Economists in charge of mapping out Kentucky's financial future met to discuss the possible impact of tax changes made in the 2018 session. Representatives of the Office of the State Budget Director and Kentucky Department of Revenue testified that it is hard to predict how the fiscal year will fare.
The city of Hopkinsville is getting help from the state as it expands broadband service. The Capital Projects and Bond Oversight Committee approved loans for the Hopkinsville Electric System for the next phase of a project that Mayor Carter Hendricks says is vital to ensure Hopkinsville becomes a Gig City.
Governor Bevin's general counsel filed a new motion in the pension lawsuit asking Franklin Circuit Court to alter, amend or vacate a June ruling that declares Senate Bill 151 invalid.
President Trump created the Federal Commission on School Safety after the Parkland, Florida shooting. On Tuesday, it came to Kentucky to hear from Governor Matt Bevin, legislators, law enforcement, the public and others on what the state is doing to try and curb the increase of violence in our schools.
PPOB co-chair Jerry Miller announced at a Monday afternoon meeting that members of a subcommittee to study CERS separation have been selected. That information came after testimony from the Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Trustees Chairman its and Executive Director on a recent decision to adopt a new investment strategy for all plans, including CERS.
KLC Deputy Executive Director J.D. Chaney told a Kentucky Chamber of Commerce tax panel that cities are looking to the legislature to provide more options to fund the growing demand on city services. Representative Ken Fleming is heading up a new tax task force and hopes to have tax reform by 2020.
New tax laws that go into effect July 1, 2018, may have a significant impact on your city. We are continuing to gather information on what will fall under the new requirement for the 6 percent sales and use tax and on changes that need to be made to withholding due to the flat 5 percent state income tax rate.
From CERS separation to modernizing the road funding formula and limiting the peace officer powers of untrained constables, the KLC Board of Directors voted Thursday on a wide range of priorities for the 2019 legislative session.
he KLC Board of Directors named a record number of legislators as 2018 'Friend of Kentucky Cities' award winners. Eleven senators and 18 representatives will be honored this year for performing outstanding work advocating for issues that impact cities across the state.
Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd has ruled in favor of a lawsuit against the state's new pension law. The judge says the law is invalid because it was not read three times before passage and because it did not pass with a constitutional majority vote.
The Kentucky League of Cities offers a unique program to schools across Kentucky. City Government Month provides a teacher created and approved civics lesson plan, along with various other tools for teachers and parents. It also asks city leaders to participate in teaching elementary school students about their local government.
A bipartisan group of legislators have formed a group to draft and file legislation in the House and Senate that would legalize sports betting in Kentucky.
One week after a lengthy hearing in the lawsuit over the state's new pension bill, lawyers for Governor Matt Bevin have filed an amended complaint. It asks the judge to rule that the pension bill and others passed in the 2018 session, including the bill that provides for a phase-in of CERS employer contribution rates, do not have to be read out loud three times in order to be valid.
The Interim Joint Committee on Education heard from KLC Senior Law Enforcement Liaison Mark Filburn and others on what Kentucky legislators and communities can do to improve school safety in the state.
New population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show more and more people are choosing to live in a Kentucky city, creating a greater demand for city services.
The Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Trustees approved a new investment approach for CERS that pulls away from growth funds, even though they have outperformed fixed income funds over the past five years. They also talked about a study that's underway into assumption rates for all KRS plans.
KLC responded to a letter the governor's budget director sent to city officials warning that a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the state's new pension law poses a threat to the law providing a phase-in of CERS employer contribution rates.
Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear and general counsel for Governor Matt Bevin were in court Thursday to argue the merits of the lawsuit filed against the state's new pension bill.
The first meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Transportation brought a dire message from the Secretary of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. He outlined a five-year forecast that leaves a lot of projects underfunded if the state doesn't act to change the way transportation infrastructure is paid for in Kentucky.
