The president and CEO of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce says last week’s elections make it much more likely the group’s top legislative priorities will pass next year.
Dave Adkisson says the Republican takeover of the Kentucky House is expected to lead to the passage of bills that have previously been blocked by Democrats.
Some of the items on the Chamber’s wish list include making Kentucky a “right to work” state and creating a charter school pilot project in Jefferson and Fayette counties.
Adkisson says taking another shot at shoring up the state’s ailing pension systems is also a major priority—but he doesn’t think such a huge task can happen during the regular legislative session. “So on the one hand, I would say that is the overriding issue in Kentucky right now, but it will probably have to wait for a special session in 2017.”
Adkisson says the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce will also once again lobby lawmakers to pass a bill making all workplaces smoke-free. The former Owensboro mayor says that’s one way lawmakers can positively impact the state’s health without spending any money. “I think 27 or 28 other states have already done this. Kentucky ranks number one in certain cancers, including lung cancer, and youth smoking. This is one way that wouldn’t cost Frankfort a penny to start to address that issue.”
Efforts to pass a statewide smoking ban including all enclosed workplaces have failed in past legislative sessions. At least 35 Kentucky cities and counties have local smoking bans in place. Some of those bans cover all workplaces—including bars and restaurants—while others don’t.