For the first time in Kentucky's history, the GOP holds the Governor's office and super-majorities in the State House (64-36) and State Senate (27-11). Republican leaders, including Governor Matt Bevin, newly-elected House Speaker Jeff Hoover (R-Jamestown) and Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester), wasted no time in advancing policy priorities efficiently through the legislative process. It takes a minimum of five days for a bill to become law. The legislature met in a Saturday session for a 5th day to ensure these bills made it to the Governor for signature as quickly as possible.
- Right-to-Work: HB1 prohibits requiring a worker to join a union, or pay union dues, as a condition of employment. This has been a priority issue for Commerce Lexington's Economic Development team to improve Lexington's competitiveness for jobs. The policy sends a clear signal of a pro-business climate. Many CEO's consider RTW an important determinant when considering where to locate their business. Studies have shown that RTW states are adding jobs at double the rate of non-RTW states. Kentucky joins many of our competitor states in becoming the 27th RTW state in the nation.
- Paycheck Protection: Viewed as a companion bill to HB 1, SB 6 prevents a worker from being enrolled in a labor union or having money withheld from their paycheck unless the worker provides written permission.
- Repeal of Prevailing Wage: HB 3 repeals state law requiring employers to pay prevailing wage for public projects. This allows state and local governments and public schools to build projects at the same cost as those in the private sector, ultimately saving governments and taxpayers millions of dollars.
Other bills that became law dealt with legislative pension transparency (SB 3), the reorganization of the UofL Board of Trustees (SB 12) and pro-life issues (HB 2, SB 5).
Lawmakers return to Frankfort on February 7 for the second part of the session. Other issues expected to be in the discussion include medical review panels, additional state pension system transparency measures, workers compensation reforms, charter schools and other education reforms.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
If you have questions about a policy issue or would like to get involved with advocacy efforts, contact Andi Johnson, Chief Policy Officer, at (859) 226-1614. Commerce Lexington provides weekly e-mail updates throughout the session. You can also stay connected through social media like Facebook and Twitter @CommerceLex for session updates.