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March 27, 2019 10:50am

What to look for on the last day of #KYGA19

The sun is setting on the 2019 session of the Kentucky General Assembly. Tomorrow marks the 30th and final day of session, following up on a 10-day veto recess that began on March 14. Here is what you need to know heading into the final day.

1. What has already been passed and signed into law?

A number of key GLI-backed bills were signed into law during the 10-day veto recess. Just to name a few:

  • Senate Bill 7 (Senate President Robert Stivers) clarifies in state law the ability of employers to condition employment on an agreement to arbitrate disputes. Senate Bill 7 fixes a major problem caused by a Supreme Court ruling last year and protects Kentucky’s business competitiveness.
  • Senate Bill 57 (Senator Jimmy Higdon) significantly expands access to Class D felony expungement in Kentucky by increasing eligibility and lowering application costs. Since passage of House Bill 40 in 2016, which first allowed for Class D felony expungement in the Commonwealth, more than 3,000 Kentuckians have had their records expunged and are now in positions to join the workforce. Senate Bill 57 builds on that legislation and will empower many more Kentuckians to be able to contribute to and participate in economic growth in our region.
  • Senate Bill 100 (Senator Brandon Smith) will help keep Kentucky energy prices affordable and competitive by providing for a much-needed modernization of Kentucky’s net-metering laws. This legislation will give the Public Service Commission the ability to determine a fair compensation rate and cost-sharing mechanism for net-metered customers.
  • Senate Bill 250 (Senate Majority Caucus Chair Julie Raque Adams) represents a meaningful first step in empowering JCPS leadership with the flexibility they need to fully deliver for students in Jefferson County. Changes to state statute, such as giving the superintendent more authority to hire principals and more control over central office staff, will allow JCPS leaders to more effectively govern the largest school district in Kentucky.
  • House Bill 354 (Representative Steven Rudy) repeals the Bank Franchise Tax and provides tax relief for nonprofits.  Though parts of the bill may need to be revisited next session, these two measures will help grow our economy.

2. What got vetoed?

The Governor voted two bills during the veto recess. See those below. The General Assembly will have an opportunity to overturn those vetoes tomorrow. If the legislature passes any other bills tomorrow, however, they will not be able to overturn any potential vetoes of those bills.

  • House Bill 4 relates to administrative regulations. It was vetoed in its entirety. You can read the Governor’s veto message here.
  • House Bill 268 is an appropriations bill that amends the 2018-2020 budget. The Governor vetoed specific sections of the bill. Read his veto message here.

3. What bills will the legislature likely take up on the final day?

There are several bills that the legislature could act on—including legislation related to pensions and quasi-government entities. Two critical bills that GLI will be working to advance are Senate Bill 18 and House Bill 11.

  • Senate Bill 18 (Senator Alice Forgy Kerr) clarifies in state statute employers’ obligations when it comes to providing reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers. With one of the lowest female workforce participation rates in the nation, this legislation can help support working women while also providing valuable guidance for employers. This top GLI priority just needs approval by the House before it can head to the Governor’s desk. Click here to voice your support.
  • House Bill 11 (Representative Kim Moser) would limit smoking on school properties, a measure that could help improve health outcomes in Kentucky and lower smoking rates. Smoking is a major health care problem in the state that not only harms the quality of our workforce but also increases costs for employers. House Bill 11 needs a vote in the Senate to proceed forward.

4. What bills will the legislature NOT likely up on the final day?

Tomorrow will close the door on several missed opportunities in 2019. The bills below would have had significant positive impacts on our regional economy but are highly unlikely to move forward before sine die.

  • Tort Reform: Senate Bill 11 (Senator Ralph Alvarado) and House Bill 225 (Representative Kim Moser) offered legislators two different approaches to improving Kentucky’s legal liability climate, which studies have determined to be one of the worst in the nation.
  • Anti-Smoking Measures: Lawmakers in Kentucky had several opportunities to enact policies aimed at lowering smoking rates, including Senate Bill 33 (Senator John Schickel) and Senate Bill 249 (Senator Stephen Meredith).
  • Sports Wagering: Many states will be authorizing sports wagering in 2019 but Kentucky will not be one of them. House Bill 175 (Representative Adam Koenig) would have authorized sports wagering and dedicated revenues to pensions.
  • Re-Employment Assistance: Initiatives like Senate Bill 171 (Senator Robby Mills) and House Bill 317 (Representative Russell Webber) could have ushered in much-needed changes to state unemployment insurance law to help workers find re-employment opportunities.
  • Bail Reform: House Bill 94 (Representative John Blanton) proposed major reforms to Kentucky’s monetary bail system in an effort to lower incarceration rates and keep more Kentuckians in the workforce.
  • Infrastructure Funding: House Bill 517 (Representative Sal Santoro) would have provided close to $500 million in new revenues to address the Commonwealth’s growing backlog of road projects and infrastructure needs.
  • Administrative Relief for Contractors & Nonprofits: Senate Bill 147 (Senator Chris McDaniel) would have reduced an administrative burden for contractors and nonprofits by allowing contractors to use their customers’ tax-exempt certificates to purchase materials for construction projects.
  • Tuition Tax Credits: House Bill 205 (House Majority Floor Leader Bam Carney) would have increased the educational options for students across Kentucky regardless of their family’s financial means by creating a tuition tax credit program.