Other major policy changes that became law included: statewide telecommunication de-regulation, reforms to K-12 education standards, public charter school authorization, medical review panels, lifting of the nuclear energy ban, more transparency measures for state pension systems and the adoption of performance-based funding metrics for state funding for public universities.
State lawmakers also authorized $15 million in state bond funding to help recruit a mystery economic development project that is anticipated to bring $1.3 billion in investment and 500 permanent, high wage jobs to eastern Kentucky.
In a display of legislative independence, House and Senate members voted to override all four of the Governor’s vetoes that occurred during the veto recess period. These were related to executive branch budget appropriations ($19 million from the Volkswagen settlement), court-ordered out-patient mental health care, naming roads and regulating drone activity near airports. However, time ran out on workers' compensation system reforms (HB 296) and essential skills/drug prevention curriculum in schools (HB 454). Both issues are expected to return as top priority bills during the 2018 session.
After the General Assembly adorned on March 30, the Governor issued two final veto messages. He vetoed SB 219 creating a state professional licensing board for recreational therapists citing budget concerns. He also line-item vetoed a section of HB 13 related to the Bowling Green Veterans Center. However, this veto did not impact the project, only the language prioritizing bond payments to the center over another project.
Governor Bevin plans to reconvene the General Assembly later in 2017 for a Special Session to deal with tax and pension reforms. Legislators will return in January 2018 for a 60-day Regular Session focused on approving a state budget and allotting road fund dollars.
Go here to view all the bills that will become law that Commerce Lexington Inc. tracked on behalf of our members this session.