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March 1, 2017 4:18pm

DC Fly In Dates Announced & Legislation On The Move

It may only be the first week of March, but GLI Advocacy is already gearing up for this summer’s DC Fly In. Business leaders from across the region will travel to Washington on June 21 & 22, 2017 to put in face-time with Kentucky and Indiana’s elected officials. The DC Fly In is a two-day trip to Washington, DC to advocate for federal priorities, network with regional business leaders, and interact with elected officials.  If you are interested in attending, click here for more information.

Meanwhile in Frankfort…

Today marks the 21st day of the 30 Day Regular Session of the Kentucky General Assembly.

Long, productive hours in both chambers have been the hallmark of this new, Republican-controlled legislature. Leadership in both chambers, along with the Governor, is working hand-in-hand to pass priorities and eliminate speed bumps in the process. Weekly legislative strategy meetings and constant communication seem to be paying off, as evidenced by the nearly 80 House bills and nearly 50 Senate bills already passed out of their respective chambers.

At this point in the session, bill sponsors are working to meet the unofficial “crossover” period, where bills need passage through its chamber of origin to have enough time for appropriate consideration in the other chamber.

This week, expect to see many amendment and committee substitute filings to existing bills to make up for the inability to introduce new legislation. As seen in the first week of session, GLI will be closely monitoring bills that drastically change from its original language. These “mules,” as they are often called, are bills that can suddenly transform into friendly or unfriendly
bills. Stay tuned to our weekly legislative email updates or the GLI Advocacy Blog for up-to-date statuses on priority bills.

This Week’s Focuses

A telecommunications deregulation bill, SB 10, sponsored by Senator Paul Hornback passed the Senate and moved to the House. The bill is a continuation from the legislature’s 2015 updates to modernize Kentucky’s telecommunications laws and would effectively eliminate remaining old laws and binding requirements. This removes impediments to telecom companies’ abilities to respond to consumer trends, and speed up deployment of competitive services statewide.

Public pension transparency, which has been a topic for some years in the legislature, is about to become law. SB 2 passed unanimously out of the Senate, then passed unanimously out of the House with one floor amendment and now sent back to the Senate for concurrence. This is a big win for those advocating transparency in government.

Worker’s Compensation reform received a boost this week, as HB 296 moved out of the House. GLI is a member of the coalition advocating for this legislation and has long-supported measures to help address rising medical costs, while ensuring injured workers receive proper care.

And in an effort to limit unfair exposure to lawsuits, SB 151 which codifies the definition of the franchisor-franchisee relationship, passed out of Senate on February 16, and has now been posted for passage in the House. GLI testified in favor of this bill because it allows businesses to operate under the well-established definition of franchising, which will provide protection for companies from unfair legal exposure created by the joint-employer rule issued by the National Labor Relations Board in 2015.

The Neighborhood Schools, HB 151 sponsored by House Majority Whip Kevin Bratcher, deals with school assignment plans and in particular the plan in Jefferson County. The bill’s intent is to let students attend schools closest to their homes, rather than being bused across the district. The bill’s impact on facilities and student achievement are not fully known. The bill passed the House last week and heads to the Senate. GLI’s committees and staff have reviewed the bill and will be encouraging the Senate to prioritize the passage of a Charter Schools bill, in addition to analyzing the findings of the pending Jefferson County Public Schools audit summoned by Kentucky Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt. We hope the Senate will closely review this proposal that will affect academic achievement. GLI believes strongly that the success of JCPS is of paramount importance to Louisville’s economic and civic health.

Looking Ahead

As Greater Louisville Inc. makes education, workforce development, and talent attraction an even stronger focus of our organizational efforts, our committee structure will be changing slightly. The Business Leaders for Education will be transitioning to focus more exclusively on large-scale education and workforce initiatives in the Greater Louisville Region, while the Education and Workforce Issue Advisory Committee will be reinstated to vet public policy issues.

We are inviting our investors wishing to engage on these issues to join the newly revived committee, which will focus exclusively on education and workforce policy on the local, state and federal levels. The committee will meet twice a year to review state and local issues (late summer) and federal issues (spring).  If you are interested in membership on this committee, please contact Iris Wilbur: iwilbur@greaterlouisville.com

Your GLI Advocacy Team is prepared to push more priorities from GLI’s 2017 Legislative Agenda in the last half of the regular season.

The links below will be updated throughout the remainder of Kentucky’s 30-day legislative session as bills move toward passage. GLI’s tracking of these bills is not an indication of support or opposition. All tracked legislation was chosen based on its perceived potential impact on Greater Louisville’s business community. Below is an update on those bills: