Results for Business
What passed. What didn’t. And what it means to your bottom line.
The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce provides leadership as a catalyst, consensus-builder and advocate to unite business and advance Kentucky.
464 Chenault Road, Frankfort, KY 40601 | 502-695-4700 | kychamber.com | twitter.com/kychamber | kychamberbottomline.com
The Kentucky Chamber public affairs team (from left): Beverly Standifer, Ashli Watts, Dave Adkisson,
Jacqueline Pitts, Travis Burton and Kate Shanks.
2016: A year of legislative victories for businesses
any in the business
PRESIDENT & CEO
know what to expect
when the 2016 General
Assembly convened in
early January. Gov. Matt
Bevin had just been sworn in a few weeks before after a contentious gubernatorial campaign, House Democrats were barely
hanging on to their majority after several key appointments
and party flipping by members, and there was a special election
for four seats in the House that had the potential to shift the
balance of power.
However, despite the odds, policy trumped politics this year,
making the session one of the most successful the business
community has seen.
The state budget and pension problems dominated the
session, and we at the Kentucky Chamber think Frankfort made
major strides in getting the state’s fiscal house in order.
The divided legislature was able to come up with a budget
that is arguably the most responsible in years because it deals
with our public pension problems head-on, putting an additional $1 billion into the state’s ailing pension systems. While we
regret that our universities and community colleges will experience additional cuts, we are pleased that the budget contained
targeted money for workforce development, more funds for
college tuition assistance, and criteria for performance-based
funding of higher education, something the Chamber has
supported for years.
In addition to the budget, the Chamber logged several other
victories for the business community. The passage of publicprivate partnership (P3) legislation, a top priority for the
Chamber for three years, will enable increased private investment in state and local infrastructure projects. Felony expungement legislation will address Kentucky’s workforce shortage by
providing a second chance for thousands of Kentuckians who
have a single, low-level felony charge. Legislation to modernize
rules for distillers, wineries and breweries will spur tourism and
economic development, and a new workers’ compensation task
force the Chamber lobbied for, will make recommendations to
improve the workers’ compensation system.
Though the business community saw great wins for our
legislative agenda, we were disappointed by the failure of
common sense transparency legislation that had significant
bipartisan support and would have enacted important reforms
of the pension systems. Senate Bill 2 would have provided more
oversight by the legislature by tightening up how the pension
systems develop their contracts, appoint board members, and
compensate staff and consultants.
However, the lack of pension transparency does not overshadow the fact that the legislature came together to seriously
tackle the pension crisis, produce a responsible budget and pass
many bills of high significance to the business community.
It might have seemed like an uphill battle, but the 2016
General Assembly ended up being highly productive, and the
results should move our commonwealth forward.