The Public Pension Oversight Board held its first meeting Monday since the end of the 2018 Regular Session. Chairman Joe Bowen reported that efforts are underway to form the subcommittee, required by law, to study the possibility of separating the County Employees Retirement System from Kentucky Retirement Systems.
Kentucky Senator Max Wise says it's time to look for bipartisan solutions to school safety. Wise and Representative Bam Carney co-chair the newly formed School Safety Working Group that held its first meeting Monday afternoon.
House Bill 324, sponsored by Representative Diane Murray St Onge, was a KLC initiative that prohibits the use of a drone over a city's key infrastructure assets. Wednesday, Governor Matt Bevin held a ceremonial signing of the bill.
The Kentucky League of Cities joined dozens of other supporters and legislators Friday morning for the ceremonial signing of House Bill 400. The KLC-supported bill allows distilleries, small-farm wineries and retail package license holders to ship limited quantities of product directly to consumers.
Governor Bevin's general counsel had a letter delivered to Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd on Wednesday that asked the judge to recuse himself from hearing the lawsuit filed against the governor and legislative leadership over the new pension law. The judge denied the request.
The 2018 Regular Session of the General Assembly resulted in several new laws that will impact cities. You can access a comprehensive rundown here.
Kentuckyâ€™s Work Matters Task Force released its recommendations for how the state can help people in at-risk groups find employment.
Governor Matt Bevin and others named in a lawsuit over the pension reform law were denied a request after a Monday morning court hearing. The judge says the defendants cannot depose the three agencies that filed the lawsuit.
The Kentucky Retirement Systems Investment Committee and its consultants talked Tuesday about taking a â€œsaferâ€ approach to investments, including those made for CERS. That decision came as new data was revealed that shows CERS continues to hit benchmarks and outperform the assumed rate of return.
House Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne filed a resolution calling for a bipartisan committee to investigate the costs and delays of KentuckyWired. The project was supposed to be up and running by this year, providing high speed internet to every county in the state.
The actuary for the Kentucky Retirement Systems has provided new Fiscal Year 2019 rates for County Employees Retirement System employers. The change accounts for the phase-in provided by House Bill 362.
Lawyers for Governor Matt Bevin argued in court Wednesday morning that Attorney General Andy Beshear was violating Rules of Professional Conduct by suing over Senate Bill 151, the pension reform bill. The judge ruled that was not the case and continued his vow to expedite the case.
The Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Trustees heard Thursday that actuaries expect to have new CERS employer contribution rates computed by next week. They are being refigured to account for the phase-in component of House Bill 362.
Before adjourning the 2018 session sine die, the House and Senate passed bills that tweaked the budget and revenue bills and passed two KLC initiatives.
The KLC Board of Directors voted to support a veto override of the CERS phase-in, budget and revenue bills. â€œThe phase-in for CERS is too vital to risk a second veto that could not be corrected,â€ pointed out KLC Deputy Executive Director J.D. Chaney.
House Bill 362, passed Monday by the legislature, provides a phase-in of CERS employer contribution rates. Read how it will work and what the bill means to cities.
Several bills that impact cities were among those passed as the legislature met into the night on Monday, the last day of the Regular Session before the 10-day veto break.
A new pension reform bill was introduced and sent to the governor in an eight hour period. The new bill, a House committee substitute to Senate Bill 151 - a wastewater treatment bill, retains some provisions of the previous pension bill, Senate Bill 1, and adds new components.
Testimony Monday before the Public Pension Oversight Board showed the County Employees Retirement System (CERS) saw a 16 percent investment return for calendar year 2017. The report from the Legislative Research Commission comes as CERS employers brace for contribution rate increases on July 1 that are the result of the Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS) Board of Trustees lowering assumption rates.
The Senate State and Local Government Committee passed House Bill 2 Wednesday. The KLC initiative, sponsored by Representative Adam Koenig, modernizes Kentucky's workers' compensation law by improving care and reducing costs.
