In his final State of the Commonwealth address Wednesday night, Gov. Steve Beshear discussed the success he sees in the state and laid out his top legislation priorities—many of which are shared by the Kentucky Chamber.
An issue strongly supported by the Kentucky Chamber is the need for legislation allowing the use of public-private partnerships (P3s) for transportation and other projects in order to make the state more competitive because of the cost-saving nature of the policy.
In his speech, Beshear noted the need for P3 legislation to pass during the 2015 session. The governor did mention his veto of the legislation during the 2014 session because of a last minute amendment added onto the bill and said the General Assembly needs to pass the legislation this year to help fund transportation projects in the state.
“Kentucky has large gaps in our road and bridge system, and federal resources aren’t enough to fill those gaps,” Beshear said. “Using current procurement and financing mechanisms, we are simply not equipped to tackle these ‘super-projects’ in a timely manner without squeezing out local projects.”
The governor also voiced his strong support for smoke-free legislation, citing the support of the business community as 92 percent of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce membership supports a statewide smoking ban.
“Kentucky has the highest smoking rate in the nation,” Gov. Beshear said. “And when it comes to preventable illnesses and deaths, every single study concludes that nothing is as devastating to Kentucky as smoking and tobacco use.”
Beshear spent much of his speech discussing the dire need for a legislative solution to the state’s growing heroin scourge. Many bills have been filed to address the issue, but Beshear said lawmakers need to come to an agreement and pass a bill to begin to save lives in the state.
“No single change in the law is enough. Like we did with prescription drugs, we have to attack this problem from all angles,” Gov. Beshear said. “Our families are looking for solutions – not political rhetoric and posturing.”
Other legislative priorities mentioned by Beshear include domestic violence protections being provided to dating partners and legislation to require booster seats children under seven years old who meet certain criteria.
Much of the rest of the governor’s 50 minute speech was spent focusing on how far he feels Kentucky has come in recent years and how he would like to see the state continue to move forward.
To read the governor’s full address, click here.