Senate committee passes Chamber-backed arbitration bill

By Jacqueline Pitts, The Bottom Line

Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers

Senate President Robert Stivers presented Senate Bill 7 on Tuesday, an act related to employment and arbitration, in the Senate Economic Development Committee.

SB 7, backed by the Kentucky Chamber and the Kentucky League of Cities, would clarify arbitration agreements are allowed in Kentucky. Recently, the Kentucky Supreme ruled otherwise- leaving Kentucky as the only state in the nation to prohibit the use of arbitration agreements in the employee-employer contract.

Arbitration agreements are commonly used by an employer and employee or group of employees to resolve a disagreement.

Stivers told the committee that in addition to the Kentucky Chamber, local chambers including Commerce Lex, Greater Louisville Inc. and the Northern Kentucky Chamber supported the measure.

Kentucky League of Cities Deputy Executive Director, J.D. Chaney, explained to the committee that these agreements result in savings for tax payers because a quicker resolution achieved without litigation is less costly for the taxpayers.

Chaney noted the bill simply takes Kentucky back to the status quo before that Kentucky Supreme Court’s ruling.

Stivers assured the committee that federal statutes related to labor law would supersede any state law, and therefore this bill doesn’t violate federal labor laws.

Testifying against the bill were President of Kentucky Justice Association, Vanessa Cantley, and Bill Londrigan, president of KY AFL-CIO.

In response to the opposition and in defense of the bill, Stivers stated, “At any given point in time, why should we be getting in the way of contracting relationships.”

The bill passed committee 8-1.


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