Advocacy Blog

GLI’s Bi-State Priorities Move in Indiana Legislature

GLI is a regional chamber that crosses state lines.  We work together with One Southern Indiana to collaborate and work on initiatives that benefit both Indiana and Kentucky.

Indiana’s General Assembly convened on January 3rd and will adjourn in late April. The Indiana General Assembly is similar compared to Kentucky, with the exception of the timing when bills move through the legislative process. Indiana House and Senate bills are considered in their respective chambers for the first half of the session. If successful, those bills officially “crossover” to the other chamber for consideration on predetermined dates. Some big issues in consideration include the two-year state budget (Indiana’s budget is determined in even-numbered years), long-term road funding, university funding, reforming school testing, and a workforce-ready grant program.

GLI has been engaged in the Indiana legislature with our partners at One Southern Indiana on a few issues that impact our region. One of GLI’s biggest priorities in Indiana is House Bill 1211, authored by Rep. Steven Stemler. This bill would establish the Indiana-Kentucky transborder groundwater authority, which would study ownership rights in the groundwater resources shared by our two states. The Groundwater Authority is forward thinking and a solid governing measure.  It will prevent Kentucky and Indiana from getting into a prolonged, expensive legal battle over water resources should we experience a drought. On February 7, GLI’s Advocacy team testified in front of the Statutory Committee on Interstate and International Cooperation where the bill received unanimous support. GLI returned to the Capitol on March 20 to support the measure in the Senate Committee on Environmental Affairs, where it passed unanimously.

HB 1211 was adopted by the Senate committee with a committee amendment. The bill awaits action by the full Senate. If passed, it will return back to the Indiana House for concurrence. GLI supports the original version of HB 1211 and continues to monitor the proposed amendments.  

Another top GLI priority in the Hoosier state is House Bill 1286, also authored by Rep. Steven Stemler. HB 1286 would further refine the laws regarding regional development authorities. Within HB 1286, if a regional development authority (RDA) is established after June 30, 2017, the establishing ordinances must specify if the authority has the power of eminent domain, does not have the power of eminent domain, or has the authority per the approval of the municipality’s legislative body. GLI will continue to work with One Southern Indiana in its efforts to form a RDA in Southern Indiana.

HB 1286 passed unanimously in the House and Senate committee on Local Government. It awaits action by the full Senate.

The Kentucky legislature passed its 28th day last Wednesday and recessed for 10 days for the Governor’s Veto Period. There are a few items of unfinished business that may be considered on March 29th and 30th when the legislature convenes for their final two days.

Senate Bill 1, referred to as the “Let Teachers Teach” bill and sponsored by Sen. Mike Wilson, is the most comprehensive education reform bill our Commonwealth has seen in a long time and will align Kentucky’s educational standards with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. SB 1 will also return much of the power back to individual school districts. GLI supports high academic standards for our students in order to create a workforce that will meet the demands of the future.

SB1 passed 94-0 in the House of Representatives on last week after passing 35-0 out of the Senate last month. This bill is received by the Senate for concurrence.

Senate Bill 18, sponsored by Sen. Ralph Alvarado, is an important piece of legislation that will protect confidential information, such as employee reviews and evaluations, from being provided as evidence in civil action cases. SB 18 language was filed into a House floor amendment and added into HB 409, but was recently withdrawn.

SB 18 passed the Senate in February and awaits action in the House of Representatives.

Senate Bill 120, sponsored by Sen. Whitney Westerfield, seeks to cut down on recidivism and improve transition after time served. This bipartisan measure will improve Kentucky’s workforce shortage by allowing individuals with a criminal record to have opportunities for employment, pay taxes and support their families. One important piece of this bill includes options for employers with occupational licensing boards and the ability to consider workers with prior offenses. A board maintains the ability to deny a license as they see fit, and SB 120 establishes a fair appeals process.

SB 120 passed the House of Representatives and awaits concurrence in the Senate.

House Bill 72, sponsored by Rep. Jerry Miller, will address the endless appeals process that opponents of development projects have used to kill economic investments in our community by requiring the post of an appeal bond by the appellant. HB 72 will deter frivolous appeals, allow legitimate cases to proceed, and make the process fair.

House Bill 72 was amended in the Senate, and the House of Representatives refused to concur. HB 72 will go to conference committee after the 10 day recess for the Governor’s veto period.

