Session ends with many issues unaddressed

The 2014 session of the Kentucky General Assembly came to an abrupt end at midnight last night, the constitutionally-mandated end of session. Lawmakers were literally left standing on the House floor in the middle of a debate on how to address the heroin epidemic when the clock struck midnight. Senators were also standing on the Senate floor waiting to see if any additional bills would make it before the deadline. Despite having 60 days every even-numbered year, lawmakers routinely find themselves debating issued until the last moment and important measures fail as they are pushed later and later in session and eventually remain unaddressed as the clock strikes midnight.

After a flurry of activity for the final two days of session, there were a handful of good bills passed and several bad ideas thwarted, but many good bills fell victim to the legislative process. 

Good bills passed

  • The $20 billion state budget funds P-12 education better than the past several budgets, but enacts higher education cuts. It also funds the pension reform promises of 2013, but shortchanges the teachers’ retirement system.
  • Bourbon barrel tax credit to encourage investment and job growth in one of Kentucky’s signature industries.
  • Angel investor credit to help entrepreneurs grow start-up companies into successful Kentucky businesses.
  • Lowering the statute of limitations on written contracts from 15 years to 10 years.
  • Clarifying the current small business tax credit.
  • Juvenile justice reform bill to give youthful offenders a better chance of turning their lives around and save money for the system.
  • Requiring financial accountability for school districts by increasing reporting requirements.

Good bills failed

  • Despite passage of a significant job-creating public-private partnership (P3) bill in the first part of the session, legislators failed to address the governor’s veto.
  • Telecommunications reform failed to pass the House for the third consecutive year.
  • An effort to address the medical liability climate failed to gain passage in the House.
  • Expanded gaming wasn’t take up by either legislative chamber.
  • Tax reform was never considered by lawmakers in 2014.
  • Efforts to reform prevailing wage and consider right-to-work legislation was thwarted by the House Labor committee.
  • Efforts to enact charter schools to address persistently low achieving schools failed in the House.
  • Numerous legal liability reform efforts were stopped.
  • An effort to allow voters to vote for a local tax to fund local projects never garnered the support necessary for passage.
  • An effort to enact a statewide smoke-free law never received a floor vote in the House, nor a committee vote in the Senate.
  • Education reform efforts to professionalize teaching in the classroom were stopped by the
    House committee.
  • An important small business tax relief measure clarifying how the Limited Liability Entity Tax (LLET) is calculated was bogged down by outrageous fiscal estimates.

Bad bills stopped

  • Efforts to abolish the new, rigorous academic standards were stopped by heavy lobbying by the Chamber and education groups.
  • The Chamber led the fight to stop efforts to increase workers’ compensation costs.
  • Efforts to increase Kentucky’s minimum wage higher than surrounding states was stopped.
  • The bill to politicize the Public Service Commission was stopped dead in its tracks.
  • Onerous coal mining restrictions were defeated.
  • A bill to hike business taxes was never considered.

The Chamber’s public affairs team is combing over the final actions of the 2014 session and preparing our annual Results for Business: What passed? What didn’t? And what it means to your bottom line? Keep an eye out for it in your upcoming chamber newsletter. 

Overwhelming support for legislature to override veto of P3 bill

The following organizations have joined the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce in supporting the override of the governor’s veto of HB 407, the bipartisan P3 Jobs bill.

American Council of Engineering Companies of Kentucky
American Institute of Architects Kentucky (AIAKY)
Associated Builders and Contractors of Indiana and Kentucky (ABC)
Associated General Contractors of Kentucky (AGC)
Chamber Leadership Initiatives for Northwest Kentucky (C-LINK)
Commerce Lexington Inc.
Greater Louisville Inc. (GLI)
Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce
Hardin County Chamber of Commerce
Homebuilders Association of Kentucky (HBAK)
Kentuckians for Better Transportation (KBT)
Kentucky Association of Counties (KACO)
Kentucky Association of Highway Contractors (KAHC)
Kentucky Association of Manufacturers (KAM)
Kentucky Association of REALTORS®
Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Executives (KCCE)
Kentucky Fire Sprinklers Association
Kentucky Forest Industries Association
Kentucky League of Cities (KLC)
Kentucky Magistrates and Commissioners Association
Kentucky Motor Transport Association (KMTA)
Kentucky Network for Development, Leadership & Engagement (KYNDLE)
Lexington Downtown Development Authority
London-Laurel County Chamber of Commerce
Madisonville-Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce
National Federation of Independent Businesses – Kentucky (NFIB)
Murray-Calloway County Chamber of Commerce
Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce
Richmond Chamber of Commerce
Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
Woodford County Chamber of Commerce

Chamber urges override of HB407 veto

We are genuinely disappointed in the governor’s veto of House Bill 407. It was one of the few bills passed by the 2014 General Assembly that would directly lead to job creation in Kentucky and was passed in an overwhelming bi-partisan manner. The Kentucky Chamber and more than 30 association partners from across the state will immediately and aggressively be asking the General Assembly to override this ill-advised veto.

House Bill 407 will fundamentally change the way projects and services are delivered, bringing private sector innovation and additional layers of accountability to the government contracting process. This legislation will save taxpayers money by reducing the financial risk to taxpayers. Public-private partnerships are used in 34 states, including every surrounding state, to create jobs. It is time for Kentucky to do the same.

Business leaders, labor unions, mayors, city officials and economic development groups all support HB 407.  We will be rallying the support of the 86 members of the House and 27 members of the Senate who voted to support P3s to override this veto. In Kentucky, it only takes a simple majority of each chamber to override, starting in the House of Representatives. We are confident strong support exists among members of the General Assembly to override this veto.

