By Jacqueline Pitts, The Bottom Line
Gov. Matt Bevin and legislative leaders stressed to business leaders and citizens that they plan to continue the great momentum of their first week of all GOP control in Frankfort. Bevin spoke Thursday night at the 22nd annual Kentucky Chamber Day, held at Heritage Hall in Lexington.
After a long day at the Capitol passing key priority bills including right-to-work, prevailing wage repeal, medical review panels and more, lawmakers were running late to the dinner.
Because of the delay on the House floor as debate carried on about right-to-work and repealing the prevailing wage, new House Speaker Jeff Hoover was unable to make it to Lexington but called in to the dinner to make his remarks about the historic day.
In his speech over the phone, Speaker Hoover pointed to the excitement of the day with business priorities moving for the first time after decades of being placed on the back burner.
Hoover told the audience, with great excitement, that Kentucky would become the 27th right-to-work state come Saturday as the legislator will be getting the bill to the governor’s desk this weekend.
“We are committed to doing things differently, working on issues that will spur economic growth and job creation,” Hoover said.
Before the Hoover call, the dinner began with remarks from Kentucky Chamber Board Chair Bill Lear and Chamber President Dave Adkisson who both commended the legislature on the historic work being done at the Capitol in the first week of the 2017 session, a week normally reserved for organization which is seeing passage of many bills this year.
Gov. Matt Bevin shared similar sentiments in his speech, stressing that now is the time for action as the Republicans in Frankfort know that is what the people of Kentucky elected them to do.
“We are going to lead the nation in job production and business growth, red tape reduction and entitlement reform,” Bevin said.
Bevin applauded the leadership of House Speaker Hoover and Senate President Robert Stivers in the first week of the 2017 session in bringing him key pieces of legislation and said he expects this great momentum to continue.
The governor also encouraged the audience to remain engaged in the political process, saying the state needs the knowledge and experience of the leaders in the room.
Senate President Robert Stivers also gave a big welcome to Hoover as the new House Speaker and discussed the progress he sees already being made in the first week under Hoover’s leadership.
“With the change of climate and dynamics between chambers and parties, we can create a better climate for business community,” Stivers said.
Stivers said the new House and Senate are placing a strong focus on creating jobs because when the state creates more jobs, it also comes with more revenue and growth that can help all areas of the state.
The sole Democrat giving remarks of the evening was Sen. Morgan McGarvey of Louisville who filled in for Senate Democratic Leader Ray Jones.
McGarvey stressed to the Chamber audience that while he is not on the same side as the new majority in Kentucky, he believes that some of the best work can be done when both sides work together. He pointed to issues like public-private partnership (P3) legislation, bills seeking to address the heroin epidemic, pension reforms and more that have been done under divided government and expressed his optimism about what can be done in this new atmosphere.
For more state government news go to the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce’s The Bottom Line blog.