Rep. Jill York, 96th District
March 7, 2016
Twenty working days, many initiatives left to resolve for 2016 General Assembly
The deadline for filing any new legislation has passed for the 2016 Regular Session of the Kentucky General Assembly and with it comes the knowledge that only around 20 or so working days remain for lawmakers to create a budget and craft policy for the Commonwealth.
The track record, so to speak, in the House shows that around 80 bills have made it through the process here and have moved on to the Senate where they will have to clear committee and a floor vote again if they are to have a chance of becoming law.
While there have been 937 bills filed this session by Representatives and Senators –Senate Bill 4 has been the only one signed into law.
While a great many of those numerous bills would have troublesome paths if they were heard in committee, some of them address issues that our bring members together in agreement and therefore can move quickly toward a chance at final passage.
One such initiative, seeks to increase the punishment for anyone convicted of attempting to harm any of our on-duty law enforcement or firefighters.
House Bill 137, approved 90-0 by the House this past Tuesday, would put criminal attempt to commit murder of an identifiable on-duty law enforcement officer or firefighter on par with other violent offenses by requiring those convicted of the crime to serve 85 percent of their sentence before they would be eligible for parole, regardless of whether the officer or firefighter is seriously hurt.
Under current law, the convicted criminal who tried to injure or kill that officer or firefighter would be eligible for parole after serving only 20 percent of the imposed sentence time.
I think we can all agree that we should seek to protect the lives of those who spend their days putting their lives on the line to defend each of us. It is the right thing to do.
It is that same bipartisan spirit that I hope will surround HB 535, the AK Steel bill, filed by Rep. Kevin Sinnette and myself early last week.
The bill has attracted several important co-sponsors and was passed out of the House Economic Development Committee last Thursday with a unanimous vote.
What Rep. Sinnette and I have done in working with the Economic Development Cabinet and the Governor’s office is find a way to extend provisions made available in the Kentucky Industrial Revitalization Act (KIRA). The United State’s steel market has been under assault from the “dumping” of foreign steel.
The government in China is creating steel at a loss and selling it at a loss on the global market. That drives the prices down and crushes the demand for steel because there’s so much of that cheap material available.
To me, it amounts to an assault on our industry and our American workers and we should push back with every means available. Our regional delegation of senators, representatives and local officials have been working in tandem with our counterparts at the Federal level to seek protections internationally and Rep. Sinnette and I believe our bill contains incentives that can increase the chances of the idled furnace getting fired back up and for the company to continue to re-line the blast furnace to get it ready for many more years of use.
House Bill 535 holds open the window for reinvestment and reinvigoration of the facility that has employed countless workers from our region for over 90 years.
I am ever so appreciative of the teamwork that has gone into this measure at each step of the process and fervently hope that the potential economic impacts and jobs saved will register with the General Assembly who can bring it to a quick and successful outcome.
Rest assured that we will be continuing our efforts on this and many other important pieces of legislation during these remaining few weeks. Thank you for the many kind messages, letters and visits over these past months. It is my honor to serve you and I am ever appreciative of the confidence you place in me to be your voice in Frankfort.
Your ideas and concerns are important to me and I welcome your feedback. You may contact me by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call our toll free number at 1-800-372-7181 to share your thoughts about what is important to you.
If you are following a particular piece of legislation, you can use the Bill Status Line 1-866-840-2835 to track it’s progress or dial 1-800-633-9650 to check meeting schedules if you want to come and sit in on testimony.