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Legislative Update 3/30

Legislative Update 3/30

Dear Campus Community,

This is an update on the 2020 regular session of the Kentucky General Assembly. Despite shutdowns across much of state government and private industry, the work of the legislature continued last week as lawmakers look to finalize a biennial budget ahead of the constitutionally mandated April 15 deadline.

House Bill 366, which would allow Model Laboratory School to continue operating as a public educational entity after 114 years of continual service, passed the Senate 31-0. It followed a unanimous vote of 95-0 in the House of Representatives several weeks ago. This legislation has been signed by Governor Beshear. It is impossible to adequately express my gratitude to Rep. Deanna Frazier for her tireless work in crafting and advancing this bill. I also want to thank Sen. Jared Carpenter for his guidance and assistance in the Senate.

The Senate advanced its version of House Bill 352 – the biennial state budget – on March 19. The House of Representatives refused to concur with the Senate changes, and the two chambers started the conference committee March 26, to iron out differences and reach a consensus to send to the governor. 

Here are some specifics of the Senate version of the biennial budget:

  • Performance funding remained in place. Total support for the performance funding model is $39,994,800 in FY 2020-21 and $49,994,800 in FY 2021-22. It represents an increase of $16 million in FY 2020-21 and $9 million in FY 2021-22.
  • The Senate budget extends the performance funding 2% stop-loss provision that is set to expire. This provision stipulates that no institution can lose more than 2% of its base budget through performance funding.
  • The Senate did not maintain the same stance as the House in support to offset KERS employer contribution rates and covering the unfunded accrued liability. 
  • The resurgence fund for capital preservation remains if the Commonwealth meets projected general fund receipts for FY 2020-21. The Commonwealth provides $1 in state bonds support for every $.50 an institution invests. The Senate, however, stipulated the resurgence fund will not exist if the Commonwealth fails to meet revenue projections.
  • General fund supported debt service was authorized to permit $8 million for expanding EKU’s aviation program. This program continues to experience robust growth, and these funds will ensure this program is adequately resourced while allowing for continued growth.
  • $2.5 million in general fund support was authorized for Model Lab School. It is not new money. Instead, the way Model Lab is funded will change as a result of House Bill 366. Instead of these funds passing through from Madison County Schools, the money will now flow directly to EKU.
  • The dual credit reimbursement rate was revised back to the current rate of 33.3% after the House budget proposed an increase to 40%.

The session remains a fluid process, and I will keep you apprised of new developments as we move forward. Keep in mind the budget is likely to be significantly influenced by the ongoing impact of COVID-19 and the required response from the Commonwealth. 

Even as we work remotely, know that EKU’s Office of Government Relations, remain engaged in the process and continue working to advance EKU’s legislative agenda.

Published on March 30, 2020

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