Legislative update: House moves to advance priority legislation as session continues
By CHAD MCCOY
50th District State Representative
Saturday, February 26, 2022 — We returned to Frankfurt on Tuesday after the long Presidents’ Day weekend and kicked off the second half of the 2022 General Assembly.
Ahead of the tabling deadline on Tuesday next week, MPs are tabling the last of their bills and resolutions for the Session. In the first 30 days of session, a number of priority measures were passed by the House, including a fiscally responsible state budget, a constitutional and contiguous redistricting plan, and the reform of an unemployment insurance system. obsolete. As the session continues, I will update you on the progress of priority legislation.
Tax modernization bill to eliminate personal income tax filed: I rarely report on bills when they are introduced, as most measures will change before they are put to a vote. While this is true for HB 8, the tax modernization proposal tabled this week, I want to share some details about this bill with you. HB 8 would reduce personal income tax from 5% to 4% effective January 1, 2023. The bill also includes triggers that call for further reductions in personal income tax until we eliminated it completely. These changes would be permanent and leave more money in the pockets of Kentucky workers. While the first drop is being paid for with the money we set aside in this year’s budget, the revenue forecast shows there’s enough growth in our future to support that 1% cut, but HB 8 understands also provisions that allow for increased income in other areas. – without tax increases. Instead, the bill expands the tax base to include services such as docking of pleasure craft, transportation services like Uber and Lyft, non-medically essential cosmetic surgeries, lobbying of legislative powers and executive, as well as advertising, marketing and graphic design. I also want to point out that there will be a sales and use tax extended to electricity bills for non-prime residential properties. In other words, if you own a second or third residence in that state, you will pay tax on the electricity you use.
Provide a lifeline for rural hospitals. Members of the House unanimously passed legislation to support rural healthcare across the Commonwealth. The measure, HB 364, extends eligibility for the Rural Hospital Loan Fund to former hospitals in underserved areas. Eligible hospitals were closed within 36 months of applying for the loan, are located in a county with a population of less than 50,000, and have a certificate of need to open or reopen a facility.
Health resources for first responders: The House also passed the Lifeliner’s Act, HB 79, aimed at increasing access to mental health resources for 911 dispatchers. than other first responders and makes them eligible for the law enforcement professional development and wellness program. The bill also includes training and resources for PTSD and work-induced stress for dispatchers.
Promote agricultural economic development: This week, we also approved legislation that promotes agriculture’s vital role in Kentucky’s economic development. HB 390 adds the Commissioner of Agriculture as a voting member of the Kentucky Economic Development Partnership and requires a member of the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority to have experience in agriculture, giving the agriculture industry a voice in the decisions that affect the economy of our state.
Improving access to health care: Members of the House Health and Family Services Committee passed legislation to help medically underserved communities overcome barriers to care. HB 525 expands the Community Health Worker (CHW) program statewide, creating a system of navigators that help improve access to health care. CHWs are frontline health workers who guide local efforts and help individuals understand what resources are available, whether through informal education, advice, support or advocacy .
Maintain public safety: Members of the House Judiciary Committee have approved legislation to protect innocent people across the Commonwealth from violent criminals. Currently, there are no restrictions on non-profit and for-profit organizations raising funds to release people from prison. HB 313, known as Madalynn’s Law, would make it illegal for these organizations to post bail for someone charged with a violent offense or post bail for more than $5,000.
Protect religious freedom: The House State Government Committee has approved legislation to prevent discrimination against organizations based on their religious affiliation. The measure, HB 43, would prevent government entities from banning religious services to a greater extent than other gatherings or businesses deemed essential during states of emergency.
Recognize the Kentucky FFA: I joined my colleagues in recognizing National FFA Week here on Capitol Hill. We were pleased to welcome Kentucky FFA officers from across our state to share the great work they are doing in their local communities as well as their goals and accomplishments for the year. The Kentucky FFA Association is a student-run organization focused on developing leadership skills, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education.
Tribute to Kentucky World War II Veterans: I also joined my House colleagues in honoring the service and sacrifice of Kentucky veterans during World War II. HJR 42 grants the family of Kentucky’s last World War II veteran the opportunity for the veteran to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda and receive a full funeral.
As always, I can be reached here at home anytime, or via the toll-free messaging line in Frankfort at 1-800-372-7181. Please feel free to email me at [email protected] If you would like more information, please visit the LRC website www.legislature.ky.gov.