2016 Legislature…Week Five UpdateKAM
The 2016 General Assembly session has completed more than one-third of its allotted sixty legislative days, finishing up day 22 on Friday. Thus far, the session has not been overly productive. We aren’t surprised by this, given the political dynamics we have been discussing since before the session: a new Republican Governor; a narrow Democrat majority in the House; a Senate controlled by a large GOP majority; and the biggest issue being a budget that has more needs than resources. It may be wishful thinking to believe the legislature will pass a budget this session.
The focus in the past week was squarely on the budget as the House started its budget review process by having Bevin administration officials explain various items in the budget. We wanted to bring you a couple of updates on budget provisions of specific interest to manufacturers:
Workforce Development Bond Pool – Workforce Development Secretary Hal Heiner testified before a House committee this week on the intent behind the $100 million bond pool in the Governor’s budget. The plan is to create a bond pool to support regional capital projects, not programming. The intent is that local institutions will apply for these funds and that they will look for applicants that have private sector and local community support and investment.
Performance Funding – The Governor has recommended that university funding should be dependent upon the satisfactory achievement of performance goals. His plan is that performance funding would be phased in beginning FY 2018 with a third of university funding being subject to the measures and adding an additional third in FY 19; the full amount will be added in FY 20. It seems that the criteria the Governor recommends the universities use has been mostly developed by the Council on Postsecondary Education, though he wants to make sure those criteria will satisfy the Commonwealth’s workforce needs.
We expect the budget to continue as the main focus this week as the House continues its budget review process and the Senate gets its first budget briefing from the Bevin administration.
Issues of Interest to KAM
We will use this section every week to highlight bills of interest to KAM members. Some we will support and some we will oppose, and sometimes we will ask you to contact your legislators to share our position on those bills. Here are a few bills of interest under consideration by the General Assembly this session:
- Workforce Development – This week saw Rep. Larry Clark’s (D-Louisville) House Concurrent Resolution 97 be favorably reported from the House Labor & Industry committee. Senate President Pro-Tem David Givens (R-Greensburg) has a similar proposal, Senate Concurrent Resolution 75. 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 resolutions and looks forward to working with these legislators to not only get these resolutions passed, but to interact with the Task Force in the coming months.
- Public Private Partnerships – Senate Bill 132 by Sen. Max Wise (R-Campbellsville) and House Bill 309 by Rep. Leslie Combs (D-Pikeville). These bills would create a framework for how the state and local governments can partner with private industry for infrastructure projects. KAM is supportive of P3s as an innovative way of financing the infrastructure the state needs. The coming week may see these bills begin to move as they are poised for legislative hearings.
- Right To Work – Senate Bill 3, filed by Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester), is legislation that would give workers a choice regarding joining a union and remove the requirement that employees pay union dues as a condition of employment. KAM supports this legislation.
- Pipelines – Several bills on the topic of pipelines and eminent domain have been filed thus far in the legislative session. Senate Bill 26 would prevent reversing the flow or substance carried in a pipeline; House Bill 168 vesting eminent domain exclusively by state and local governments; House Bill 213 excludes natural gas liquids from public service eminent domain; and House Bill 240 related to pipeline safety. KAM supports the use and creation of pipelines to move oil and gas products to market, and would oppose measures like these above that would stifle Kentucky’s participation in the energy marketplace.
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.
February 15 – Presidents’ Day (Legislative Holiday, No Session)
February 19 – Last day for bill requests
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.
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!