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Legislative update March 23, 2020

Photo: LRC Public Information--Rep. Steven Rudy, R-Paducah (left), speaks with House Speaker David Osborne, R-Prospect.
Below is the information to keep you updated on legislative activity at the Capitol while you lead your county in responding to the COVID-19 fallout. Email with any questions:


On Thursday, March 19, Senate President Robert Stivers and House Speaker David Osborne announced at a joint press conference late in the day that, out of an abundance of caution during this pandemic, the General Assembly will amend their work schedule. Read more about that here in our On The Floor article. 


Required Newspaper Publications

HB195, (J. Miller) would allow counties with a population of 80,000 or greater to publish ordinances online and allows all counties to publish ordinances once rather than twice.

911 Funding

HB208, (R. Rothenburger) closes a loophole costing more than $1 million a year in funding to 911 dispatch centers, was concurred in the House.

Broadband Deployment Fund

HB362, (P. Pratt) known as the rural broadband deployment fund, passed in the Senate 31-0. This bill will help broadband providers extend the final mile of broadband to end-users in unserved and under-served rural areas.


HB453, (S. Santoro) which among other REAL ID requirements would make the Transportation Cabinet the sole application and issuance entity for operator's licenses and personal identification cards and eliminates the requirements that these documents be applied for in the county of residence. 

SPGE Rates

SB5, (R. Alvarado) would allow fiscal courts to have options on oversight of SPGE rates and fees.



HB388, (K. Bratcher) includes appointment for members of county boards of elections, appointment of precinct election officers; procedures for voting at a location containing more than one precinct and for the consolidation of precinct election officers; verification of submitted mail-in absentee ballots; changes the time for the printing of ballots for a special election from 15-45 days; county attorney's attendance at training sessions for election officials discretionary; contains an emergency clause. 

STATUS: awaits Senate State & Local Government Committee vote.

COVID-19 Relief

SB150 (R. Alvarado) was amended to address provisions to:

  • waive or suspend the collection of licensing renewal and application fees for businesses that have been altered or closed due to Beshear’s Executive Orders
  • Extends those licenses until 30 days after Beshear has called off the state of emergency
  • Allows employees to claim partial unemployment for a reduction of work hours
  • Gives Beshear the ability to waive, suspend or change unemployment insurance guidelines and restrictions 
  • Removes restrictions on telehealth 
  • Exempts permitted restaurants from regulations prohibiting the retail sale of food items

STATUS: passed the House March 19, awaits a concurrence vote in the Senate. 

Voter ID 

SB2, (R. Mills) known as the Voter ID Bill, went to a Free Conference Committee for changes. 

Final House language that was retained:

  • Retain original provisions of the bill with the following changes: amend to permit an otherwise qualified voter to cast a ballot on the day of any primary or an election, if the voter is personally recognized by the election officer and the election officer executes an affirmation attesting to personally knowing the voter; require the election officer affirmation to be processed in the same manner as an oath of voter; allow a voter to claim an impediment to providing proof of identification by affirming a lack of obtaining a birth certificate or other documents needed to show proof of identification, not on the basis of the inability to afford documents; allow a voter to claim any reasonable impediment that prevents a voter from procuring proof of identification; amend to delete provisional voting for state elections and to limit provisional voting to only federal elections with federal candidates; add and amend Section 33, KRS 117.035, to allow for the county board of elections to rule on questions regarding proof of identification; amend various sections to conform; make technical corrections.

Free Conference Committee Changes included in the final version:

  • Delete the provision that an impediment to procure proof of identification may include any other reasonable impediment with an explanation of the impediment; term "personally known" means an election officer knows the voter's name and that the voter is a resident of the community; delete the provision that "proof of identification" may include a document issued by any other state that contains the name and photograph of the individual. STATUS: awaiting formality of Senate and House signatures before heading to Governor’s desk. 

Indemnification of Prosecutors

SB64, (R. Girdler) provides that a prosecutor shall be indemnified by the Finance Cabinet for financial loss after being sued for an act or omission in the course of official duties. 

STATUS: awaits House Judiciary Committee hearing.

DUI Search Warrant

SB74, (W. Westerfield) removes the restriction that a judge can only issue a search warrant for a blood or urine test when a defendant has been charged with driving under the influence and a person has been killed or suffered physical injury.

STATUS: awaits House Judiciary Committee hearing. 

Deputy Jailers

HB299, (K.Banta) allows jailers to appoint deputy jailers who are nonresidents of Kentucky. 

STATUS: awaits Senate floor vote.

Transfer of Jail Prisoners

HB361, (D. Frazier) would require an agreement between an originating and receiving jail before a judge can order the transfer of a prisoner, requires a Circuit Judge to review his or her transfer order every 60 days and provide for the transfer of state prisoners from jails at or over 150 percent capacity.

STATUS: awaits Senate floor vote. 

Regulatory Licensing Fees

HB426, (P. Pratt) would allow any county or city other than a consolidated local government or an urban-county government, to impose a regulatory licensing fee on alcohol. 

STATUS: awaits Senate Licensing & Occupations committee hearing. 

CERS Separation

HB484, (R. Webber) the CERS separation bill, passed the Senate State and Local Government Committee Wednesday. 

STATUS: awaits Senate floor vote. 

Interlocal Agreements:

HB570, (M. Meredith) would update and streamline the interlocal agreement process between government agencies. 

STATUS:awaits Senate floor vote.

Budget Bills:

-HB 351, the accompanying revenue measure to the Executive Branch budget;

-HB 352, Executive Branch biennial budget;

-HB 353, the Transportation Cabinet biennial road plan and budget;

-HB 354, Biennial Highway Construction Plan; 

-HB 355, Legislative Branch biennial budget;

-HB 356, Judicial Branch biennial budget. 

The House and Senate always make their own changes to the Governor’s proposed budgets, and must come to agreement on a final bill. The next step for all budget bills will be Budget Conference Committee meetings beginning today, March 23, at 2 p.m. when they will begin negotiations. These talks likely will take a few days. GOAL: finish by April 1 and send to the Governor. You can watch today’s conference committee by clicking here

Below are details on the Executive Branch budget and its accompanying revenue bill.

Changes in the Senate budget include:

  • County Costs (out of Finance Cabinet budget) earmark for Sheriff courthouse expenses was reduced from the $10 amount in the House budget to $9 in the Senate budget (same as was proposed by the Governor)
  • Local and District Health Department Retirement Costs contribution from the Executive Budget was reduced significantly by the Senate. The Governor's proposal was increased by the House (From $41.9 million each year to $48.6 million each year). The Senate proposal reduces the appropriation to $25.4 million each year. 
  • Coal Severance funds are still distributed to coal-producing counties, but the Senate does withhold an additional $2 million to fund mine inspectors.

Changes in the Senate revenue bill include:

  • No language for Constitutional Amendment HB475, which would have allowed the General Assembly to address local tax reform options. This bill was defeated in the House and will not be re-addressed this Session.
  • PVA fees an additional fee bracket for fees of $100,000 in a city having an assessment subject to city tax or $6 billion or more
  • PVA fees an additional bracket paid by a fiscal court of $400,000, if the assessed value of property subject to county tax is $15 billion or more
  • Police officers and firefighters annual stipend will be increased based on the previous two calendar years CPI-U index
  • Coal Severance Export Refund Process- establishes a refund process effective Aug. 1, 2020, for coal severance tax if the tax is paid on coal exported outside of North America using an export terminal in Canada or Mexico. This clause sunsets on July 1, 2030. 
  • Language encouraging solar-generated electricity in city and county buildings
  • Removes language that a city and county may publish online rather than in the local newspaper.