2016 Legislature…Week Eleven Update

2016 Legislature…Week Eleven Update

The 2016 regular session of the General Assembly is down to just nine days remaining and they continue to work on passing the most important bill of the session, the state budget. The House moved their budget through last week, and we expect the Senate to pass their budget this week. We provided an update earlier this week on the House budget HERE. The main negotiation points between the House, Senate and the Governor will be how much to fund pensions versus how much to cut universities and how to handle $500 million in KY Employee Health Plan surplus funds.

Bills of Interest to KAM

Since we are heading to the final days of the session, we thought it was important to focus more on bills of interest to KAM rather than the broader political dynamics. Here are the Final Four issues we are focusing on in the final nine days of the 2016 Session. We hope you will make your Senator and Representative aware of your position on these issues:

Workforce Development – Senate President Pro-Tem David Givens’ (R-Greensburg), Senate Concurrent Resolution 75 passed the Senate this week and now awaits action in House Education Committee. Rep. Larry Clark’s (D-Louisville) House Concurrent Resolution 97 awaits action in the Senate Education committee. Both would set up a Task Force to study and develop recommendations concerning the benefits, investments, and funding of workforce education. KAM is very supportive of these resolutionsand looks forward to working with legislators to not only get these resolutions passed, but to interact with the Task Force in the coming months.

Public Private Partnerships – Both Senate Bill 132 by Sen. Max Wise (R-Campbellsville) and House Bill 309 by Rep. Leslie Combs (D-Pikeville) would create a framework for how state and local governments can partner with private industry for infrastructure projects. HB 309 passed the Senate Economic Development committee this week and awaits action on the Senate floor. KAM is supportive of P3s, and issued a call to action last week, stating our support and asking you to contact your Senators in support for this innovative way of financing the infrastructure the state needs. Call your Senator at 1-800-372-7181 and tell them to support HB 309 — Public Private Partnerships.

Local Option Sales TaxHouse Bill 2, a constitutional amendment allowing for a local option sales tax, and House Bill 374, the enabling legislation implementing the tax, both await action in the Senate. KAM had been concerned that the language of these bills could lead to increased energy costs, particularly for our smaller manufacturers. However, after our advocacy team expressed those concerns to key Senators and the proponents of the bill this week, amendments have been agreed to that address some of our concerns. KAM is now officially neutral on these bills and the LIFT proposal.

Pharmacy MandateHouse Bill 458 is legislation that would restrict the options employers have relative to mail order drugs when working with their health insurer to design pharmacy benefit plans that minimize costs. KAM is opposed to this legislation as our members need every tool possible to manage the growing costs of health insurance for their employees. House Bill 458 could be heard in the Senate this week and we ask that you call your Senator at 1-800-372-7181 and tell them to OPPOSE House Bill 458.

Other Bills

Energy – The good news is that no legislation has moved that would negatively impact manufacturers by either adding to our costs or destroying the regulatory environment that would lead to unnecessary uncertainty in power markets. However, there are a few bills which have been filed that we are watching very closely:

  • HB 339 & SB 190 Mandates renewable energy usage and energy efficiency programs
  • SB 26 & HB 440 Prevent reversing the flow or substance carried in a pipeline
  • HB 240 & HB 551 Increases fees for pipeline safety
  • SB 89 & HB 103 Removal of moratorium on nuclear energy (SB 89 in House Energy Committee)
  • HB 461 Carbon emission allowances for coal-fired electric generating units (Recommitted)

Business Issues – Thus far in the session we have not seen a significant number of bills related to workers comp or health insurance that are threats to increase costs for manufacturers. This is good news and we will remain vigilant through the rest of the session. Below are a couple of issues of interest to manufacturers with which KAM is involved:

  • HB 445 & SB 281 would protect critical infrastructure, like chemical plants, from drones
  • SB 151 would allow temporary total disability payments under workers’ compensation to be offset by wages if a worker resumes work. (Out of the Senate and awaits action in House Labor & Industry committee.) 

Work Ready Kentucky ProgramHouse Bill 626, sponsored by Speaker Greg Stumbo, would create the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship Program. The bill passed out of the House this week and now heads to the Senate for action. This new program would provide free tuition for graduating high school students attending KCTCS. KAM continues to review this program, but is certainly supportive of the focus on workforce development. The ultimate decision on this bill will track with the budget as that is where the scholarships are funded.

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.\

March 28 and 29 – Concurrence Only

March 30-April 9 – Veto Recess

April 12 – Sine Die

Meet the KAM Governmental Affairs Team here.

Your One-Stop Source For KAM Information: www.KAM.us.com

Don’t know who your elected representatives are? Click here to reach the Action Center of the Kentucky Prosperity Project to find this and other important information to help you make your opinion heard on matters affecting you and your business!

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