Legislative update: Regular Session highlights

Published 9:51 am Friday, April 21, 2023


District 54 Rep.

The 2023 Regular Session has officially adjourned sine die – a Latin term that essentially means the session is over. Despite being only 30 legislative days long, we were able to accomplish a great deal for our commonwealth and its people. We approved commonsense legislation, including measures that provide a voice for parents and teachers, protects our most vulnerable, prepares us for disasters, and makes our state more competitive. We began this session with a commitment to our commonwealth, and we adjourned knowing we have made this state a better place to live, work, and build a life. My goal beginning this session was to be a part of passing long lasting legislation that will positively impact Kentuckians for years to come. Here are some examples of the legislation we enacted:

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• HB 1 is the next step in the Kentucky General Assembly’s efforts to eliminate the individual income tax entirely. In 2018, the General Assembly decreased the individual income tax rate from 6% to 5%, which resulted in historic economic growth, as well as record job creation and state revenue. During the 2022 Regular Session, lawmakers passed HB 8, which laid the groundwork to eliminate the individual income tax entirely but includes preset triggers that must be met before the legislature can move to decrease the tax in half a percentage point increments. These triggers essentially hold funding for state programs and agencies harmless. HB 1 codifies for clarification the conditions laid out in HB 8 of the 2022 Regular Session and codifies the second-rate reduction from 4.5 percent to 4 percent on Jan. 1, 2024.

• HB 538 addresses classroom disruption that impacts learning by providing a framework for local school districts and school administrators. The guidelines for restoring order in the classroom includes provisions for students to be placed into an alternative setting, such as a resource room, a classroom where the disruption did not occur, or even virtual instruction. HB 538 allows a school board to delegate authority to an appeals committee for alternative placement options. For students facing suspension or expulsion, HB 538 creates guidelines to protect due process of the student and takes into consideration students with disabilities and special education.

• HB 319 adopts the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact, allowing educators who hold a license in any eligible state to be granted an equivalent license in Kentucky. HB 319 would also require the Education Professional Standards Board to accept an “eligible for hire” qualification in place of prior employment for specific certification options. HB 319 would eliminate the cap on awards available to individuals as well as amend scholarship eligibility requirements to include those who have established permanent residency in Kentucky. HB 319 would also allow for classified staff to perform instructional activities without supervision from certified staff and would create an interim teaching certificate from July 2023 to June 2026. This measure has gone to the Governor for his consideration.

• SB 5 requires local boards of education to adopt complaint resolution policies to address parent complaints about school materials that are harmful to minors and requires a school to ensure a student does not have access to material which has led to the complaint filed by the parent. SB 5 further requires the Kentucky Department of Education to develop a model complaint resolution policy.

• HB 448 moves $20 million in funding into a newly created rural housing trust fund to help with disaster response in eastern and western parts of the state. This money was allocated in previous sessions, but can be used more effectively in this new fund.

• HB 157 creates the Kentucky Urban Search and Rescue Program under the Division of Emergency Management, essentially two task force teams and 10 regional teams that could be deployed to assist with emergencies throughout the state.

• SB 99 establishes a framework to ensure accountability in spending and administrating funds donated to help Kentuckians during times of emergency and disaster.

• HB 153 prohibits state and local law enforcement agencies from enforcing a federal gun ban in Kentucky. With HB 153, Kentucky is officially a 2nd Amendment sanctuary state. We in the legislature take great pride in upholding the God-given rights of Kentuckians, and HB 153 ensures the federal government cannot strip Kentuckians’ right to bear arms.

• HB 238 prohibits a health care provider from discriminating against an individual who has a disability based solely on the individual’s disability when providing care related to an organ donation.

• SB 71 adds other related adults and hospital administrators to the hierarchy of those who can authorize an anatomical gift and adds research for the advancement of donation and transplantation science as an acceptable use. The bill specifies the examination period and allows a hospital to conduct a standard medical evaluation to ensure medical stability of a part. It adds donation for therapy, education, and research for advancement of donation and transplantation science to the statewide electronic registry.

Even though the 2023 Regular Session is over, our service to our constituents is never over. The legislative interim will begin in early June and until then I will be focused on post-session reviews. If I can provide any additional information or help you navigate our state government, I hope you will not hesitate to reach out.

As always, I can be reached here at home anytime, or through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at 1-800-372-7181. Feel free to contact me via email at Daniel.Elliott@lrc.ky.gov. If you would like more information, please visit the legislature’s website at www.legislature.ky.gov.