Week Four – Regular Session (2018)

legislative-update-2018

Week Four – Regular Session (2018)

Deadline Approaches
Tuesday is the deadline for legislative candidates to file to run for the House and Senate. This is important for several reasons. Legislation that is considered to be controversial is often not considered before legislators know whether they will have an opponent in the upcoming election. This is likely one reason that the General Assembly has not yet introduced a pension reform bill. You can expect that many more bills –substantive bills–will be introduced as the candidate filing deadline passes. Thus far, 15 House members and 1 Senator have opted not to run for re-election.

Budget
After Governor Bevin introduced his budget bill on January 16th, the House began to consider his proposal and subcommittees of the Appropriations and Revenue Committee began to meet last week. State Budget Director John Chilton presented an overview to both the House and Senate A&R committees. Additionally, the Budget Review Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education met and heard testimony from several public university presidents on the impacts to University budgets, which some say takes funding back to 1998 levels. We expect more subcommittees will continue their review of the budget this week.

Unemployment Insurance Reform Bill Introduced
HB 252 was introduced late last week by Rep. Jim DeCesare. DeCesare worked throughout the interim with the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet to develop the proposal. The bill has three main components – replaces the current technology system and sets up a process for paying for the estimated $60 million cost, reforms the benefit structure in calculating the maximum weekly benefit plus adjusts the amount a person must earn in order to qualify for UI benefits, and finally clarifies laws around successorship. The three components are outlined in further detail below:

Technology Upgrades

  • Reduces UI employer contribution rates by 0.075% and requires the employer to pay the same amount into the Service Capacity Upgrade Fund (SCUF)
  • SCUF deposits will be suspended if the UI trust fund falls below the fund balance as of December 31, 2017.
  • SCUF deposits will be suspended when the SCUF exceeds $60 million

Benefit Structure

  • Requires that the maximum weekly benefit paid to UI claimants not exceed the average of the several surrounding states
  • Ties the benefit period to KY’s unemployment rate. When the rate is 5.4% and below the benefit period is 14 weeks. The benefit period goes up to 26 weeks when the rate is 9.5% and above. The bill outlines everything in between,
  • Requires an employee to earn $2000/quarter to qualify for benefits. The current requirement is $750/quarter.

Successorship

  • Provides clarity in determining when an acquisition is a transfer of the trade or business, for successorship purposes.

Net metering Bill Introduced
Last week, Rep. Jim Gooch introduced HB 227, legislation to update net metering laws. This bill will ensure that energy rates are fair and equitable for everyone, including our manufacturers who depend on low energy costs.  Current solar energy users are grandfathered in and the only adjustment comes when a user produces more energy than they need, with the excess going back on the grid. Users will be compensated at the wholesale rate. Users who produce only what they use will continue to be compensated at the retail rate.  This legislation is good energy policy for Kentucky and KAM urges you to support HB 227. Please contact your Representative and ask that they vote YES on HB 227.

Other Bills
SB 78 – Sponsored by Senator Whitney Westerfield, is legislation intended to address a shortage of licensed electricians in the Commonwealth. The bill passed the Senate last week by a vote of 26-10.

SB 82 – Sponsored by Senator Mike Wilson, is legislation to preempt localities from regulating auxiliary containers, like plastic bags, cups, and to-go containers. Over 200 cities across the country have passed fees, taxes, or city-specific manufacturing requirements, creating a patchwork of regulations that could create hardships for companies who manufacture these products, retailers who sell them, and consumers who buy them. There should be uniform regulation at the state level, which SB 82 establishes. Please contact your Senator and ask that they vote YES on SB 82.

Keeping You Informed
As in past years, we will continue to communicate with you weekly with bill tracking lists on the KAM Homepage (Bill Tracking), 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 resumed our KAM Conversation Conference Calls on Thursdays, and invite KAM Members to call and take part in this dialog every Thursday during the 2018 Legislative Session. The information for the call is:

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

Calendar & Key Dates
You can access the session calendar HERE and the committee meeting schedule 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.

  • February 16 – Last day for Bill Requests
  • February 19 – Legislative Holiday (Presidents’ Day)
  • February 26 – Last day for new House Bills
  • February 28 – Last day for new Senate Bills
  • March 27-28 – Concurrence Days
  • March 29-April 9 – Veto Recess
  • April 13 – 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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