2016 Legislature…Week Four UpdateKAM
Two of the major milestones for this session passed on Tuesday, January 26, with the unveiling of Governor Bevin’s budget proposal and the legislative candidate filing deadline. Both dominated activity in the General Assembly last week. Here is a quick summary of each:
The field of candidates is set for legislative elections that will take place in 2016. In total, 220 candidates have filed for 100 House seats with 91 of those seats producing contested races. In the Senate, there were 35 candidates for 19 Senate seats with nine of those seats contested. It’s too early to know which races will be competitive, but generally, open seats with no incumbent are more competitive. There are 11 open seats in the House (six Democrat seats to five Republican seats) and one open seat in the Senate (a Republican seat).
KAM sent out an electronic communication last week that addressed the Governor’s budget proposal. The highlights were:
Bevin proposed 9% across-the-board cuts to most agencies in FY 2017 and 2018 and an additional 4.5% in FY 2016. K-12 education and Medicaid were exempted from cuts. Savings from cuts to be spent on pensions.
- Heavy investments in workforce development – $100 million bond pool for advanced manufacturing training and spending lottery proceeds on new scholarship focused on workforce development.
- Infrastructure – Light on capital projects, but 15% of the state-funded portion of the road fund is dedicated to repair and maintenance of bridges.
- Prevailing Wage – The Governor added a language provision in his budget suspending prevailing wage for public projects.
The House will now get its turn at reviewing the Governor’s recommendations and creating their version of the budget over the next month.
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 – Senate President Pro-Tem David Givens (R-Greensburg) last week filed Senate Concurrent Resolution 75 and this week Rep. Larry Clark (D-Louisville) filed House Concurrent Resolution 97. Both would set up 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 – This week saw the filing of this session’s public private partnership (P3) legislation, 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 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.
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. SB 26 would prevent reversing the direction of flow or substance carried in a pipeline; HB 168 vesting eminent domain exclusively with state and local governments; HB 213 excludes natural gas liquids from public service eminent domain; and HB 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.
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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!