House Bill 206, sponsored by Rep. Bam Carney, will establish a Dual Credit Scholarship Program, which will serve Kentucky students at public, private and community colleges. The bill defines which students are eligible.

HB 206 passed unanimously in the House of Representatives and awaits action in the Senate Education committee.

House Bill 330, sponsored by Rep. David Osborne, will give the Louisville Arena Authority more time to pay off its obligations. The Yum Center is an attraction that injects a great amount of economic life into our region. By extending the time period to collect revenue from 20 years to 45 years, we make sure one of our region’s greatest venues does not default on its bond payments.

HB 330 awaits a vote in the Senate.

For the latest updates, follow our advocacy staff on Twitter: @gliadvocacy #kyga17

GLI Legislative Update: Week 7

A big week in the Kentucky General Assembly! Several bills received final passage and many more are on deck to the Governor’s desk. Legislators get to head back to their home districts and enjoy a slower pace during the Veto Days. Members will resume the final days of the session on March 29 and Sine Die on March 30.

Fun Fact: Sine Die is Latin for “without day.”

Senate Bill 1, referred to as the “Let Teachers Teach” bill and sponsored by Sen. Mike Wilson, is the most comprehensive education reform bill our Commonwealth has seen in a long time and will align Kentucky’s educational standards with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. SB 1 will also return much of the power back to individual school districts. GLI supports high academic standards for our students in order to create a workforce that will meet the demands of the future.

SB1 passed 94-0 in the House of Representatives on Wednesday after passing 35-0 out of the Senate last month. This bill is not on its way to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

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Senate Bill 120, sponsored by Sen. Whitney Westerfield, seeks to cut down on recidivism and improve transition after time served. This bipartisan measure will improve Kentucky’s workforce shortage by allowing individuals with a criminal record to have opportunities for employment, pay taxes and support their families. One important piece of this bill includes options for employers with occupational licensing boards and the ability to consider workers with prior offenses. A board maintains the ability to deny a license as they see fit, and SB 120 establishes a fair appeals process.

SB 120 passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday after passing out of the Senate last month.

Senate Bill 153, sponsored by Sen. David P. Givens, will establish funds for postsecondary schools based on student success, course completion, and other performance-based incentives. GLI supports education bills that incentivize our state’s schools to perform well.

SB 153 passed the House on Tuesday and awaits Gov. Bevin’s signature.

House Bill 50, sponsored by Rep. Kenny Imes, outlines the process for compiling administrative regulations and sets an expiration date for past and future regulations. HB 50 will ease compliance for businesses while making sure that Kentucky’s regulatory environment is not overly burdensome.

HB 50 passed Senate last week and awaits Gov. Bevin’s signature.

House Bill 72, sponsored by Rep. Jerry Miller, will address the endless appeals process that opponents of development projects have used to kill economic investments in our community by requiring the post of an appeal bond by the appellant. HB 72 will deter frivolous appeals, allow legitimate cases to proceed, and make the process fair.

HB 72 was amended and passed out of the Senate on Wednesday, the House failed to concur with HB 72 as amended by the Senate. The bill awaits Senate action.

House Bill 410, sponsored by Rep. Jim DuPlessis, offers Kentuckians the option to choose enhanced identification that will comply with federal standards or continue to use the current state-issued identification card. Kentucky will now be compliant with enhanced federal standards set by the Department of Homeland Security and Kentucky identification cards will be accepted for entry into federal facilities such as Fort Knox, Fort Campbell, other government facilities and domestic flights.

HB 410 passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday and was delivered to Gov. Bevin for his signature.

House Bill 520, sponsored by Rep. Bam Carney, allows the establishment of charter schools in the Commonwealth. This legislation outlines the qualifications needed to apply and authorize a charter school, including a path for existing schools to become charter schools. Charter schools provide another educational option for families of all economic backgrounds who want the best for their children. House Bill 471, sponsored by Rep. Steven Rudy and co-sponsored by Rep. Bam Carney, includes language to fund HB 520.

HB 520 and HB 471 passed the Senate on Wednesday, and passed the House as amended Wednesday night and awaits Gov. Bevin’s signature.

