Week 7, Recess Break – Regular Session (2017)

Week 7, Recess Break – Regular Session (2017)

The Kentucky General Assembly completed their 28th legislative day on Wednesday night, finalizing the bulk of its work for the 2017 Session. There were a few items of unfinished business that may be considered on the session’s final two days March 29 and 30; here are the issues that are key for KAM:

  • Workers Compensation ReformPlease call your state senator at 1-800-372-7181 and ask that they pass HB 296.  HB 296, sponsored by Rep. Adam Koenig (R-Erlanger), is an effort by employers to improve the efficiency and reduce the cost of the workers compensation system for employers. The primary provisions in the bill deal with getting injured employees back to work more quickly, clarifying provisions already in law that have been eroded by the courts and administrative interpretations, and establishing an appropriate duration for medical claims. With only a few days remaining in this session it is vital that you weigh in and ask for support on this very important legislation.
  • Improving Legal Transparency –  HB 281, sponsored by Rep. Jason Nemes (R-Louisville), would improve transparency when the Attorney General contracts with outside counsel. The bill was heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee where a Committee Substitute was offered that would strip the Attorney General of significant authority and duties. At a Judiciary Committee meeting on March 15, the Judiciary Committee Chair said that language is being drafted on a revised version of the bill that will be taken up when the General Assembly returns.
  • Critical InfrastructureHB 291, legislation to regulate drone activity, includes language that recognizes the issue of drone usage near critical infrastructure and subsequent security issues. The bill has two readings and could move in the final two days.

KAM Priorities
Even with a few days left, this legislative session will be considered a success for business and manufacturers. It is important to put into context exactly what the GOP-led General Assembly and Governor Bevin have accomplished in two and a half months. A few highlights from the session:

  • The General Assembly filed nearly eight hundred bills, thirteen of which have been signed into law and another roughly 140 that are on the Governor’s Desk. Even with that amount of output in a short session, there are still another 65 or so that could be acted upon in the session’s final two days later this month.
  • All of this was accomplished with thirty new members of the General Assembly, twenty-eight of whom are in the House, under a new House Leadership team.
  • Significant legislative changes, many of which are beneficial to KAM members, that have passed or are poised to pass this session include:
    • Right to Work
    • Repeal of prevailing wage
    • Postsecondary education performance funding
    • Civil justice reforms like lowering of judgment interest rates

Here is an update on several key pieces of legislation that were addressed this week:

Important Energy LegislationSB 11 is legislation that KAM has supported for many years. This bill lifts the moratorium on the construction of new nuclear plants. We support energy policies that allow our Kentucky manufacturers to remain competitive nationally and globally. SB 11 passed both Chambers and has been sent to the Governor.

Education Bills – Two other priority education bills received final passage and were delivered to the Governor: SB 107 (university board appointments) and SB 153 (postsecondary performance funding).

Overweight TrucksHB 184, sponsored by Rep. Suzanne Miles, is legislation to allow for the trucking transport of “metal commodities”–which includes aluminum–to exceed current weight limits. The Senate Transportation committee approved a compromise on the legislation that was passed by the Senate and the House.

Keeping You Informed
Our final KAM Conversation Conference Call for this session of the General Assembly will be on Thursday, March 30 at 4:00 EST. We invite KAM Members to call and take part in this dialog as we wrap up the review of the 2017 Legislative Session. The information for the call is:

  • Call-in Number:        877-746-4263
  • Participant Code:     0219774#

Looking Ahead
The General Assembly has met on 28 of the 30 legislative days reserved for the 2017 Regular Session. They are currently in Veto Recess, when bills go to the Governor for review and consideration of veto, before they return for the final two legislative days, March 29 and 30. When the General Assembly reconvenes, it can pass more legislation as well as consider any veto overrides. The amended legislative calendar and committee meeting schedule can be viewed online, but here are a few dates of interest:

  • March 16-28 – Veto Recess
  • March 29-30 – Final two legislative days before Sine Die Adjournment

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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