Week 6 of the 2022 Legislative Session

We are quickly approaching the halfway mark of this year’s 60-day legislative session, and Frankfort enjoyed several days of pleasant weather.

Perhaps no bill in the 2022 legislative session exemplifies your voice being heard more than Senate Joint Resolution 99, a measure identified by the state Senate to bring motor vehicle tax relief to Kentucky taxpayers. Unlike a bill, a joint resolution does not modify law but carries the force of law.

Not every bill impacts you at your dinner table or directly in your pocketbook, but a potential 40 percent increase in taxes on your car or truck is something many find in their mailbox and can understand is an injustice.

Because the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the global supply of automobiles, the assessed value on vehicles has been artificially inflated. Since motor vehicle property taxes are connected to the standard value of a car or truck, the tax burden has followed. That burden equates to a nearly $70 million tax increase. The good news is existing state law provides the executive branch with authority to right this wrong (KRS 132.485). The bad news is Governor Andy Beshear has chosen not to utilize that authority and exempt Kentuckians from this pandemic-driven tax burden.

Given the Governor’s enthusiasm for exercising executive authority — in some cases acting unconstitutionally and being admonished by state and federal courts — it is unclear why he would not exercise a statutory authority actually granted to the executive branch. Since his administration has chosen inaction, Senate Joint Resolution 99 would decide for him and require him to order the Department of Revenue to exempt taxpayers from inflated tax burdens. It would also grant immediate refunds to anyone who has already paid their motor vehicle tax this year.

As diligent review of the Governor and state House of Representatives budget proposals continue, please know my priority is not the state’s bottom line but yours. Because billions of federal dollars are making their way into Kentucky, state revenues are at record levels. I am committed to finding other ways to keep more money in your pocket in the more extensive tax reform discussion. Not a single penny of state funds came from anywhere other than hardworking taxpayers.

Here are some additional measures we passed in the state Senate in week six of the session:

Senate Bill 6 gives collegiate athletes the freedom to earn money from their name, image and likeness, but also allows colleges and universities to implement reasonable restrictions. The bill will prohibit a collegiate athlete from endorsing illegal products or promoting sports betting.

For decades, the NCAA, universities and broadcast networks, and advertisers have financially benefited off of the talents displayed by collegiate athletes. The NCAA brought in over $800 million in 2019, and when considering the attention sporting events garner, it is not surprising. Allowing young people the opportunity to reach their full potential and achieve financial security for themselves and their families is the right thing to do, especially since the NCAA and the federal government have failed to act on this issue. University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari joined us to support the bill, calling SB 6 “model legislation” and the next best thing to federal legislation.

Senate Bill 101 makes it a misdemeanor for first responders—including coroners, EMTs, firefighters, rescue workers and police—to take a photograph or video of a deceased person at the scene of an accident or crime for any purpose other than those related to official duties. Penalties would be set for no less than $500 and not more than $2,500. The bill also requires forfeiture of the device used to capture the photographs or videos.

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