By Mike Wynn and Tom Loftus
Source: The Courier-Journal
Here’s a look at where major legislative issues stand in the Kentucky General Assembly.
AT&T Bill, HB 152, would deregulate telephone companies like AT&T, allowing them to move away from landline service and into new technologies.
UK Bonds, HB 298, would authorize $132.5 million in state borrowing to help build a medical research center at the University of Kentucky.
Beer Bill, HB 168, would prohibit brewers from owning distributorships, forcing Anheuser-Busch to sell its distributorships in Louisville and Owensboro.
Still hanging, outlook good
Dating Partner Protection, HB 8, would extend civil court order protection against domestic violence to dating partners. Passed House, final approval likely in Senate.
Heroin, SB 5 and HB 213, would expand treatment, penalties and other efforts in a comprehensive battle against the heroin epidemic. But major differences between the bills must be resolved.
Public Private Partnerships, HB 443, would let the state contract with private companies to finance the construction of highways and bridges. Passed House and awaiting vote in Senate, where its chances appear slightly better than even.
Freeze Gas Tax Rate, SB 29, would freeze the gas tax rate at its current rate of 27.6 cents per gallon. Because this tax is adjusted each quarter to the price of gas, the bill would avoid a 5 cent per gallon drop in the tax rate expected to take effect April 1. No action yet, but sponsor says some action will be taken.
Still hanging, outlook not-so-good
KTRS Bonds, HB 4, would authorize the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System to issue $3.3 billion in bonds to shore up investments and cope with $14 billion in unfunded liabilities. Passed House, but Senate has reservations and is expected to propose alternative measures.
Local Option Sales Tax, HB 1, a constitutional amendment to allow local governments to ask voters to approve time-limited increase of up to 1 cent increase in sales tax to finance specific capital improvement projects. Passed House, pending in Senate State and Local Government Committee.
Transgender Bathrooms, SB 76, would ban transgender students from using school bathrooms and locker rooms that don’t correspond to their biological sex. Senate passed, but unlikely to get a vote in House.
Booster Seats, HB 315, would increase the age and size of children that must be restrained in booster seats in cars. Passed House, but appears stalled in Senate Transportation Committee.
Medical Marijuana, HB 3, would legalize certain medical uses of marijuana. Never got a vote in the House.
Smoke Free, HB 145, would ban smoking at workplaces and indoor public places. Passed House but stuck in Senate Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee.
Raise Minimum Wage, HB 2, would raise the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour in steps to $10.10 an hour in 2017. Passed House but stuck in Senate budget committee.
Right to Work, SB 1, would prohibit membership in a union or payment of union dues as a condition for employment. Passed Senate but stuck in House Labor and Industry Committee.
Felon Voting Rights, HB 70, would restore voting rights to certain felons upon completion of all terms of their sentence. Passed House but stuck in Senate State and Local Government Committee.
Abortion, SB 4, would require a face-to-face meeting between a pregnant woman and her doctor at least 24 hours before an abortion is performed. Passed Senate, stuck in House Health and Welfare Committee.
Repeal Obamacare, HB 547, would prohibit General Assembly from requiring any individual to participate an any health care system. Never got a vote in the House.
Medical Review Panels, SB 6, would require medical malpractice claims be vetted by a panel of medical professionals before they are filed in court. Passed Senate but stuck in the House Judiciary Committee.
Charter Schools, SB 8, would create a pilot program of charter schools in Jefferson and Fayette counties. Passed Senate but stuck in House Education Committee.
Debt Limit, SB 94, would cap total annual state debt payments at no more than 6 percent of annual state revenues. Passed Senate. Stuck in House budget committee.
Casinos, HB 300, a constitutional amendment to legalize up to six casinos in Kentucky. Never got a vote in the House.