Alvarado, Mayfield discuss 2017 session     

Published 6:26 pm Saturday, May 27, 2017

State representatives Sen. Ralph Alvarado and Rep. Donna Mayfield met with constituents Thursday evening to discuss bills that were passed during the 2017 General Assembly.

The two listed the numerous bills passed during the session, going into detail on some of the high priority bills and answering questions from those in attendance.

The two issues the representatives spent the most time discussing were right-to-work legislation that passed during the session and the state’s pension woes, which continue to linger on the horizon for legislators.

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Right to work

Mayfield and Alvarado both spoke highly of the right-to-work bill passed in January. The bill makes union membership, and the associated dues, optional for workers.

“We’re already seeing new jobs coming as a result of that,” Alvarado said.

Since the bill’s passage, Amazon and Toyota have announced expansion to their Kentucky operations, and a new aluminum mill owned by Braidy industries will be opening in Greenup county.

Alvarado said the bill has been a priority for Republicans for years, but it was only able to make it to the Governor’s desk after the state house of representatives flipped to Republican control in the 2016 elections.

Pension crisis

One thing the General Assembly was not able to address in January was how to fix the pension crisis that — if left unchecked — could bankrupt the state by 2022. 

Several pension funds for state workers, teachers and police are dangerously underfunded.

“We can’t move forward while this is in front of us,” Alvarado said.

He added that Gov. Matt Bevin may call for a special session this year to discuss ways to address the crisis and stabilize the pension system.

Other bills

The legislators also spoke about other priority bills that passed, including House Bill 520, which allows charter schools to operate in Kentucky, House Bill 2, which requires a woman get an ultrasound prior to having an abortion performed, House Bill 3, which repeals prevailing wage law, Senate Bill 3, which provides legislative pension transparency and others.

Mayfield also discussed House Bill 74, which she proposed. The bill prohibits any vehicle other than a police vehicle from having blue lights put on it.

Mayfield said the bill came from multiple calls she had taken from constituents who had seen a vehicle behind them with blue lights and had pulled off to the side of the road mistaking it for a police car, causing a public safety issue.

The laws passed by the General Assembly will go into effect July 1.