Legislators Send KLC Initiatives to Governor Before Veto Break

Legislators sent KLC initiatives addressing public safety, pensions, and overweight vehicles to Governor Andy Beshear. As legislators gave four initiatives final passage, Governor Andy Beshear signed another recently passed measure into law.

Senators gave three measures final passage on Wednesday. Representative John Blanton (R-Salyersville) sponsored House Bill 414. The measure will help cities recruit and retrain quality police officers. The bill adjusts the number of retired officers a department can rehire without paying required pension benefits, removes the maximum age for new hires, and allows scheduling flexibility.

Senators unanimously concurred with House changes to Senate Bill 124 and Senate Bill 209. Senator Phillip Wheeler (R-Pikeville) sponsored Senate Bill 124. The measure addresses operator’s licenses and allows people who let their driver’s license expire within the past five years to apply to have it reinstated. The bill includes language from Senator Mike Nemes (R-Shepherdsville) that provides options for municipalities to protect city streets from heavy trucks.

Nemes sponsored Senate Bill 209, which was amended to include language to help local governments retain experienced employees, including first responders. The language was sponsored by Representative Kevin Bratcher (R-Louisville) and allows hazardous and nonhazardous retirees who choose to work beyond retirement to earn additional health insurance benefits.

The House gave final passage to Senate Bill 176. Senator Whitney Westerfield (R-Crofton) sponsored the KLC initiative, and Representative Blanton carried it in the House. The bill creates a working group in the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet to create a policy on the use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement agencies.

Governor Beshear signed House Bill 307 into law on Wednesday. Representative Bart Rowland (R-Tompkinsville) sponsored the KLC initiative that updates investment guidelines for liability and workers’ compensation self-insurance groups and gives insurance pools options to diversify risk and enhance yields while protecting assets.

The General Assembly approved a biennial budget that includes $250 million allocated from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for clean water grants and items. A House and Senate budget deal announced on Tuesday also includes $250 million to match potential federal funds for infrastructure megaprojects and an 8% pay raise for state employees.

The Senate gave House Bill 475 a second reading on Wednesday, keeping the measure alive. The bill asks voters to amend a restrictive section of the Kentucky Constitution that prohibits the General Assembly from discussing comprehensive local tax reform. Senators could pass the measure and its companion, House Bill 476, when they return on April 13 for the last two days of the session. HB 476 provides guardrails guaranteeing that no local tax laws change until the General Assembly passes measures after voters ratify the amendment in November.