On The Floor

Legislative Session in Review for Counties

I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your support, willingness and commitment to answer our calls for action.

David L. Nicholson, a lifelong resident of Louisville, Kentucky, was elected Jefferson County Circuit Court Clerk in 2006 and re-elected to a second term in 2012.

FROM THE PRESIDENT

Dear Fellow KACo Member:
As the chairman of your 2018 Legislative Committee, I would like to say what an honor and privilege it has been to have served in this capacity this year.

Although the recent legislative session was extremely challenging, some outstanding work was done. A number of important KACo goals were accomplished. I am confident that if all stakeholders remain committed to collaborating in an open and honest manner in the weeks and months ahead, we will continue our trajectory of building stronger counties and a stronger Kentucky.

Our successful results could not have been achieved without the tireless dedication and exceptional efforts of Director of Governmental Relations Shellie Hampton and all of the hard-working KACo team members who represent us on a daily basis, including our executive director, deputy director, legal counsel and public relations office, along with our contract lobbyists and public relations firm.

As you know, we tried some new things this year, and we welcome your feedback on whether or not we executed them with quality or how we might improve them in the future. One new thing that we tried that was highly successful was our two legislative luncheons. We were very pleased that our second one, in the closing days of the session, was extremely well attended as 85 percent of the members of the House of Representatives and a whopping 95 percent of state senators turned out.

Sonya Chesser and Jon Sharp are the two amazing professionals who successfully pulled off these luncheons at the 11th hour. In addition, we could not have done our monthly meetings without the stellar assistance of Dianne Andrews.

On behalf of the Executive Board and all our KACo staff members, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your support, willingness and commitment to answer our calls for action via email, phone or text, and then your timely responses to our elected officials through those same communication channels. Beside those efforts, your presence in the Capitol was truly overwhelming, and, as your chairman, I am forever grateful.

In closing, I would like you to know that my fellow executive board member, Elbert Bennett, will be taking over as chairman of the legislative committee this fall. I would bet that he will be more organized than I am and will keep the committee on task better. I hope that you will welcome Elbert with open arms and will continue to contribute to the legislative committee. That's crucial to continuing KACo’s mission. Also, to stay on top of future legislative issues, it is important for the legislative committee to maintain the following:

1) Proposed bills that did not pass this session (whether good or bad for KACo), but may arise in future sessions and

2) Priorities for the future that we can be working on with our legislative partners.

Again, thank you for your commitment to KACo and for the opportunity to have led our efforts in Frankfort.

Respectfully,

David L. Nicholson

President, KACo

BUDGET

  • Executive Branch Budget (HB200 - Rep. Rudy)
  • Executive Branch Budget Cleanup (HB265 - Rep. Blanton)
  • Road Projects (HB202 - Rep. Rudy)
  • Judicial Branch Budget (HB203 - Rep. Rudy)
  • Transportation Cabinet Budget (HB201 - Rep. Rudy)

COMMERCE

  • Pawnbrokers (HB74 - Rep. King)
  • Weight Variance for Certain Cargo (HB153 - Rep. Heath)

ELECTIONS

  • Election Filing Deadline (HB381 - Rep. Imes)
  • Mail-in Absentee Ballot Application (HB274 - Rep. Imes)

GOVERNMENTAL OPERATIONS

  • Workers Comp Reform (HB2 - Rep. Koenig)
  • TVA-in-lieu-of-tax payments (HB114 - Rep. Rowland)
  • Death in the Line of Duty (HB185 - Rep. Blanton)
  • Local Government on 911 Board (HB424 - Rep. Carney)
  • Alcohol Quota Licenses (SB110 - Sen. Higdon)
  • Audits of Sheriff and Clerk (SB144 - Sen. Humphries)
  • Insurance Premium Tax-Refunding Credit (HB402 - Rep. Greer)
  • Wastewater Treatment Plants/Joint Sewer Agency Agreements (HB513 - Rep. Tipton)
  • Disabled Parking Placards (HB81 - Rep. Miller)

HEALTH

  • Organ Donation (HB84 - Rep. Bechler)

PENSIONS

  • CERS Employer Contribution Phase-In (HB362 - Rep. Moore)
  • Pension Reform Bill (SB151 – Sen. Bowen)
  • Executive Branch Budget Cleanup (HB265 - Rep. Blanton)

PUBLIC SAFETY AND JUSTICE

  • Drone Usage (HB22 - Rep. St. Onge)
  • Law Enforcement Professional Development and Wellness Program (HB68 - Rep. Fleming)
  • Sex Offender Registrants (HB70 - Rep. Fischer)
  • Explicit Image Distribution (HB71 - Rep. St. Onge)
  • Jail Canteen Fund Usage (HB92 - Rep. York)
  • Community Service by Jail Inmates (HB116 - Rep. Mills)
  • Fire Department Reporting (HB122 - Rep. Meredith)
  • Ambulance Providers Service Fee Schedule (HB176 - Rep. Rothenburger)
  • Special Deputies (HB275 - Rep. Meredith)
  • Judicial Districts (HB348 - Rep. Hoover)
  • Constitutional Amendment: Crime Victims Bill of Rights (SB3 - Sen. Westerfield)
  • Inmate Driver Licenses (SB37 - Sen. Harris)
  • Pregnant Inmates in County Jails/Creates offense for Attempted Murder of Peace Officer/ Firefighter/Sentence Credits (SB133 - Sen. Raque Adams)
  • Gang Violence Prevention (HB169 - Rep. Benvenuti)
  • Cell Phones in Jails (HB207 - Rep. Nemes)

REVENUE

  • Revenue Measures (HB366 - Rep. Rudy)
  • Clean-Up Bill to Revenue Bill (HB487 - Rep. Pratt)

2018 Legislation Details

Throughout the 2018 legislative session, KACo advocated diligently on behalf of counties in Frankfort. Below are a list of key bills that passed in 2018 that will impact counties.
(S) - support; (O) - oppose; (UR) - under review

 

Budget

Executive Branch Budget (HB200 - Rep. Rudy)
Biennial budget of the executive branch. Includes increased funding for PVAs; full service, life safety and closed jails are sustained; area development districts are kept whole; Commonwealt s and more. The governor’s veto of HB200 was subsequently overridden and required a “clean-up” bill - HB265. (UR)

Executive Branch Budget Cleanup (HB265 - Rep. Blanton)
A glaring hole in the final version of HB200 reduced coal severance funding. The work of the coal county judges and magistrates convinced legislators to restore funding to these counties through an amended version of House Bill 265, the “clean-up” bill for the original budget legislation. Provisions include coal severance funds restoration, dependent subsidy for KTRS members, subsidy for 29 distressed school districts created by unmined minerals devaluation, and one-year employer pension contribution rate freeze for KERS quasi-governmental entities including local and district health departments. Contains an emergency clause. (UR)

Road Projects (HB202 - Rep. Rudy)
Biennial Highway Construction Plan. (UR)

Judicial Branch Budget (HB203 - Rep. Rudy)
Biennial budget for the Judicial Branch - maintains funding to allow current programs to continue; includes opportunity to increase salaries for all Court of Justice personnel, including deputy circuit clerks. (UR)

Transportation Cabinet Budget (HB201 - Rep. Rudy)
Two-year budget for operations, maintenance and support of the Cabinet. Includes County Road Aid funding, Rural Secondary, 80/20 Bridge Replacement, and funding for some county capital projects. (UR)

COMMERCE

Pawnbrokers (HB74 - Rep. King)
Requires specific information to be included on a pawnbroker’s internet-based register and that it be made available to law enforcement. (S)

Weight Variance for Certain Cargo (HB153 - Rep. Heath)
Allows for a 10 percent weight variance for vehicles transporting feed for livestock or poultry. (UR)

ELECTIONS

Election Filing Deadline (HB381 - Rep. Imes)
Moves up filing deadline for some offices to June. Moves some deadlines for when a vacancy occurs prior to the election.
Takes effect Nov. 7, 2019. (S)

Mail-in Absentee Ballot Application (HB274 - Rep. Imes)
Requires requests be received by the clerk fourteen days before the election; allows application for ballot to be emailed. (S)

GOVERNMENTAL OPERATIONS

Workers Comp Reform (HB2 - Rep. Koenig)
Overhauls Kentucky’s workers’ compensation system ensuring continued high quality care to injured workers while maintaining affordability for employers. (S)

TVA-in-lieu-of-tax payments (HB114 - Rep. Rowland)
After a five-year attempt, this bill will establish a regional economic development agency assistance fund for TVA fiscal courts, with $2M from the state TVA payment in FY19, $4M in FY20 and the full $6M every year thereafter. (S)

Death in the Line of Duty (HB185 - Rep. Blanton)
Increases duty-related death benefits payable to the surviving spouse of a member of any of the systems administered by KRS from 25 percent to 75 percent of the deceased member’s monthly average pay, as well as other enhancements. (S)

Local Government on 911 Board (HB424 - Rep. Carney)
Elected local government representatives will once again serve on the board that distributes 911 funding. (S)

Alcohol Quota Licenses (SB110 - Sen. Higdon)
Preserves the status quo in determining how many package liquor licenses are issued in individual cities and counties. Quotas for retail drink licenses were eliminated in counties with a city of the first class (Louisville). (UR)

Audits of Sheriff and Clerk (SB144 - Sen. Humphries)
Creates application for “Agreed-Upon Procedures” - or AUP agreement - with auditor’s office to satisfy statutory audit requirements performed by the Auditor. Designed to save time and money for the offices that qualify. (S)

Insurance Premium Tax-Refunding Credit (HB402 - Rep. Greer)
Establishes timeline and amount threshold for refunding a partial credit due an insurer when overpaid by the company. (S)

Wastewater Treatment Plants/Joint Sewer Agency Agreements (HB513 - Rep. Tipton)
This bill was amended to include the substantive language from the original SB151 as filed. Now, in addition to language expanding the duties of small wastewater treatment plant owners, sewer agencies and districts are allowed to contract with others to acquire wastewater facilities when the entity’s facilities are outside that particular agency’s jurisdictional boundaries. (S)

Disabled Parking Placards (HB81 - Rep. Miller)
Requires county clerk to issue one placard at no cost; extends renewals from 2 to 6 years; establishes $10 fee for duplicates with $2 going to county clerk, $8 to road fund. (S)

 

HEALTH

Organ Donation (HB84 - Rep. Bechler)
Requires coroner/medical examiner to release identifying information and relevant postmortem exam results to a procurement organization if suitable for transplantation. (UR) 

PENSIONS

CERS Employer Contribution Phase-In (HB362 - Rep. Moore)
Provides for up to 10 years to ramp up to the full increase of 28.05 percent for non-hazardous, 47.86 percent for hazardous. Places a cap or “rate collar” on the year-over-year maximum increase at 12 percent. Contains an emergency clause, making it law immediately. (S)

Pension Reform Bill (SB151 – Sen. Bowen)
Makes a number of changes to the public pension system including modifications to re-employment policies, how sick days can be used to determine retirement eligibility, medical contribution rates, final contribution calculations, death benefits and creditable compensation. See the infographic for more details. (UR)

Executive Branch Budget Cleanup (HB265 - Rep. Blanton)
Includes a one-year employer pension contribution rate freeze for KERS quasi-governmental entities including local and district health departments. Contains an emergency clause. (S)

PUBLIC SAFETY AND JUSTICE

Drone Usage (HB22 - Rep. St. Onge)
Establishes permitted and prohibited uses of “unmanned aircraft systems” and any evidence obtained by them. (UR)

Law Enforcement Professional Development and Wellness Program (HB68 - Rep. Fleming)
Establishes a program and funding through the Dept. of Criminal Justice Training designed to provide peer support and counseling services for mental and behavioral health. (S)

Sex Offender Registrants (HB70 - Rep. Fischer)
Establishes prohibition of sex offender registrants from knowingly using electronic communications to solicit, contact, communicate or gather information about a person less than 18 years old. (S)

Explicit Image Distribution (HB71 - Rep. St. Onge)
Prohibits the distribution of sexually explicit images without consent. (S)

Jail Canteen Fund Usage (HB92 - Rep. York)
Broadens the scope of use of canteen profits for the enhancement of jail safety and security. (S)

Community Service by Jail Inmates (HB116 - Rep. Mills)
Removes the words “nonreligious sponsored” from the definition of a community service project worked by an inmate in a county jail. (S)

Fire Department Reporting (HB122 - Rep. Meredith)
Allows fire departments operating under Chapter 75 or Chapter 273, that expend less than $100,000 annually, to report to the Kentucky Fire Commission instead of the Auditor’s office. (S)

Ambulance Providers Service Fee Schedule (HB176 - Rep. Rothenburger)
Requires licensed providers to post their fee schedule in their main office or website if they host one. (S)