Indiana House Bill 1286 passed through the Indiana Senate Committee on Local Government with unanimous support earlier this week. Within HB1286, if a regional development authority (RDA) is established after June 30, 2017, the establishing ordinances must specify if the authority has the power of eminent domain, does not have the power of eminent domain, or has the authority per the approval of the municipality’s legislative body. GLI will continue to work with One Southern Indiana in its efforts to form a RDA in Southern Indiana.

HB1286 passed the Indiana House 96-0 last month and awaits a full Senate vote. 

 

For the latest updates, follow our advocacy staff on Twitter: @gliadvocacy #kyga17

GLI Legislative Update: Week 6

This week concludes the month long back-to-back action of the 2017 Regular Session. Thursday and Friday of this week, the General Assembly took a break from their regular work schedules and will continue legislative work without the gavel. Members will reconvene on Tuesday, March 14 for Day 27 of the 30-day Regular Session.

Several of Greater Louisville Inc.’s priority legislation received final passage this week and a few more are on deck for full floor votes. With only three working days left, GLI is working hard to ensure the bills listed below make it to Governor Bevin’s desk for his signature.

For the latest updates, follow our advocacy staff on Twitter: @gliadvocacy #kyga17

 

House Bill 100, sponsored by Rep. Chad McCoy, will allow distillers to sell their vintage products at fairs, festivals and similar events. GLI strongly supports our signature industry, bourbon.

HB 100 passed the Senate on Wednesday and awaits Governor Bevin’s signature.

House Bill 410, sponsored by Rep. Jim DuPlessis, will offer Kentuckians the option to choose enhanced identification that will comply with federal standards or continue to use the current state-issued identification card. If Kentucky does not comply with the enhanced federal standards set by the Department of Homeland Security by June 6 of this year, a passport or other federally-issued identification card will be required for Kentuckians who are trying to enter federal facilities such as Fort Knox, Fort Campbell, or other government facilities. Kentucky is one of the few remaining states out of compliance and this legislation will help curb inconvenience, various denials of entry, and overall widespread confusion. GLI is supportive of HB 410.

HB 410 passed the House on Tuesday and now awaits action in the Senate Transportation committee.

Senate Bill 10, sponsored by Sen. Paul Hornback, is a continuation from the legislature’s 2015 updates to modernize Kentucky’s telecommunications laws. We need this legislation to attract economic growth and technology by eliminating outdated regulations.

SB 10 passed the House on Tuesday and awaits Governor Bevin’s signature.

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House Bill 35, sponsored by Rep. Jerry Miller, will allow a business to pursue a public benefit, in addition to profit, and enshrines a company’s mission for future generations. Public Benefit Corporations are recognized in 31 other states and allows businesses to pursue capital from a new and growing group of impact investors. GLI is the only chamber of commerce in Kentucky that is supportive of Public Benefit Corporations and the economic development opportunities HB 35 will create.

HB 35 passed the Senate on Tuesday and awaits Governor Bevin’s signature.

Senate Bill 153, sponsored by Sen. David P. Givens, will establish funds for postsecondary schools based on student success, course completion, and other performance-based incentives. GLI supports education bills that incentivize our state’s schools to perform well.

SB 153 is posted for Regular Orders next week after reporting favorably in the House Appropriations & Revenue committee.

Senate Bill 1, sponsored by Sen. Mike Wilson, is the most comprehensive education reform bill our Commonwealth has seen in a long time and will align Kentucky’s educational standards with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. SB 1 will also return much of the power back to individual school districts. GLI supports high academic standards for our students in order to create a workforce that will meet the demands of the future.

SB 1 reported favorably in the House Education committee and eligible for a floor vote.

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Senate Bill 151, sponsored by Sen. Stephen Meredith, codifies the relationship between a franchisor and a franchisee. SB 151 provides that neither a franchisee nor an employee of a franchisee is an employee of a franchisor.  The franchise business model is a successful one that provides a path to entrepreneurship to many who otherwise would not have that opportunity and provides over 145,000 jobs in Kentucky alone.

SB 151 awaits Governor Bevin’s signature.

Senate Bill 120, sponsored by Sen. Whitney Westerfield, seeks to cut down on recidivism and improve transition after time served. This bipartisan measure will improve Kentucky’s workforce shortage by allowing individuals with a criminal record to have opportunities for employment, pay taxes and support their families. One important piece of this bill includes options for employers with occupational licensing boards and the ability to consider workers with prior offenses. A board maintains the ability to deny a license as they see fit, and SB 120 establishes a fair appeals process.

