2017 Kentucky Legislative Session got off to a fast start in early
January. The first week of the Session has been used to determine
leadership and resolve other issues in the past with few if any Committee
meetings. With the change in leadership to Republican control of the
House to go along with the majority control in the Senate and a Republican
Governor things were very much different during the first week of the Session.
Seven bills were heard in both House and Senate Committees and given final
passage over five days which is the minimum time possible. The bills have
been signed into law by the Governor.
The bills ban mandatory labor union dues, repeal the state’s prevailing wage
law, ban union dues from being used for political donations, require
ultrasounds before abortions, ban abortions after 20 weeks and replace the
board of trustees at the University of Louisville. All of the bills
contained an emergency clause which means they went into effect following the
signature of the Governor and are now law. The 30-day legislative session has
adjourned for a scheduled break and will re-convene on Tuesday, Feb. 7. The
session is scheduled to end on March 30.
KFIA has been working on legislation which has been introduced to address a
Kentucky Supreme Court Ruling between two woodland owners concerning triple
damages for timber trespass. The Court ruled in a split decision that if
there was no “intent to convert” the timber cut on an adjoining property then
only the price of the timber would need to be paid to the landowner who had
there timber stolen. This has raised much concern that the existing
Timber Trespass law would become ineffective and allow for timber to be cut on
adjoined property with little or no consequences.
Bill 38 is designed to address this issue by clarifying that the person
removing the timber illegally in a trespass case is responsible for triple the
value of the timber and the damages if they did not contact the landowner in
advance by certified mail as required in current law. The Association is
concerned that the Court decision which weakens the existing law will result in
heavy regulations in the future if not addressed by the wood industry.
The Association encourages members to contact their Senators to support Senate
Bill 38 to address this important issue for the wood products industry.
Legislators will be in their home districts and will return to Frankfort on
February 7. The Bill has been assigned to the Senate Agriculture
Committee and we are working to get it heard quickly when Legislators return to
be monitoring legislation throughout the 2017 Session and urges members to
contact the office with any questions or concerns. You can go to the
Legislative Research Commission (LRC) website at www.lrc.state.ky.us
to see complete details on all legislation. You can contact and find your
legislator from the LRC website or call 800-372-7181 to leave a message or
502-564-8100 to speak directly to your legislator in Frankfort.