Editor’s Note: Joanie Prentice has done yeoman’s work on this article, working her way through all the bills filed so far to come up with the best ones. So that her work isn't in vain, we have split the article into three parts. Links to the other two sections are just above the closing.
In this era of extreme partisanship, will the Republican supermajority in the KY23GA work for the good of Kentuckians, or will they punish Democratic legislators and not move forward any of their proposed bills?
They almost certainly won’t promote any legislation suggested by Governor Beshear because they want to have a trifecta in state politics and elect a Republican governor in this year’s general election. As a rule lately, for a Democratic legislator to get a bill heard in committee, a Republican co-sponsor is needed.
So, what can regular folks do to make it known we WANT measures that improve the lives of Kentuckians no matter who proposes the bill? To begin with, we can contact our representatives to let them know we want them to vote FOR the bills below.
SB 32 – Incremental increase in minimum wage up to $15/hr for employees of certain businesses with sales over $500,000 (up from $95,000). It would allow local governments to set ordinances to exceed the state minimum. Assigned to Appropriations & Revenue Committee (S). Sponsored by Reggie Thomas (D).
HB 89 – Gov. Beshear’s bill to open up the budget for increased spending on lots of projects, loan forgiveness for social workers, affordable housing, parks, workforce development, etc. Has not been assigned to committee and it is doubtful it will budge (pun intended). Sponsored by Derrick Graham (D), Cherlynn Stevenson (D).
HB 90 – Gov. Beshear’s bill for increased spending for state employee raises and student loan forgiveness, raises for state retirees, retirement pension funding, etc. Unfortunately, another bill that will most likely not move forward. Sponsored by Derrick Graham (D), Cherlynn Stevenson (D).
HB 91 – Gov. Beshear’s bill requesting development and funding for the Talent Pipeline Magnet program. Has not been assigned to a committee. Sponsored by Derrick Graham (D), Cherlynn Stevenson (D).
HB 106 – Gov. Beshear’s bill to allow and develop rules and regulations for all types of sports wagering. We’ll see if any Republicans put forth their own sports wagering bill. It’s a popular topic in KY so it’s pretty sure the R’s won’t want Andy to get credit! Has not been assigned to a committee. Sponsored by Derrick Graham (D), Cherlynn Stevenson (D).
SB 30 – Would make it a lot easier to cancel auto renewing subscriptions online. Assigned to Banking & Industry Committee (S). Sponsored by R. Girdler (R).
HB 94 – Establish a Healthy Soils Program and work with Agriculture Water Quality program to optimize watershed health and promote water quality restoration. Has not been assigned to committee. Sponsored by Nima Kulkarni (D).
These bills were reviewed in a previous article, except I realized I forgot to add a Republican-sponsored Senate bill. I’ll list and link the bills here so you can check them out. None have been referred to a committee.
SB 47 – Establish a medical cannabis program.Sponsored by Stephen West (R) and others, including Robin Webb (D).
SB 51 – Omnibus cannabis bill. Sponsored by David Yates (D).
HB 22 – Omnibus cannabis bill. Sponsored by Rachel Roberts (D).
HB 47 – Decriminalize personal possession, expungement. Sponsored by Nima Kulkarni (D).
HB 48 – Constitutional amendment; put it to the voters to see if they would like a bill legalizing cannabis. Sponsored by Nima Kulkarni (D).
HB 107 – Gov Beshear’s bill on legalizing medical cannabis. Sponsored by Derrick Graham (D).
(Part 1 of this series is here; part 2 is here.)
The coming weeks will reveal a lot about how the supermajority is going to move to advance their agenda. It is rumored there will NOT be lots of new legislation, but there will still be lots of political posturing to score points with base groups.
If there are bills you want to see move forward, contact your legislators and the Republican leadership. Send an email letting them know why you think this legislation is important and include a personal story about how a bill impacts your life. A legislator who has since moved on to Washington said it is the personal stories that make a bigger impression.
I would love to see comments about what YOU think the legislative priorities should include during this session. Add them below!