sen. R. Mills’ voter ID bill was favorably reported from the House Committee on Elections and now heads to the full House where 18 floor amendments have been filed.
  • SB 4 that would create a board to oversee development of the road plan and remove sole authority of the Governor to hire and/or fire the Transportation Cabinet Secretary. passed the Senate on a party-line vote after lengthy debate. The administration remains opposed to this bill.
  • HB 136, Rep. J. Nemes’ bill to legalize medical marijuana passed the House this week, marking the first time that medical marijuana legalization legislation has passed either chamber of the Kentucky legislature. The bill was the subject of a lengthy debate in the House concerning the underling bill and some seventeen floor amendments. HB 136 passed with the addition of eight floor amendments that range from removing certain doctors who can prescribe to prohibitions on use in vaping devices. The bill eventually passed 65-30 and now heads to the Senate where its odds of passing are not guaranteed.
  • SB 50, probably the most high profile healthcare bill this session, that originally carved out Medicaid pharmacy benefits for administration by the Department of Medicaid Services was recommitted to the Senate Health and Welfare Committee for a special meeting on Thursday. The committee adopted a committee substitute that provides for DMS to contract with a single pharmacy benefit management organization to administer Medicaid pharmacy through managed care. The amended version of SB 50 was adopted by the Senate on a unanimous vote and now heads to the House. 
  • SB 15, the Marsy’s Law proposed constitutional amendment on crime victims’ rights passed from committee and is in the Senate Orders for the coming week. This measure previously passed the General Assembly and was adopted by the voters in the 2018 general election, but was struck down by the Kentucky Supreme Court.
  • SB 58, Sen. McDaniel’s proposal to amend the state constitution to limit the Governor’s ability to grant pardons or commute sentences beginning 30 days prior to a gubernatorial election and ending at that gubernatorial inauguration passed from committee and is in the Senate Orders for this week.
  • SB 62 to restore voting rights to persons convicted of a felony other than a sex offense, a violent offense, or an offense against a child, five years after completion of sentence passed from committee and is in the Senate Orders for this week
  • HB 470 – Rep. Rothenburger introduced legislation allowing all Kentucky cities the ability to levy a restaurant tax. The bill allows that Louisville Metro can but does not have to provide 25% of the funds to the LCVB. There are some cities that currently levy a restaurant tax and current law requires that a portion of the funds go to local tourism conventions. The legislation sets forth how the additional funds can be used.
  • HB 475 – Rep. Michael Meredith introduced the constitutional amendment setting the framework to allow local governments to increase revenue.The House does not intend to introduce the “enabling legislation” this session which is needed to provide for the details of how the process would work. The strategy is to pass the constitutional amendment language (this bill) first. If HB 475 is passed, it will go on the ballot in November for voters to decide whether they support the ability for local government to raise revenue.

Budget Update

The House continues to work through their review process of the administration’s proposed budget documents and road plan. Executive branch agencies and others continue to present to the various House Budget Review Subcommittees. It is expected that the House will unveil and act on their changes sometime around the first of March.

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 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