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January 28, 2020 3:03pm

KYGA20: Third Week Wrap-up

The 2020 session of the Kentucky General Assembly came to the end of its third week on Friday, completing the 13th day of this long sixty-day, budget session. While bill introductions were steady and bills moved in the process, legislative activity seemed unusually slow given the passing of the filing deadline for legislative candidacy on January 10. 

Budget Address

The slow pace so far may be due to legislators awaiting the budget address and revenue projections.  If so, the pace will pick up next week following the January 28 budget speech by Gov. Beshear. The outgoing Bevin administration issued dire warnings of a budget deficit in excess of $1 billion. In public statements the Beshear administration has said that the revenue shortfall is not so severe, though the Consensus Forecasting Group projects revenue as weak over the coming biennium. Regardless, on Tuesday night Gov. Beshear will stand before the Joint Session of the General Assembly to deliver his budget, projected revenue and any revenue raising proposals, and priorities for spending over the next two years. The address will be followed by the formal introduction of the budget and the beginning of the legislative review and modification of the Governor’s proposal. We have prepared an overview of the budget process that will dominate a good deal of the remainder of the session and can be viewed HERE.

Legislative Activity

There was movement of Senate priority bills during the week. SB 2, the voter photo identification bill, and SB 5, the Special Purpose Governmental Entity bill both passed the Senate on January 23, largely on party line votes. The school safety bill SB 8, was heard and favorably reported from the Senate Education Committee to the full Senate. Also passing the Senate this week was SB 56 (Sen. R. Alvarado) to raise the age to purchase tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, to 21 from 18 bringing Kentucky’s laws into conformity with federal law.

The House also started to move bills and passed several off the floor this past week. One issue considered and passed, with considerable debate, was HJR8, a resolution directing the Energy and Environment Cabinet and the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District to review benefits, costs, and alternatives to reformulated gasoline (RFG) in the Metro Louisville area.

Some other significant issues expected to be prominent during the 2020 session seem to be teed up for activity in the coming week or two. Legislation on pharmacy issues and pharmacy benefit management that will affect pharmacists, Medicaid Managed Care, and rural providers is expected to be filed next week.  Criminal justice reform that was the topic of several legislative hearings over the interim and a press conference by Gov. Beshear last week is also expected to gain more attention in the weeks to come. The Governor’s address will lay out priorities for dealing with prison and jail overcrowding and other criminal justice system issues. Some of these issues came to the fore this week when the Department of Public Advocacy filed a petition with the Kentucky Supreme Court on pre-trial detention of individuals charged with offenses. 

In news of note to the committee hearing procedures, legislative leaders are considering changes to mandate that testimony before legislative committees be given under oath. The leaders said that they were aware of instances of false statements being made before legislative committees. Some committee chairs did begin this practice last week.

For bills that GLI is actively tracking, click here

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:

  • 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