Capitol Watch

Supreme Court Upholds Right-To-Work Law

Supreme Court Upholds Right-To-Work Law The Kentucky Supreme Court issued several opinions Thursday morning, including a ruling on the KLC-supported right-to-work law that the legislature passed in 2017. It also set an expedited hearing schedule on the lawsuit over Marsy's Law for Kentucky. However, it did not release a decision on the pension law.


Experience Study Presented to KRS Board

Experience Study Presented to KRS BoardThe draft of an experience study conducted by the actuary for the Kentucky Retirement Systems raised questions about the amount of payroll growth being seen in the County Employees Retirement System (CERS). The KRS Board of Trustees received a preview of the report Thursday. It also recommends a slight reduction in CERS employer contribution rates.


KLC Details 2019 Legislative Agenda

KLC Details 2019 Legislative AgendaKLC President and Mayfield Mayor Teresa Rochetti-Cantrell, First Vice President and Jeffersontown Mayor Bill Dieruf and Deputy Executive Director J.D. Chaney outlined the 2019 KLC Legislative Agenda to the Interim Joint Committee on Local Government. They explained why the separation of the County Employees Retirement System remains the top priority for cities and spoke on everything from equalization and modernization of the road funding formula to updating city classification reform.


Legislators Talk Taxes & Revenue at Series of NKU meetings

Legislators Talk Taxes & Revenue at Series of NKU meetingsThe Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue met on the campus of Northern Kentucky University. The Office of the State Budget Director warned members of the committee that the Fiscal Year budget may not end as flush as FY 2018. The Task Force on Tax Expenditures also met at NKU, along with the Budget Review Subcommittee on Justice & Judiciary, which discussed bail bond reform.


Auditor Testifies on KentuckyWired Investigation

Auditor Testifies on KentuckyWired InvestigationKentucky Auditor of Public Accounts Mike Harmon testified before the Program Review and Investigations Committee on his office's recent review of the troubled KentuckyWired project.


Kentucky Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Pension Bill

Kentucky Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Pension BillAll seven members of the Kentucky Supreme Court peppered Governor Matt Bevin's general counsel and Attorney General Andy Beshear with questions as they argued before the state's high court on the constitutionality of Senate Bill 151, the pension reform law.


Kentucky's Drug Epidemic Takes A Toll

Kentucky's Drug Epidemic Takes A TollVan Ingram, the executive director of the Kentucky Office Of Drug Control Policy, testified Wednesday on the growing number of overdose deaths in the state. The Tobacco Settlement Agreement Fund Oversight Committee also heard how local control is important as cities battle the epidemic.


Separation Advisory Committee Holds First Meeting

Separation Advisory Committee Holds First MeetingMembers of the newly formed advisory subcommittee to study CERS separation have begun to meet. Separation is the top priority for KLC in the 2019 legislative session. The meeting began after a lengthy Public Pension Oversight Board (PPOB) meeting in which Kentucky Retirement Systems executives gave an overview of cash flow and investment returns for the end of Fiscal Year 2018.


CERS Grows While State Pension System Continues to Struggle

CERS Grows While State Pension System Continues to StruggleNew data released Thursday at the Kentucky Retirement Systems Audit Committee shows CERS grew 6% in Fiscal Year 2018, despite seeing a decline in investment income from the previous fiscal year. The troubled KERS nonhazardous pension plan saw a $44 million loss. KLC believes separation of CERS from KRS is the best path forward to deal with management and administration concerns and ensure its continued growth.


Local Representatives Take Seats on 911 Board

Local Representatives Take Seats on 911 BoardTaylor Mill Mayor Dan Bell and Williamsburg Mayor Roddy Harrison have been appointed to the new 911 Services Board. It was formed after the governor signed House Bill 424, a KLC initiative to return local representatives to the board.


Governor Promotes Local Control at Bill Signing

Governor Promotes Local Control at Bill SigningSupporters of House Bill 114 gathered at the Governor's Local Issues Conference for a ceremonial signing of the KLC-supported bill. Governor Matt Bevin told the crowd "I'd rather you'd control your own money."


Could CERS Have Better Investment Returns?

Could CERS Have Better Investment Returns?Returns posted by the Kentucky Retirement Systems for the end of the fiscal year show investments were above benchmarks, but recent changes in asset allocations may drag its numbers down. KLC continues to believe CERS separation is the best path forward for the local pension system to ensure it is not hampered by administration and management concerns.


Kentucky Supreme Court to Hear Pension Case

Kentucky Supreme Court to Hear Pension CaseThe state's highest court has set a September 20 hearing date for the governor's appeal to a Franklin Circuit Court ruling that invalidated the pension law, Senate Bill 151. The Kentucky Supreme Court will now decide if the law was passed legally.


