FRANKFORT – Kentucky Senate Leadership recently announced the appointment of Sen. Jason Howell (R-Murray) as co-chair to the newly formed Benefits Cliff Task Force, which will conduct business through the 2022 Interim Session of the Kentucky General Assembly.

The task force will review the impact of public assistance benefits cliff on labor force participation, employment, wages, and benefit duration. It will also address benefits use across the Commonwealth and develop public policy recommendations to support working families transitioning off of public assistance into gainful employment and self-sufficiency.

“Many people on public assistance need help in finding their best route to self-sufficiency and financial independence,” Howell said. “This task force will help identify needed solutions to create greater employment possibilities for individuals, that should support businesses who really need more employees to return to the workforce now.”

The task force will report findings to the Legislative Research Commission by Dec. 1, 2022, for referral to the appropriate standing committee with jurisdiction over the policy area. 

“I am totally confident that as the task force co-chair and a successful business owner himself, Sen. Howell will take a methodical approach to determine the best way to help the most people off of public assistance and get them back to work,” Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester) said.

A legislative task force is also known as a special committee. They are established by the Legislative Research Commission and function primarily during the interim, typically studying a specific topic. The Bourbon Barrel Taxation Task Force is one of six new task forces established to conduct business through the Interim. 

Additional task forces include:

• The Bourbon Barrel Taxation Task Force — Created to study the current ad valorem tax rate structure for bourbon barrel sales in the Commonwealth.

• The Cabinet for Health and Family Services Organizational Structure, Operations and Administrative Task Force — Created to study the organizational structure, operations and administration of programs, policies and procedures within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

• The Early Childhood Education Task Force — created to conduct a comprehensive review of the commonwealth’s early childhood caregiving and educational structures and operations.

• The Emergency Medical Services Task Force — Created to study the provision of emergency medical services in Kentucky.

• The Executive Branch Efficiency Task Force — Created to study the effectiveness of current executive branch cabinet working procedures for administering services to citizens of the commonwealth.

The 2022 Interim will serve as a primer for the 2023 Regular Session of the Kentucky General Assembly, as legislative efforts in the months ahead will be a critical element in crafting potential legislation.