Kentucky Association of Counties

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The Kentucky Association of Counties

2021 legislative session weekly summary - snow and ice delay final day to file bills

By Gracie Lagadinos, Government Affairs Associate
This week’s snow and ice storms seemed to affect all facets of daily life across the Commonwealth, and the General Assembly was no exception.

Tuesday, House and Senate leaders issued a joint press release stating the legislature would not convene this week due to the weather. To make up the days, the chambers are now scheduled to convene on Feb. 22, March 1, and March 12, in addition to previously scheduled legislative days.

As a result, the last day to file bills in the Senate and House has been moved back to Feb. 23. Click here for an updated session calendar. 

URGENT ACTION NEEDED - Transportation Funding

Contact your legislators today, and demand that they file the bill to invest in our infrastructure by increasing the user fee paid by tourists and residents alike who use our roadways. 

This is the only portion of the road fund directly received by counties to maintain roads and bridges. If you have their cell phone numbers, call those. It’s also important to leave them a “green slip” message on the Legislative Message Line at 1-800-372-7181. Legislators pay attention to those slips. Read a copy of this urgent legislative action alert here.

Tuesday, Feb. 23, is the last day for new bills to be filed, and we don’t have a good indication the gas tax bill will be one of them. If no bill is filed in 2021, the legislature will have, for the fourth consecutive year, chosen not to take action on this important issue.

Click here to view a summary provided by the Kentucky Infrastructure Coalition on the state’s transportation funding needs. 

Highlights of Important Legislation 

Ask your legislators to support these bills that will help counties. Send these bill sponsors an email to thank them for leading on these issues. 

HB 428, sponsored by Rep. Tom Smith (R-Knox, Laurel (part)), would create a fairer, more uniform implementation of the occupational license tax.  

  • It would raise the county population threshold that triggers the requirement of an offset of the tax in cities from 30,000 population to 100,000, allowing more counties to collect the tax countywide to help fund countywide services. 

HB 519, sponsored by Rep. John Blanton (R- Knott, Magoffin, Pike (part)), establishes a timeline for audits performed by the state auditor that will allow county officials to respond more swiftly to any issues raised by an audit. 

  • It 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 close of the calendar year. If those deadlines are not met, the county would not be responsible for its portion of the expense of these audits; 
  • It would amend KRS 43.070 to place into state law the cap on county audit costs at 50 percent of audits conducted by the state auditor; 
  • It would amend 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; 
  • It would require that contracts issued to certified public accountants be awarded by competitive bid.

SB 145, sponsored by Rep. Mike Nemes (R- Bullitt, Jefferson (part)), modernizes annexation laws. 

  • It would amend KRS 81A.420 to reduce the percentage of voters opposing annexation from 55 percent to 50 percent for annexation to fail;
  • It would amend KRS 81A.425 to require that notice of the proposed annexation be sent to the county judge/executive; notice would also be sent to the secretary of the Transportation Cabinet if any of the property is a state maintained highway;
  • It would amend KRS 81A.427 relating to infrastructure and annexation to include “public roads” in the definition of utility infrastructure;
  • It would amend KRS 81A.510 to allow property owners adjacent to the territory being annexed to have standing to bring action in circuit court to stop the annexation. Currently only property owners in the annexed territory have standing. 

HB 265, sponsored by Rep. Mary Beth Imes (R- Calloway, Trigg (part)), streamlines the Sheriff’s Tax Settlement (STS) audit. 

  • It would create a new section of KRS Chapter 134 to require the annual sheriff's tax settlement audit to be only one audit instead of multiple costly audits for the period Sept. 1 to Aug. 31, including specific taxes and every type of tax for which a collection schedule has been completed, delinquent tax claims have been filed, and settlements have been prepared; 
  • It would amend KRS 132.192 to require sheriffs in counties with a population of 70,000 or fewer to provide a complete statement of funds and expenditures for the preceding calendar year to the fiscal court by March 15; 
  • If passed, this law would have a delayed effective date of Jan. 1, 2022.

Click here for a full list of bills on which KACo has taken a position. Ask your legislators to support bills that will help counties and oppose bills that will not. 

As always, please email or with any questions or feedback from legislators. We appreciate everything you do to lead counties to a successful session. 

Kentucky Association of Counties
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