2016 Legislative Update…Week 13KAM
The General Assembly finished their 59th Legislative Day on Friday beginning the Veto Recess, a period of time when legislators return home while the Governor considers vetoing any legislation that has passed both chambers. Both House and Senate set their return date from the Veto Recess for April 12 @ 11:00 am, when they will convene for the final day of the regular legislative session.
The biggest issue of the 2016 Session, passage of a state budget, remains unresolved as lawmakers head into the Veto Recess. Negotiations by the budget conference committee broke down on Thursday leading to multiple press conferences by House and Senate conferees, the Governor ordering 4.5% cuts to university funding, and the Attorney General threatening to sue the Governor over his cuts to the universities. There is still time for the House and Senate to broker an agreement on the budget before lawmakers adjourn Sine Die, but currently that seems unlikely.
Top Issues for KAM
With only one day left in the 2016 Session of the General Assembly, we focus on unfinished business that the legislature can address on the session’s final day.
Workforce Development was KAM’s number one priority for the 2016 Session; unfortunately, the two areas we expected to be addressed remain unresolved heading into the session’s final day. We encourage the policymakers in Frankfort to address the critical workforce needs of Kentucky Manufacturers before adjournment.
House Bill 303, the state budget bill, has several provisions aimed at workforce development, including: the Governor’s bond pool for advanced manufacturing training centers; performance funding for universities; the House’s “Work Ready” scholarship fund; and the Senate’s Dual Credit KEES scholarships. Unfortunately, these programs are sidelined along with the budget conversations. There is still time left for legislators to get a budget and address these issues.
House Concurrent Resolution 97 and Senate Concurrent Resolution 75, would each set up a Task Force to study and develop recommendations concerning the benefits, investments, and funding of workforce education. KAM has been very supportive of these resolutions, but time has grown too late in the process for them to pass. However, it is still possible that the language of these resolutions could be added to another bill on the session’s final day.
House Bill 449, which originally created a statewide regulatory program for “waste-to-energy” facilities, has seen quick action of late. The bill was prompted by a project proposed in Jefferson County, which would take facility waste and convert it to retail electricity. While it was originally filed to apply statewide, the bill was amended in the House to apply only to Jefferson County. The bill requires, among other things, substantial setbacks for waste-to-energy facilities from schools and residential areas, which could be problematic. We have expressed concerns about the bill, but need your help in expressing your concerns to members of the state Senate. Please contact your Senator at 1-800-372-7181 or email them HERE.
Keeping You Informed
As in past years, we will continue to communicate with you weekly with bill tracking lists (click HERE to download current bill list), summaries of legislative actions and dynamics, and specific bills of interest. We will also, of course, contact you immediately as issues of particular interest or concern arise. Don’t forget to schedule time for our KAM Conversation Conference Calls, which will take place on Thursdays, at 4:00 EST, throughout the Legislative Session. We invite KAM Members to call and take part in this dialog each week.
Calendar & Key Dates
You can access the session calendar HERE. Please keep in mind that this calendar can change if the legislature decides to shift days. We will let you know if that happens; however they must adjourn by April 15, according to the Constitution. Below are specific dates of interest.
April 2-April 11 – Veto Recess
April 12 – Sine Die
Meet the KAM Governmental Affairs Team here.
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