Veto Recess- A Session Summary Thus Far

Here is a short summary by the numbers of the legislation action to date. There is one business day remaining in the 2016 Regular Session. It is scheduled to take place on April 12th.

Governor Bevin has 104 bills and six binding resolutions to consider over the next ten days. The breakdown of Senate and House bills awaiting the Governor’s signature is nearly perfectly divided:

  • 53 Senate bills (plus one binding resolution)
  • 51 House bills (plus five binding resolutions)

 The Governor has already signed 23 bills, with a similar ratio:

  • 12 Senate bills (plus, one binding resolution)
  • 11 House bills (plus, three binding resolutions)

One Senate Bill (SB195) was filed without Bevin’s signature.

Four bills (not including the budget) are still in conference committees, and several others are still technically alive, having two readings in the opposite chamber. Any bill with two readings could pass on April 12th.

Legislation of Note that Passed

HB 309, P3 – will allow government and private entities to enter into different public-private partnerships to fund Kentucky’s major infrastructure needs. The bill does specifically prohibit P3s on bridges leading to Ohio as Northern KY legislators do not want tolling on the Brent Spence Bridge.

SB 11, Omnibus alcohol bill – will help maximize the economic and tourism impact of the signature bourbon industry as well as the growing craft beer industry and local, small farm wineries.

SB 134, Biosimilars – the legislation creates Kentucky’s first pathway toward the substitution of upcoming, FDA-approved “biosimilar” drugs. Similar, but not identical, to their innovator equivalents, these large molecule pharmaceuticals are expected to cost 20-40% less than their name brand counterparts.

SB117, Pharmacy Benefit Managers – a priority of the state’s independent pharmacists, this bill defines a pharmacy benefit manager, and creates an appeals process between a PBM and a pharmacy, in addition to directing PBMs how to identify changes in prices or reimbursements.

HB 585, 9-1-1 funding – this legislation updates Kentucky’s wireless statutes to more easily and equitably collect the fees on cell phone lines. It offers some relief to local governments, who have been subsidizing that service out of their general funds as people shed their landlines in favor of mobile phones.

SB 56, lengthens the DUI lookback period – will strengthen penalties for driving under the influence by making a fourth offense within 10 years a felony charge. Currently, a felony charge comes after a fourth offense in five years.

HB 40, Class D Felony Expungement – the bill creates a process for some class D felonies to be vacated and expunged, creating opportunities for people who have paid their dues to reenter the workforce.

SB 63, Sexual assault kits – a measure aimed at eliminating a backlog of more than 3,000 sexual assault examination kits – some as much as 40 years old. The bill also would expedite the testing of new kits, directing police to retrieve the evidence from hospitals within five days and submit the evidence to the state crime lab within a month. The bill has been sent to the House for consideration.

SB 4, Informed Consent prior to an abortion – it will require a an in-person or real-time video conference between a woman seeking an abortion and a health care provider at least 24 hours before the procedure.

Judicial Branch Budget – the Judicial Branch Budget was passed in two parts. Both chambers sent a budget bill to the Governor that underfunded the judiciary by $60 million over the biennium. The legislature agreed to appropriate those extra dollars by tacking that sum onto an unrelated bill regarding three-wheeled “autocycles.”

HB 428, Anti- dog fighting bill – will define dog fighting in statute as the fighting of two or more dogs for sport, wagering or entertainment and allow those who intentionally own, possess, breed, train, sell or transfer dogs for dog fighting to be charged with first-degree cruelty to animals, a Class D felony. 

Legislation of Note that did not pass before the Veto Recess

Executive Branch Budget – The state’s two-year budget has stalled over funding priorities.

6-year Road Plan – The biennial road fund bill prioritizes road projects funded through the Transportation Cabinet. An informal working group of legislators may conference over the veto recess to hash out which projects are funded. The bill that funds the Cabinet did pass on the 59th day and will go to the Governor’s desk.

Pension Reform – No major pension reform legislation was filed this session, but SB 2, a bill aimed at providing more transparency and oversight to the various pension systems passed the Senate, but has stalled in the House.  Funding for pensions was a major issue in the stalled budget bill.

LIFT (Local Option Sales Tax) – For the third year in a row a bill (HB 2) authorizing a constitutional amendment to allow a local option sales tax for specific projects in local jurisdictions has passed the House, but failed to gain passage in the Senate.

Religious Freedom bill – A bill similar to the legislation that recently passed in North Carolina that allow businesses to refuse service to LGBT patrons passed the Republican controlled Senate, but was stopped by the Democratic majority in the House.

Issues that are typically political hot potatoes failed to gain traction due to the split control of the two chambers.  Those issues include bills to authorize charter schools, repeal prevailing wage, right to work, and raising the minimum wage.