Today or tomorrow, 2018 Regular Session will finally ‘Sine Die’

Down to the final hours as 2018 General Assembly draws to a close

Today marks the 59th day of the maximum 60-day Regular Session of the Kentucky General Assembly. The legislators have been off the last two weeks for a “Veto Session,” to give the governor time to decide if he will veto any legislation approved in the session, and if so which bills.

Governor Matt Bevin announced earlier this week he was vetoing the State Budget Bill, House Bill 200, and the State Revenue/Tax Bill, House Bill 366, a promise he fulfilled later that day.

The last two days of a legislative session are named “Veto Override” days and while there’s no assurance they will override any of the vetoed bills, they’re in Frankfort for that purpose and to finally go ‘sine die’ by midnight Saturday.

House Bill 366 contains tax reform language that puts a sales tax on at least 17 services including veterinary services on small animals, landscaping, janitorial and golf to name a few. But it also includes language that would allow school districts to choose between publishing in the newspaper, on the district’s website or by placing a copy in the local public library, the district’s financial statement and school report card. This language is identical to what schools were allowed to do from 2002 to 2016 when Governor Bevin vetoed that language. Schools then had no choice but to publish all information in the local newspaper.

HB 366 also includes language that would allow certain counties and cities within those counties to publish their audits, bid requests and ordinances in the newspaper or on the county’s or city’s website. When that language was in House Bill 200, it pertained to all 120 counties and all towns in the state. But in making HB 366 the State Revenue/Tax legislation, legislators moved the public notice language to HB 366 and changed the language to pertain only in counties of 90,000 population and above, using the 2010 U.S. Census as the basis. The eight counties then are Boone, Campbell, Daviess, Fayette, Hardin, Jefferson, Kenton and Warren.

Both the House and Senate chambers have received extensive lobbying on HB 200 and HB 366, with more of it toward the Revenue Bill because of establishing state sales tax on at least 17 services.

Leaders think they have sufficient votes in both chambers to override the vetos, but it probably will be close. A clear majority is required to override the vetoes and when they originally passed the legislature, the two bills made it by no more than a simple majority — 20 in the Senate and 51 in the House.

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