A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Halfway through the legislative session this week — with a lot of work still to do; just two bills signed

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Wednesday marked the halfway point of the 2020 regular session of the General Assembly, with still a lot of work to accomplish.

Thus far, only two bills have been signed into law by Gov. Andy Beshear.

(Photo by Tom Latek, Kentucky Today)

House Bill 186 excludes direct sellers, such as those who sell products in the home or other non-store setting, from company coverage of workers compensation and unemployment compensation.

HB 236 allows the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to develop hemp testing procedures for THC content (the chemical in marijuana that makes you high), sets forth requirements for transporting hemp and specifies licensing procedures for growers, processors and marketers.

Three more pieces of legislation are on the governor’s desk, and he has until Friday to sign, veto, or let them become law without his signature.

Senate Bill 8 is the school safety bill, that includes mandatory arming of school resource officers  (SROs) requires at least one school counselor or school-based mental health services provider for every 250 students, and mandates that the Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training Center develop a video for active shooter training, in conjunction with the Kentucky Department f Education.

SB 94 would allow a maximum of 15 percent ethanol in gasoline, up from the current 10 percent.

House Joint Resolution 8, which directs the Energy and Environment Cabinet and the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District to explore possible alternatives to the federal reformulated gasoline requirements currently imposed in Jefferson County, as well as parts of Bullitt and Oldham Counties.

The biggest task lawmakers face before they adjourn April 15 is enacting a state budget for the next two fiscal years.

Gov. Beshear has delivered his budget proposal and House budget review subcommittees have been taking testimony from various state agencies on their budget requests that differ from the Governor’s proposal.

House Speaker David Osborne, R-Prospect, has said he hopes to have action by the full Appropriations and Revenue Committee and a final vote in his chamber the first week in March, which would then give the Senate about a month to consider the budget measures.

Each chamber’s top priority bill is still percolating through the legislative process.

Senate Bill 1, requiring state and local agencies to assist federal authorities on immigration matters and banning sanctuary cities, has cleared that chamber and is awaiting action by the House Judiciary Committee.

House Bill 1, which deals with public assistance reform, is scheduled to have its first hearing by the House Health and Family Services Committee on Thursday.

Lawmakers will meet daily through March 26, recess through March 20 before returning for two more days, then take the ten-day so-called “Veto recess” before returning April 14 and 15 to consider overriding any vetoes by the Governor.

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