House elections panel approves 1 out of 4 bills


FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - An unusual meeting in the House Elections, Constitutional Amendments and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee took place on Monday as one bill was approved, three pieces of legislation failed to get enough votes to pass and another was pulled from consideration by the chairman.


The only bill approved was House Bill 304, sponsored by Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville.  A number of its provisions relate to absentee voting:

·       Change the deadline from 7 to 14 days before an election when a qualified disabled voter can request an absentee ballot my mail

·       Allow a disabled qualified voter to request a mail-in absentee ballot by email or fax

·       Allow a county clerk to send the absentee ballot via email or fax

·       Give any qualified voter who has requested an absentee ballot and has not received it, the ability to vote absentee in-person at the clerk’s office, or cast their ballot at their polling place on election day.

HB 304 would also increase from 15 to 45 days in which the country clerk prints and readies ballot labels for candidates in a special election and increase from 28 to 49 days before an election the deadline for a declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate in a special election.

The measure passed 14-0 and heads to the House floor.

Other measures didn’t fare so well, since nine yes votes are required to clear the committee and there were only eight Republican members at the meeting.

HB 215, sponsored by Rep. James Tipton, R-Taylorsville, deals with voter identification at the polls.  It would remove credit cards with a voter’s picture on it as an acceptable option, but allow any government or school-issued picture ID to be used as well as ones issued by local governments.  It failed 8-6.

It was the same fate for HB 73, a legislative term limits bill sponsored by Rep. Jim Duplessis, R-Elizabethtown.  The proposed constitutional amendment would ban House and Senate members from serving more than 16 consecutive years, but the clock would not start until after the 2018 election.  They could attempt a return to office after sitting out one term.

The vote was 8-3, with two Democrats passing, again one vote shy of winning passage.

House Resolution 49, sponsored by Rep. Jill York, R-Grayson, would urge the United State Congress to support federal legislation in advancement of the proposed Appalachian Storage Hub for natural gas, natural gas liquids and other chemicals.  Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania would be affected under the proposal.  

HR 49 went down to defeat, 7-2, with four Democrats passing.

Committee Chairman Kenny Imes, R-Murray, then pulled from the agenda Senate Bill 4, a proposed constitutional amendment that would move the election of Kentucky’s constitutional offices from odd-numbered years to Presidential election years.

Imes did not indicate if the bills will receive consideration at a future committee meeting.


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