EKU GOV Weekly Report: Legislative Days 1 – 5
The first week of the Kentucky 2017 legislative session has concluded, and the Governor has now signed all seven bills into law that saw action during the week. This is the first bill tracking report of this session, which includes the weekly summary below (slightly amended from Saturday’s report), a higher education bill tracker and a report on general government and general business issues. The general issues tracker includes priority legislation as well as bills that could impact general business operations if they were to pass. Saturday’s adjournment begins a four-week recess that will last until the legislature returns on February 7th. During that time, no official action may be taken on bills, nor will new bills be introduced.
Week 1 Session Summary: GOP Legislators Pass Historic Agenda
The extremely rare Saturday legislative day went as the Republican majority planned. The seven bills that passed committees during the week were passed by their respective chambers Saturday and made their way to the Governor’s desk. While the outcomes of the votes were never in doubt, the enthusiasm and attendance of union protesters were somewhat of a surprise given the freezing temperatures and weekend action.
Organized labor sent busloads to the Capitol, and their members chanted loudly and marched through the hall, prompting security staff to lock office doors and remove a few unruly protesters from the gallery.
House Leadership elected not to exercise their prerogative to limit debate on bills, as they did earlier in the week on Thursday, and debate on the union and abortion bills went on for nearly seven hours.
In addition to legislative action, there were some comments from the floor indicating future action on other priority bills. Sen. Mike Wilson, Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, signaled that his committee will take up SB1, a significant education bill, the first Thursday upon the legislature’s return in February.
Senate President Stivers reiterated from the Senate floor what he’s said several times this week in committee: that the changes to the University of Louisville Board will be extended to the state’s other public universities. Those changes are enumerated in SB107, which was filed Saturday.
Governor Bevin acted quickly to sign all seven bills into law Saturday evening. All but one (SB3 relating to legislative pension transparency) passed with an emergency clause – making them effective immediately.
The addition of Saturday as a legislative day, removes a future working day off the calendar. March 9th will no longer be a working day, and the scheduled March 30th sine die date remains intact. The legislature returns on February 7th to conclude the remaining 25 working days of the session.
The complete list of bills sent to the Governor and signed into law includes:
• HB1: Right-to-Work (Hoover, DeCesare) – Makes union membership an individual employee choice.
• HB2: Informed Consent (Hoover, Wuchner, et. al.) – Requires an ultrasound prior to an abortion, with criminal penalty for violations.
• HB3: Repeal of the Prevailing Wage (Hoover, Koenig) – Repeals prevailing wage requirement for public works projects.
• SB3: Legislative Pension Transparency (McDaniel, Alvarado, et. al.) – Requires the disclosure of retirement benefits of current and former member of the General Assembly.
• SB5: Abortion Limitations (Smith, Westerfield, et. al.) – Bans abortions in Kentucky past 20 weeks except for some circumstances.
• SB6: Paycheck Protection (Stivers, Alvarado, et. al.) – Repeals the employer mandate to withhold union dues from an employee’s salary and sets forth requirements for labor organizations in collecting and applying dues money for political activities.
SB12: University of Louisville Board of Trustees bill (Stivers) – Creates a new Board of Trustees for the University of Louisville and requires Senate confirmation of appointees.
REAL-TIME EKU BILL TRACKING: Click the image below to view bills we are tracking.
Published on January 10, 2017