SB 120 reported favorably in the House judiciary committee and posted for Regular Orders.

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House Bill 292, a road aid formula modernization bill sponsored by Rep. Jerry Miller, is an important bill to focus Kentucky’s efforts to update the road formulas. This concept would maintain the current road formula for revenue sharing of the fuel tax revenue up to $825 million, which maintains counties’ current funding levels. Amounts exceeding $825 million would enable urban areas to receive fairer funding to local governments with higher traffic areas. As advocates for the Greater Louisville area, we continue to support changing the road aid formula to align with usage and encourage legislators to keep this concept a priority during tax reform.

GLI testified in support of HB 292 this week in the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee. 

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GLI Legislative Update: Week 5

Senate Bill 2, sponsored by Sen. Joe Bowen, is a measure to bring more transparency and oversight to the Kentucky’s retirement systems, including Kentucky Retirement System, Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System, and the Judicial Retirement System. Pension transparency has been a priority of GLI for years.

SB 2 passed the House and Senate unanimously and awaits Governor Bevin’s signature.

Senate Bill 4, sponsored by Sen. Ralph Alvarado, will allow Medical Review Panels in Kentucky. MRPs will mitigate the cost of medical malpractice litigation. Medical Review Panels have been a longtime priority of GLI, limiting the exposure of health care companies to frivolous lawsuits and incentivize more health care professionals to the Commonwealth.

SB 4 passed out of the House on Wednesday, and received final passage from the Senate today and awaits Governor Bevin’s signature

Senate Bill 78, also sponsored by Sen. Alvarado, will prohibit tobacco use on school property. Students, school personnel and visitors will be prohibited from using tobacco in schools, school vehicles, properties and activities. Tobacco cessation and smoke-free workplaces are longstanding priorities of GLI.

SB 78 passed the Senate and awaits action in the House Education Committee.

Senate Bill 151, sponsored by Sen. Stephen Meredith, codifies the relationship between a franchisor and a franchisee. SB 151 provides that neither a franchisee nor an employee of a franchisee is an employee of a franchisor.  The franchise business model is a successful one that provides a path to entrepreneurship to many who otherwise would not have that opportunity and provides over 145,000 jobs in Kentucky alone.

SB 151 was reported favorably in the House Economic Development & Workforce Investment Cabinet and awaits action by the full House.

House Bill 35, sponsored by Rep. Jerry Miller, will allow a business to pursue a public benefit, in addition to profit, and enshrines a company’s mission for future generations. Public Benefit Corporations are recognized in 31 other states and allows businesses to pursue capital from a new and growing group of impact investors. GLI held a press conference in support of PBCs on Thursday and is the only chamber of commerce in Kentucky that is supportive of Public Benefit Corporations and the economic development opportunities HB 35 will create.

HB 35 was reported favorably out of the Senate Agriculture Committee and was placed on the Consent Calendar of the Senate.

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House Bill 72, also sponsored by Rep. Jerry Miller, will address the endless appeals process that opponents of development projects have used to kill economic investments in our community by requiring the post of an appeal bond by the appellant. HB 72 will deter frivolous appeals, allow legitimate cases to proceed, and make the process fair.

HB 72 was reported favorably out of the Senate State & Local Government Committee, it awaits action on the Senate Floor.

House Bill 330, sponsored by Rep. David Osborne, will give the Louisville Arena Authority more time to collect a portion of the sales and property tax revenue the area surrounding the arena. The Yum! Center is an attraction that injects a great amount of economic life into our region. By extending the time period to collect revenue from 20 years to 45 years, we make sure one of our region’s greatest venues does not default on its bond payments.

HB 330 passed the house on Monday and awaits action in the Senate

House Bill 100, sponsored by Rep. Chad McCoy, defines “vintage distilled spirits” and allows distillers to sell vintage spirits at fairs, festivals and permits sales to restaurants. GLI is supportive of this signature industry and supports the economic opportunities bourbonism brings to our region.

HB 100 passed out of the House on Monday and awaits action in the Senate Licensing, Occupations, & Administrative Regulations Committee.

