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April 26, 2017 4:41pm

The Most Successful Session in Decades

Read the 2017 Legislative Outcomes from GLI Advocacy

The 2017 Kentucky General Assembly session was a tremendous step forward for the Commonwealth.  In fact, most of GLI’s top priorities made it to the Governor’s desk for signature during the action-packed short session.

When GLI first set its legislative agenda last Fall, little did we know the magnitude of change the November elections would usher in.  The election had only just led to a stunning supermajority in the legislature.  We did know that there would be a House leadership transition and a large influx of newly-elected legislators.  We were encouraged by the pro-business focus set by the Governor and legislative leadership and we knew this was the time to work hard for passage of long-time priorities of the business community.  It was an opportunity to seize.  What we did not know as the session started was the degree of urgency and coordination legislative and gubernatorial leadership would bring to bear.

Even before the election, GLI had set an ambitious 2020 goal to strengthen our advocacy function and demonstrate results of that strength by passing or blocking 75 percent of our the legislative priorities identified by our investors.  I am proud to report that this session 38 of our 52 priorities succeeded, resulting in a 73 percent win rate (97% of our 5-year goal in just one session)!

Among those wins, we were thrilled to finally see passage of many of GLI’s longstanding core issues including Right to Work, repeal of the prevailing wage, government and pension transparency measures, and Medical Review Panels. With such great victories, the General Assembly could have easily kicked up their feet and declared victory, but instead, they continued to support more reforms and improvements. Because of this bold, can-do attitude, we were able to gain passage of other key legislation like Charter Schools, Public Benefit Corporations, Joint Employer, Appeal Bond, KFC YUM! Center TIF, vintage spirits sales, and telecommunications reform. All of these are big wins for Greater Louisville.

Beyond the many victories, there were some missed opportunities for the business community, including inaction on Workers Compensation Reform, modifications to the Angel Investment Tax Credit, and Road Aid Modernization. GLI is prepared to prioritize these matters for the anticipated special session on tax reform and the 2018 budget session.

2017 was also the second year GLI fielded a registered lobbyist in Indianapolis in order to work with our partners across the river. GLI advocated in the Hoosier Capitol and testified alongside representatives from One Southern Indiana in support of the Trans-border Water Resource Authority, which passed unanimously.  Public policy does not always recognize county or state lines and we are pleased to continue developing relationships with elected officials in order to better serve our investors with operations in Southern Indiana.

While we most certainly are celebrating our successes in 2017, we never stop looking forward. Our next stop is in Washington, D.C., where we will continue to represent the Greater Louisville business community on the national stage.

Later this year, the Governor may call a special session to address pension and tax reform. Our Commonwealth is at a dire crossroads and we must find enough revenue to handle our obligations while making Kentucky an attractive place for businesses. This is important; it must be done and GLI is deeply involved in moving pension and tax reform forward in Kentucky.

GLI is honored to be the recognized voice of the regional business community. Thank you to our investors for helping us be heard by joining us in Frankfort and communicating directly with legislators via phone and email.  Our legislators listened and stepped up to pass dozens of business-friendly laws, making 2017 the most successful legislative session in decades.  There is strength in numbers and together we are a much stronger business community.  I encourage every GLI investor to be involved with the chamber’s public policy process and lend your voice to advocating for the economic growth of our region.

Watch Kent’s Guest Editorial on WDRB-TV.