Advocacy Blog

GLI Supports Passage of Federal Budget Resolution, Tax Reform

As an investor-driven organization representing more than 1,600 businesses, civic organizations, and entrepreneurs in Kentucky and Indiana, Greater Louisville Inc. has long sought tax reform at the federal level that is pro-growth and business-friendly.

A crucial vote in the Senate this week could bring the country one step closer to achieving that goal.

The last major overhaul of the federal tax code was in the 1980s. It has since grown in both density and complexity, putting a burden on businesses and citizens alike and creating a drag on our economy. Reform is long-overdue and will drive economic growth, help employers create more jobs, and give a much-needed boost to wages.

As GLI COO Sarah Davasher-Wisdom said in a letter this week to members of Greater Louisville’s congressional delegation, tax reform is needed “to keep up with today’s fast-paced and increasingly globalized economy.” This is a key reason why GLI supports “a federal tax code that is simple, competitive, fair, broad-based, and does not impose a disproportionate burden on any specific sector, industry, or activity.”

The process of reforming the federal tax code is already under way. Late last month, the Trump administration, members of the House Committee on Ways and Means, and the Senate Committee on Finance released a framework for federal tax reform. This framework will function as a guide for lawmakers as they mark up the actual legislation in committee meetings and hammer out the details of the reform package. Before that can happen, however, both chambers must pass budget resolutions with reconciliation instructions. This step will allow Congress to modernize and reform the federal tax code without the threat of a filibuster in the Senate—in other words, 51 votes instead of 60.

The House passed its resolution with reconciliation instructions on October 4, and now it’s up to the Senate, which is expected to take up a vote on a resolution this week.

The importance of that vote cannot be overstated.

In September GLI signed onto a letter with almost 250 chambers and associations nationwide, urging Congress to pass a budget resolution with reconciliation instructions. As stated in that letter, “failing to pass a budget resolution now may mean that tax reform never moves forward.”

The House has done its part to prevent that outcome. The Senate needs to follow suit.

GLI strongly urges Greater Louisville’s representatives in the Senate—Sens. McConnell, Paul, Donnelly, and Young—and all members of the upper chamber to pass a budget resolution with reconciliation instructions.

Pave the road to tax reform, and seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity.

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Greater Louisville Inc. Sets the Record Straight on Pension Crisis

Greater Louisville Inc. released a statement and Myth/Fact rebuttal to claims recently floated by the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy.

“A continued ‘pay later’ approach will fail future public employees, current employees, retirees and taxpayers,” said GLI President, Kent Oyler. “There’s already a $15,000 liability for every man, woman and child in the Commonwealth, and our pension spending grew at a rate of 56% in fiscal year 2017 alone.  To save our pensions, we must look to proven structural reforms that the private sector has been implementing for many years now.  States are wisely turning to a level dollar approach to paying down unfunded liabilities each year. This means more money in the plans, not less.  Kentucky should do the same.  The time for serious action is now.”

Myth / Fact on Solutions to Kentucky’s Pension Crisis

Myth: “Pension Design Is Not the Problem So Pension Redesign Is Not the Answer”

FACT: The current unfunded liabilities in Kentucky are a direct result of the assumptions and methods used by the state’s pension plans, and the failure of the state to properly pay for the benefits promised. While the problem is not the generosity of the defined benefit plan, the system in place to pay for benefits that are promised is a problem. Thus the ‘answer’ does rest on making changes to pension design. We must eliminate the potential for policymakers to underfund long-term liabilities.  That can only happen with structural reform.

Myth: “Kentucky finally stepped up to nearly paying its full ARC contributions to TRS in the 2017-2018 budget, as shown, and the state’s failure to pay the ARC before those years is the main reason TRS is underfunded.”

FACT: The main reason TRS is underfunded is because of the back-loaded method of paying off unfunded liabilities as a percentage of payroll. The second biggest reason for TRS underfunding has been underperforming investment returns. The third primary reason for TRS underfunding is missing other actuarial assumptions and needing to retroactively account for pension promises that were artificially depressed by the assumptions and methods chosen. The state’s failure to pay actuarially determined contributions is a problem, but it comes in at #4 on the list of reasons why TRS is underfunded. Just paying the actuarially required rate is not enough to save TRS if all of the assumptions and methods being used to determine that rate are wrong.

Myth: “A shift to a Defined Contribution plan will not save money”

FACT: The primary objective of offering a defined contribution retirement plan is to provide more public sector employees with a retirement benefit they can keep (since most do not wind up working long enough to earn a full pension) while also reducing taxpayer risks created by the usage of unrealistic assumptions for the current plans. In the short-term, a sound DC plan that will ensure retirement security can be provided at a lower cost than the price of a defined benefit plan using more appropriate and safe assumptions — thus it can save money compared to properly pricing a defined benefit plan. In the long-term, a sound DC plan will save the state money by ensuring unfunded liabilities do not accrue on new employees.

Myth: “state’s existing [percent of payroll] method is not controversial: actuaries consider it standard practice.”

FACT: Sure, it is standard practice to peg future pension debt payments to growth in payroll. But that does not make the practice a good one for Kentucky. The underlying assumption with percent of payroll is that total payroll will grow by the same percentage each year.  That’s been a TERRIBLE assumption for Kentucky. Using this accounting method for paying off unfunded liabilities has been one of the largest contributors to growth in our pension debt. It will likely be even worse going forward. Percent of payroll amortization is more of the same “pay later” approach that has utterly failed to the point where it has resulted in negative amortization.

There is a better way. States are increasingly shifting towards paying off unfunded pension liabilities in equal dollar payments each year, including the most recent changes for new hires in Arizona and Michigan. It means more money in plans immediately.

This “level dollar” amortization approach would pay down the debt by a consistent, fixed amount each year, akin to how most home mortgages are structured. This avoids having lots of years where interest grows at a faster rate than payments towards the pension debt. Level dollar is the most common amortization in consumer debt and residential loans.  No games or gimmicks, just a clear and consistent path to becoming debt-free.

Myth: “The legislature clearly does have the authority to change benefits for new employees. But those workers do not add to the unfunded liability”

FACT: New employees added to the status quo systems will create more unfunded liabilities. KRS and TRS have a history of under performing investment, mortality, and payroll assumptions. Every new employee added to a system that under performs its assumptions will result in additional unfunded liabilities.

Myth: “because of the Great Recession [investment] returns fell short of the target over the last 10 years”

FACT: Under performing investment returns in Kentucky are not just because of the financial crisis. Financial markets have changed fundamentally over the past 20 years. Interest rates are much lower today than they were in the 1980s and 1990s — just think about how cheap it is to get a mortgage today relative to the 20th century when rates were in the double digits. The decline in interest rates has meant the returns on fixed income and bonds are much lower too and are forecast to stay lower. Virtually every major capital market forecast suggests that investment returns will be lower over the next decade than over the last few decades.

Myth: “Only 26 percent of the $1.8 billion in additional monies PFM calls for goes to the severely underfunded KERS non-hazardous plan, as shown the graph below. In contrast, 65 percent of those monies go to plans that are nearly 60 percent funded — TRS and the CERS non-hazardous plan.”

FACT: All of Kentucky’s plans are severely underfunded. In any other state a 60% funded plan would be considered a crisis on its own terms. Any plan that is less than 100% funded is in a shortfall. And any plan that has been less than 100% funded for five to 10 years should be worried about its fiscal health. The benchmark for fiscal health is being 100% funded — not 80% or 60%. Every public sector employee in Kentucky deserves to have a fully funded pension system.

2017 D.C. Fly In

Kent OylerLast week, I had the honor of leading 35 business leaders on GLI’s annual D.C. Fly-In. For those of us who don’t visit or work in Washington on a regular basis, this trip was an eye-opener, and for me, a positive one.

We met with Indiana and Kentucky’s senators, six members of Congress, the U.S. Chamber, the White House political and workforce staff and senior staff at the Department of Transportation. We were fortunate to be there as Sen. Mitch McConnell unveiled the new health care proposal and some of our group even ran into Ivanka Trump and U2’s Bono.

Despite the speed of the daily news cycle, the wheels of government continue to turn. When you get up close, some important facets are evident: Competent adults are running both sides of Congress and collegial relationships continue to be the norm in governing. Grandstanding, loud protests, innuendo and ugly sound bites seem from afar to define Washington.

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However, they are not the true show. Thousands of very smart and dedicated people in Congress, the White House and multiple government agencies are still doing their jobs and doing them well.

President Donald Trump is engaged. Several elected officials we met with pointed out how many calls and invitations they had received personally from the president. While the president’s public persona is perplexing to many, privately he is working closely with members of Congress.

Business issues such as workforce, taxes and trade are top of minds for our elected officials. While health care reform is the headline today, other game-changing legislation like the Choice Bill, which reforms Dodd-Frank, have advanced through the House and into the Senate.

The people we met with in Congress and the White House understand that developing a skilled workforce (a top priority for GLI) is vital to bolstering the economy. They are working on real plans to reform existing programs and bring forth new ones that will strengthen the country’s workforce.

Sen McConnell

Federal tax reform is a priority for the administration. Many people we spoke with expressed optimism that some form of it will pass this year. With tax reform also a top initiative in Kentucky, major changes to the tax code appear imminent and I’m grateful that GLI has a seat at the table both on the state and federal levels.

The bottom line for me after our D.C. Fly-In was a renewal of hope. I came away realistically optimistic in the chance for improvements for both business and citizens. In Washington, checks, balances and competent people remain and they are working to move the nation forward. I’m told that everything isn’t always how it appears in politics. Perhaps, but I’m betting on the best outcomes with the system we have in place.

-Kent Oyler, President & CEO of Greater Louisville Inc. 

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GLI Legislative Update: Sine Die

The 2017 Kentucky general assembly has officially adjourned. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights from the final two weeks of the 2017 regular session.

Recent Wins

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 passed the House of Representatives on Thursday night, just before sine die, and was delivered to Gov. Matt Bevin.

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.

House Bill 330 passed both the Senate and the House of Representatives on Thursday and was delivered to Gov. Matt Bevin.

GLI Priority Bills Signed by the Governor

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.

Gov. Matt Bevin signed House Bill 35 into law on March 20.

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.

Gov. Matt Bevin signed House Bill 410 into law on March 21.

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.

Gov. Matt Bevin signed House Bill 520 into law on March 21.

Missed Opportunities

House Bill 296, sponsored by Rep. Adam Koenig, would have addressed the problems facing Kentucky’s $1 billion workers’ compensation system. This bill would have clarified how the limitation on reopening claims already in Kentucky would be applied, set an appropriate time period for filing claims on an injury that presents symptoms years after exposure and would have required 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, GLI will be engaged on this issue in future sessions.

House Bill 296 did not receive a hearing in the Senate Economic Development, Tourism, and Labor committee.

Greater Louisville Inc. would like to thank Kentucky state legislators for all of their hard work during this busy session.

As we shift our focus from state to federal legislative issues, GLI will convene our public policy issues committees to set the federal priorities of the Greater Louisville business community. If you are interested in attending any of these meetings, please contact Stewart Lewis at slewis@greaterlouisville.com.

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.

sb1 total

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.