The Kentucky General Assembly kicked off the 2023 legislative session the first week of January. Since this year is a so-called “short session” of just 30 days, the legislature has been on break and returns to Frankfort Tuesday, Feb. 7 for the remainder of the session, which is scheduled to end March 30.
A couple of quick points to know about this session:
- There are 31 new lawmakers – 25 in the House and six in the Senate.
- There new members of House and Senate leadership and many committees have new chairs and members.
- The short sessions were originally enacted for the legislature to handle smaller issues and do “clean up” bills. But over the years, hundreds of bills were filed during the session. Leadership of both chambers is now saying they want to return to a more traditional short session, meaning the number of bills heard and passes could be significantly reduced this year.
- With this new approach, KACP is for now limiting legislative priorities to a smaller number of bills and initiatives. As always, KACP will monitor legislation and support or oppose bills that impact law enforcement, pensions and other issues.
- To learn how to contact legislators, review and track bills, watch committee meetings – either live or taped – and daily House and Senate proceedings and more visit the website of the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission (LRC). The site is easy to navigate, is updated daily with new bill filings and legislative committee and floor votes and provides tremendous information.
KACP is working closely with The Kentucky League of Cities (KLC) and Rep. Thomas, R-Hopkinsville, on legislation that would create a Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP), to help address retention issues. The legislation is being drafted. A DROP is a voluntary benefits plan that allows members to receive a one-time lump sum payment, after serving a predetermined amount of time, in addition to their monthly retirement benefit distribution. Members can elect to participate in the plan after reaching becoming eligible for retirement. The bill is KACP’s top legislative priority for the session. Executive Director Butler, KLC Director of Public Affairs, Bryanna Carroll, and members of the Kentucky Professional Fire Fighters Association (KFFA) testified before the Public Pension Oversite Committee on January 30th giving an overview of the legislation that is being drafted.
KACP is working on legislation that would extend employment contracts to four years and adding language that would help our Airport and University Police Departments.
Lexington PD issue
KACP is working on legislation involving the Lexington Police Department. KACP recently learned from the Department’s leadership that due to a potential oversight or anomaly in state law, the department is unable to hire retired officers who are members of various retirement system. Specifically, KRS 95.022 (2) states that “subject to the limitations of subsection (7) of this section, a city may employ individuals as police officers under this section who have retired from the Kentucky Employee Retirement System, the County Employees Retirement System, or the State Police Retirement System.” Unfortunately, this KRS does not list Lexington’s retirement system – the Policeman’s and Firefighters’ Retirement Fund of the Urban County Government.
With law enforcement struggling to hire and retain experienced officers, this situation is leaving Lexington unable to hire veteran officers who could help fill positions within the department and improve the overall public safety of the community.
Early Intervention System
KACP is working on legislation that would allow law enforcement departments to create an Early Intervention System (EIS). And EIS allows an officer to seek and receive confidential counseling and other services and treatment and the information revealed by the officer would, in most cases, not be subject to the Open Records law and could not be used in court proceedings.
Sheriffs expanded jurisdiction
SB41, sponsored by Sen. Mike Nemes, R-Shepherdsville, would give sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, special deputy sheriffs, and pre-certified deputies statewide authority. KACP opposes the bill in its current form but is working with the Kentucky Sheriff’s Association (KSA) on changes. KSA agrees that changes need to be made, and its intent in supporting the bill is to make it easier for sheriff’s deputies to respond to emergencies in other counties. Assigned to Senate Veterans, M
Military Affairs & Public Protection Committee
LEGISLATION KACP FOLLOWING
Rep. Savannah Maddox, R-Dry Ridge, has introduced two firearms-related bills:
- HB138 would allow holders of concealed carry licenses to carry firearms in local government buildings, in public schools, on college and university campuses and airports.
- HB118 would lower the age requirement for a carry a concealed weapon from 21 to 18.
HB12, Banning use of hand-held devices while driving
Sponsored by Rep. James Tipton, R-Taylorsville, the bill would prohibit the use of a personal communication device or stand-alone electronic devices – mobile/smart phones, iPads, etc. – while operating a motor vehicle. Assigned to Committee on Committees.
HB22, Recreational cannabis
Sponsored by Rep. Rachel Roberts, D-Newport, the bill would legalize recreational marijuana. Assigned to Committee on Committees.
HB47, Relating to cannabis
Sponsored by Rep. Nima Kulkarni, D-Louisville, make possession of a personal use quantity of cannabis exempt from civil or criminal penalty. Assigned to Committee on Committees.
HB64, Police officer certification
Sponsored by Reps. Myron Dossett, R-Pembroke, Wade Wilson, R-Earlington- the retired chief of Madisonville – extend the period of time that a peace officer, who was employed as a peace officer as of December 1, 1998, may be separated from service before losing his or her certification status from 100 days to 365 days. Assigned to Committee on Committees.
Feb. 7: Legislature reconvenes.
Feb. 20: Presidents Day holiday; legislature not in session
Feb. 21: Last day for introduction of new Senate bills
Feb. 22: Last day for introduction of new House bills
March 17-28: Veto recess
March 29-30: Final legislative days
FOR MORE INFO
As always, questions, suggestions, comments or concerns can be directed to Executive Director Shawn Butler, who can be reached at 859-743-2920 or firstname.lastname@example.org