Senator Ralph Alvarado Legislative Update: Week 6 – Winchester Sun
We are fast approaching the halfway point of this year’s 60-day legislative session, and Frankfurt has enjoyed several days of pleasant weather.
However, there was little time to enjoy the sunshine and warmer temperatures as lawmakers continued to work on policy to move the Commonwealth forward.
The state legislature is the representative branch of your state’s government. I am proud to be your spokesperson in the State Senate in Frankfurt. Perhaps no piece of legislation from the 2022 legislative session better exemplifies your voice being heard than Joint Senate Resolution 99, a measure identified by the State Senate to provide tax relief on motor vehicles. engine to the taxpayers of Kentucky. Unlike a bill, a joint resolution does not change the law but has the force of law.
Not all bill proposals affect you at your table or directly in your wallet, but a potential 40% increase in taxes on your car or truck is something that many find in their mailbox and can understand that it this is an injustice.
Because the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the global supply of automobiles, the assessed value of vehicles has been artificially inflated. Since motor vehicle property taxes are tied to the standard value of a car or truck, the tax burden has followed. This burden is equivalent to nearly $70 million.
The good news is that current state law gives the executive the power to right this wrong (KRS 132.485). The bad news is that Governor Andy Beshear chose not to use that authority and exempt Kentuckians from that pandemic-related tax burden.
Given the Governor’s enthusiasm for exercising executive authority – in some cases acting unconstitutionally and reprimanded by state and federal courts – it’s unclear why he wouldn’t exercise statutory authority. actually given to the executive. Since his administration chose inaction, Joint Senate Resolution 99 would decide for him and require him to order the Department of Revenue to exempt taxpayers from inflated tax charges. It would also give immediate refunds to anyone who has already paid their motor vehicle tax this year.
As the diligent review of the Governor’s and State House of Representatives’ budget proposals continues, please know that my priority is not the state’s bottom line but yours. Due to billions of dollars in federal spending flowing into Kentucky, state revenues are at record highs. I am committed to finding other ways to keep more money in your pocket as part of the broader tax reform discussion. Not a penny of public funds came from anything other than hard-working taxpayers. You don’t work for your government; your government works for you.
I was pleased to see the Senate pass two additional measures of which I am the main sponsor. These were Senate Bill 68 and Joint Senate Resolution 80.
Senate Bill 68 establishes efficiencies in taxpayer-funded programs. It requires the Cabinet of Finance and Administration to contract with an independent drug benefit monitoring entity to monitor all claims for drug benefits under the state public employee health insurance program. It also requires the Cabinet of Health and Family Services to do the same for the Medicaid program.
It is a good bill that has had bipartisan support. Whenever we can make things more efficient, we know it will benefit consumers.
Senate Joint Resolution 72 is the result of excellent work during the interim period. It follows a key recommendation from the Serious Mental Illness Task Force, of which I was a member, directing the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services to seek a Medicaid waiver from the federal government. This can attract more federal dollars for additional services and supports to improve the lives of people with serious mental illness.
We often see people struggling with mental illness stuck in a revolving door, in and out of care, and it’s sad to see. We need to do everything we can to improve the quality of life for these Kentucky people, and directing the cabinet to seek a waiver will help us maximize resources.
Here are some additional measures we passed in the State Senate during the sixth week of the session:
• Senate Bill 6 gives college athletes the freedom to make money from their name, image and likeness, but also allows colleges and universities to apply reasonable restrictions. The bill will prohibit a college athlete from endorsing illegal products or promoting sports betting.
For decades, the NCAA, universities and broadcast networks, and advertisers have benefited financially from the talents displayed by college athletes. The NCAA brought in more than $800 million in 2019, and given how much attention sporting events garner, that’s no surprise.
Enabling young people to reach their full potential and achieve financial security for themselves and their families is the right thing to do, especially since the NCAA and the federal government have failed to act on this issue. University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari joined in supporting the bill, calling SB 6 “model legislation” and the next best thing to federal legislation.
• Senate Bill 42 serves to reduce food waste and help Kentucky’s goal of providing nutritious food to those who live in areas with little access to food options. It allows local public bodies to contract or buy through non-competitive negotiation when the contract is for perishable goods such as meat, fish, poultry, egg products, vegetables, etc. if the label specifies sale or consumption on a specific date. Contracts over $30,000 should be advertised in the local newspaper for bidding.
• Senate Bill 101 makes it a crime for first responders – including coroners, paramedics, firefighters, paramedics and police – to take a photo or video of a deceased person at the scene. accident or crime for purposes other than those related to their official duties. Penalties would be set at not less than $500 and not more than $2,500. The bill also requires the confiscation of the device used to capture the photographs or videos.
Senate Bill 104 establishes the Employment Council first within the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation of the Cabinet of Education and Manpower. The EFC will serve as an advisory board to the Governor and General Assembly to promote increased meaningful competitive integrated employment opportunities for citizens with disabilities.
Please feel free to call me about these or any other public policy issues toll-free at 1-800-372-7181 or by email at [email protected] Be careful. God protects you.
Sen. Ralph Alvarado (R-Winchester) represents the 28th Senate District, which after redistricting includes Bath, Clark, Menifee and Montgomery counties and eastern Fayette County. He is Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Health and Welfare. He is also a member of the Senate Standing Committees on State and Local Government and on Banking and Insurance. He is a liaison member of the Budget Review Sub-Committee on Human Resources. In addition, Senator Alvarado is a member of the Medicaid Advisory and Oversight Committee and the Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee.