Many big bills pre-filed ahead of the 2015 session

With just weeks to go before the start of the 2015 session, many bills have already been pre-filed as legislators prepare to return to Frankfort. The Kentucky Chamber has compiled a brief overview of some of those bills, including:

  • Seven different bills have been pre-filed related to addressing the scourge of heroin in the state. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in each chamber have filed pieces of legislation with the same goal of dealing with the epidemic. The issue was debated in the 2014 session but no legislation was passed after disputes over provisions dealing with prosecution of heroin dealers and the idea of setting up a needle exchange.
  • Five separate pieces of legislation have been filed by lawmakers looking to restore the voting rights of felons. Each pre-filed bill has different criteria for that restoration, mainly focused on excluding certain felony charges. Offender re-entry and felon expungement—issues dealing with the employment opportunities of those convicted of a low-level offense—are also topics with pre-filed bills.
  • Addressing the ongoing problems in the state pensions systems is the subject of many pre-filed bills, including acts related to: the Kentucky Retirement System, the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System, Legislators’ Retirement Plan and others.
  • A bill prohibiting smoking in public places and places of employment has been pre-filed by Rep. Susan Westrom, D-Lexington. The idea of a statewide smoking ban has come up in many previous sessions but has yet to receive a vote on the floor of either chamber.
  • Bills related to energy issues include legislation to allow the construction of nuclear power plants as well as legislation to create Energy Project Assessment Districts—ePADS for short—to spark investment in energy efficient upgrades for commercial properties.
  • Reginald Meeks, D-Louisville, has pre-filed a bill to permit local governments to raise the minimum wage above the state rate. The legislation comes as Louisville metro council recently voted to raise the rate to $9 over a three year period. However, Rep. Meek’s legislation implies the practice is not legal under current statute.
  • Legislation requiring all coal severance revenues be distributed back to the coal producing counties has been filed by Rep. Fitz Steele, D-Hazard.
  • Steele has also pre-filed a bill that would create a three day tax free holiday during the first weekend in August each year to exempt clothing, school supplies, computers and other items from sales and use taxes.
  • Tom Kerr, R-Taylor Mill, has filed legislation that seeks to repeal the common core standards—an act which would throw out Chamber-supported rigorous academic standards and cost the state at least $35 million, according to Education Commissioner Terry Holliday.

A full list of pre-filed bills with details of each piece of legislation can be found on the Legislative Research Commission website.

The Kentucky Chamber will be closely monitoring the progress of all legislation throughout the session. Stay up to date with all the latest news by checking the blog and following us on twitter @KyChamber.

To give feedback about any legislation, contact us at legislative@kychamber.com.

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