Legislators Override Vetoes on KLC Initiatives

Legislators returned to Frankfort on Wednesday for the final days of the 2022 session. They wasted no time overturning the governor’s vetoes, including three KLC initiatives. The measures addressing the Kentucky Public Pensions Authority (KPPA), appointments to councils, and collecting transient room taxes will become law. The Senate also gave KLC’s top legislative priority, House Bill 475, a second reading, meaning they could still pass the bill in the session’s final hours.

The House of Representatives voted 74-23 to override the governor’s veto of House Bill 297. Representative Jerry Miller (R-Louisville) sponsored the bill that includes several KPPA topics, including a provision for hiring some investment staff outside of Chapter 18A. The bill also includes language from Representative Russell Webber (R-Shepherdsville) that sunsets how long the County Employees Retirement System (CERS) will pay expenses attributed to separation. The governor’s veto message claimed the bill created oversight concerns despite a section clarifying that board members would set salary requirements.

Senators agreed with the override, voting 30-7.

The House voted 71-26, and the Senate voted 26-8 to override the governor’s veto of House Bill 335. Representative Adam Bowling (R-Middlesboro) sponsored the measure that ensures organizations have a say in who represents them on the Advisory Council for Recovery Ready Communities and Kentucky Law Enforcement Council (KLEC). The bill requires the governor to select from a list of three names supplied to him by the organizations when making appointments.

House Bill 8 includes KLC initiative language clarifying that rentals such as Airbnb are subject to local transient room taxes. The House and Senate voted to override the governor’s veto 72-25 and 28-8-1. Representative Jason Petrie (R-Elkton) sponsored the measure that also lowers the state’s 5% individual income tax incrementally over years if the state’s General Fund receipts meet specific benchmarks.

Senate Bill 271 is headed to the governor with KLC language that benefits local police departments. Senator Whitney Westerfield (R-Crofton) sponsored the measure that addresses data collection on domestic violence instances, something Kentucky does not currently track. Representative Samara Heavrin (R-Leitchfield) filed a House Floor Amendment that clarified data required in the uniform reporting form. The Senate unanimously agreed with changes that the House approved 93-0.

Western Kentucky cities impacted by the December tornadoes will benefit from KLC language added to Senate Bill 150. Senator Jason Howell (R-Murray) sponsored the western Kentucky tornado relief measure that now includes a waiver of model procurement requirements for local governments rebuilding from the destructive storm.

The Senate gave House Bill 475 a second reading, a procedural move that allows the bill to receive a final vote on Thursday if the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee advances the measure.

The bill and its companion legislation, House Bill 476, do not raise taxes. House Bill 475 lets voters decide on a constitutional amendment. If Kentuckians vote to update language in a 131-year-old section of the constitution in November, the General Assembly could discuss ways to modernize how local governments fund vital services in the 2023 session.

House Bill 476 maintains the status quo until legislators act, ensuring local governments continue to utilize the same revenue options they currently have available. The bills are critical to begin the process of modernizing how local governments pay for vital services. They are the first step to ensuring the cost is more equally distributed and not entirely dependent on taxing productivity.

The General Assembly convenes for its final day of the 60-day legislative session on Thursday.