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The Kentucky Association of Counties

2021 Legislative Session Review

By Shellie Hampton, Director of Government Affairs
The 2021 Legislative Session was short but eventful, with legislators addressing many important county issues.
County Leaders,

The 2021 Legislative Session is officially over as lawmakers adjourned sine die until January 4, 2022. Despite legislators stressing the ideas of limited action taken this session and a continuation of the FY20-21 budget due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 900 bills and more than 300 resolutions were filed, many of which affected counties. 

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 outbreak created a session different from any that had come before it. With limited access to the Capitol, your contact with legislators was critical to our success in furthering the county government agenda. 

We will need your continued communications with legislators as we look to the 2022 session - we have already begun that work. In addition to the usual variety of bills that will be filed, the biennial branch budgets will be a top priority again next session, and counties will have to defend the appropriation of every penny for the work we do. 

We are pleased to share with you many county wins from this session and a look at the 2021 Legislative Session as a whole. As always, please email me (shellie.hampton@kaco.org) or Gracie Lagadinos (gracie.lagadinos@kaco.org) with any questions. We appreciate your advocacy with your legislators on behalf of county government. 

Best,

Shellie Hampton
Director of Government Affairs 



Legislation by topic

Click on the links below to see issues addressed during the 2021 Legislative Session by topic. 

Bills marked with Emergency Clause, refers to the date they became law, either upon the governor’s signature or without his signature ten days after passage. Most bills without an emergency clause go into effect ninety days after the session ends, this year in late June.

 

State Budgets


Executive branch budget

HB192 Rep. Jason Petrie

  • $12 billion state spending plan for FY 21-22 that begins July 1. 
  • Mostly continuation budget from FY20-21 budget.
  • Includes some structural changes such as putting some of the state’s portion of the ARPA in the state rainy day fund until a spending plan can be agreed upon between the governor and the legislature.
  • Includes language that stops Road Fund dollars from being diverted to other budget needs.
  • Allocates $860,000 in FY21 and FY22 to provide $20,000 annually to all counties with a life safety or closed jail.
  • Returns coal severance back to coal-producing counties.
  • Continues the current practice of fully funding the actuarially required contribution for the Kentucky Employees Retirement System and the Teachers Retirement System.
  • Contains language prohibiting the governor from allocating ARPA dollars without approval from the General Assembly.

 

Executive branch budget (companion revenue bill) 

HB249 Rep. Jason Petrie

  • Annual bill that is passed as a companion bill to the state budget. Language can be completely new or supplemental to language in other appropriation bills.
  • Establishes an Emergency Disaster Relief account in the road fund, appropriated from the road fund, to be expended only on projects specifically designated by the General Assembly. *THIS PROVISION IS EFFECTIVE NOW.
  • Re-establishes and further regulates the film tax credit that was abolished in the 2018 session.
  • Authorizes those counties, whose occupational tax fee was a ballot measure approved by voters, to increase or decrease the rate or any maximum salary limit on which the rate is based, with fiscal court approval. These counties may choose to credit the fee increase or decrease by agreement with a city.
  • Establishes a property tax exemption for veteran service organizations that are “wholly dedicated to advocating on behalf of military veterans and providing charitable programs in honor and on behalf of military veterans” i.e. VFW, American Legion, AMVets. Statewide annual impact: $300,000.

 

Judicial branch budget 

HB195 Rep. Jason Petrie

  • Continuation budget from FY20-21 budget

 

Transportation budget

HB193 Rep. Jason Petrie

  • Continuation budget from FY20-21 budget

 

Broadband


$300 million for broadband

HB320 Rep. Brandon Reed and HB382 (Emergency Clause) Rep. Richard Heath

  • Emergency C$250 million of the state’s portion of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds will be tapped to secure last-mile broadband in underserved and unserved areas of the state.
  • No more than $50 million of the fund can be spent from July 1, 2021, through April 1, 2022.
  • Requires a minimum 50 percent match by private means or from a local government, for a minimum of $375 million that could be invested.
  • Allows rural electric co-ops to leverage up to 25 percent of assets to establish broadband service.
  • NOTE: HB382 contained language that shifted oversight of consumer complaints from the Public Service Commission to the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority; and allocated an additional $50 million to be used for “projects that provide broadband service in furtherance of securing economic development opportunities for commercial and industrial customers, excluding the broadband service provider itself.”

