TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Local News

May 2, 2014

Corbin, White file petition in Knox court

Declares amendment to HB 236 ‘unconstitutional special legislation’

CORBIN — By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer

A petition for declaratory relief against Knox County was filed Thursday in Knox Circuit Court by the City of Corbin, and former Corbin City Commissioner Joe “Butch” White.

The action challenges the constitutionality of a section of House Bill 236 — an amendment filed by Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester) — which retains the original provisions of his 2012 amendment, requiring any set-off or credit of city license fees against county license fees existing between a city and county.

The amendment’s been the focus of an ongoing issue for several years, over the City of Corbin collecting its own occupational tax revenues from Knox County.

In the city and White’s petition, attorney Patrick Hughes stated the 2014 amendment was “unconstitutional special legislation,” as well as “inoperative” and “void ab initio” — meaning “to be treated as invalid from the outset” — because it violates five sections of the Kentucky Constitution.

The petition also charged the amendment was unconstitutional because it did not relate to House Bill 236, a bill providing financing and conditions for the operation, maintenance, support and function of the state Transportation Cabinet.

According to the petition, “The 2014 Amendment has absolutely nothing to do with the Transportation Cabinet or its budget or the roads of the Commonwealth. It does not affect state finances in any way. Rather, the 20134 Amendment only concerns a local issue between Knox County and Corbin.”

The bill with the added amendment passed both the state Senate and House on April 15, during the General Assembly’s special session.

On April 25, Governor Steve Beshear line-item vetoed three parts of the bill which dealt with spending. The rest of the bill and the amendment were not vetoed, and House Bill 236 became law.

The petition stated the City of Corbin and White requested a declaratory judgement and an early hearing, temporary and permanent injunctive relief, their costs and attorney fees in maintaining the action paid for, and all other relief to which they appear entitled to.

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