Sine Die – Regular Session (2017)

Sine Die – Regular Session (2017)

The 2017 Kentucky General Assembly adjourned a few minutes before midnight on Thursday, March 30, to close out this 30-day legislative session. Although considered a “short” session, much was accomplished with leaders in both the House and Senate, as well as the Governor, declaring 2017 one of the most productive sessions in recent history. The summary below outlines the issues that successfully passed this session, as well as the issues that did not make it to the finish line.

Bills Passed

There was a significant amount of political change as the General Assembly convened for the 2017 legislative session. For the first time in modern history, Republicans controlled all three policy-making bodies – the Governor’s office, House and Senate. There were 30 new members in the General Assembly, with 28 of those in the House, plus a new House Leadership team. Overall, the two GOP-led chambers and the Republican Governor worked in harmony and accomplished much of their agenda, including many KAM priorities, for the 2017 session including:

  • Reforms to K-12 education;
  • Charter School Authorization
  • Right to Work
  • Repeal of prevailing wage
  • Medical Review Panels
  • Postsecondary education performance funding
  • University board appointments
  • Criminal Justice reforms
  • Several public employee pension-related reforms dealing with transparency and spiking
  • Civil justice reforms such as lowering of judgment interest rates
  • Nuclear Energy Legislation

Other bills that passed:

  • Administrative Regulations Overhaul: HB 50 sets up a process by which administrative regulations will expire after seven years, unless the promulgating agency certifies by letter with the compiler that the regulation shall continue.
  • Overweight Trucks: HB 184 is legislation to allow for the transport of “metal commodities” which includes aluminum, to exceed current weight limits.
  • Planning and Zoning AppealsHB 72 requires supersedeas bonds when filing an appeal in a planning and zoning case. The bill is intended to prohibit a development from being unreasonably challenged.

Bills That Did Not Pass

As with any session, the 2017 Legislative Session came to an end with several priority issues that did not reach final passage. Those issues include:

  • Workers Compensation Reform: HB 296, a measure that would have made several reforms to Kentucky’s workers comp system and was supported by the business community, failed to gain traction in the Senate after drawing opposition from the Fraternal Order of Police.
  • Critical Infrastructure: HB 291 would have regulated commercial and personal drone usage. Concerns arose while being considered in the Senate in regards to privacy and how evidence could be used in legal proceedings, and those issues seemed to weigh the bill down late in the session.
  • Improving Legal TransparencyHB 281 that would bring transparency to the contracting process of the Attorney General was amended in the Senate, but the House did not take the bill up for a concurrence vote.

Veto Overrides

The Governor vetoed, in whole or in part, four bills before the Legislature returned for the final two days of the session. When they did return, they voted to override each of the four veto measures. The bills are as follows:

  • HB 471, line item to allow the Legislature to appropriate funds from the Volkswagen settlement
  • SB 91, legislation known as “Tim’s Law,” allowing for court-ordered outpatient mental health treatment
  • HB 540, legislation to regulate drone activity in and around airports
  • SJR 57, road-naming resolution

What’s Next

Governor Bevin has indicated that he will call a special session during the Interim period to address pension reforms and tax reform. With the 2017 session behind us, KAM’s focus will be on preparing for a special session and making certain that your interests are well represented. Stay tuned.

And finally…

THANK YOU!  Thanks to all of our KAM members who reached out to legislators during this session. Your engagement and advocacy matters and we look forward to continued success in the future.

Keeping You Informed

Our final KAM Conversation Conference Call for this session of the General Assembly will be on Thursday, April 6 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#

Meet the KAM Governmental Affairs Team here.

Your One-Stop Source For KAM Information:

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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