Today marks the thirty-sixth legislative day of the 2016 session of the Kentucky General Assembly. Tuesday, March 1 is the last day for new House bills to be introduced and Thursday, March 3 is the last day for new Senate bills to be introduced.
We are over the half-way point of this sixty-day session. Below is an update on some of our 2016 State Priority Issues:
Agriculture Programs and Services
Both the House of Representatives and Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committees continue to hear testimony on the state budget.
We continue to have discussions with members of the General Assembly to ensure that 50% of tobacco settlement dollars are maintained for agriculture.
There have been a couple of bills that have passed the House Agriculture and Small Business Committee, HB 112 and HB 231, but both of these bills have been reassigned to the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee due to their fiscal impact.
There has been some recent discussion regarding the agricultural property tax assessment and if it is being misinterpreted or misapplied for certain tracks of land. We are monitoring this situation very closely. No legislation has been introduced as of yet to address this issue and if it is to be introduced in the House of Representatives this session it must be done by March 1.
We expect a bill to be filed on Monday that will create a Kentucky water resource management program that will create, support, and advocate a coordinated effort to manage water resources across the Commonwealth.
Highways, Roads and Bridges
HB 304 does maintain the 22.2% allocation of the state gasoline tax revenue for rural roads.
HCR 29 would direct the Legislative Research Commission to establish a Timber Theft and Trespass Reduction Task Force. This resolution has passed the House and has been assigned to the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee.
Other bills of interest filed this week:
This bill relating to the reorganization of the State Fair Board passed the Senate yesterday 37-0 and now heads to the House for their consideration. For a detailed description of SB 191 please see Legislative Report No. 8.
This bill will declare the state’s preemption in seed regulation and define “blend” and “brand”. It will also clarify standards on seed coatings, mixtures, and varieties and amend KRS 250.051 to prescribe labeling permit stipulations and to clarify germination test deadlines and relabeling requirements.
This resolution would direct the Transportation Cabinet and the Kentucky State Police to study the effects of horse-drawn wagons on highway safety and conditions and specify that the study include recommended statutory changes. It would also mandate the study be presented to the Interim Joint Committee on Transportation by October 31, 2016.
This morning Bluegrass Stockyards announced they would remain in Fayette County and rebuild on Ironworks Pike.
This year we are combining our Legislative Drive-In Day with our annual Food Check-Out Day activities on March 2, 2016. This will allow those of you visiting with your legislator(s) the opportunity to present them with a basket of Kentucky grown agricultural products to celebrate the safest most affordable food in the world.
The meeting will begin at 9:00 a.m. in the auditorium of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, located at 200 Mero Street, Frankfort, Kentucky.
We encourage you to contact your senator and representative in advance to let them know you will be in Frankfort that day and to set up a meeting with them to discuss issues affecting agriculture and to present them with a Food Check-Out Day basket.
Please note there will be four Special Elections for the seats listed below on Tuesday, March 8, 2016.
House District 8 – Christian and Trigg counties
House District 54 – Boyle and Casey counties
House District 62 – Fayette, Owen, and Scott counties
House District 98 – Boyd and Greenup counties
We encourage those county Farm Bureau’s with special elections to conduct a Measure-the-Candidate Forum. It is critically important to know what the candidate’s views are regarding our State Priority Issues and our policy.
HOW TO CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS
During the week, you may reach your representative and senator in Frankfort by calling 502.564.8100.
If you do not desire to talk to your state legislator immediately or you just want to leave a message, you may dial toll-free 800.372.7181. An answering service will take your message for your representative or senator. The legislative calendar information line is 800.633.9650, the bill status line is 866.840.2835, and the Governor’s office number is 502.564.2611
The following are registered to lobby for Kentucky Farm Bureau for the 2016 session: Jeff Harper, Public Affairs Director, extension 5104; Bryan Alvey extension 7218; Tony Sholar, extension 5121, and David S. Beck, extension 5101. If you would like to call your lobbyists during the evening, call 502-352-4280 at the Frankfort headquarters or call 502.495.5000 and key in their extensions.
If you would like to contact one of your lobbyists during the day, please call Sara Stivers at 502.495.5121 and she will put you in touch with one of them.