by Representative Michael Lee Meredith:
Between legislative committee meetings, House Floor debates, and visiting with constituents, this week has been a very busy one in our State Capitol building. However, we still have a great deal of work to do, and the remaining legislative days promise a rapid pace. As I write this, we have less than 14 session days remaining in the 2022 Regular Session. In the next couple of weeks, we will pass legislation on the executive branch budget, tax modernization, child care assistance, and the transportation budget.
Here are a few examples of the legislation passed this week:
Lowering Motor Vehicle Taxes: Following unanimous passage in both chambers, legislation that would permanently lower motor vehicle taxes for Kentuckians was signed into law. HB 6 would ensure Property Value Administrators (PVAs) under the Kentucky Department of Revenue only use the average trade-in value, not the clean trade-in value, as the standard when assessing the value of motor vehicles for tax purposes.
Increasing Access to Law Enforcement Training: Members of the House approved HB 565, which would allow 10 percent of basic training and 30 percent of annual training for police officers to be given virtually. This measure will free up class space allowing officers to receive their training sooner. Currently, it takes officers several months to get into training courses due to the backlog.
Scaling Back on Masking: Legislation providing parents the right to opt their students out of mask mandates in Kentucky’s school and child care settings passed the House this week. HB 51 gives parents the option to send their children to school with or without facial coverings at all levels of education, from child care centers and public K-12 schools to higher education institutions.
Strategy to Recruit and Retain Teachers: Legislation aimed at addressing Kentucky’s teacher shortage passed the House Education Committee Wednesday. HB 277 creates a new alternative license expediting teaching certification programs in Kentucky. The measure creates a new pathway for recruiting potential teachers outside of the education field to the state’s most under-resourced school districts.
Protecting Second Amendment Rights: This week, HB 29 passed on the House floor. This measure is meant to prohibit identified entities from enforcing federal firearm bans. HB 29 would prevent any federal firearm regulations enacted after January 1, 2022, from being enforced with Kentucky tax dollars or taxpayer dollars. Across the United States, 15 states have enacted similar legislation.
Protection of Personal Health Information: This week, HB 28 passed on the House floor. This measure would protect public employees from having to disclose their vaccination status.
Thank you for taking the time to read this week’s update. I appreciate that our local media is willing to run these columns and, of course, hope you’ll let me know if you have any comments or questions. I can be reached during the week from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. (EST) through the toll-free message line at 1-800-372-7181. You can also contact me via e-mail at Michael.Meredith@lrc.ky.gov. You can keep track of committee meetings and potential legislation through the Kentucky Legislature Home Page at legislature.ky.gov