House Bill 296, sponsored by Rep. Adam Koenig, will address the problems facing Kentucky’s $1 billion workers’ compensation system. HB 296 clarifies how the limitation on reopening claims already in Kentucky will be applied, set an appropriate time period for filing claims on an injury that presents symptoms years after exposure and will require that treatment guidelines be developed and implemented to ensure the proper standard of care while allowing for flexibility in care for special cases. Increasing the efficiency of the system will drive employers’ cost down while improving injured workers’ access to care, and return the individual to work more quickly.

SB 296 awaits action in the Senate Economic Development, Tourism, and Labor Committee.

House Bill 410, sponsored by Rep. Jim DuPlessis, will offer Kentuckians the option to choose if their state-issued identification card will comply with enhanced federal standards that limit those with non-compliant identifications from entering certain federal facilities. GLI is supportive of HB 410.

HB 410 was reported favorably by the House Appropriations & Revenue Committee on Tuesday and awaits action on the House floor.

House Bill 520, sponsored by Rep. John Carney, will authorize the establishment of much-need charter schools in Kentucky. All of Kentucky’s students deserve a diverse array of educational opportunities, regardless of their economic standing.

HB 520 passed out of the House Education Committee and the full House today, it will head to the Senate for further action.

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GLI Legislative Update: Week 4

GLI priority legislation has remained in the spotlight on both sides of the Ohio River this week.

Senate Bill 2, the pension transparency bill sponsored by Sen. Joe Bowen, is a measure to bring more transparency and oversight to the Kentucky’s retirement systems, including Kentucky Retirement System, Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System, and the Judicial Retirement System.

SB 2 passed the Senate unanimously last week and passed the House unanimously on Thursday. 

Senate Bill 10, sponsored by Sen. Paul Hornback, is a continuation from the legislature’s 2015 updates to modernize Kentucky’s telecommunications laws. We need this legislation to attract economic growth and technology by eliminating outdated regulations.

SB 10 passed the Senate this week and awaits House action.

Senate Bill 78, sponsored by Sen. Ralph Alvarado, will prohibit tobacco use on school property. Students, school personnel and visitors will be prohibited from using tobacco in schools, school vehicles, properties and activities. Tobacco cessation and smoke-free workplaces are longstanding priorities of GLI.

SB 78 passed the Senate last week and sent to the House Education committee on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 120, sponsored by Sen. Whitney Westerfield, passed the Senate Judiciary on Thursday. SB 120, the reentry bill, seeks to cut down on recidivism and improve transition after time served. This bipartisan measure will improve Kentucky’s workforce shortage by allowing individuals with a criminal record to have opportunities for employment, pay taxes, and support their families. One important piece of this bill includes options for employers with occupational licensing boards and the ability to consider workers with prior offenses. A board maintains the ability to deny a license as they see fit, and SB 120 establishes a fair appeals process.

SB 120 passed the Senate on Friday 35-1 and now awaits House action.

Senate Bill 151, sponsored by Sen. Stephen Meredith and Sen. Wil Schroder, passed the Senate on Thursday. SB 151 will protect the widely successful franchisor-franchisee business model in Kentucky. Although franchisees don the names of big corporations, they are still essentially small, locally owned businesses. GLI and top investors, Papa John’s and YUM!, testified in committee this week.

SB 151 passed the House Economic Development &Workforce Investment committee on Thursday and awaits full House vote.

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House Bill 291, the drone bill sponsored by Rep. Diane St. Onge, regulates the personal and business use of drones.

HB 291 passed the House this week and received in the Senate for committee assignment.

House Bill 296, sponsored by Rep. Adam Koenig, will address the problems facing Kentucky’s $1 billion workers’ compensation system. HB 296 clarifies how the limitation on reopening claims already in Kentucky will be applied, set an appropriate time period for filing claims on an injury that presents symptoms years after exposure and will require that treatment guidelines be developed and implemented to ensure the proper standard of care while allowing for flexibility in care for special cases. Increasing the efficiency of the system will drive employers’ costs down while improving injured workers’ access to care, and return the individual to work more quickly.

HB 296 passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday and moves to the Senate for consideration.

Hoosier Bills:

House Bill 1211, authored by Rep. Steven Stemler establishes the Indiana-Kentucky transborder groundwater authority to study ownership rights in the groundwater resources shared by our two states. GLI testified in favor of HB 1211 before the Statutory Committee on Interstate and International Cooperation on February 7th.