Cities could see more road funds under a bill filed by Representative Sal Santoro. He testified Tuesday before the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee, along with bill cosponsor Representative John Sims, on how the bill modernizes Kentucky's road funding formula and provides new revenue to improve the state's infrastructure.
The House Appropriations and Revenue Committee passed House Bill 169. KLC supports the bill that aims to curb gang violence in Kentucky.
The Kentucky League of Cities and other groups that support separation of the County Employees Retirement System (CERS) from the Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS) have put forth a proposed compromise.
The Kentucky League of Cities is continuing to review Senate Bill 1. We have provided a summary of various provisions in the bill that you can access here.
The House Natural Resources and Energy Committee passed House Bill 370. The KLC initiative, sponsored by Representative Robby Mills, aims to improve economic development in local communities by streamlining the process of brownfield redevelopment.
The House Local Government passed Senate Bill 97 after hearing from the billâ€™s sponsor, Senator Rick Girdler (R-Somerset) and KLC Deputy Executive Director J.D. Chaney. Girdler told members of the committee he filed the bill after an annexation issue in his district.
Senate President Robert Stivers, House Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne and SB 1 sponsor, Senator Joe Bowen, answered questions from the media Wednesday morning about the new pension bill. It does not include a phase-in of contribution rates for CERS and does not include weighted voting to address concerns with CERS management by the KRS Board of Trustees.
Senator Joe Bowen (R-Owensboro) filed Senate Bill 1, the pension bill, and then spoke on the Senate floor about the effort to draft the bill.
The House Economic Development and Workforce Investment Committee passed House Bill 2 Thursday after testimony from supporters, including KLC Deputy Executive Director J.D. Chaney. The bill's sponsor, Representative Adam Koenig, says it's time to give the law a much needed update that will improve access to correct medical care while decreasing costs.
Among the KLC initiatives filed this week was House Bill 373. It would set guidelines under Kentuckyâ€™s Open Records Law for the release of video from police body-worn cameras.
KLC Deputy Executive Director J.D. Chaney and members of the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control expressed concerns Tuesday about a bill that would put the stateâ€™s population-based quota system in statute.
The Senate State and Local Government Committee passed Senate Bill 97 by an 11-0 vote. The bill, sponsored by Senator Rick Girdler, is a KLC initiative that focuses on the annexation of unoccupied areas.
Newly hired investment consultants are looking at how the Kentucky Retirement Systems invests assets for all of its pension systems, including CERS. It's pulling away from some fund managers and reinvesting some pension funds.
The Kentucky Retirement Systems Audit Committee provided updated information Thursday on second quarter finances for the state's public pension systems, including the County Employees Retirement System (CERS). In addition to assets, data was also provided on administrative expenses that are budgeted to reach $43 million this year.
There was a lot of talk about updating Kentucky's Road Fund at Wednesday's meeting of the House Working Group on Transportation Infrastructure. While some groups want an increase in the motor fuels tax, KLC believes any modernization plan also needs to include the antiquated funding formula.
The Senate State and Local Government Committee unanimously passed Senator Mike Wilson's Senate Bill 91. Senator Wilson, State Auditor Mike Harmon and KLC Deputy Executive Director J.D. Chaney testified in support of the KLC initiative Wednesday afternoon.
State Budget Director John Chilton said "the squeeze is on" when testifying Tuesday before the House General Government Budget Review Subcommittee about Governor Matt Bevin's proposed budget and coal severance money.
The Senate State and Local Government Committee passed Senator Paul Hornback's Senate Bill 88. The KLC initiative prohibits the General Assembly from imposing unfunded mandates on cities.
State Budget Director John Chilton and members of his staff testified Tuesday before both the Senate and House Committees on Appropriations and Revenue. He provided more details on the proposed budget Governor Matt Bevin unveiled last week and on the 70 programs it cut.
