Week Three – Regular Session (2018)KAM
Governor Bevin gave the State of the Commonwealth and Budget Address last week, while also unveiling his proposed budget bill and road plan. After somewhat of a slow start to the 2018 session, the House now has in its possession the Budget and Road Plan and we expect those issues to dominate activity through the remainder of the session.
The Governor stressed funding of public safety, infrastructure, and education as the essential role of government. Here are the highlights of his proposal:
- Fully funds pension requirements under current law, at over $3 billion for the biennium. This is roughly 14.5% of the General Fund budget
- Cuts most state government agencies 6.25%
- Holds the per pupil rate of the SEEK formula harmless
- Includes increases in funding for additional commonwealth and county attorneys, public advocates, opioid and substance abuse, foster care and adoption programs
- Authorizes a $100 million bond pool for workforce investment
- Eliminates funding for 70 state programs. You can access the list on page 130 HERE
The House Budget Review Subcommittees will meet for the next few weeks, hearing testimony on the budget proposal and discussing their changes.
Road Plan Highlights
The Transportation Cabinet’s budget HB 201 was released this past week along with the two-year funding plan, HB 202, and the four-year project plan, HJR 74. KYTC used a data driven process (SHIFT) to come up with the project list. SHIFT is a scoring formula based on safety, asset management, economic growth, congestion, and benefit/cost analysis.
The 2018 Recommended Highway Plan calls for a total of $8.6 billion in capital projects over the six years. Anticipated state and federal funds total only $2.6 billion for SHIFT projects for the coming six years after federal obligations are taken out. The plan contains projects to meet critical needs as well as addressing the backlog in paving and some bridge projects.
Using the projected $2.6 billion of available state and federal funding for the six-year plan leaves $6 billion in unfunded projects. The Transportation Cabinet continues to state they need approximately $490 million each year in additional state road fund to address the entire $8.6 billion of priority projects.
The Cabinet’s budget also includes funding for other transportation modes like aviation and public transit. In a bit of a surprise, both aviation and public transit receive a boost in funding, aviation from bond funds and transit from the Volkswagen Settlement funds.
Workers Compensation Reforms – Interested parties continue to meet to discuss options to comprehensively address needed reforms within Kentucky’s workers’ compensation laws. Several court decisions that came down during the Interim are also driving the need to pass meaningful legislation this session. KAM continues to be part of the conversation and will keep you updated as progress is made and legislation is introduced
Pensions – After twelve days of the 2018 session, legislation to address pension reforms has not yet been introduced. KAM continues to support reforms to address the unfunded liabilities that impact the state’s bond rating and our ability to be competitive with other states.
Drones and Critical Infrastructure – KAM is working with Rep. Diane St. Onge on legislation to regulate drones specific to the protection of our critical infrastructure, such as many of the chemical plants that KAM represents. We expect that a bill will be introduced in the near future and look forward to reporting back to you on the progress being made.
SB 82. sponsored by Senator Mike Wilson, is legislation to provide for uniform statewide regulation of auxiliary containers – such as plastic bags, cups, bottles, and to-go containers. KAM represents manufacturers of these products and supports legislation to preempt localities from establishing a patchwork of regulations. Requiring different thickness levels for plastic bags and container size requirements negatively impacts manufacturers, retailers, and consumers. Regulation of these items should occur at the state level.
HB 221, sponsored by Rep. Suzanne Miles, is legislation to amend the bill she passed last session increasing the limits for overweight trucks carrying metal commodities. This legislation expands the definition of metal commodities to include recyclable material used in the production of output products by metal processors. KAM monitored the legislation last session and will do the same this year.
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.
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!