HB 1211 passed the Indiana House of Representatives unanimously last week. It was sent to the Senate Committee on Environmental Affairs.

Across the river in Indiana, several issues GLI supports are making their way through the Indiana legislature.

Senate Bill 379, sponsored by Sen. Ronald Grooms, will give tax deductions to qualified people who cross the Ohio River and use tolls. People who would qualify are residents of Clark or Floyd County, who incur at least $100 in non-reimbursed toll expenses to cross the Ohio River bridges in Clark County or Floyd County and people who have Riverlink personal accounts. This makes life easier on residents of southern Indiana who travel to Louisville to work every day.

SB 379 was read for the first time in January and was referred to the Indiana Senate Homeland Security and Transportation committee.

House Bill 1286, authored by Rep. Steven Stemler and sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Ronald Grooms, will limit the ability of regional development authorities to exercise eminent domain.

HB 1286 was passed in the Indiana House of Representatives in early February, and was later referred to the Indiana Senate Committee on Local Government where it awaits action.

 

GLI Legislative Update: Week 3

Many GLI priority bills stole the spotlight in Frankfort the third week of the legislature’s 2017 regular session.

Senate Bill 1, Sponsored by Sen. Mike Wilson, is the most comprehensive education reform bill our Commonwealth has seen in a long time and will align Kentucky’s educational standards with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. SB1 will also return much of the power back to individual school districts. GLI supports high academic standards for our students in order to create a workforce that will meet the demands of the future.

Senate Bill 1 passed unanimously out of the Senate today and will next be considered by the House of Representatives.

Senate Bill 2, Sponsored by Sen. Joe Bowen, outlines the confirmation process and requirements for appointees to the state retirement boards. It will also require the disclosure of investment fees and holdings. The goal is to ensure that investments made in public pension systems remain transparent, accountable, and sustainable.

SB2 passed unanimously out of the Senate and was reported favorably in the House State Government Committee.

Senate Bill 78, Sponsored by Sen. Ralph Alvarado, will prohibit tobacco use on school property. Students, school personnel, and visitors will be prohibited from using tobacco in schools, school vehicles, properties and activities. Tobacco cessation and smoke-free workplaces are longstanding priorities of GLI.

SB 78 passed the Senate on Wednesday and awaits action in the House of Representatives.

Senate Bill 151, sponsored by Sen. Stephen Meredith and Sen. Wil Schroder, passed the Senate on Thursday. SB 151 will protect the widely successful franchisor-franchisee business model in Kentucky. Although franchisees don the names of big corporations, they are still essentially small, locally owned businesses.

 SB 151 passed the Senate on Thursday and awaits action in the House. GLI testified before the Senate Economic Development, Tourism & Labor Committee in support of SB 151.

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House Bill 35, sponsored by Rep. Jerry Miller, will allow a business to pursue a public benefit, in addition to profit, and enshrines a company’s mission for future generations. Public Benefit Corporations are recognized in 31 other states and allows businesses to pursue capital from a new and growing group of impact investors.

HB 35 passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday and will be considered by the Senate Agriculture Committee on State and Local Government.

House Bill 72, also sponsored by Rep. Jerry Miller, will address the endless appeals process that opponents of development projects have used to kill economic investments in our community by requiring the post of an appeal bond by the appellant. HB 72 will deter frivolous appeals, allow legitimate cases to proceed, and make the process fair.

HB 72 passed out of the House on Tuesday and will be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

 

House Bill 296, sponsored by Rep. Adam Koenig, will address the problems facing Kentucky’s $1 billion workers’ compensation system. HB 296 will clarify how the limitation on reopening claims already in Kentucky law will be applied, set an appropriate time period for filing claims on an injury that presents symptoms years after exposure and will require that treatment guidelines be developed and implemented to ensure the proper standard of care while allowing for flexibility in care for special cases. Increasing the efficiency of the system will drive employers’ cost down, improve injured workers’ access to care, and return the individual to work more quickly.

HB 296 is being considered by the House of Representatives after being reported favorably in the House Economic Development & Workforce Investment Committee.

