2014 General Assembly passes law barring one person from sitting on two tax-setting boards; some school board members face a choice

The 2014 General Assembly passed House Bill 276, which amended state law to say that it is a conflict to hold a state office (school board member is a state office) and an appointive office of a special-purpose governmental entity that has authority to tax. (The exception in the law remains for an elected officer specifically authorized by statute for simultaneous service, such as a county judge-executive required to serve on a local board.)

Special-purpose governmental entities include agencies such as ambulance districts, water districts and library districts, among others. The Kentucky attorney general has recognized that some special-purpose entities are considered “hybrids” – not purely state or local agencies. In such cases, the usual rule against serving as a state officeholder while holding a county or city office may not apply. (See e.g. OAG 82-81 and OAG 76-687.)

Under HB 276, however, even if a school board member is also serving as an officer of a “hybrid” special-purpose governmental entity, it appears there will be a conflict if the other office is an appointive office and the other entity has authority to tax in absence of a statute specifically authorizing the dual service.

Any person potentially affected by HB 276 should explore these issues with leadership of the special- purpose entity.

HB 276 did not have an emergency clause, so this new rule stands to become effective July 15.

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