Senate committees pass bills dealing with prevailing wage and alcohol sales

Kentucky’s state Senate will begin to bring bills to the floor this week after they started passing legislation out of committees on Tuesday.

Repealing Prevailing Wage

Senate Bill 9, legislation that would eliminate the government defined hourly wage in construction contracts known as prevailing wage on all educational buildings and facilities, passed the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee Tuesday with a 10-1 vote.

The Kentucky Chamber has been supportive of legislation that seriously examines the state’s prevailing wage laws, which must be made more representative of local wages by utilizing more effective methods of data collection than the current hearings process.

By once again allowing an exemption for these projects, greater investments would be made in technology, improved facilities and in the classroom.

Senate Bill 9 now moves to the Senate floor for a vote.

Alcohol Sales and Tourism

The Senate Licensing and Occupations Committee voted Tuesday to pass Senate Bill 11, an omnibus alcohol bill looking to boost the state’s economic development and tourism.

The bill makes a number of changes to laws impacting breweries, distilleries, and wineries in Kentucky including:

  • Increases the number of gallons a winery can produce from 50,000 to 100,000 per year.
  • Increases the number of barrels produced at a microbrewery in one year from 25,000 to 50,000.
  • Allows a winery to produce up to 1,000 gallons of brandy per year.
  • Allows local option election for the sale of alcoholic beverages at a distillery in a dry or moist county.
  • Allows for a limited sale precinct election for the sale of alcoholic beverages on Sunday at a small farm winery located in a wet or moist territory.
  • Increases the number of liters that can be sold at a distillery to someone of legal age from 3 to 9 per day.
  • Allows the sale of malt beverages produced at microbreweries at fairs and festivals in wet territories.
  • Allows the sale of distilled spirits by the drink at retail at distilleries in wet territories or in territories where limited sales have been authorized for distilleries.
  • Allows a distillery to provide no more than 1.75 ounces of samples per visitor per day.
  • Creates a special temporary alcoholic beverage auction license to enable charitable organizations to sell alcoholic beverages by auction or raffle.
  • Allows a license for by the drink sales at bed and breakfast facilities and distilleries.
  • Authorizes by the drink sales while riding a quadricycle.
  • Outlaws the possession and sale of powdered or crystalline alcohol.

Kentucky Chamber Board member Kevin Smith of Beam-Suntory testified in favor of the bill during the committee meeting Tuesday stating that the legislation would help grow the economy, create jobs and more by allowing visitors to the state to have a “Napa-like” experience with the state’s growing bourbon industry.

Kentucky’s distilling industry has a significant impact on the state’s economy, producing 95 percent of the world’s bourbon and contributing over $3 billion in gross state product while generating $166 million a year in tax revenue. The Kentucky Chamber strongly supports initiatives to protect and grow the iconic industry. For Kentucky to maintain its dominance in the distilling industry and attract new distilleries, SB 11 would update the tourism and hospitality statues written before the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® was created to take advantage of the booming bourbon tourism industry.

During the committee meeting, Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer said the bill would be brought to the floor for a vote at the end of the week to ensure the legislation sees movement as soon as possible.

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