2016 Legislature…Week Seven UpdateKAM
The General Assembly has used just over half of the 60 legislative days they have for the 2016 legislative session. With the session past its midpoint, it is time to consider how things are progressing for Kentucky manufacturers.
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. The bad news is that there are a few bills that have been filed about which we are concerned and 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 168 Vests eminent domain exclusively by state and local governments
- HB 213 Excludes natural gas liquids from public service eminent domain
- HB 240 Increases fees for pipeline safety
Workforce Development – This has been the most talked about topic of the session. Each chamber, as well as the Governor, has ideas about how to provide a better workforce. This is a good thing for KAM as talent acquisition is the top issue for our manufacturers. Here is a rundown of several workforce development bills that KAM is following:
- Budget – The Governor’s budget proposal contains $100 million for a bond pool to be used for advanced manufacturing training centers. The budget also puts a focus on outcome-based funding for postsecondary institutions like KCTCS.
- House Concurrent Resolution 97 & Senate Concurrent Resolution 75 – HCR 97 awaits action along with SCR 75 in the Senate Education committee. Both would set up a Task Force to develop recommendations concerning the delivery and funding of workforce education.
- SB 1 – This is an omnibus K-12 education bill focused on improving Kentucky student’s career and college readiness. KAM is interested in the focus on workplace credentials in the bill.
Business Issues – Thus far, we have not seen a significant number of bills related to workers comp or health insurance that threaten to increase costs for manufacturers. This is good news, but we will remain vigilant through the rest of the session. Below are a couple of issues of interest to manufacturers in which KAM is involved:
- SB 132 and HB 309 would create a framework for how state and local governments can partner with private industry for infrastructure projects, called P3s or public/private partnerships.
- SB 3 is this session’s Right to Work legislation.
- HB 445 prohibits drones from being operated around “critical infrastructure,” which includes chemical plants and refineries, without the permission of the owner of the critical infrastructure.
- SB 151 to allow temporary total disability payments under workers’ compensation to be offset by wages if an employee resumes working.
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. We have also resumed our KAM Conversation Conference Calls, which will take place on Thursdays, at 4:00 EST, throughout the Legislative Session and 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 1 – Last day for new House bills
March 3 – Last day for new Senate bills
March 28 and 29 – Concurrence Only
March 30-April 9 – Veto Recess
April 12 – Sine Die
Meet the KAM Governmental Affairs Team here.
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!