Chris Harris

Representative

Forest Hills, KY

A former underground coal miner, Chris Harris was first elected to the Kentucky House of Representative in 2014. He represents the 93rd legislative district of Kentucky, serving Martin and Pike counties. Chris is a member of the Committees on Tourism, Small Business, and Information Technology, Transportation, and Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection. Prior to his election to the Kentucky General Assembly, Chris served in local government as a Pike County Magistrate for 12 years. During his tenure, he was elected by county officials from across the Commonwealth as the President of the Kentucky Association of Counties, a bipartisan organization dedicated to serving all of Kentucky and advocating for legislative solutions for issues affecting county governments around the Commonwealth.

When the General Assembly is not in session, Rep. Harris works at his private law practice. Chris is licensed to practice law in Kentucky and West Virginia and has argued cases before the Supreme Courts of both states. He and his wife Leslie have three children, Corbin, Wilson, and Emma, and live in Pike County, Kentucky. 

Pro-Growth Progressive Ideas Shared

Problem

Kentucky’s current Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act lacks provisions defining the ‘good-faith effort’ required of insurers attempting to inform beneficiaries of amounts owed them under life insurance policies, annuity contracts and retained asset accounts. Due to the lack of specific requirements, many beneficiaries are never informed of benefits they are due, and those benefits revert to the state when they are not claimed. 

Solution

Rep. Harris has championed legislation which will require the Kentucky Department of Insurance to promulgate regulations describing specific actions, steps and undertakings that will constitute a ‘good-faith effort’ by insurers as they seek to inform beneficiaries of owed benefits. Upon its passage, this legislation will help hundreds of Kentuckians claim benefits from life insurance policies purchased by their deceased family members.   


Problem

The steady decline of the coal industry led to a growing number of dilapidated and dangerous abandoned homes in Pike County, Kentucky. As the population decreased, many homes were left unoccupied and became dangerous eye sores in their communities. These abandoned and dilapidated homes lowered property values for other home owners in their communities.

Solution

As a county official, Rep. Harris sponsored and passed a “Dilapidated Housing Ordinance” which provided a method for the County Solid Waste Department to remove dilapidated structures from property. Upon receipt of a complaint from a neighboring land owner, the County Solid Waste Department provides notice to the owner of a dilapidated structure and affords them a reasonable period of time to either repair or remove the structure from the premises. If the structure isn’t removed within the time period allowed under the ordinance, the County Solid Waste Department may then take steps to remove the structure and place a lien covering the cost of removal upon the real estate. The Dilapidated Housing Ordinance removed countless dangerous eyesores from communities all across Pike County and improved safety and property values for those living near these abandoned structures. 


Problem

Open records laws allow citizens to be privy to what their local, state, and federal governments are doing with taxpayer money. They also provide transparency so that citizens can see whether or not elected officials are performing appropriately. During his tenure as a Magistrate on the Pike County Fiscal Court, Chris’s attempt to obtain records regarding a public water district was denied. Legislation passed in the 2012 General Assembly had left a loophole that allowed private companies operating in governmental capacities and paid with taxpayer dollars to keep their records private.  

Solution

In an effort to increase transparency in state and local government, Rep. Harris sponsored legislation which would narrow the open records exemptions for private firms providing public services. The bill would require entities offering services traditionally performed by government agencies, and receiving at least a quarter of their revenue from taxpayers, to comply with the same open records laws as their government counterparts.