FRANKFORT – We are in the final stretch of the Regular Session and the House has been hard at work to better Kentucky. We passed this week measures that modernizes Kentucky’s driver’s license program and increase the safety of our coal miners. A bill is also moving through the legislative process that will help to diversify Eastern Kentucky’s economy.
House Bill 410 passed the House, which aims to modernize our state’s driver’s license program. This measure would ensure that Kentuckians are able to keep their standard driver’s license while also allowing an individual to receive a federally compliant ID. This was a necessary piece of legislation to make sure Kentucky complies with federal law. The bill provides the means for those who want or need a federally vetted ID, while protecting people who do not want a federally vetted driver’s license. The travel ID allows individuals to get onto TSA controlled airplanes without a passport, and into federal base installations. I want to stress that this new travel ID is completely optional, but available to any Kentuckian that seeks to apply for it.
The House also passed a hard-hitting measure, which I was proud to support, that changes the underground mine inspection process to improve miner safety and lessen injuries on the job. House Bill 384 will reduce the number of required annual inspections, in exchange for allowing the Department of Mine Safety to use inspection resources for actual safety measures, such as correcting human error. Behavioral issues, or human error, are responsible for 94 percent of underground mine injuries. It is imperative we provide the department with the flexibility they need to properly keep our miners safe, rather than just following federal inspection mandates. This hands-on approach of putting our mine inspectors underground to talk directly with our miners will improve the safety of a very dangerous but vital job. We owe so much to our coal miners, and it is imperative we take every step to keep them safe.
House Bill 399 is a substantial measure that aims to diversify Eastern Kentucky’s economy, attract capital, and promote job creation. Specifically, this measure would create the Rural Growth Fund Tax Credit Program to stimulate business development. Businesses in rural areas of the state have found it difficult to attract the necessary capital to make investments that would stimulate their economy. We must provide the help and resources available to our rural communities, and this tax credit program would accomplish that. We are seeing the benefits of pro-coal leaders in both our state and federal government, but we must continue to diversify Eastern Kentucky’s economic portfolio. House Bill 399 takes a significant step toward that diversification.
The General Assembly took great strides to make a better Kentucky this week. It is an honor to serve you in Frankfort and I look forward to continuing the work that makes our Commonwealth the best place to live, work, and raise a family.
I welcome your comments and concerns on any issues impacting our Commonwealth during the 2017 Regular Session. I can be reached through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at 1-800-372-7181, or you can contact me via e-mail at [email protected] You can keep track of committee meetings and potential legislation through the Kentucky Legislature Home Page at www.lrc.ky.gov.
Larry Brown is the State Representative in the 95th District.