Seven bills passed Jan. 7 by General Assembly, sent to governor

Published 7:06 pm Thursday, January 19, 2017

FRANKFORT—Seven bills were given final passage Jan.7 by the Kentucky General Assembly and delivered to the governor’s desk.
The bills, covering matters ranging from labor unions and their membership to changes in the state’s informed consent and abortion laws, all include an emergency provision to ensure that they take effect the moment they are signed by the governor. All seven bills were introduced on the first day of the 30-day 2017 Regular Session that began on Tuesday and received final passage within five days—the minimum time possible.
The legislation passed by the General Assembly and sent to Governor Matt Bevin for his signature are:
House Bill 1. HB 1, sponsored by House Speaker Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, and Rep. Jim DeCesare, R-Bowling Green, would make Kentucky the nation’s 27th right-to-work state. Right-to-work states prohibit mandatory membership in or payment of dues to labor unions. HB 1 received final passage in the Senate by a vote of 25-12.
Senate Bill 3. SB 3, sponsored by Sen. Christian McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, would require that the retirement benefits of current and former General Assembly members be made public. Disclosure would include the member’s name and estimated or actual monthly allowance. SB 3 received final passage in the House by a vote of 95-1.
House Bill 2. HB 2, sponsored by House Speaker Jeff Hoover and Rep. Addia Wuchner, R-Florence, would require a woman seeking an abortion to have an obstetric ultrasound of her baby explained to her by her health care provider before she could give required informed consent for an abortion. Women could decline to see the ultrasound image or hear the fetal heartbeat if they choose. HB 2 received final passage in the Senate by a vote of 32-5.
Senate Bill 5. SB 5, sponsored by Sen. Brandon Smith, R-Hazard, and Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville, would prohibit abortions in Kentucky at or after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The bill would not apply in cases where an abortion is required to save the life or prevent serious risk of permanent bodily harm to the mother. SB 5 received final passage in the House by a vote of 79-15.
House Bill 3. HB 3, sponsored by Speaker Hoover and Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger, would repeal the state’s prevailing wage law that dictates the hourly base wage for construction workers hired on for certain public works projects. HB 3 received final passage in the Senate by a vote of 25-12.
Senate Bill 6. SB 6, sponsored by Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, would require public or private employees (with some exceptions under federal law) to request membership in a labor union in writing before they can be enrolled in that organization. It also specifies that dues or fees paid to labor organizations cannot be withheld from earnings without employee approval. Existing agreements between employers, employees and labor unions made before the legislation takes effect would be exempt from the provisions. SB 6 received final passage in the House by a vote of 57-39.
Senate Bill 12. SB 12, sponsored by Senate President Stivers, would abolish the current board of trustees of the University of Louisville and clarify the number of members allowed on the new board along with qualifications and conditions of membership.
The bill would also require Kentucky Senate confirmation of board appointments. SB 12 received final passage in the House by a vote of 57-35.
The 2017 legislative session will adjourn today for a scheduled break and then re-convene on Tuesday, Feb. 7. The session is scheduled to end on March 30.

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