Week 6 – Regular Session (2017)

Week 6 – Regular Session (2017)

The Kentucky General Assembly met for only three days last week but accomplished a great deal, with heavy committee and floor activity in both the House and Senate. The legislature is in recess today and will reconvene on Tuesday and Wednesday to continue passing bills and taking concurrence votes in each chamber. Thus far, the Legislature has met 26 of the 30 legislative days reserved for the 2017 Regular Session. With two legislative days remaining this week and two more reserved for veto overrides later this month, we expect a heavy dose of March Madness in the coming days – Frankfort style.

KAM Priorities – We focus our legislative efforts on issues that help make Kentucky manufacturing competitive in areas like:

  • Improving workforce development;
  • Making Kentucky’s tax code friendly to manufacturers;
  • Continuing a stable energy & environmental climate; and
  • Addressing overhead issues like tort reform, workers compensation, and health insurance mandates.

Given those priorities, here are several bills being considered by the General Assembly we want you to be aware of:

Workers Compensation Reform

Please call your state senator TODAY at 1-800-372-7181 and ask that they vote YES on HB 296.  HB 296, sponsored by Rep. Adam Koenig 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 quicker, clarifying provisions included in law already 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.

Important Energy Legislation

SB 11 is legislation that KAM has supported for many years. This bill will lift 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 is scheduled for a floor vote in the House this week. Call your state representative and ask that they vote YES on SB 11.

Civil Justice Reforms

HB 281, relates to transparency in Attorney General Contracting (TiPAC). The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jason Nemes, took an interesting turn last week in the Senate Judiciary committee. An amendment was offered that would remove the ability to file civil lawsuits or appeals on behalf of the Commonwealth from the Office of the Attorney General, and transfer those powers to the Office of the Governor. The committee did not take action on the amendment or the bill last week, but we could see activity in the coming days.

HB 223, related to judgment interest rates, reduces the rate from 12% to 6%. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Joe Fischer, has passed both chambers and currently awaits the Governor’s signature.

Critical Infrastructure

Several drone-related bills have been introduced this session and KAM continues to advocate for provisions that will protect our critical infrastructure. This is an important measure for many of our members, including the Chemical Industry Council and our chemical plant members.

Other Notable Legislation

HB 50, is legislation that would sunset administrative regulations. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Kenny Imes. Language is provided in the legislation to allow state agencies the ability to issue a letter certifying the regulation was still needed in order to extend the regulation. This bill moved quietly through the process and has passed both chambers. It will be sent to the Governor’s office this week for his signature.

HB 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. Several procedural moves have been made in the Senate to put this bill in the position to move this week. It awaits a hearing in the Senate Transportation committee.

Bills Awaiting Final Action

  • Charter Schools – HB 520, which would authorize charter schools in Kentucky, has two readings and awaits action in the Senate Education Committee.
  • Education Reform – SB 1, which deals with standards review, aligned assessments and ESSA accountability passed out of the House Education Committee and is scheduled for House action on Tuesday.
  • Education Bills – A set of priority education bills all received two readings in their second chamber last week and are ready for action this week, including: SB 107 (university board appointments), SB 153 (postsecondary performance funding), and HB 151, (relating to neighborhood schools).
  • Judicial Redistricting – SB 9, a plan to reallocate judicial districts across the state, has had first reading and awaits action in House Judiciary.
  • Criminal Justice Reform –  SB 120, a priority bill for this session that combines criminal justice reform and workforce development in the form of inmate re-entry, passed out of the House Judiciary committee and awaits action by the full House this week.

Keeping You Informed

As in past years, we will continue to communicate with you weekly with bill tracking lists on the KAM Homepage (www.KAM.us.com), 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 at 4:00 EST, and invite KAM Members to call and take part in this dialog every Thursday during the 2017 Legislative Session. The information for the call is:

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

Looking Ahead

The amended legislative calendar and committee meeting schedule can be viewed online, but here are a few dates of interest:

  • March 8-9 – Recess/Work Days
  • March 14-15 – Concurrence Days (set aside to deal with amendments from second chamber)
  • 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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