Advocacy in Action: BIA Goes to Frankfort

HBAK Housing and Building Industry Day at The Capitol, Wednesday Feb. 27, 2019 in Frankfort, Ky. Photo by Mahan Multimedia

On Wednesday, February 27, more than 20 BIA members travelled to Frankfort for our Annual Housing and Building Industry Day at the Capitol. There was a diverse group of members who attended, including builders, developers, and subcontractors representing various segments of the industry.

This annual trip to the State Capitol is a very important advocacy day for the BIA as the collective group met with our elected officials to discuss our industry’s priority policy issues. The day in Frankfort was jam-packed with productive meetings and gave us the opportunity to thank our legislators face-to-face for their support of the building industry.

Our members had 11 separate meetings with legislators from both parties in the House and Senate. The day kicked off with a legislative update on the floor of the KY House Chambers from HBAK Executive Vice President Bob Weiss and a warm welcome from Speaker of the House David Osborne. Speaker Osborne discussed several issues pending before the House this session, including pension reform and workforce development initiatives. Bob Weiss presented Speaker Osborne with the HBAK Housing Hero Award for his leadership and support for the housing and building industry.

During our legislative visits, our members discussed several key bills that are pending before the General Assembly. We urged support for SB 129, sponsored by Senator Paul Hornback, which would require membership in KY 811 for owners and operators of underground utilities. Kentucky is one of two states that does not require all utilities to join KY 811. Unfortunately, SB 129 is facing opposition from some utilities in the Commonwealth and is unlikely to pass this session.

HBAK Housing and Building Industry Day at The Capitol, Wednesday Feb. 27, 2019 in Frankfort, Ky. Photo by Mahan Multimedia

Another issue we discussed was HB 61, which would allow students to use KEES merit scholarships for qualified workforce training post-secondary education classes, which includes skilled trade programs. This legislation will help improve our industry’s pipeline for future skilled workers. HB 61 passed the House and is likely to be considered by the Senate before the end of the legislative session.

We also advocated for passage of SB 40, sponsored by Senator Stephen Meredith, which would simply remove the awarding of attorney fees as an incentive to litigate over simple code violations if the homeowner received a Certificate of Occupancy from the local building department. SB 40 passed the Senate, and we are hopeful that it will be considered by the House before the legislative session concludes.

While we were in Frankfort meeting with our legislators, we learned that a bill dealing with HOAs could be considered by a Senate Committee this session. We informed our Senators of our opposition to SB 21. By the end of the day, as a direct result of our advocacy efforts, we learned that this HOA bill would not be considered by the Senate this session. This is a perfect example of how important and impactful this advocacy day in Frankfort is for our industry!

We want to thank our BIA members who attended our Housing and Building Industry Day at the Capitol and advocated on behalf of the entire building industry!