 

Constitutional amendments - November 2022 ballot


Extending the legislative session

HB4 Speaker David Osborne

  • Eliminates the existing dates by which the General Assembly must adjourn in any regular session.
  • Extends the length of its legislative sessions by 12 days upon the vote of 3/5 of the membership of each House.
  • If ratified by voters, it would remove specific session end dates from the constitution and instead provide that odd-year sessions are limited to 30 legislative days and even-year sessions are limited to 60 legislative days. 
  • The amendment would allow the state legislature to set the legislative end date by statute or joint resolution and to change the end date of the legislative session through a 3/5 vote in each chamber. 
  • It would also allow the House speaker and the Senate president to jointly call a special legislative session for up to 12 days.

 

Abortion

HB91 Rep. Joe Fischer 

  • If ratified by voters in 2022, it would add language to the Kentucky Bill of Rights that “nothing shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.” 

 

County Finance


Sheriff tax settlement audits

HB265 Rep. Mary Beth Imes

  • Effective date: Jan. 1, 2022
  • Helps save tax dollars by consolidating multiple Sheriff’s Tax Settlement Audits into a single audit.

 

Sheriff fees

HB513 Rep. Michael Meredith 

  • Clarifies sheriff’s fees for property tax collections, in conjunction with the state auditor’s office so that going forward, any newly implemented tax collection falls within the fee framework without further need of more legislation.
  • Requires that going forward, any local government placing any special tax, license, or other charges on a property tax bill shall negotiate a collection fee of up to 4.25 percent for any sheriff collecting this fee, tax or license.

 

Alcohol Regulatory license fees

HB179 Rep. Phillip Pratt

  • Expands the authorization to impose an alcohol regulatory license fee on the gross receipts of the sale of alcohol, not to exceed 5 percent.
  • This bill extends that authority to counties that contain a city with a population larger than 20,000 that had imposed the license fee before Jan. 1, 2019.
  • Allows any city or county that held a local option election between July 15, 2014, and July 15, 2018, to enact a regulatory licensing fee within two years of the effective date of this Act, which will be June 30, 2021-June 30, 2023.

 

$20 million rural hospitals revolving loans 

HB556 Rep. Danny Bentley

  • Emergency Clause
  • Allocates $20 million to the Rural Hospital Operations and Facilities Revolving Loan Fund, which was created last year under HB 387, sponsored by Bentley
  • The fund is available to hospitals in rural counties, defined for this purpose as those having a population fewer than 50,000.


COVID-19


COVID-19 liability protection for counties, businesses, schools 

SB5 Senate Pres. Robert Stivers 

  • Provides liability protection to the state, local governments, businesses and schools from facing frivolous lawsuits related to COVID-19.
  • Local governments, starting March 6, 2020, and continuing through the duration of Gov. Beshear’s COVID-19 Emergency Declaration, were designated essential service providers and should not be liable for COVID-19 claims, except those COVID-19 claims occurring due to “…gross negligence or wanton, willful, malicious or intentional misconduct.”
  • Section 1 which provides the liability protection is effective retroactively to March 6, 2020 to coincide with the COVID emergency declaration date, and is repealed December 31, 2023.  

 

Emergency executive orders* 

HJR77 Speaker David Osborne

  • Ratifies emergency executive orders relating to COVID-19 and declares that some of the orders expire 30, 60 or 90 days from the passage of the resolution.
  • Some orders listed pertain to professional licensing, fines waived against businesses forced to shut down, price-gouging statutes, and the suspension of any copay for COVID-19 vaccinations and testing.
  • *April 8, 2021: temporary injunction issued against implementation of the bill while being litigated.

 

Criminal Justice


No-knock warrants

SB4 President Robert Stivers

  • Tightens procedures and requirements for issuance of warrants authorizing entry without notice.
  • Requires the presence of a paramedic or emergency medical technician when executing a no-knock warrant.
  • In counties fewer than 90,000 residents, allows for a court-approved exemption to allow officers without specialized training and not part of a SWAT team to execute no-knock warrants if exigent circumstances exist and officers meeting the requirements are not available.
  • In counties fewer than 90,000 residents, allows use of recording devices other than body-worn cameras, such as other audio-visual equipment or audio recording devices issued by the government.
  • No-knock warrants may only be executed between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. unless a court decides otherwise. 

 

Delinquent child support

HB402 Rep. Ed Massey 

  • Amend KRS 530.050 to increase the threshold to qualifying for flagrant nonsupport from $1,000 to $2,500.

 

Child support amounts 

HB404 Rep. Ed Massey (partial delayed effective date*)

  • Updates the child support guidelines table.
  • *Section 3 concerning the potential adjustment in the amount of child support obligation due based on factors outlined in this section has a delayed effective date of March 1, 2022.

 

Felony theft threshold 

HB126 Rep. Ed Massey 

  • Amends numerous KRS sections to increase the felony threshold for theft and fraud offenses from current $500 to $1,000.
  • Creates a Class B misdemeanor level for theft and fraud offenses and amends the Class A misdemeanor level to be $500 or more but less than $1,000. It also enhances the penalty for three convictions of a Class A misdemeanor to a Class D felony if the convictions occur within five years and allows offenses that occur within 90 days to be aggregated into one offense.
  • Rep. Massey has agreed to work toward a resolution if this bill increases costs on counties. 

 

Decennial Reapportionment 


Postponement of decennial reapportionment of magisterial districts 

SB 171 Sen. Wil Schroder

  • Emergency Clause
  • Makes a one-time change for initiating reapportionment of magisterial districts to May of the second year following the census (2022) due to the COVID-19-related delay in census results.
  • Delaying this date ensures fiscal courts will not have to redo reapportionment and redistricting in the event any redrawn state legislative districts overlap fiscal court districts.

 

Economic Development and Tourism


TVA in-lieu-of funds 

HB382 Rep. Richard Heath 

  • Emergency Clause
  • The $6 million fund shall be divided equally among each eligible county.
  • Specifically prohibits funds from being used for operational expenses by recipient counties.
  • Going forward, all applications must also include a letter of agreement from each legislative body entitled to receive funds, and any agency receiving funds must be a co-applicant.

 

Tax Increment Financing 

SB162 Sen. Jason Howell

  • Amends local tax increment financing (TIF) requirements in KRS 65.7047 to require a county or city to engage a qualified independent outside consultant or financial advisor prior to establishing a local tax increment financing development area to analyze and produce the data required in the bill related to the project and prepare a report. 
  • The estimated net positive fiscal impact as determined by the consultant must be included in any subsequent ordinance establishing the TIF. 

 

Abandoned and blighted properties

SB105 Sen. Robby Mills

  • Effective date: Jan. 1, 2022
  • Allows counties to seek a conservatorship for vacant/abandoned residential, commercial or industrial buildings, which have met requirements including remaining vacant for at least one year and have numerous code violations.

 

Off Highway Vehicles

SB215 Sen. Brandon Storm

  • Directs the Transportation Cabinet to rename the Louie B. Nunn Cumberland Parkway the Louie B. Nunn Cumberland Expressway.
  • Creates a new section of KRS Chapter 189 to allow local governments within the boundaries of a regional authority, such as the Kentucky Mountain Regional Recreation Authority, to establish a pilot project, by ordinance, to allow off-highway vehicles (OHV) on roadways.
  • Requires that an OHV be insured before highway operation.
  • Establishes a penalty of $250 for operating an OHV in violation.
  • Includes provisions that sunsets the OHV language on July 1, 2024, unless the General Assembly takes further action.

 

Elections


Election Reform

HB574 Rep. Jennifer Decker

  • Bill intended to strike a balance between the pre-COVID-19 and COVID-19 election process differences.
  • Modifies early voting statute to require polls to be open from the Thursday to the Saturday before Election Day for anyone to vote.
  • Allows voting centers for any voter to cast a ballot, regardless of where he or she lives.
  • Does not require counties to have more than one voting center location.
  • Does not provide for universal mail-in ballots but does continue the web portal for ease in applying for absentee ballots.

 

Jails


County Jail Relief

HB556 Rep. Danny Bentley 

(Emergency Clause) Allocates $30 million of the state’s portion of the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for performance-based funding in local jails for FY21-22 and through FY 23-24 and a $2 per diem increase during the declared COVID-19 state emergency.

Performance-based funding

  • For every Department of Corrections-approved program completed resulting in a 90 day sentencing credit, a payment of $1,000 shall be made;
  • For every Department of Corrections-approved program completed resulting  in a 60 day sentencing credit, a payment of $600 shall be made; and
  • For every Department of Corrections-approved program completed resulting in a 30 day sentencing credit, a payment of $300 shall be made.
  • Applies retroactively to July 1, 2018.
  • The per diem amount paid to the jail shall be increased by $2 per day of program attendance for those enrolled in and attending evidence-based programs approved by the department and do not require instructors to complete any postsecondary education.
  • The per diem amount paid to the jail shall be increased by $10 per day of program attendance for those enrolled in and attending evidence-based programs approved by the department and requiring instructors to have completed particular postsecondary courses.

COVID-19 per diem increase 

  • Allocates $6,173,600 in FY 20-21 and $5,934,200 in FY 21-22 to the Community Services and Local Facilities budget unit to provide a $2 per day, per state inmate per diem increase.
  • The increase shall be retroactively paid to county jails that have housed state inmates in FY 20-21 since the initial emergency declaration was issued. The Department of Corrections is working to process these payments and will share with us how they intend to distribute those to counties. 
  • The $2 increase shall continue to be paid in FY 21-22 for the duration of COVID-19-related emergency declarations under the provisions of KRS Chapter 39A
  • NOTE: HB 192, the state budget, once again includes a monthly payment of an annual amount of $20,000 for each life-safety and closed county jail. 

$37 COVID-19 spread mitigation

  • Allocates $37 million in FY 21-22 to the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet budget to provide grants to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in congregate or vulnerable population settings, including county jails and prisons.

$14.7 million virtual court appearance 

  • Appropriates $14.7 million in FY 21-22 to the Court Operations and Administration budget unit to provide technology upgrades for virtual hearing equipment between county jails and courts.

 

Jail Safety

SB140 Sen. Robby Mills

  • Helps reduce contraband mailed into county jails by requiring U.S. mail to be converted to an electronic format and provides a means for prisoners to receive correspondence from the court, attorneys or a public official via email.

 

Preparing Inmates for Release

HB497 Rep. Kim Moser

  • Requires the Department of Corrections (DOC) to issue released prisoners documentation of their criminal history, institutional history, other relevant information, and a certificate of employability.
  • Requires DOC to assist prisoners with writing resumes.
  • Creates a new section of KRS Chapter 205 to require the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to prioritize the provision of Medicaid benefits to prisoners 30 days before release upon receipt of a Medicaid Section 1115 waiver applied for by the Cabinet.

 

Treatment of Pregnant Inmates

SB84 Sen. Adams

  • Establishes a prohibition on placement of pregnant inmates or those in the immediate postpartum phase in restrictive housing and six weeks of postpartum care.
  • Creates a new section of KRS Chapter 196 to establish a required notice to incarcerated pregnant women of availability and accessibility of applicable community-based programs and access to social workers.
  • Requires an annual restricted housing report be filed with the Legislative Research Commission.

 

Pensions


Kentucky Employees Retirement System - Employer Contribution Calculation 

HB8 Rep. Jim DuPlesis

  • Emergency Clause
  • Beginning on July 1, 2021, this bill changes the basis of the calculation of the Kentucky Employees Retirement System (KERS) employer contribution rate, only for nonhazardous employers, who will make a single contribution payment comprised of two amounts - an actuarial accrued liability contribution, which will be a set dollar amount based on the employer’s share of the System’s actuarial accrued liability, and a contribution for the “normal cost of retirement benefits” based solely on a percentage of their employees' covered payroll as if there was no unfunded liability to be paid. “Normal cost” refers to the contribution amount necessary to cover retirement benefits earned in any given plan year. 
  • The bill also states it is the intent of the General Assembly to provide subsidies for most KERS nonhazardous employers, including local and district health departments and some county attorneys offices. See those subsidy amounts here

 

New CERS Retirement System - separation bill follow-up 

HB9 Rep. Russell Webber

  • Effective April 1, 2021
  • This bill completes the work called for in the 2020 HB484 that established a separate County Employees Retirement System (CERS) board within the Kentucky Retirement System (KERS) by creating a separate set of statutes governing the new CERS board.
  • Creates separate retirement benefits, disability benefits and retiree health benefits for CERS members separate from KRS. 
  • Defines “vested” as having at least 48 months of service if 65 or older, or at least 60 months of service if under 65 for participants in the CERS.
  • CERS and KRS boards will hire a general counsel instead of requiring each board’s CEO to also serve as general counsel.
  • Allows KRS and CERS to share a joint Disability Appeals committee rather than establish separate committees.
  • The Kentucky Public Pension Authority, which is the new overarching board consisting of CERS board representatives as well as KRS board representatives, will submit a single budget requests for General Assembly approval.

 

Retirement benefits for disabled first responders

SB169 Sen. Chris McDaniel

  • Increases retirement allowance of first responders with total and permanent disability from 25 percent to 75 percent of monthly average pay.
  • Adjusts definition of “monthly pay” for those who die in the line of duty or die as a result of a duty-related injury.  

 

Substance Use


Substance use disorder treatment and prevention

HB7 Rep. Adam Bowling

  • Establishes an advisory council with statewide members, including a representative appointed by KACo, to establish a Kentucky Recovery Ready Community certification program for counties and cities.
  • Provides a high quality measure of a city or county substance use disorder recovery programs and to assure residents and businesses that a county is committed to ensuring the availability of high quality recovery programs in its community that can help lead to a highly skilled community workforce.

 

Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission

HB427 Rep. Danny Bentley 

  • Emergency Clause
  • Creates the Kentucky Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission to oversee the distribution of the state’s portion of opioid litigation settlement funds.
  • Each state will determine the distribution of funds between state and local governments from this national settlement.
  • In Kentucky, counties and cities negotiated a 50-50 split between the state and local governments.
  • Half will be allocated by the commission for the state’s permitted uses.
  • Half will be allocated to counties and cities, and will be distributed to the local governments through a trustee appointed jointly by KACo and the Kentucky League of Cities.
  • The local government formula will be determined in the federal settlement documents

 

Advisory Committee on Substance Use Diversion Programs

SJR59 Sen. Ralph Alvarado 

  • Requires the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to create an advisory committee to establish a pilot program to investigate funding mechanisms for a diversion program for those with substance use disorder and who have been arrested for substance use disorder-related offenses.
  • Establishes that the pilot program, the Second Chance Pathways to Recovery, shall start by July 1, 2022.
  • Requires a status report related to the pilot program development that is due Dec. 31, 2021.

 

Taxes and Fees


Regulatory license fees

HB179 Rep. Phillip Pratt

  • Expands the authorization to impose an alcohol regulatory license fee on the gross receipts of the sale of alcohol, not to exceed 5 percent.
  • This bill extends that authority to counties that contain a city with a population larger than 20,000 that had imposed the license fee before Jan. 1, 2019.
  • Allows any city or county that held a local option election between July 15, 2014, and July 15, 2018, to enact a regulatory licensing fee within two years of the effective date of this Act, which will be June 30, 2021-June 30, 2023.

 

Solid waste

SB86 Rep. Phillip Wheeler

  • Amends statute to designate 100 percent of a new open dumping fine to be paid to the county where the violation occurred.
  • Expressly includes littering and open dumping as crimes subject to enforcement by code enforcement.
  • Allows local governments to impose a civil fine between $250 and $500 for open dumping with fines to be used for abatement, cleanup and restoration of the illegal dumpsite.

 

Recall petition of a local school board tax

HB133 Rep. Kevin Bratcher

  • Amend KRS 132.017 to reduce the number of signatures required for a recall petition of a tax levy by a district board of education.
  • Reason to watch: while this bill applies only to taxes levied by a school board, it is an issue that has been raised concerning county levies in the past that we continue to monitor. 

