March 27, 2020 8:52am
KYGA20: Twelfth Week Wrap-Up
The General Assembly reconvened yesterday for the 50th legislative day of the 2020 Session and for the first time since recessing last Thursday under an amended calendar brought about by the COVID-19 crisis. When the legislature adjourned last night they did so until next Wednesday, April 1.
The purpose of yesterday’s legislative action was primarily focused around providing the Governor statutory flexibility and certainty to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. That came in the form of SB 150, a bill originally dealing with out of network health insurance billings, but the House removed those provisions on March 19 and replaced them with the COVID-19 statutory relief. The Senate and the Governor had some additional ideas for statutory flexibility so the bill was pushed into a conference committee to make those changes. Read more about this important legislation.
There were other bills considered either in a handful of special called committee meetings or on the floors of the chambers as concurrences or conference committee reports. Of note was final passage of: HB 2 (Human Trafficking), HB 415 (Direct shipping of alcohol), HB 150 (law restatements), and HB 484 (public employee pension reorganization). Other legislative activity was aimed at preparing bills for action when the General Assembly returns next Wednesday.
Next Wednesday will be a long day of legislative activity with the primary focus being passage of the budget bills including the Executive Branch Budget and the Transportation Budget. In addition, the legislature is expected to finalize action on a handful of bills they want to see passed this session that primarily are non-controversial. Just a reminder that bills will need to be passed by midnight on April 1 in order to preserve the legislature’s ability to override any gubernatorial veto before constitutionally mandated adjournment on April 15.
The Budget Conference Committee made up of House and Senate Leadership and the two A&R Chairs will continue its work to finalize the budgets for action next Wednesday. The Conference Committee agreed this week to base the budget on the “pessimistic” estimates provided by the Consensus Forecast Group. This change means that they will have $115 Million less in FY 21 and $174 Million less in FY 22 than previously anticipated. The House and Senate agreed to remove teacher and state employee raises and increases in SEEK and higher education. Additional cuts and/or changes will be needed to budget to the revised revenue estimates and therefore we expect the final budget bill to look much different than what was previously passed in either chamber.