KLC Board Sets 2019 Legislative Priorities

KLC Board Sets 2019 Legislative PrioritiesThe KLC Board of Directors has finalized its priorities for the 2019 legislative session with separation of the County Employees Retirement System (CERS), modernization of the road funding formula and flexibility and protection of the state's tax laws topping the list.


Kentucky Overdose Deaths on the Rise

Kentucky Overdose Deaths on the RiseAccording to a new report from the Kentucky Office Of Drug Control Policy, the state recorded an 11.5 percent increase in overdose deaths in 2017. While heroin deaths declined, fentanyl and other drugs saw a spike.


Changes Revenue Bill Will Have on State Budget Hard to Gauge

Changes Revenue Bill Will Have on State Budget Hard to GaugeEconomists 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.


Loans Approved for Hopkinsville Broadband Project

Loans Approved for Hopkinsville Broadband ProjectThe 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 Wants Judge to Amend Pension Ruling

Governor Wants Judge to Amend Pension RulingGovernor 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.


Federal Commission on School Safety Holds Listening Session in Kentucky

Federal Commission on School Safety Holds Listening Session in KentuckyPresident 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.


Members of CERS Separation Group Announced as KRS Testifies on New Investments

Members of CERS Separation Group Announced as KRS Testifies on New InvestmentsPPOB 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.


Tax Panel Told Cities Need More Revenue Options

Tax Panel Told Cities Need More Revenue OptionsKLC 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.


Is Your City Ready for the New Tax Laws?

Is Your City Ready for the New Tax Laws?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.


KLC Board Votes on 2019 Legislative Agenda

KLC Board Votes on 2019 Legislative AgendaFrom 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.


2018 'Friend of Kentucky Cities' Award Winners Announced

2018 'Friend of Kentucky Cities' Award Winners Announcedhe 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.


Judge Strikes Down Pension Law

Judge Strikes Down Pension LawFranklin 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.


Cities and Schools Team Up to Promote Civics Education

Cities and Schools Team Up to Promote Civics EducationThe 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.


Legislative Group Formed to Draft Sports Betting Proposal

Legislative Group Formed to Draft Sports Betting ProposalA 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.


Governor Files Amended Complaint in Pension Lawsuit

Governor Files Amended Complaint in Pension LawsuitOne 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.


Legislators Hear Three-Pronged Approach to School Safety

Legislators Hear Three-Pronged Approach to School SafetyThe 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.


Kentucky City Population Continues Growth

Kentucky City Population Continues GrowthNew 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.


KRS Board Votes For Conservative CERS Investments Despite Successful Growth Funds

KRS Board Votes For Conservative CERS Investments Despite Successful Growth FundsThe 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.


State Budget Director Claims CERS Phase-in Threatened by Pension Lawsuit

State Budget Director Claims CERS Phase-in Threatened by Pension LawsuitKLC 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.


Hearing Held in Pension Lawsuit

Hearing Held in Pension LawsuitKentucky 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.


Committee Told It's Time to Increase Transportation Funding

Committee Told It's Time to Increase Transportation FundingThe 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.


Legislators Get Update on Pension Systems, Prepare for KLC Requested CERS Separation Study

Legislators Get Update on Pension Systems, Prepare for KLC Requested CERS Separation StudyThe 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.


School Safety Group Holds First Meeting

School Safety Group Holds First MeetingKentucky 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.


Governor Holds Ceremonial Signing of KLC Initiative He Calls "Critical"

Governor Holds Ceremonial Signing of KLC Initiative He Calls 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.


Governor Signs Bill and Helps Ship Bourbon

Governor Signs Bill and Helps Ship BourbonThe 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.


Judge in Pension Lawsuit Case Asked to Step Down

Judge in Pension Lawsuit Case Asked to Step DownGovernor 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.


2018 Legislative Update

2018 Legislative UpdateThe 2018 Regular Session of the General Assembly resulted in several new laws that will impact cities. You can access a comprehensive rundown here.


Task Force Releases Report on Getting More Kentuckians Employed

Task Force Releases Report on Getting More Kentuckians EmployedKentucky’s Work Matters Task Force released its recommendations for how the state can help people in at-risk groups find employment.


Judge Denies Request For Depositions in Pension Lawsuit

Judge Denies Request For Depositions in Pension LawsuitGovernor 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.


New CERS Investment Strategy Unveiled Despite Booming Returns

New CERS Investment Strategy Unveiled Despite Booming ReturnsThe Kentucky Retirement Systems Investment Committee and its consultants talked Tuesday about taking a “safer” 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.


Speaker Pro Tem Wants Investigation into KentuckyWired

Speaker Pro Tem Wants Investigation into KentuckyWiredHouse 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.


KRS Actuary Sets CERS Rates for Phase-In

KRS Actuary Sets CERS Rates for Phase-InThe 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.


Judge Rules Attorney General Can Remain on Pension Lawsuit

Judge Rules Attorney General Can Remain on Pension LawsuitLawyers 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.