Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

Legislator's Log - Week of January 12, 2014

yonts c 300KENTUCKY (1/13/13) - We are back in legislative session in Frankfort, and it is a budget session. That means making sure our spending over the next two years matches our revenue, which means some tough budget decisions will, again, have to be made.

The problem is a slow economic recovery--a seven-year odyssey that reflects extended high unemployment, a drop in school funding levels (as attendance increases while state funding levels remain flat), and extra requests for government assistance. It has made life hard for the average Kentuckian and will make this 60 legislative-day regular session fairly difficult.

Overall, I think what Kentuckians want most out of this session is for state lawmakers to pass laws that will boost the economy, allowing the average citizen to regain financial footing. In short, they want economic development. And they will likely get it in some measure.

Several bills already filed for consideration in this session prove welawmakers want economic development, too. There's a bill that would set up a $40 million "angel investor" tax credit program to encourage capital investment in small business. There are at least two bills that would establish a back-to-school sales and use tax holiday in August for clothing and supplies, and another piece of legislation that would set up a state income tax credit for the hiring of legally blind or severely disabled persons starting in 2015.

Then, of course, there are the heavily-publicized economic development proposals we've all read about: HB 1, which would raise the state minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour over the next two years to help Kentucky's struggling working class; proposed constitutional amendments in both the House and Senate that would let Kentucky voters decide the question of whether casino gaming should be allowable in the Commonwealth; and the issue of state tax reform.

Let me say this clearly: The likelihood of tax reform passing this session based on recommendations of the governor's 2012 Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform or otherwise hinges on legislative will in the House and the Senate, and not all lawmakers in those chambers are of the same mind on the issue. Some want to see tax reform now; others say any chance for tax reform at this time is slim-especially passage of any proposal that would raise tax revenue.

That said, the governor has told lawmakers that he will present them with a "tax modernization proposal" including several provisions, not the least of which is a proposed constitutional amendment to allow local voters to consider a one-cent or less increase in the local option sales tax for specific projects. Any success it will have, like that of all bills filed this session, remains to be seen.

At least one economic development project planned for Kentucky as-of-late has raised privacy concerns among thousands our citizens: the proposed interstate natural gas liquid pipeline planned for construction through private lands across the Bluegrass region and portions of Western Kentucky. The proposal has led to the filing of two pieces of legislation in the House so far this session. While each of the bills would follow a different path to rein in a company's ability to condemn private property under the state's eminent domain law for the pipeline project, both bills and others-if considered this session-are expected to generate much interest.

The right to privacy is also behind opposition to so-called drones (or "unmanned aircraft") that were a big news item in 2013. At least one bill has been filed so far this session that would prohibit police or other law enforcement from using drones to "gather evidence or other information," with little exception, in hope of balancing the important work of law enforcement with a citizen's right to privacy. Law-abiding citizens expect to live without unwarranted intrusion, as well they should.

One issue that everyone has heard about over the past several months is the continued financial needs of the state employees' and Kentucky teachers' pension systems. Lawmakers passed legislation in 2013 to reduce the growing unfunded liability of the public pension system serving state government retirees, but additional public pension contributions are needed. The same is true for the Kentucky Teachers' Retirement System, a separate system representing the state's retired teachers that is requesting additional state funding to meet federal accounting rules set to take effect next year.

There is yet more planned for this session: legislation to ban smoking in public places statewide, energy legislation dealing with nuclear power and coal severance revenue distribution, legislation to authorize public charter schools, etc. It is a full agenda. Please stay informed via the Kentucky General Assembly's web site at www.lrc.ky.gov or via our toll-free Bill Status Line at 866-840-2835. You can reach me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or through the toll-free Legislative Message Line at 800-372-7181. Have a good week ahead.

Brent Yonts

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

Posted on 2/2/14
2/6/2014 - posted
2/6/2014 - posted
2/6/2014 - posted

In Other News...

Baptist Health Hosts Sack Lunch Fundraiser for United Way

MADISONVILLE, Ky. (10/22/14) — Baptist Health hosted a Sack Lunch Fundraiser to support the United Way of the Coalfield… Read More

Manufacturing Meth Arrest Made after Traffic Stop

OWENSBORO, Ky. (10/22/14) ― After a traffic stop last night, Oct. 21 on Kentucky 54, a Utica man was charged for… Read More
2/6/2014 - posted

Most Read This Week

October 17, 2014 12297

UK Women's Soccer Welcomes Ole Miss, No. 5/4…

in General Sports For All Sites by UK Athletics
October 20, 2014 6133

Uncle Lee's in Greenville is Closing Its Doors…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by www.unclelees.com
October 17, 2014 4220

Single Vehicle Collision Results in One Injury

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper S. C. Recke
October 19, 2014 4088

Kentucky Energy Department Releases Virtual Solar…

in General News For All Sites by Dick Brown
October 21, 2014 3222

UPDATE: Pedestrian Struck by Vehicle on Shamrock…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Officer C.P. Haynie
October 18, 2014 3038

Muhlenberg County Celebrates New Farmer’s Market

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
October 17, 2014 2995

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Oct. 17, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
October 17, 2014 2833

Woman Arrested at Taco Bell for DUI

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 20, 2014 2741

Man Charged for Assaulting Pregnant Wife

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 17, 2014 2350

Anti-Bullying Task Force to Hold First Meeting

in General News For All Sites by Office of the Governor

Stories Trending Today

October 22, 2014 1956

Failure to Signal Ends in Drug Arrest

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
October 22, 2014 1698

Hopkins County Grand Jury Indictments

in Hopkins News by Karen McKnight
October 22, 2014 1513

Convicted Felon Charged for Handgun Possession…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
October 22, 2014 1249

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Oct. 22, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
October 22, 2014 1025

The Sanctuary Opens Muhlenberg County Branch

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
October 22, 2014 936

Four Road Projects Awarded in Muhlenberg County

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Rebecca Hanchett
October 22, 2014 934

UK Soccer's Justin Laird Named National Player of…

in General Sports For All Sites by UK Athletics
October 22, 2014 883

Lake Malone Halloween Bash Set for This Weekend

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
October 22, 2014 862

Baptist Health Paducah Weight Loss Info Session…

in Local (Paducah) Top News by Angie Kinsey Timmons
October 22, 2014 781

SurfKY Spotlight: Lynelle S. Eaves Realty

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Gary Gates, SurfKY News

SurfKY News Group, Inc.
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431
270.452.2727 (phone)
  •  270.452.2249 (fax)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social fbsocial twsocial yt
social gpsocial flrsocial rss