Special Deputies (HB275 - Rep. Meredith)
Allows counties with a population of 10,000 or more to appoint either one special deputy for every 2,500 residents, or a maximum of ten special deputies, regardless of the population. (UR)  

Judicial Districts (HB348 - Rep. Hoover)
Authorizes the Supreme Court to require the Administrative Office of the Courts to analyze the need to rearrange judicial circuits and districts, or reallocate the number of judges based on population or caseload. (S)

Constitutional Amendment: Crime Victims Bill of Rights (SB3 - Sen. Westerfield)
Question for ratification will be on the ballot in November; would give expanded rights to crime victims as part of a national movement that has been ratified in 36 other states. (UR)

Inmate Driver Licenses (SB37 - Sen. Harris)
Allows for issuance of driver’s licenses to current federal and state inmates who are on work release or reentry programs. (UR)

Pregnant Inmates in County Jails/Creates offense for Attempted Murder of Peace Officer/Firefighter/Sentence Credits (SB133 - Sen. Raque Adams)
Establishes minimum standards for care and treatment of pregnant prisoners; ensures other supplies for female inmates are provided; creates a required certification process for county jails that may house female state inmates. Provides for a 1:1 sentence credit for each day of drug treatment participation; also inmates can earn 7 days of credit for meritorious service. Creates a Class B felony for attempting to commit murder of an identified firefighter or police officer acting in the line of duty. (S)

Gang Violence Prevention (HB169 - Rep. Benvenuti)
Creates definitions for criminal gang activity and associated criminal penalties. (S)

Cell Phones in Jails (HB207 - Rep. Nemes)
Requires jailers to create policies governing possession and use of cell phones in their jails by deputies, attorneys, and non-lawyer assistants. (UR)

REVENUE

Revenue Measures (HB366 - Rep. Rudy)
The companion revenue bill to the Executive Branch budget bill, HB200 - includes applying the sales tax to more services; institutes a flat 5 percent income tax rate; establishes a credit against the state portion of the inventory tax, leaving local government inventory tax revenues in place; decreases retirement income exclusions to $31,110 (now $41,110), and other provisions. The bill was vetoed but overridden. House Bill 487 is the “clean-up” bill to HB366. (UR)

Clean-Up Bill to Revenue Bill (HB487 - Rep. Pratt)
House Bill 487 is the “clean-up” bill to HB366. (UR)

 

Unfinished Business

Bills that did not pass in 2018

Casino Gaming (HB41, 42, 229, SB241): KACo has long supported expanded gaming in order to generate sorely needed revenue for state and county governments. (S)

Moving Statewide Officer Elections to Even-Numbered Years (HB23, SB4): This legislation would save counties $13 million. (S)

Expansion of Property Exempt from Taxation (HB79): Further picking away at our outdated local tax structure diminishes the capability of counties to provide services. (O)

Home Rule Option Allowing County to Abolish Office of Constable (HB137): Redefine powers of constables; (HB420): both bills provide checks and balances for this outdated office. (S)

Medical Cannabis (HB166, SB118, SB272): Legislators and county officials are split on this issue but it continues to garner attention as more states make the move toward legalization. (UR)

Forced County Consolidation (HB243): Counties can currently consolidate voluntarily. We oppose the infringement on home rule. (O)

Repeal of Arbitrary Caps on Occupational License Fees of Counties Over 30,000 (HB358): Counties over 30,000 population are subject to an arbitrary rate cap.  We will continue to pursue local tax reform. (S) 

Collection of Transient Room Tax on Travel Accommodations Such as Airbnb (HB383): It is important to equally collect this tax on all similar businesses. (S)

Omnibus Criminal Justice Policy Advisory Committee Bill (HB396): We look forward to working with the Justice Cabinet to continue discussions on how to improve the outcomes our state currently faces on these issues. (O)

Publication Requirements of Public Notices of Local Governments With Notice on Website (HB478): Local governments continue to look for efficiencies without sacrificing communication with as many constituents as possible. (S)

Distribute 100% of Coal Severance to Coal-Producing Counties (HB542): This continues to be a priority for our coal counties. (S)

Exempt 911 pre-paid wireless fee from “Lifeline” phones (HB559): This bill would have favored these pre-paid phones over others. All should pay the same 911 fee. (O)

Transportation Infrastructure Funding bill (HB609): We will continue to communicate about this critical bill that updates decades-old user fees across the transportation spectrum. (S)

