FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) — The 2021 General Assembly saw progress on many issues important to the business community and in recognition, the Kentucky Chamber has paid tribute to 10 legislators for their support during the session that ended last month.
Recipients of the 2021 Kentucky Chamber MVP Award showed strong leadership for the business community by sponsoring or carrying Kentucky Chamber priority legislation to final passage, showing leadership on passage of critical legislation to improve Kentucky or by taking hard votes in defense of business.
“The business community wants to recognize the legislators who went out of their way to help Kentucky’s economy get back on track after such an unprecedented year,” said Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Ashli Watts. “It is critical we continue to work together as we recover and rebuild for a stronger tomorrow.”
Below are the legislators selected for this year’s MVP awards and highlights of how they went to bat for the business community this session:
— Senate President Robert Stivers championed priority legislation that will protect employers from frivolous lawsuits relating to COVID-19. He also played a crucial role in passing legislation to help replenish the drained Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and pay down the federal loan.
— House Speaker David Osborne was crucial to passing and supporting issues important to Kentucky’s business community including COVID-19 liability protections for employers and appropriating funds to replenish the Unemployment Trust Fund and pay down the federal loan.
— Rep. Adam Bowling championed legislation that establishes a framework for communities to become “Recovery Ready,” bringing much-needed consistency to local substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts.
— Rep. Matt Koch played a key role in passing and supporting priority legislation that allows historical horse racing operations to resume at the state’s licensed horse tracks after a Kentucky Supreme Court decision in September 2020.
— Rep. Adam Koenigwas instrumental to the passage of many priority issues for Kentucky’s signature industries, including legislation to improve direct-to-consumer shipment of alcohol, resume historical horse racing operations after a Kentucky Supreme Court decision in September 2020, and allow restaurants to sell alcohol with to-go and delivery orders.
— Rep. Ed Massey sponsored legislation that will make fiscally responsible changes to the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System for any newly hired teachers. He also sponsored legislation that will help remove barriers to individuals who have made mistakes by raising the felony theft threshold from $500 to $1,000 and carried the COVID-19 liability protection bill on the House floor.
— Rep. Kim Moser championed legislation to remove barriers to reentry for those exiting the corrections system by providing a certificate of employability for individuals following success in programs completed while incarcerated.
— Rep. Bart Rowland sponsored priority legislation relating to the coronavirus pandemic to waive penalties and interest on unemployment insurance tax bills to give employers the flexibility to make payment and prohibit state and local agencies from enforcing COVID-19 restrictions more stringent than the CDC.
— Rep. Walker Thomas championed legislation that brings Kentucky in line with most other states to require that our safety and health regulations be no more stringent than those set by the federal government.
— Rep. Russell Webber sponsored and passed legislation to provide unemployment insurance tax relief as huge increases in unemployment insurance rates were expected for employers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.