Constables Bill, Other KLC Initiatives Head to Governor

Legislators sent four KLC initiatives to the governor and one back to its chamber of origination for concurrence following a packed day of legislative action on day 56 of the 60-day Regular Session of the General Assembly.

Senators passed House Bill 239 on Friday. The KLC initiative, sponsored by Representative Adam Koenig (R-Erlanger) and carried by Senator Julie Raque Adams (R-Louisville), prohibits newly elected constables from exercising peace officer powers unless they maintain Peace Officer Professional Standards (POPS) certification. House Bill 239 grandfathers current constables and gives those newly elected a path to receive the required training.

“The bill does not remove the office of constable and does not stop constables from serving their community,” Adams said on the Senate floor. “It does not stop them from lawfully carrying a weapon, and it does not inhibit their ability to collect fees.”

Adams added that House Bill 239 holds constables to the same standards as police officers, ensuring that only trained law enforcement officials have the power to detain citizens.

Senator Wil Schroder (R-Wilder) rose to speak in support. “The question, as I see it, is if someone in Kentucky is going to have the power to arrest people, should they be required to have training? The answer is simple for me: Yes,” he said.

Senators passed the bill 23-11.

The Senate also gave final passage to House Bill 536. Representative Scott Sharp (R-Ashland) sponsored the measure, and Senator Robin Webb (D-Grayson) carried it in the Senate. The bill addresses an alcohol regulatory issue unique to the City of Ashland and ensures that Ashland continues to have the same alcohol regulatory options as other cities.

Senators passed House Bill 399, sponsored by Representative Josh Branscum (R-Russell Springs). The measure increases the annual audit limit for cities from $75,000 to $150,000 and requires cities that declare the exemption for four consecutive years to complete an attestation engagement.

The bill also allows local governments to hear comments on projects involving Local Government Economic Assistance Fund grants and state road funds during regular meetings instead of requiring cities to hold a special meeting.

The House of Representatives concurred with the Senate’s changes to House Bill 351. Representative Deanna Frazier Gordon (R-Richmond) sponsored the measure that provides options for local governments to replace lost, damaged, or destroyed documents.

House Bills 239, 351, 399, and 536 now head to the governor, who will have 10 days, excluding Sundays, to sign or veto the measures or allow them to become law without his signature.

The General Assembly returns to Frankfort on Tuesday for two more legislative days before breaking for a 10-day veto period.

Governor Andy Beshear also signed two more KLC initiatives into law on Friday.

Representative Jonathan Dixon (R-Corydon) sponsored House Bill 453. The measure provides local governments with the same protections already in statute for the state when selecting a successful bidder for contracts. The bill also codifies video teleconferencing practices public agencies have followed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, it allows a city legislative body to hold closed sessions up to twice a year for a city manager’s performance evaluation.

Senator Rick Girdler (R-Somerset) sponsored Senate Bill 111 to correct tax increment financing (TIF) language legislators inadvertently added last year in a Cabinet for Economic Development omnibus bill. The Cabinet pointed out the need for the correction because the measure created an unfunded mandate for local TIFs.