Collection of DNA upon arrest (SB84): This move would aid law enforcement in their case work. (S)

Modernization of requirements for local government financial matters (SB191): This bill would have updated what local governments are required to provide when engaging in financial transactions. (S)

Exempt 911 pre-paid wireless fee from “Lifeline” phones (HB559): This bill would have favored these pre-paid phones over others. All should pay the same 911 fee. (O)

Transportation Infrastructure Funding bill (HB609): We will continue to communicate about this critical bill that updates decades-old user fees across the transportation spectrum. (S)

Collection of DNA upon arrest (SB84): This move would aid law enforcement in their case work. (S)

Since its creation in 1974, the Kentucky Association of Counties, KACo, has been representing the needs of county government in legislative matters and offering a variety of services to promote the progress of county government.

KACo serves all 120 counties of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. As a service organization, KACo is dedicated to providing assistance to its members and political subdivisions to improve county government.

 


KACo is comprised of ten constitutionally elected officials:

  • Circuit Court Clerks
  • Commonwealth’s Attorneys
  • Coroners
  • County Attorneys
  • County Clerks
  • County Judge/Executives
  • Jailers
  • Magistrates and Commissioners
  • Property Value Administrators
  • Sheriffs

KACo Executive Committee

PRESIDENT
David L. Nicholson
Jefferson County Circuit Clerk

PRESIDENT-ELECT
Elbert Bennett
Caldwell County Magistrate

1ST VICE-PRESIDENT
Gary W. Moore
Boone County Judge/Executive

2ND VICE-PRESIDENT
Reagan Taylor
Madison County Judge/Executive

IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT
Bruce Todd
Henderson County Magistrate

Brian Roy
Executive Director/CEO 

Since its creation in 1974, the Kentucky Association of Counties, KACo, has been representing the needs of county government in legislative matters and offering a variety of services to promote the progress of county government.

KACo serves all 120 counties of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. As a service organization, KACo is dedicated to providing assistance to its members and political subdivisions to improve county government.

 


KACo is comprised of ten constitutionally elected officials:

  • Circuit Court Clerks
  • Commonwealth’s Attorneys
  • Coroners 
  • County Attorneys 
  • County Clerks 
  • County Judge/Executives
  • Jailers
  • Magistrates and Commissioners
  • Property Value Administrators
  • Sheriffs

Hon. David L. Nicholson
Committee Chairman
Jefferson County Circuit Court Clerk
KACo President

KY ASSOCIATION OF CIRCUIT COURT CLERKS

Hon. John C. Middleton
President, Kenton County

Hon. Vincent Riggs,
Legislative Co-Chair, Fayette County

Hon. Herbert McKee,
Legislative Co-Chair, Henderson County

KY COMMONWEALTH’S ATTORNEYS
ASSOCIATION

Hon. Courtney Baxter
President, 12th Judicial Circuit

Hon. Christopher T. Cohron
Co-Legislative Chair, 8th Judicial Circuit

Hon. Rob Sanders
Co-Legislative Chair, 16th Judicial Circuit

KY CORONERS ASSOCIATION

Hon. John P. Northcutt
President, Rowan County

Hon. John P. Goble, Scott County

KY COUNTY ATTORNEYS ASSOCIATION

Hon. Steve Gold
President, Henderson County

Bill Patrick
Executive Director 

KY COUNTY CLERKS ASSOCIATION

Hon. Chris Waugh
President, Floyd County

Bill May
Executive Director

 

KY COUNTY JUDGE/EXECUTIVE ASSOCIATION

Hon. Melanie Roberts
President, Bullitt County

Vince Lang
Excutive Director

KY JAILERS ASSOCIATION

Hon. Brad Boyd
President, Christian County

Renee Craddock
Executive Director

KY MAGISTRATES & COMMISSIONERS
ASSOCIATION

Hon. Bruce Todd,
President, Henderson County

J.C. Young
Executive Director

KY PVA ASSOCIATION

Hon. Joyce Garland Parker
Laurel County

Mack Bushart
Executive Director

KY SHERIFFS ASSOCIATION

Hon. Craig Peoples
President, Pendleton County

Jerry Wagner
Executive Director

 

 

THE KENTUCKY ASSOCIATION OF COUNTIES
400 Englewood Drive Frankfort, KY 40601
Phone: (502)223-7667 Toll Free: (800)264-KACo (5226) Fax: (502)223-1502
www.kaco.org