Greater Louisville Inc. The Metro Chamber of Commerce
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March 18, 2021 11:33am

From the Desk of the CEO 3.18.21

It has been a busy and unusual legislative session. While COVID restrictions have limited in-person interactions between our advocacy team and legislators, we were able to find innovative ways to leverage our close working relationships. We have also utilized digital advocacy and many of our investors’ grassroots networks to make an impact.

The General Assembly is currently in veto recess until March 29 and 30, when they will return to override any gubernatorial vetoes and take final action on remaining bills before adjourning for the year. Even though this was a short session, it was action-packed. Here are just a few of the exciting priorities our team has been able to advance so far:

  • House Bill 278 – allows businesses to deduct expenses paid with forgiven PPP loans from their total tax burden. This was signed by Governor Beshear earlier this week and we estimate it could save employers upwards of $75 million over the next two to three years.
  • Senate Bill 67 – allows for permanent to-go cocktails to support our hospitality industry. This measure has been signed by the Governor.
  • House Bill 497 – supports successful reentry from incarceration by creating a new certificate of employability program as well as workforce training. These programs will encourage employment and workforce participation. This bill needs only a procedural vote in the House before heading to the Governor’s desk.
  • House Bill 413 – provides much-needed relief for employers facing increases to unemployment insurance taxes. This measure has been sent to the Governor.
  • House Bill 126 – will reduce incarceration in Kentucky by lowering the felony theft threshold. This legislation is an important priority for our Business Council to End Racism. It has been sent to the Governor’s office for signing.
  • House Bill 563 – establishes Education Opportunity Accounts which will give Kentucky students and families access to educational choice. The bill has been sent to the Governor.
  • House Bill 405 – increases funding for childcare throughout Kentucky, which has been a key GLI workforce priority. The legislation has been passed by both Chambers and is heading to the Governor.

Stay tuned for a full list of legislative accomplishments next month. In addition to these wins, we have also successfully blocked harmful bills including those that would raise taxes and negatively impact economic development, talent attraction and retention, and tourism.

With the two legislative days that remain on the calendar, we are urging the legislature to address three additional priority issues before it adjourns:

  1. Establish COVID liability protections for Kentucky businesses. This kind of legislation has already been passed and enacted in surrounding states, including Indiana just last month. GLI was disappointed that the House did not act on this issue this week when it had an opportunity to pass Senate Bill 5. We cannot let frivolous litigation slow down our economic recovery. You can take action here.
  2. Pass legislation to increase infrastructure funding. While we remain hopeful this will pass before the end of session, this additional funding is critical to our future economic success. We encourage all business leaders to contact their legislators and ask them to prioritize infrastructure funding in the final days of the legislative session.
  3. Finally, we encourage the legislature to pass legislation to create more economic opportunities in Louisville’s West End. Ask your legislators to take action here.

Thank you to our investors who helped advance and shape our legislative priorities this year. I am thrilled with our progress, even during this challenging and unpredictable year. I look forward to celebrating more wins in the coming weeks and continuing to advocate on behalf of you and your business in the future.