House Bill 330, sponsored by Rep. David Osborne, will lengthen the tax increment financing (TIF) model for the KFC Yum! Center. HB 330 would extend the TIF from 20 years where it is currently, to no less than 20 and no more than 45 years. If action is not taken on this important issue, the arena could default on bond payments, and significantly reduce the economic impact it provides businesses, restaurants and hotels by attracting top tier sporting and music events.

HB 330 was filed this week and awaits action in the House Appropriations & Revenue Committee.

GLI was on hand during the signing of House Bill 1, the new law designating Kentucky as a Right to Work state. Kentucky employees now have the freedom to choose whether or not they join a union at their place of work. GLI has been a strong advocate for Right to Work legislation for years and we commend the leadership of the House, Senate and Governor for signing this GLI priority into law.

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Across the river, GLI has continued to work with our regional partners to pass legislation that will improve our bi-state region.

House Bill 1211, authored by Rep. Steven Stemler establishes the Indiana-Kentucky transborder groundwater authority to study ownership rights in the groundwater resources shared by our two states. GLI testified in favor of HB 1211 before the Statuatory Committee on Interstate and International Cooperation on February 7th.

HB 1211 passed the Indiana House of Representatives unanimously on Wednesday. It has been sponsored by a State Senator from our region, Senator Grooms and awaits action by the Indiana State Senate.

The GLI Advocacy Team continues to meet with our elected officials on both sides of the river to advance legislation outlined in our 2017 Legislative Agenda. Click hereto view the progress of the other bills we are tracking.

GLI Legislative Update: Part II Begins

Several GLI priority bills were on the move in the legislature’s first week back for part II of the regular session.

House Bill 72, sponsored by Rep. Jerry Miller, will address the endless appeals that opponents of development projects have utilized to kill investments in our community, by requiring the post of an appeal bond by the appellant. HB 72 will deter frivolous appeals, allow legitimate cases to proceed, and make the process fair.

HB 72 passed out of the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, February 7, 2017. GLI testified in support of the Appeal Bond Bill.

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House Bill 35, also sponsored by Rep. Miller, will allow a business to pursue a public benefit, in addition to profit, and enshrines a company’s mission for future generations. Public Benefit Corporations are recognized in 31 other states and allows businesses to pursue capital from a new and growing group of impact investors.

HB 35 passed unanimously out of the House State Government Committee on Thursday, February 9, 2017. GLI is supportive of Public Benefit Corporations.

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Senate Bill 78, sponsored by Sen. Ralph Alvarado, would prohibit the use of tobacco by students, visitors, faculty and staff on school property. A healthy workforce is important to a strong economy and healthy lifestyle choices are best learned early.

SB 78 passed out of the Senate Education Committee on Thursday, February 9, 2017. GLI is supportive of measures to increase wellness, including smoke-free workplaces.

Senate Bill 2, sponsored by Sen. Joe Bowen, will require Senate confirmation of the Executive Director of the Kentucky Retirement System and appointees to the KRS Board. SB 2 will also require the disclosure of investment fees and holdings, and will require board members to have previous investment experience. Our pension system drastically needs these reforms to remain solvent.

SB2 passed unanimously out of the Senate on Wednesday, February 8, 2017, and awaits action in the House. GLI is supportive of SB 2.

GLI co-hosted a pizza luncheon in the Capitol on Tuesday February 7 for legislators with our regional chamber partners. We would like to thank Papa John’s for their sponsorship of the successful event.

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On the other side of the river, GLI has continued to work with our regional partners to pass legislation that will improve our bi-state region.

House Bill 1211, authored by Rep. Steven Stemler will establish the Indiana-Kentucky transborder groundwater authority to study ownership rights in the groundwater resources shared by our two states.

HB 1211 passed out of the Statutory Committee on Interstate and International Cooperation on Tuesday, February 7, 2017. GLI testified in favor of HB 1211 before the Committee

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In December and January, GLI awarded our 2016 Most Valuable Policymakers. Due to scheduling conflicts, Kent Oyler was able to honor Senator Jimmy Higdon with his award.  Senator Higdon is a champion of regionalism.  He supported Senate Bill 140, which restores tuition reciprocity for Kentucky’s residents at post-secondary institutions out-of-state.  He has also worked with GLI to secure inclusion of Nelson County in the 2017 tuition reciprocity agreement with Indiana.  Senator Higdon is also one of the most accessible members of Senate Leadership and is always willing to work with members of the business community to increase our Commonwealth’s competitiveness. Thank you, Senator Higdon!

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The GLI Advocacy Team continues to meet with our elected officials on both sides of the river to advance legislation outlined in our 2017 Legislative Agenda. Click here to view the progress of the other bills we are tracking.

Speaker Hoover Previews Part II of 2017 Session

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House Speaker Jeff Hoover spoke to local business leaders at GLI’s Capitol Connections luncheon yesterday and provided a review of the first week of the 2017 legislative session. During his remarks, Speaker Hoover offered an outlook on what to expect for the remaining 25 days of the 30 day session when the legislature reconvenes on February 7th.

Speaker Hoover emphasized to the crowd of 215 at the Olmsted that the General Assembly’s focus would remain on pro-business, economic issues. Several of GLI’s state legislative priorities have already passed this session and signed into law, including right to work, paycheck protection, the repeal of prevailing wage, and legislator pension transparency.

Greater Louisville Inc. looks forward to working with Speaker Hoover and the new house majority to continue our push for legislation to improve the business climate in the remaining days of the 2017 legislative session.  A few outstanding priorities include working towards the passage of medical review panels, which would permit a panel of impartial medical professionals to examine the merits of lawsuits against health care providers. GLI will also be continuing our efforts to improve the education environment in Kentucky with charter school and school choice scholarship legislation and working to pass a law to allow Public Benefit Corporations, so Kentucky can attract new businesses, entrepreneurs and investments.

We are encouraged by Speaker Hoover’s prediction that these issues will have the legislature’s attention when they reconvene and GLI will be there to ensure the business community’s voice is heard on these critical issues.

Perennial GLI Issues Clear Hurdle

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A first in Kentucky’s history, the State House of Representatives has passed Right-To-Work (HB 1) and prevailing wage repeal (HB 3) legislation. These have been perennial issues on GLI’s legislative agenda for years and we congratulate the House legislative body on this monumental occasion.

HB 1 allows an employee to decide if they would like to join a union at their place of employment. HB 3 would remove government-determined wages on construction projects, which will lower the cost of state construction projects, saving taxpayer dollars. Both pieces of legislation, sponsored by Speaker Jeff Hoover, show a strong commitment to job creation, talent attraction, and accelerating the economy of our Commonwealth.

GLI applauds the Kentucky House for passing House bills 1 and 3.  We look forward to swift passage in the Kentucky State Senate in the upcoming days, and then onward to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

To see all of the bills GLI is tracking this legislative session, click here.

First Thing’s First: Pass Right to Work

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With the elections in the far rearview mirror, Kentuckians are ready to take the campaign promises to the bank. At the top of the list, Greater Louisville Inc. is particularly hopeful that the Governor and legislative leaders in the House and Senate will pass Right-to-Work (RTW) legislation during the 2017 General Assembly.  The legislation has experienced rapid movement early this week.  RTW was introduced yesterday and designated HB 1, an indication the House has placed it as the top priority for the chamber.

GLI believes union membership should be a matter of personal choice, not a requirement to maintain employment. Critics will claim this law would deny workers the opportunity from joining a union. It is quite the contrary. In fact, a 2015 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that unions gained more members in the then-permitted 25 RTW states compared to non-RTW states.

Since that study, 26 states now allow the option to affiliate with a union. Our state is the only southern state without a RTW law. This includes four of Kentucky’s border states that have enacted this legislation.

GLI’s goal is to recruit new businesses, retain jobs, and encourage expansion in all sectors, simply put, Kentucky cannot afford to lag in its competitiveness. We no longer want our Commonwealth to be by-passed by site selectors who rule us out due to our lack of RTW laws, before we have an opportunity to showcase qualities that make our state a great place to do business. Failure to address this issue during this year’s regular session of the Kentucky General Assembly would be a major blow to the state’s business community and will continue to make our Commonwealth a conspicuous outlier in this much needed area of reform.

Movement in this direction would represent an important step in Kentucky’s efforts to recruit and retain good-paying jobs. RTW states have seen faster growth in manufacturing and non-agricultural jobs, faster per capita income growth, greater capital expenditures, fewer work stoppages, and lower unemployment.

GLI is dedicated to work closely with our state legislators to make certain this remains a top priority for the 2017 session and we look forward to its bipartisan passage in the upcoming weeks.