Coal ash, tourism and estate taxes are among the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission top issues for next year’s General Assembly session.
The LRC released its annual booklet of issues confronting state lawmakers for the upcoming 2012 session. The compendium is compiled by the commission’s staff and discusses both sides of different issues from unemployment insurance to raw milk consumption laws.
Legislative Research Commission Director Robert Sherman says lawmakers may use the publication as a guide, but it is mainly for citizens who are trying to better understand the state’s agenda.
“It really is more for consumption by the general public just to let folks who might be interested in the operation of the General Assembly get a possible heads up as to the sorts of issues that could be discussed by the General Assembly,” he says.
The issues are grouped according to the jurisdictions of the interim joint committees and national issues that affect the state.
Besides drafting a two-year budget during the 60-day session, the publication covers varied and wide-ranging matters lawmakers could address.
The guidebook is not meant to be comprehensive, but it discusses issues from out-of-state health insurers to illegal methamphetamine laboratories and broadband Internet development.
One subject the commissions tackles is the question of whether Kentucky should consider including academic outcomes in funding post-secondary education. The review says proponents favor this model because it focuses on student success and how well schools produce degrees in comparison to their state allocations.
However, the commission staff also note that opponents of the legislation undermines other purposes, such as the benefit of university research on the state’s economy.
Sherman says the booklet covers important matters confronting the commonwealth, but that not every subject addressed by his staff will be considered by legislators.
“In no way does that booklet claim to be an exact mind reader of issues that will be considered by the General Assembly,” he says. “Some of the possible issues that are listed in the book will not come up very much in the General Assembly and then some issues that are not mentioned in the book at all will come up.”