Who supports the P3 Jobs bill?

The following list of organizations have encouraged Gov. Beshear to sign HB 407, the bipartisan P3 Jobs bill, into law. This law would bring Kentucky into line with our surrounding states by using innovative partnerships between government and private companies to create jobs. It protects taxpayers by shifting financial risk away from taxpayers and creates accountability by requiring all contracts to be publicly vetted and approved.

American Council of Engineering Companies of Kentucky
American Institute of Architects Kentucky (AIAKY)
Associated Builders and Contractors of Indiana and Kentucky (ABC)
Associated General Contractors of Kentucky (AGC)
Chamber Leadership Initiatives for Northwest Kentucky (C-LINK)
Commerce Lexington Inc.
Corbin Economic Development Agency
Greater Louisville Inc. (GLI)
Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce
Hardin County Chamber of Commerce
Homebuilders Association of Kentucky (HBAK)
Kentuckians for Better Transportation (KBT)
Kentucky Association of Counties (KACO)
Kentucky Association of Highway Contractors (KAHC)
Kentucky Association of Manufacturers (KAM)
Kentucky Association of REALTORS®
Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Executives (KCCE)
Kentucky Fire Sprinklers Association
Kentucky Forest Industries Association
Kentucky League of Cities (KLC)
Kentucky Magistrates and Commissioners Association
Kentucky Motor Transport Association (KMTA)
Kentucky Network for Development, Leadership & Engagement  (KYNDLE)
Kentucky School Boards Association (KSBA)
Lexington Downtown Development Authority
Lexington Mayor Jim Gray
London-Laurel County Chamber of Commerce
Madisonville-Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce
National Federation of Independent Businesses – Kentucky (NFIB)
Murray-Calloway County Chamber of Commerce
Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce
Richmond Chamber of Commerce
Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
Southern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
Woodford County Chamber of Commerce

UPDATED: Governor urged to sign P3 jobs bill

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Noting the importance of job creation and calling it the most significant jobs bill of 2014, 34 organizations from across the Commonwealth urged Gov. Beshear to quickly sign House Bill 407 into law. This legislation offers a new tool for our state and local governments that never existed before.

HB 407 will provide opportunities and fuel job growth by enabling the use of public-private partnerships – so called P3s – by state and local governments, creating a system in Kentucky that already exists in many states. A public-private partnership is a contract between a public entity, such as a state or local government, and a private business, under which the business builds a project or provides a service for the public. Any financial risk during the construction and/or operation of the project is assumed by the private business.

“This legislation will provide Kentucky companies with a number of opportunities to help state and local government entities deliver projects and services across the state,” noted Kentucky Chamber President Dave Adkisson. “HB 407 is, without question, the greatest bill to advance this session to support job creation in Kentucky.”

The numerous organizations also pointed out how P3 projects will protect taxpayers as projects are subject to a rigorous level of transparency. Additionally, the letter noted how this effort is an example of bipartisan cooperation. “HB 407 never got caught up in political gamesmanship or partisan bickering. Our legislative leaders worked together for the best solution to move forward this session and create jobs in the Commonwealth.”

Read the letter of support here: P3 coalition letter to Gov. Beshear

The list of supporters is growing daily! In addition to the letter from 34 business and civic organizations, others have directly communicated their support for House Bill 407.

Associated General Contractors (AGC)

Commerce Lexington

Greater Louisville, Inc.

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

NEWKentucky Association of Highway Contractors

NEWKentucky League of Cities

Kentucky Network for Development, Leadership and Engagement (Kyndle)

Kentuckians for Better Transportation

Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust

Lexington Downtown Development Authority

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray

Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

###

 

State budget highlights document available

Legislative leaders worked all night long Saturday and into the early hours of Sunday morning to hash out details of the state’s two-year budget. While all details of the budget are not yet available, click here for the 27-page budget highlight summary.

2014 budget highlights

Chamber applauds passage of P3 legislation

Calling it the greatest single piece of legislation to support job creation this session, Chamber President Dave Adkisson expressed his gratitude for Senate passage of House Bill 407, the Public-Private Partnership (P3) bill that has garnered the support of more than 30 business organizations across the Commonwealth. House Bill 407 passed the Senate Thursday with a bipartisan vote of 27-9; it now goes to the House for concurrence.

“We sincerely appreciate the swift action of the Senate to pass HB 407,” said Dave Adkisson. “Kentucky is one step closer to having the same job-creating structure as our surrounding states. By authorizing and encouraging P3s in Kentucky, more Kentucky-companies will have opportunities to help deliver projects and services for our citizens.”

HB 407 cleared the Senate with Chamber-supported amendments that were worked out with the bill sponsor Rep. Leslie Combs and the Senate champion for P3, Sen. Sara Beth Gregory. The Chamber is encouraging quick House concurrence to expedite this important issue.

“This legislation will provide Kentucky companies with a number of opportunities to help state and local government entities deliver projects and services across the state,” noted Adkisson. “House Bill 407 is, without question, the greatest bill to advance this session to support job creation in Kentucky.”

HB 407 would provide opportunities fuel job growth by enabling the use of public-private partnerships – so called P3s – by state and local governments, creating a system in Kentucky that already exists in many states. A public-private partnership is a contract between a public entity, such as a state or local government, and a private business, under which the business builds a project or provides a service for the public. Any financial risk during the construction and/or operation of the project is assumed by the private business.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 65 other followers

%d bloggers like this: