Legislators will return to Frankfort Tuesday as the 2015 Kentucky General Assembly gets down to the business of passing laws. The state’s leading business organization will be keeping an eye on several issues.
Expectations are usually low for these short odd-year sessions. But Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson says with no budget to craft in recent short sessions lawmakers have passed benchmark legislation on academic standards and corrections and pension reforms. Adkisson says this session education is the Chamber’s top priority.
“We will fight any attempt to try to water down the academic standards of our schools or to roll back the progress that was made by the 2009 legislature,” Adkisson said.
Adkisson expects early action on public-private partnerships to bring business creativity to public needs and on stabilizing the state road fund. Other major issues include public pensions, telecommunications, local option sales taxes and a statewide policy on smoking in public facilities. Adkisson says the Chamber has identified a number of priorities for this legislative session.
“P3 legislation, which would allow and encourage public-private partnerships is one of our agenda items. Shoring up our pension systems so we can keep the promises we’ve made to state workers and state retirees, that’s critically important to our state. Also we’re in favor of modernizing our telecommunications laws in this session,” he said.
Other chamber priorities include stabilizing the state road fund at a time when fluctuating gas prices are negatively impacting road funding, medical review panels to reduce frivolous lawsuits, the local options sales tax, and a consistent statewide policy on smoking in public places.
In recent years significant legislation has come out of short sessions when lawmakers are freed from the burden of writing a two-year state budget.
“If you look back at the history of the last few years some of the benchmark legislation has passed during the short sessions. The academic standards in 2009, corrections reform in 2011, and pension reform in 2013.”
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