The pace of activity inside the Capitol is picking up as we rapidly approach the end of the 153rd Regular Session. With only a few days left to pass bills, the Kentucky General Assembly has been working in overdrive to develop the best legislative policy for the Commonwealth.
Many big issues have been addressed in this 30-day short session. This was one of our busiest weeks yet, as bills concerning abortion, medical marijuana, and education had Frankfort buzzing with visitors who attended rallies and committee meetings.
Policy relating to the use of e-cigarettes or “vaping” was also addressed. Senate Bill 218 would establish an anonymous system for students to report vaping and would encourage school boards to inform teachers and students of the dangers of e-cigarette use and nicotine addiction.
The major legislative priority, tax reform, was addressed this week, as the Senate took up the tax overhaul bill, House Bill 354. Amended by a Senate committee substitute, HB 354 would exempt nonprofits from collecting and remitting sales tax on admissions to charity events in addition to making it clear in statute that one-time fundraising events are not subject to the sales tax. HB 354 is now before a free conference committee, a joint committee of senators and representatives directed to reach agreement on legislation of which the two chambers are unable to agree. Representative Phillip Pratt of Georgetown and I were selected to participate on the committee, and I am confident that both bodies can reach a solution to get this bill to the governor’s desk.
The first bills of the session were signed into law by Governor Bevin during the sixth week of session. They include Senate Bill 77, a measure that would allow people to join Kentucky’s organ donor registry via a single sign-on system, and Senate Bill 4, which I sponsored, that would require mandatory electronic filing of all candidates’ campaign finance reports.
In a recent calendar revision, the General Assembly will begin its veto recess on March 15 and final adjournment of the 2019 Regular Session is now scheduled for March 28. The revised session calendar can be found online at www.legislature.ky.gov.
Lastly, I would like to congratulate Senator-elect Phillip Wheeler on his recent special election victory. The Senate Republican Caucus is proud to welcome him and know he will represent the 31st Senate District well.
Thank you for reaching out with your questions and concerns. It is an honor to represent you in Frankfort.