Kentucky Political News Headlines

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

KY Legislative Update - Sine Die

Sine Die

The Kentucky General Assembly brought the 2021 Regular Session to a close on its final legislative day just before midnight tonight. Before adjourning sine die, the legislature addressed several matters of significance the last two days that could be divided into two categories: Veto Overrides & Unfinished Business.

Veto Overrides
The Governor vetoed 20 bills and one joint resolution in whole and vetoed line items in HB 192, HB 195, HB 249, HB 320, HB 405, and HB 413 that the House and Senate had to consider overriding on the final two days of session. In the end they took action to override vetoes on 19 of 20 bills, except for SB 63, and the one resolution vetoed in whole. They also overrode line item vetoes in 4 of the 6 bills that contained them, except for HB 405 & HB 413.

Notable veto overrides included:
- HB 563 - This bill will bring school choice to Kentucky through education opportunity accounts that allow for dollars to be used for private schools and it addressed open borders between public schools as well.
- HB 320 - The bill appropriates $250 million for broadband and allows electric cooperatives to capitalize broadband affiliates to bring unserved and underserved areas of the state.
- HB 192 - The Executive branch budget is always the biggest issue in any session it is considered and this one is no different.

Unfinished Business
There were several matters addressed on the session's final days and it is important to note that the General Assembly has adjourned and will not have the option of overriding any vetoes that may be issued over the next 10 days on these bills by Governor Beshear. Those notable bills that made up the unfinished business of the session's final two days included:

- SB 4 - A priority issue for the General Assembly was addressing law enforcement's use of "no-knock" warrants in the wake of the Breonna Taylor incident in Louisville last spring. 
- SB 5 - A bill that was introduced early in the session and a priority issue for the General Assembly was to address COVID-19 liability relief for business, education and health care interests.
- HB 178 - Reorganization of the KY Board of Education including adding a teacher and student representative to the Board.
- HB 382 - A supplemental appropriation bill that appropriated $575 million (federal funds) to Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, $140 million (general funds) for all day Kindergarten, an additional $50 million (federal funds) for broadband specific to economic development projects and some language provisions dealing with consumer complaints related to broadband.  
- HB 574 - An omnibus revision to Kentucky's election laws that will change the way Kentuckians vote in 2022 when they go to the polls. 
- SB 36 - Appropriates $250 million (federal funds) for drinking water and wastewater grants to be administered through the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority.
- HB 556 - Provides a revolving loan fund for rural hospitals, but also adds several appropriations: $58 million (federal funds) for Capitol renovation, $10 million (general funds) for the West End Opportunity Zone, $127 (federal funds) million for school construction, $75 million (general funds) vocational school construction, $15 million (federal funds) for remote inmate arraignment, and additional appropriations for jails and diversion programs. 
- HB 321 - Syncs the state tax filing deadlines with the federal tax filing deadlines, but also sets up a special taxing arrangement for the West End Opportunity Zone, restructures the dates on a historic structure tax credit, and deals with cigarette tax administration.

We will be reviewing the General Assembly's actions over the next couple of days and will provide you an end of session report by week's end. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

KY Legislative Update - Time for Recess

Time For Recess
The General Assembly completed their 28th legislative day just before midnight on March 16 commencing the Veto Recess. The Governor will have until March 27 to veto any bills before the legislature reconvenes on March 29 & 30 for the final two legislative days of the 2021 Session.

Before adjourning tonight the legislature brought final passage to several bills, most notably:

HB 563 - School Choice - Creates education opportunity accounts that can be used to pay for a list of academic expenses including out of district tuition and private school tuition as well as creating a tax credit for charitable contributions into these accounts

HB 320 - Broadband - A measure to appropriate $250 million of federal funding for broadband deployment and to allow electric distribution cooperatives to capitalize broadband deployment was passed unanimously through the House and Senate after a Senate committee substitute was adopted.

HB 413 - Unemployment Insurance - Legislation to freeze the employer tax rate, suspend the employer surcharge, and other changes that will address increasing employer costs due to COVID-19.

HB 249 - The "revenue" bill that moves alongside the budget that contains several tax administration and compliance changes along with tax policy changes.

HB 126 - A bill to increase Kentucky's felony theft threshold to update for inflation and provide some minimal criminal justice reform

HB 372 - Legislation that provides a sales and use tax exemption for data centers passed with an amendment that allows for a remote worker tax credit.

HB 405 - A supplemental appropriations bill that contains KSP salary changes, AG staffing increases, a $2 increase in Childcare Assistance Program amongst others.

Please note that many bills that were passed with changes tonight have not yet been made publicly available. We will review and update you in our weekly report later this week.