With 11 legislative days to go, the General Assembly has passed two bills and one procedural resolution. Approximately 300 bills have passed only the House or the Senate.
We've mentioned the more notable bills in our daily summaries here, here and here. Here are some important pieces that have escaped our attention so far.
SB 4 - Election Reforms
Moves the filing deadline January to late April and the primary from May to August. Makes changes to campaign finance laws. We're in favor of the financial disclosure requirements, and we're very supportive of moving the filing deadline back. Under current law, the filing deadline will pass for freshmen legislators in the General Assembly before they ever vote on a budget. However, we do not favor moving the primary date.
KEY VOTE SB 7 - Spending Transparency
Requires all state spending to be posted online.
SB 10 - Illegal Amendment to the Kentucky Constitution
While we don't dispute the content - affirming state sovereignty under the 10th Amendment, affirming that consumers can not be compelled by government to participate in health care systems, protecting coal and the 2nd Amendment among many things - the proposal is clearly a political stunt that violates the requirement that a Constitutional Amendment deal with only one subject at a time.
SB 11 - False Claims Duplication
While it may seem sensible to allow whistleblowers to sue to uncover fraud in Medicaid, this sort of action is already allowable in federal court. To open up state court as well without prohibiting double-filing, means that the marginal increase in expected recovery lawsuits could easily be eclipsed legal fees and whistleblower rewards. Unless this legislation is amended, it is a large expense and boon to the litigation industry without significant improvement for the taxpayer. POTENTIAL KEY VOTE.
SB 13 - Encouraging Teachers Who Encourage Achievement
This legislation would establish performance rewards for teachers based on student achievement in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate tests in science and mathematics. This measure will help maximize the effectiveness of taxpayer resources in education and is a LIKELY KEY VOTE.
SB 34 - Promoting Nuclear Power in Kentucky
Changes outdated regulations that are preventing the use of nuclear-generated electricity in Kentucky. This legislation has been a KEY VOTE in the past and will be again this year.
SB 41 - Dismantling the Political Party System in Kentucky
This legislation would allow those not organizing in a political party to participate in choosing the general election candidates for a political party. LIKELY KEY VOTE.
SB 71 - Licensing "Diabetes Educators"
A companion to HB 217, it creates a new board of licencure so that individuals may pay a fee and submit to regulations in order to call themselves a "licensed diabetes educator". Because our health care system needs another regulatory agency. POTENTIAL KEY VOTE.
KEY VOTE SB 100 - Unaccountable Health and Family Services
This ridiculous legislation would make the Secretary of Health and Family Services hired by an appointed board, similar to the Board of Education. It seems that the intent is to insulate the Cabinet from political influence, but when a Cabinet's governance is not directly accountable to the elected executive, then it is necessarily less accountable to the voters. Since health care costs drive the majority of spending pressure in state government, it is perhaps the area of government most necessarily in need of maintaining its direct answerability to the elected executive of Kentucky.
Passed the House
HB 3 - Requiring E-Verify
Requires any recipient of a public contract with the state to utilize the E-Verify program to substantiate the legal status of their employees.
HB 4 - False Claims Duplication
A companion to SB 11, although this version is not limited to Medicaid. Like SB 11, this legislation is more likely to increase frivolous litigation than to uncover uninvestigated fraud. Unless this legislation is amended, it is a large expense and boon to the litigation industry without significant improvement for the taxpayer. POTENTIAL KEY VOTE.
HB 24 - Government Spending Transparency
Like SB 7, requires all state spending to be posted online. LIKELY KEY VOTE.
HB 47 - Everyone's a Nuisance
Greatly expands the ability of governments to pass nuisance ordinances. Rep. Denham attempted to amend the legislation to protect property owners from the myriad new nuisance regulations this legislation has the potential to create, but to no avail. LIKELY KEY VOTE.
HB 67 - Advertising on School Buses
Allows School Boards to sell advertising on school buses but illegally prohibits political communications. POTENTIAL KEY VOTE.
HB 225 - Raising the Dropout Age to 18
LIKELY KEY VOTEAs we have noted in the past,
The problem is that kids don't want to be in school, not that they're not compelled to be there. Representative Brent Yonts (D-Muhlenberg, 2008 Rank # 78) has introduced this bill in each of the last 10 years. Instead of recognizing that he is pushing a bad idea and looking for a new good one instead (perhaps one that examines how government programs might be discouraging individuals from pursuing individual success) he just keeps on doing the same thing.
HB 247 - Licensing Radon Contractors
Yet another licensing requirement because, in the opinion of legislators, only the state has the ability to determine how to offer a markable service appropriately. POTENTIAL KEY VOTE
More to come tomorrow