The Public Pension Oversight Board heard Monday from representatives of the Kentucky Retirement Systems about the current status of the state's public pension systems and looming contribution rate increases. Senator Bowen also spoke about his frustration with the lack of a pension bill so far this session.
The governor gave his State of the Commonwealth address Tuesday night and also unveiled his proposed two-year budget plan. It cuts funding for 70 programs and reduces spending by 6.25%.
The House Committee on Local Government passed House Bill 75 after testimony Wednesday from the bill's sponsor, Representative Steve Riggs, and KLC Deputy Executive Director J.D. Chaney. KLC supports the bill that would give cities more investment options.
The House Committee on Judiciary passed two first responder bills Wednesday, HB 61 and HB 68. Several legislators spoke out in favor of the KLC supported bills.
Senate Bill 3, also known as Marsy's Law for Kentucky, passed the full Senate Wednesday afternoon. The bill would put a referendum before voters in November to amend the state's constitution to guarantee crime victims' rights.
The House Standing Committee on Licensing, Occupations & Administrative Regulations unanimously passed House Bill 74. It requires pawnbrokers submit information to an online registry that is accessible to law enforcement.
Senate President Robert Stivers said Wednesday that a new pension bill draft should be coming "soon." He would not provide specifics on what it may contain, but did talk about current employees and the proposed 401 (a) plan.
Several issues took center stage on the first day of the legislative session, from pension reform to establishing leadership for the House of Representatives.
Governor Matt Bevin held a news conference Thursday morning to outline what he said were the legislative victories of 2017. He also talked about major issues that will be tackled in 2018, including pension reform and drafting a new state budget.
Members of House and Senate leadership talked Tuesday about their goals for the 2018 Regular Session of the General Assembly, which starts January 2. They all agreed the agenda is aggressive and that pension reform will now need to be the top priority.
Members of the Legislative Research Commission testified to the Public Pension Oversight Board about the actuarial and financial status of the state's public pension systems. Testimony showed how much healthier the County Employees Retirement System is and how assumption rate changes made in July could impact cities if not phased in as requested.
A Work Group that's been investigating criminal justice reform for the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet issued recommendations this week that include everything from changing pretrial release requirements to providing treatment instead of incarceration for low-level offenders. They also talked about ways to help local communities dealing with overcrowded jails.
The Consensus Forecasting Group approved new forecasts for the state's General Fund and Road Fund during a meeting Friday morning. While they did not take a pessimistic view, the new projections did leave both funds in the red. Read what State Budget Director John Chilton said about future budget reduction plans.
The KRS Board of Trustees approved employer contribution rates that will result in a $108 million increase for Kentucky cities. We have comparison charts and a city-by-city analysis. The Thursday vote came after some Board members asked once again for a phase-in of the changes.
KRS Audit Finds KERS Drives up Administrative Expenses; CERS Payroll & Investments Bring in More Money
A final FY 2017 audit of the Kentucky Retirement Systems will be presented Thursday at the KRS Board of Trustee's meeting. Preliminary information released Monday at a committee hearing shows CERS performing above expectations.
Everything from CERS separation to newspaper publication requirements and modernization of the state's road funding formula was addressed Wednesday morning when the Kentucky League of Cities outlined its 2018 Legislative Agenda to the Interim Joint Committee on Local Government.
The U.S. Attorney General and DEA announced a new DEA field division in Louisville this week, as Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary John Tilley testifies before a Senate Committee about the impact of opioids on the commonwealth.
The task force, announced by Governor Bevin in June, held its final meeting this week to review a draft of its report and recommendations. Members of the group also discussed possible obstacles, including the state's pension problems.
Tax reform has been the topic of conversation on Capitol Hill, with Republican leadership in the House and Senate debating various proposals. We've compiled a list of key issues being discussed that could impact cities.
The Transportation Cabinet's Department of Aviation told members of the Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue it will need another $20 million over the next two fiscal years to continue fixing airports in cities across the state.
