Legislative Week in Review Week 6 – 2019 Regular Session

From Top Shelf Lobby, KPA’s Lobbying Firm

Friday, March 8, 2019

I know most of you get weekly reports from your State Representative or Senator that’s pretty much a partisan/personal view of what’s going on around the Capitol.

Our lobbying group, Top Shelf Lobby, does the same kind of report for its clients and so as the session winds down, I wanted to share this week’s unbiased, non-partisan report for you.

Our thanks to Leigh Ann Thacker, Kevin Payton, Danny Slaton and Travis Phillips, author of this week’s report, for their constant watch over the legislature and all the legislative bill actions.


Week 6 of the 2019 General Assembly session gaveled to a close early Thursday evening. There are a total of 4 days left on the legislative calendar—3 next week, and one final day currently set for Thursday, March 28th. The last day of the session is typically used to review and possibly override any potential vetoes issued by the Governor.

Two major provisions relating to taxes and the state budget, HB 354 (taxes) and HB 268 (budget), are currently in Conference Committee, where leaders from both chambers can negotiate directly with each other on a final compromise. HB 354, the tax ‘clean-up’ bill, is actually in a Free Conference Committee, giving the negotiators even greater flexibility to work out a compromise.

HB 158, sponsored by a bi-partisan group of legislators headed by Speaker Pro Tempore David Meade, was delivered to the Governor this week after passing both chambers. The bill, creating a foster care ‘bill of rights,’ passed both the House and Senate unanimously.

A special election took place this week for the vacant state Senate seat representing District 31. The 31st District covers Pike, Lawrence, Martin, Morgan and Elliott counties in eastern Kentucky. Republican Phillip Wheeler won the special election, further strengthening the GOP’s supermajority in the Kentucky state Senate.

When the House and Senate return on Tuesday, it will be the 27th Legislative day of the session, and it is expected to be the last day of significant Committee work. Lengthy agendas for Tuesday’s Committee meetings, as well as a handful scheduled for Monday, are already being released. The flurry of activity on Committee votes will continue up until the House and Senate gavel in Tuesday afternoon.

Wednesday and Thursday, the 28th and 29th days of the 30-day session, are Concurrence Days, when the House and Senate typically focus on getting each other’s bills across the finish line and to the Governor’s desk. When they gavel out late Thursday night, the 10-day Veto period begins. During this break, the General Assembly is not in session, and the Governor and his staff review all the bills and determine whether to sign them into law, veto them, or not sign the bills but allow them to become law.

Of course, the remaining calendar for the 2019 session of the Kentucky General Assembly is subject to change if the Legislature needs more time to move bills through the process. Stay tuned to Top Shelf for any updates on the calendar and any other news from Frankfort. 

Highlighted Legislation

HB 136 – This bill, establishing a strict system for the production, distribution and use of medical marijuana, passed its first legislative hurdle this week when it got overwhelming support in the House Judiciary Committee. Final passage is unlikely with the only 4 legislative days left. But expect supporters of the issue to bring it back again next year.

HB 320 – This bill has passed both chambers and is waiting for final Concurrence before being enrolled and sent to the Governor. HB 320 creates programs to provide funding to Kentucky hospitals for health care they provide to low-income people without Medicaid or insurance.

HB 517 – HB 517 is an effort to provide additional and more reliable funding for infrastructure improvements, but aims to raise the gas tax and impose fees on vehicles that do not use gasoline. The bill has been getting readings on the House floor, but needs a Committee vote before proceeding to the House floor.

SB 8 – SB 8 won final approval this week and was delivered to the Governor’s desk on Thursday. The bill makes changes to the hearing and tribunal process for terminated teachers.

The following links take you to pages on the Kentucky General Assembly’s website where you can see which pieces of legislation have made it all the way or nearly all the way through the process of becoming Kentucky state law:

Bills that have passed both chamber

Bills waiting for Concurrence

Bills that have been Enrolled, delivered to the Governor

Regular Session Calendar

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