As we continue to review legislation passed in the 2021 Regular Session, it is important to note that much of what became law helped to make state government more efficient. My colleagues and I who serve on the House State Government Committee deal directly with the policies and administration of state government, including the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. This includes all constitutional officers, the state retirement systems, and Commonwealth’s attorneys and circuit clerks. Here are several of the bills that made their way all the way through the legislative process:
Eliminating One Circuit Venue in State Cases — HB 3 enables Kentuckians who file suit challenging the constitutionality of a statute, executive order, administrative regulation, or cabinet order to do so in the county of their residence. Previously, any such challenge had to be filed in Franklin County, no matter how far away the plaintiff lived. Under the new law, citizens across the state will have a greater voice in who decides these cases. If the individual filing suit is not a Kentucky resident, then the case would be filed in Franklin Circuit Court.
Restoring Legislative Authority on State Organizations — HB 5 requires all executive branch reorganizations and board reorganizations to be approved by the General Assembly before changes are made. Legislative oversight will prevent expensive and unnecessary reorganizations that create long-term administrative problems.
Strengthening Oversight and Accountability — HB 6 refines the role of the newly renamed Legislative Oversight and Investigations Committee to better reflect its role and provide more oversight over state government functions.
Granting Treasurer Authority to Cancel State Contracts — SB 165 allows the treasurer to cancel state personal service contracts, tax incentive agreements, and memoranda of agreement following a disapproval vote by the legislature’s Government Contract Review Committee.
Charitable Gaming Relief/Executive Branch Ethics — HB 226 temporarily waives the charitable gaming requirement that net receipts for the previous calendar year are required to be at least 40% of adjusted gross receipts. Due to COVID, some facilities were unable to meet this requirement. HB 226 also makes members of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission subject to the Executive Branch Ethics Code.
Executive Branch Ethics — SB 6 requires that the standards of the Executive Branch Ethics Code apply to members of gubernatorial and other transition teams. The fact these individuals were not subject to the code was brought to our attention after a lawsuit was filed in 2020.
Commissioner of Fish and Wildlife Resources Appointment — HB 394 clarifies that the Fish and Wildlife Commission has the sole authority to appoint and set terms for employment for the Commissioner of Fish and Wildlife Resources. HB 394 requires any contract for the position of Commissioner to be approved by the Government Contract Review Committee.
It continues to be a great honor to serve as your voice as the 18th District State Representative in Frankfort. As always, I welcome your comments and concerns on any issues impacting our Commonwealth, even while we are not in session. I can still be reached through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at 1-800-372-7181 or by email at Samara.Heavrin@lrc.ky.gov. If you would like more information about any of these bills or legislative actions, you can also visit the Legislative Research Commission website at legislature.ky.gov.