The U.S. House of Representatives has approved legislation to reauthorize the brownfields remediation program within the EPA. Kentucky has an estimated 8,000 brownfields throughout the commonwealth.
Representatives from the Department for Public Health testified Wednesday about the growing number of sudden unexpected infant deaths in Kentucky. Several lawmakers questioned if the state is doing enough to protect newborns from drug dependent parents.
The House Working Group on Kentucky's Transportation Infrastructure heard Tuesday about outdated fees and formulas that have resulted in a state Road Fund that's in need of repair. One update KLC supports is a fairer allocation of local motor fuels tax income.
Despite the actuarial analysis of the pension reform bill being on the agenda for Monday's Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Trustees meeting, it was not released. The Board did, however, hear from a consulting firm that reported good Fiscal Year 2017 returns for CERS.
Homeland Security Executive Director John Holiday testified Thursday before an Interim Joint Committee about current budget needs and future programs. The Office also provided information on the 911 Services Board, which was reassigned to Homeland Security by an executive order issued by Governor Bevin.
An engineer with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet told legislators at a Tuesday hearing that a section of the state constitution limits contracts with businesses looking to move into a city riverport.
State Budget Director John Chilton testified Thursday before the Public Pension Oversight Board about the pension bill draft released last week. Legislators are still working out details of the proposed pension bill. Chilton talked about what led to funding shortfalls for the state's pension plans, including the County Employees Retirement System.
Kentucky legislators received a copy of the pension bill draft Friday night. We have included it, along with a section-by-section summary and side-by-side comparison chart.
The KLC Board of Directors voted to not take a position on the framework released last week until a bill draft can be analyzed. In the meantime, KLC is reaching out to Governor Bevin & legislators to convey concerns and questions.
Members of the House Working Group on Kentucky's Transportation Infrastructure heard Tuesday afternoon about a proposal that would help cities struggling to maintain roads in booming urban areas. The plan does not take from county coffers, utilizing instead a new formula for new revenue.
The Shelbyville City Council unanimously passed a resolution calling for the separation of the County Employees Retirement System. The Mayor also joined KLC in thanking Senator Paul Hornback for fighting to protect cities from unfunded mandates.
A legislative Committee heard from a group of experts about the impact legalization of marijuana has had on states like Colorado. Kentucky lawmakers were told there are serious public protection concerns.
The Kentucky League of Cities Board of Directors was unanimous in voting to continue to support the separation of the County Employees Retirement System (CERS) from the state's Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS). Board members say concerns remain about the management of CERS and the local tax dollars that go into the system.
Four experts in the battle against the growing opioid epidemic, including a UK doctor and Governor Bevin's deputy chief of staff, talked to a group of city officials about the state's efforts to curb the tide. The message to cities was it will take a team approach.
KLC & Department of Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles' "Hunger Packing" Event Feeds More Than 1200 Children
More than 100 volunteers took part in a signature event during this week's KLC Conference & Expo. The group assembled meal kits for Kentucky children, something Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles told attendees is vitally important in the battle against hunger in Kentucky.
The Legislative Research Commission and Kentucky Retirement Systems Interim Executive Director testified Monday to the Public Pension Oversight Board. Testimony showed KRS paid nearly twice the investment fees of its peers.
The KentuckyWired Project is planning a statewide radio campaign, with a familiar voice, as it struggles to reign in costs and legislative frustration over the project's troubled timeline and budget.
A Criminal Justice Work Group was told Wednesday that more people in Kentucky are going to prison for drug crimes and parole violations. The Crime and Justice Institute presented a detailed report on what's driving the increases to Kentucky's prison population.
Members of the Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Trustees met for hours Thursday with so many in attendance the crowd was forced into an overflow room. The Board discussed several changes and heard from the public.
KLC Deputy Executive Director J.D. Chaney took part in a Tax Summit hosted by the KY Chamber of Commerce. Chaney and others voiced a unified opposition to centralized tax collection and discussed how possible tax reforms would impact cities.
Despite warnings back in July by KLC, the State Budget Director has now sent a memo to CERS employers about the severe impact rate changes made by the KRS Board will have to their budgets. KLC continues to feel separation is the best option for CERS.
The House Working Group on Kentucky's Transportation Infrastructure heard from two experts on road funding who warned that when it comes to road funding Kentucky needs to look to the future instead of sticking with policies of the past.
The Kentucky League of Cities and a coalition of 23 other organizations held forums in seven cities to help inform CERS members, employers and retirees of the latest in the pension debate and the need for separation without structural or benefit changes.
Monday afternoon the PFM Group released its third and final report after studying Kentucky's pension plans. The report included recommended reforms that would bring drastic changes to future, current and retired public employees.
Speaking at the Governor's Local Issues Conference in Louisville Thursday, Governor Bevin said lawmakers are "having a very frank discussion" about CERS separation. The governor also gave a passionate speech about pension reform.
A group, including the Kentucky League of Cities, law enforcement officials and Representative Robert Benvenuti testified Wednesday that Kentucky needs to provide clarity to how the Open Records Law pertains to police body camera video.
Current and retired CERS members met in Lexington Monday to hear from the members of a coalition that has banded together to support the separation of CERS without changes to its structure or benefits.
A new website that became active this week outlines Governor Bevin and other state leaders' case for pension reform. The Kentucky League of Cities worries it takes too broad of an approach.
The Transportation Cabinet's Executive Director of Budget and Fiscal Management testified Thursday that the Road Fund performed better than expected in FY 2017. She warned, however, that expectations should not be the same for FY 2018.
Representative Michael Meredith (R-Oakland) says a lot of lawmakers like to say they're for home rule, but many will have to show it when they meet for this year's special session and next year's budget session. Lawmakers could take up several issues that impact cities, including pension and tax reform.
A group presented to the Public Pension Oversight Board Monday the results of its study, ordered by Governor Bevin, that looked into how the state's pension system got into a multibillion-dollar funding shortfall.
Members of the Interim Joint Committee on Local Government were told it's time Kentucky let local governments publish online. State law requires various documents be published in a local newspaper, but the Kentucky League of Cities and other groups testified that the rule is unnecessarily costly when social media and government websites get more traction.
Kentucky Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) says he believes Republican leadership is ready to tackle the state's pension problems. He believes the best way to fix the pension system is to develop a business-friendly environment that leads to more taxpayers.
Representative Jerry Miller (R-Louisville) talks about his firm support for separation of the County Employees Retirement System (CERS) from the Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS), what tax reform in Kentucky will need to look like and why he believes expanded gambling may be the ticket to a better financial situation for the state.
KLC sat down with Kentucky Senator Joe Bowen to talk about CERS separation, the crisis with KERS & SPRS funding, and what the state will have to consider to fix it.
The Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Trustees voted for new assumption rates for both CERS plans but did not phase-in the changes as requested. The new rates will have a major impact on cities.
Debate continues in Washington, DC, over a new budget. President Trump has proposed several cuts, including Community Development Block Grants. Two Kentucky mayors say those grants are, many times, the only way smaller cities can compete.
Representative Brian Linder says interest groups and stakeholders involved in the state's current pension debate may have to accept the end result may not make everyone happy; but, he says he hopes the final outcome is one everyone can live with.
Owensboro Mayor Tom Watson and Sadieville Mayor Claude Christensen recently spoke to the Interim Joint Committee on Local Government about the state's tax laws. Tax reform is expected to be on the agenda if the governor calls a special session later this year.
Representative Steven Rudy, who chairs the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee, spoke to the Kentucky League of Cities about tax and pension reform. The Paducah Republican warns fixing the state's pension system can't wait.