Committees Clear Three KLC Initiatives

Legislative committees cleared three KLC initiatives, with two poised for a vote in the House and the third in the Senate. KLC Executive Director/CEO J.D. Chaney testified in support of each bill as legislators unanimously passed the measures. The bills address revenue diversification, workers compensation self-insurance groups, and solid waste management services.

Representative Michael Meredith (R-Oakland) sponsored House Bill 476. The House Local Government Committee heard the bill, a companion to House Bill 475 — the top priority for cities this session. House Bill 475 amends Section 181 of the Kentucky Constitution to allow the General Assembly to consider all local government tax reform options.

House Bill 476 only goes into effect if voters ratify the amendment. The bill creates a framework for legislators to begin modernizing local government taxes. “It makes sure that if the constitutional amendment were to pass that counties, cities, municipal corporations, and combined urban-county governments can continue the same tax structures that they are authorized to have currently under state statute,” Meredith explained. “It says that there is no extension of that without the General Assembly coming back to create a new framework for other types of taxes that would be authorized under the constitutional amendment.”

The House Banking and Insurance Committee approved House Bill 307. Representative Bart Rowland (R-Tompkinsville) sponsored the bill that updates investment guidelines for liability and workers’ compensation self-insurance groups. It’s the first update to these statutes since adoption.

“House Bill 307 will give insurance pools options to diversify risk and enhance yields while protecting investable assets,” Rowland testified. “This bill will also help stabilize future rates for members and ultimately assist the Office of Insurance in regulating these investments.”

The measure expands the number of recognized rating agencies to include nine currently recognized by US Securities and Exchange Commission. It also allows the Office of Insurance to require insurance pools to sell downgraded assets.

The House of Representatives will now consider both House Bill 307 and 476.

The Senate State and Local Government Committee approved Senate Bill 152. Senator Stephen West (R-Paris) sponsored the bill to help local governments transfer solid waste management services to a private company. The current statute requires lengthy and costly delays.

Senator West explained, “The bureaucracy causes an extra year to year-and-a-half of red tape. This would eliminate that. The citizenry is still protected because whoever takes over is still required to go through the bidding process. Any carrier would still have to go through that process and check off all of the boxes that are in KRS.”

“Going through this notification process is unnecessary,” Chaney said. “The law is requiring something that does not need to be done because no one is being displaced in this instance.”

West added that it is as though a city is notifying itself of the change.

The full Senate will now consider Senate Bill 152.