March 7, 2019
FRANKFORT – Follow-up and clarification of some 2018 state tax changes affecting charities and other nonprofit organizations were addressed by the Kentucky House last month when it advanced a tax relief bill on to the Senate.
House Bill 354 as adopted by the House on a 96-4 vote on Feb. 21 would exempt nonprofit civic, government and all other nonprofit organizations from collecting tax on their first $10,000 in sales. Nonprofit ticket and admission sales would also be exempt under the House provisions. Other proposals made by the House would create a resale certificate for certain services, amend tax impacting small wineries, and make corporate tax changes.
The bill made it this week to the Senate where several changes—including provisions that would require online retailers to collect sales tax for third-party sellers and allow gambling losses as a state income tax deduction—were adopted. When the bill returned to the House floor on Tuesday for agreement, the House voted against the Senate changes. By Tuesday night, the House began making arrangements for a “conference committee” to allow lawmakers from each chamber to try to reach an agreement on the bill by session’s end.
It’s not uncommon for legislation to be worked out in conference committee late in a session, especially on matters as complex as state taxation. It is very possible that an agreement on HB 354 will be reached before we adjourn the session in late March after the scheduled veto recess.
As work continued on HB 354, other bills continued to cycle through the legislative process. Those included bills focused on voter registration, transportation needs and, most notably, legislation on Kentucky foster and adoption care reform which received final passage on Wednesday and was sent to the governor to be signed into law.
Known widely as the foster child bill of rights bill, HB 158—sent to the governor on a vote of 94-1—would list 16 statutory rights for children in out of home placement in Kentucky. The bill would also require background checks on child residential home staff as required by federal law and reduce the period of voluntary and informed consent to place a child for adoption from 20 days to 72 hours, among other changes.
The House also gave overwhelming support earlier in the week to legislation that would honor our fallen U.S. military by designating a special flag to honor and remember those
HB 406, adopted by the House on a 99-0 vote on Monday, would name the “Honor and Remember” flag—now recognized by dozens of states—an official state emblem in honor and memory of military service members and veterans who die “in the line of duty,” including those who die as a result of their service, whether that result be physical illness or a disorder such as PTSD.
Several House members stood and spoke of former friends and constituents who would be commemorated by the Honor and Remember flag should it be adopted in Kentucky. HB 406 is now before the Senate for its consideration.
A bill aimed at ensuring the accuracy and fairness of Kentucky’s voter registration process was approved by the House on a vote of 92-4 on Tuesday. HB 325 would prevent last-minute party switching before a state primary election. Those who switch parties on or after Dec. 31 immediately preceding the primary, or those who newly register then switch parties after Dec. 31 before the primary, would not be eligible to vote in the primary under HB 325.
HB 325, which would also allow county clerks to send a mail-in absentee ballot application to an eligible voters by e-mail, is now before the Senate for consideration.
On the transportation front, a bill that would regulate the operation of e-scooters on Kentucky’s roadways and bicycle lanes is on its way to the governor for his signature after receiving final passage on a 95-1 vote in the House on Tuesday. HB 258 was passed after the House agreed to technical amendments to the bill made by the Senate.
Defined in the bill as “electric low-speed scooters,” e-scooters are available to rent in Louisville and more than 100 other cities through a share app similar to those operated by rideshare companies Uber and Lyft. HB 258 would allow e-scooters to operate in Kentucky much like bicycles on public streets and bike paths at limited speeds of up to 20 mph. And it would not prevent local government from further regulating the scooters. The measure was passed by the Senate 36-0 last week.
Also gaining momentum this week was HB 136, which is this session’s House medicinal marijuana legislation. The legislation proposes to legalize medical marijuana in the Commonwealth under a strict regulatory structure. It now heads to the full House after clearing the House Judiciary Committee late Wednesday.
The General Assembly is still moving dozens of bills through the legislative process and
will continue to do so until we formally break in mid-March to give the governor 10 days to consider vetoes to recently-passed legislation. That 10-day “veto recess” is currently scheduled to end on March 26, with lawmakers scheduled to return to Frankfort for the last day of the session on March 28.
Please continue to stay informed of legislative action of interest to you in the days ahead by logging onto the Legislative Research Commission website at legislature.ky.gov, or by calling the LRC toll-free Bill Status Line at 866-840-2835. As always, I encourage you to reach out to me at any time with any questions you may have at Kathy.firstname.lastname@example.org.