 

Unemployment Insurance 


Unemployment Insurance Reform Task Force

HB413 Rep. Russell Webber 

  • Emergency Clause
  • Creates a new section of KRS 341 to implement a reporting requirement regarding the unemployment trust fund and wages subject to tax.
  • Suspends any increase in the taxable wage base and uses the taxable wage base in effect for the 2020 year.
  • Creates the Unemployment Insurance Reform Task Force.

 

Unemployment Insurance Benefit Overpayment

SB7 Sen. David Givens 

  • Emergency Clause
  • Covers unemployment insurance (UI) claims filed between Jan. 27, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020, when an overpayment of benefits occurred that was not the fault of the recipient, and for which recovery of the overpayment would be ”contrary to equity and good conscience,” could be waived by the Secretary of the Labor Cabinet. The recipient would be required to request a waiver of the overpayment.
  • Requires the Kentucky Office of Unemployment Insurance take certain actions to ensure the integrity of the UI program, to verify unemployment benefits eligibility, prevent the fraudulent filing of claims and prevent overpayment of claims.

 

Water and Wastewater


$250 million for drinking water and wastewater

SB36 Sen. Whitney Westerfield 

  • Emergency Clause
  • Original bill language was deleted 
  • Appropriates $250 million of the state’s portion of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars to the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority for the Drinking Water and Wastewater Grant Programs with the following allocations:
  • $150 million shall be allocated to each county based on population. The county allocations shall be determined by each county's proportion of the state's population from the 2019 census data. 
  • $50 million shall be available to the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority for grants to counties to provide drinking water services to unserved rural customers or counties under a federal consent decree.
  • $49.9 million will be available to KIA to supplement a project grant for costs in excess of a county’s allocation amount and other grant sources. Projects that include multiple counties are eligible to access allocations from all affected counties. 

 

Other Bills Affecting Counties 


Consolidation of emergency services

HB120 Rep. Ed Massey

  • Permits the creation of a “Consolidated Emergency Services District” under a new section of Chapter 75A upon the approval of the Board of a KRS Chapter 75 or 273 district, a special district whose services are subject to the licensure provisions of KRS Chapter 311A, or a rescue squad established under KRS Chapter 39F, and with the approval of the county fiscal court.
  • The fiscal court must approve the tax rate of the newly consolidated district. 

 

Call before you dig

HB303 Rep. Sal Santoro

  • Establishes timeframes for operators to complete normal locates and establishes timeframes for large project requests, unmapped or untonable facilities and fiber-to-the-premises broadband deployment excavation requests.

 

Open records

HB312 Rep. Bart Rowland 

  • The following may submit a request for records from public agencies: Kentucky residents... an individual who works in Kentucky, a business or individual who owns real property in Kentucky or a news-gathering organization.
  • Email is an acceptable request method.
  • Extends the response time for public agencies from three to five days.
  • Requires some website posting for public agencies, i.e. the agency’s adopted open records policies, and a link to a standardized form on the Attorney General’s website that may be used to request public records from a public agency.

 

Indemnification of prosecutors

SB29 Sen. Rick Girdler

  • Provides that the Attorney General, a Commonwealth's attorney or a county attorney shall be reimbursed by the Finance Cabinet for financial loss after being sued for an act or omission in the course of their official duties.

 

Child care 

SB148 Sen. Danny Carroll 

  • Emergency Clause
  • Specifies the Cabinet for Health and Family Services shall promulgate administrative regulations to identify emergency care providers who provide essential child-care services during an identified state of emergency.
  • The cabinet shall not establish restrictions on the capacity for class or group size  below the number that was in effect on Feb. 1, 2020.
  • This bill shall supersede all local government ordinances or regulations of the certification, licensure and training requirements related to the operation of family child-care homes but does not exempt family child-care homes from compliance with local government ordinances and regulations that apply generally within the jurisdiction.

 

Vacancy in Congress

SB228 Pres. Robert Stivers

  • Amends KRS 63.200 to change the procedure for filling a vacancy in the office of United States Senator.
  • The governor will choose an appointee selected from a list of three names submitted by the state executive committee of the same political party as the Senator who held the vacant seat.

 

Legislation to revisit in 2022


Occupational Tax

HB428 Rep. Tom Smith

  • Authorizes counties fewer than 100,000 population to collect occupational tax countywide with no city offset until reaching 100,000 population, at which time city occupational license would be credited against the county’s occupational tax. Currently, that threshold is 30,000.

 

County Audits

HB519 Rep. John Blanton

  • Establishes a timeline for audits that will allow county officials to respond more swiftly to any issues raised by an audit. The audit will be completed by the state auditor.
  • Requires the Auditor of Public Accounts to complete county budget audits by Feb. 1 after the close of the fiscal year. For county official calendar year audits, the deadline is Aug. 1 following the calendar year’s close. If those deadlines are not met, the county would not be responsible for its portion of the expense of these audits.
  • Amends KRS 64.810 to require a fiscal court, county clerk or sheriff to give 120 days notice to the state auditor of intent to hire a certified public accountant for an audit prior to the close of the period to be audited.
  • Requires that contracts issued to certified public accountants be awarded by competitive bid.

 

Annexation

SB145 Sen. Mike Nemes

  • Reduces the number from 55 percent to 50 percent of those voting to oppose for annexation to fail.
  • A proposal to annex requires notification by the city to the relevant county Judge/Executive and in certain circumstances the Secretary of the Transportation Cabinet and affected property owners.

 

Pretrial Release

SB223 Sen. Brandon Storm

  • Require that conditions of pretrial release for a person released on an unsecured bond be the least restrictive to reasonably mitigate the risk of flight or danger to others.
  • For those who cannot be released pretrial, the bill would have required a trial within 180 days of the first appearance for a felony charge and 60 days from the first appearance for a misdemeanor charge. 

 

Virtual court proceedings*

HB551 Rep. Chris Freeland

  • Would have made permanent the current COVID-initiated practice that any defendant confined in any jail or detention facility and who is to appear in any circuit, family or district court do so remotely via two-way audio-video communications between the court and the jail or detention facility, saving counties money, saving jails time and keeping safety a priority. 
  • *While it did not pass, the Administrative Office of the Courts agreed to include counties in the rule-making discussion to take place over the interim that will extend this practice beyond the COVID-19 emergency. 

 

Stopping unauthorized capture of photos or videos by first responders

SB222 Sen. Jared Carpenter

  • Makes it a crime for first responders to capture photographic or video graphics images while in the line of duty for any purpose other than a job-related purpose.
  • First responders are defined as coroners, certified deputy coroners, local emergency management directors, firefighters, emergency medical services personnel, peace officers and rescue service personnel.

 

Constables

HB267 Rep. Adam Koenig

  • Would have ensured constables exercising peace officer powers are properly trained.
  • Leaves in place most of the current powers of a constable.
  • Grandfathers the peace officer powers of any current constables who are re-elected in 2022. Beginning Jan. 1, 2023, those constables and deputy constables who were not a constable or deputy constable in the preceding four-year term of office will be required to attain Peace Officer Professional Standards (POPS) certification to exercise peace officer powers.
  • Requires the Department of Criminal Justice Training to admit at least one constable who meets the same qualifying requirements as sheriff deputies per basic training class.
  • The cost of the training for constables would be covered by the KLEPF fund, not fiscal courts.
  • Constables who are POPS certified and maintain the certification during their term(s) of office may equip their vehicles with emergency lights, but the fiscal court can rescind if abuse or public safety becomes an issue. 

 

Public Officer Personally Identifying Information - VETOED

SB48 Sen. Danny Carroll

  • Would have amended the Kentucky Open Records Act to exempt disclosure of personally identifiable information of a public officer and his or her immediate family if the officer does not want the information to be made public.
  • Public officers include law enforcement, first responders, retired first responders, active and retired judges and justices of the supreme court, employees of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
  • Active and retired United States, Commonwealth's, and county attorneys, their assistants, statewide prosecutors and guardians ad litem
  • Active and retired corrections officers, jailers, corrections probation and parole officers, juvenile probation officers, and juvenile detention officers
  • Persons employed at emergency call centers in Kentucky.
Kentucky Association of Counties
400 Englewood Drive Frankfort, KY 40601