House leadership announces 2020 interim task forces

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Eight new legislative task forces will spend the 2020 legislative interim delving into some of the most challenging issues facing our state, according to an announcement from Speaker of the House David Osborne, R-Prospect. Task force membership includes legislators as well as representatives from agencies and organizations impacted by the area of study.

According to Osborne, the work they will do this interim will help prepare legislators for the 2021 Regular Session.

“Many of the most beneficial pieces of legislation enacted into law have been the direct result of interim task forces. These groups provide a valuable opportunity to address the challenges facing Kentucky in a thoughtful, thorough, and evidence-based manner. Members have an opportunity to work with stakeholders, gather input from members of the general public, and move past politics towards creating the kind of public policy that Kentuckians send us to Frankfort to pass,” said Osborne. “I appreciate the House members who have agreed to serve and look forward to seeing the product of their work.”

The task forces will submit findings and recommendations in December with the potential for legislation to be considered during the 2021 Regular Session.

“Task forces like these play a crucial role when it comes to writing legislation because these bipartisan working groups give us the time and information we absolutely must have if we want solutions based on fact rather than hope,” House Minority Floor Leader Joni Jenkins said. “Several years ago, I served on a bipartisan House task force that showed just how successful this approach can be. The 2018 law that was the result of that work made significant improvements to Kentucky’s foster care and adoption laws. Hopefully these task forces will have a similar impact.”

Information about the specific goal of each task force, as well as a listing of legislative members, follows:

Classification of Workers in the Construction Industry Task Force 

Co-Chair Jason Nemes

Representative Teri Branham Clark

Representative Sal Santoro

The Classification of Workers in the Construction Industry Task Force will develop a comprehensive plan with goals to reduce incorrectly classifying employees, study the sharing of information between state and federal agencies, and explore methods used, both in Kentucky and in other jurisdictions, when investigating complaints and taking action against employers that incorrectly classify employee.

Exceptional Support Waiver Services Task Force 

Co-Chair Steve Riley

Representative Tina Bojanowski

The Exceptional Support Waiver Services Task Force will research new exceptional support services and payment models that will allow waiver service providers to provide the necessary care to support high-intensity individuals. The task force will also create efficiencies within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services that will help quality care and outcomes without delay or interruption and study how federal, state, and local resources can be allocated appropriately to meet the needs of high-intensity waiver participants in the state.

Jail and Corrections Reform Task Force 

Co-Chair Michael Meredith

Representative Rob Rothenburger

Representative Ashley Tackett Laferty

The Jail and Corrections Reform Task Force will explore management of Kentucky’s incarcerated population, management of personnel and other costs associated with jail and correctional facilities, and oversight of the number of supervised individuals detained on new charges versus those incarcerated due to revocation.

Judicial Structuring and Redistricting Task Force 

Co-Chair C. Ed Massey

Representative Joe Fischer

Representative Rob Wiederstein

The Judicial Restructuring and Redistricting Task Force will explore possible realignment of the judiciary and the effects it has on the administration of justice and the redistricting of judicial districts, with emphasis on reducing population disparities, managing caseloads, utilizing resources, and potential increases in efficiency.

Property Valuation Administrator’s Office Task Force 

Co-Chair Randy Bridges

Representative Samara Heavrin

Representative Nima Kulkarni

The Property Valuation Administrator’s Office Task Force will study the funding of the property valuation administrator’s office to identify other funding methods, review each property valuation administrator’s job requirements, review property valuation methods, and establish a time frame concerning the ad valorem taxation process.

Public Water and Wastewater System Infrastructure Task Force

Co-Chair Jim Gooch

Representative Derek Lewis

Representative Dean Schamore

The Public Water and Wastewater System Infrastructure Task Force was created to implement the recommendations adopted by the task force during 2019 Interim and make policy recommendations in advance of the 2021 Legislative Session. The task force will provide appropriate oversight to Kentucky’s public drinking water systems and wastewater systems and identify options for generating state and local funds that may be used to fund water infrastructure projects directly.

Substance Use and Recovery Task Force

Co-Chair Russell Webber

Representative Danny Bentley

Representative Lisa Willner

Representative Joni Jenkins

The Substance Use and Recovery Task Force will review all current substance use recovery grants in the Commonwealth, including the University of Kentucky HEALing grant and the usage of Medicaid funds for addiction treatment during incarceration and provide recommendations to the Legislative Research Commission, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, and the Education Workforce Development Cabinet to establish pathways for reentry of substance-involved individuals.

Services for Persons with Brain Injuries Task Force

Representative Brandon Reed

The Services for Persons with Brain Injuries Task Force will consider and provide policy recommendations from expert testimony on the epidemiology of brain injury and the needs of persons with an acquired or traumatic brain injury and their families. The task force will also examine the availability, types, and adequacy of current rehabilitation, residential, and integrated community-based support services for persons with an acquired or traumatic brain injury and their families.