As session winds down, an update on bills we’ve been watching

The 2018 General Assembly is winding down. Apparently they’ll convene three more days (see an explanation elsewhere in On Second Thought) and then go Sine Die on Friday, April 13.

Not a lot of the legislation we monitored, lobbied on or testified on will make it through the process and get to the governor’s desk.

In limbo is still the “hot potato” of the session — House Bill 200 or House Bill 366.

When HB 200 came out of the House, it included language that allowed schools to put their financial statements on the school district’s website instead of publishing in the paper. But also within those pages was language allowing cities and counties to do the same.

When it got to the Senate, the language for schools and cities/counties got moved to House Bill 366, also known as the state revenue bill. But soon, here it was headed back to House Bill 200. Now you see the reference to the “hot potato” because in a short time, the language was back in HB 366. And apparently that’s where it sits today. Chances are the Free Conference Committee will be behind closed doors this weekend. Or perhaps they’ve already decided on everything. Who knows? What began as “feel good” discussions in the open and televised on KET, the Free Conference Committee may not have been done in the public’s eye. Some Democrats were prepared for a couple of committee meetings on Wednesday, but those were never called into order, making that side of the aisle believe behind the door discussions were taking place elsewhere in the Capitol Annex.

So we await word on what will be in HB 366. Or will it be HB 200?

For some other updates:

House Bill 22 – drone legislation that would allow established businesses to use drones in their business — and that language includes the news media — passed both chambers and was delivered to the governor. But instead of signing it, he let it stay on his desk, unsigned, until it became law without the Matt Bevin signature on it.

House Bill 373 — police body cam legislation that we worked on for about 18 months with the Kentucky League of Cities and Police Chiefs Association got through both chambers as of yesterday afternoon. There were two “no” votes in both chambers so it passed the House and Senate easily and is on its way to Governor Bevin.

House Bill 478 — an effort by Rep. Jim DeCesare to fight back at a couple of newspapers, would have put ALL public notices on the internet/public agency websites. The bill was sent to a committee but was never posted and never considered.

House Bill 302 — see more information elsewhere in On Second Thought. But besides the surprise language on electronic communication device, the Senate pulled one more surprise, inserting language from HB 216 that KPA lobbied against. It would allow selection committees on certain state projects to remain anonymous and no information available until a contract is awarded or the project withdrawn. If you’ve followed On Second Thought, you know of the battle between the State Journal and the state on the demolition of the Capital Plaza Tower. There’s a story this week, included, about the State Journal countersuing the state for its withholding of that information. The language ended up in HB 302 and one we will be working on correcting when the Interim Joint Committee on State and Local Government convenes its hearing(s) on Open Meetings and Open Records this summer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *