KACo reveals 2019 legislative priorities
The Kentucky Association of Counties and its affiliates presented their 2019 legislative platform to the Interim Joint Committee on Local Government on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018.
The need for adequate transportation infrastructure funding and local tax reform are top priorities for county government.
Transportation infrastructure funding is one of KACo's main priorities for the upcoming session of the General Assembly. KACo President Elbert Bennett testified about the need to provide counties necessary funding to help build and maintain transportation infrastructure for a safe and prosperous Commonwealth. He explained that transportation is essential to our state's economy, and a delay in funding will end up costing Kentuckians more in the long-run.
"Current transportation funding is not sufficient for state and local government," Bennett states. "The need is clear for additional funding for roads, airports, rails, public transit and riverports."
Local tax reform is also a top legislative priority for KACo. Bennett testified that local tax reform is needed to ensure adequate funding for services that counties are mandated to provide, such as elections, jails, public health, law enforcement, water and sewer. Counties need flexibility to generate additional revenue when needed by removing arbitrary and harmful limits on county revenue-raising options.
"Increasing local revenue options was ranked as the second highest priority in a recent survey among counties," Bennett said. "Our survey also revealed that county officials are supportive of new revenue measures, such as a local sales tax option like those in 38 other states, including six of the seven that border Kentucky."
After KACo presented the legislative priorities for county government as a whole, each of KACo's 10 affiliates testified about their top priorities for the upcoming legislative session.
Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks Association
- Modify driver's license laws to permit a re-print of a license or ID card for those medically unable to go to the clerk's office or for those who lose their license or ID card out of town.
- Reinstate license renewal notices by the Transportation Cabinet.
- Increase jury pay.
Kentucky Commonwealth's Attorneys Association
- Support felony strangulation bill to combat domestic violence and sexual assault.
- Oppose any medical cannabis bill that endangers the public, impairs enforcement of marijuana trafficking laws, allows significant risk of diversion of marijuana to the black market or serves as a gateway to recreational marijuana legalization.
Kentucky Coroners Association
- Regulate proper removal, storage and disposal of prescription drugs.
- Allow coroners' offices to have volunteer deputy coroners.
Kentucky County Attorneys Association
- Support local control regarding the collection of child support.
- Monitor criminal justice reform and pension reform.
Kentucky County Clerks Association
- Support legislation that allows electronic recording of documents.
- Close voter registration loophole to help recruit and retain poll workers.
- Reduce delay of absentee ballots due to postal issues by allowing online requests.
Kentucky County Judge/Executive Association
- Support separation of County Employee Retirement System from Kentucky Retirement System.
- Support criminal justice reform, including no money bail.
- Return a higher percentage of coal and mineral funding to counties.
Kentucky Jailers Association
- Increase inmate per diem rate.
- Support bail reform.
- Allow supplemental dorms to house inmates, and oppose outsourcing of detaining inmates.
Kentucky Magistrates and Commissioners Association
- Remove occupational license tax offset for counties with population of 30,000+ and/or address the erosion of the county tax base.
- Reduce financial burden of jails through criminal justice reform.
Kentucky Property Valuation Administrators Association
- Support fair and equitable taxation of documented boats.
- Oppose the use of "dark store theory" as a means to reduce property taxes for big box stores like Walmart, Lowe's and Target.
Kentucky Sheriffs Association
- Streamline and expedite KRS pre-approval of rehires.
- Change current fee structure to align with other states to assure adequate revenue.
Several of KACo's 10 affiliates included transportation infrastructure funding and local tax reform measures in their legislative priorities, as well. The 2019 General Session begins on Jan. 8, 2019.