State’s credit rating increases as a result of legislative efforts
Published 8:00 am Saturday, July 8, 2023
BY DANIEL ELLIOTT
District 54 Representative
Late last week we learned that the state’s credit rating with S&P Global was upgraded to A+ after nearly seven years of legislative work to strengthen the economy, reform state spending, modernize taxes, and grow our state savings. This is great news for our commonwealth and reflects the success of the legislature’s efforts to help Kentucky and its people reach their full potential.
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We made great strides in those efforts during the 2023 Regular Session, which adjourned on March 30. And, most of the 171 pieces of legislation we passed into law became law on June 29 per the state’s 130-year-old constitution. I would like to share with you some pieces of legislation that have recently become law, particularly some you may not be familiar with because they have not received as much attention as other bills.
• Cutting the individual income tax and making Kentucky more competitive — HB 1 lowers the state’s individual income tax to 4% as of January 2024 and codified the January 1, 2023 decrease from 5% to 4.5%, saving Kentuckians approximately $625 million in personal income.
• Reforming a troubled juvenile justice system — HB 3 seeks to assess and potentially renovate Louisville Metro Government’s youth detention facility, outlines responsibilities for parental cooperation and penalties for failure to cooperate, and requires that certain youths shall be automatically detained. HB 3 also defines when juvenile court records should remain unsealed and requires the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet (JPSC) to provide cognitive behavioral therapy, other evidence-based behavioral health programs, substance use disorder treatment, or treatment in a psychiatric facility for serious mental illness.
• Revitalizing rural communities — HB 9 creates the Government Resources Accelerating Needed Transformation (GRANT) program and allocates $2 million in state tax dollars to leverage potentially billions in federal and private investment dollars available to 41 eastern and western Kentucky counties identified by the federal government.
• Protecting farmers and other landowners as solar expands v HB 4 creates guidelines for the decommissioning of solar installations when they reach the end of their useful life. The guidelines include a legal framework and financial component.
• Improving disaster response — HB 157 lays the groundwork for a state urban search and rescue team to decrease disaster response time.
• Addressing chronic misbehavior in students, Rep. Timmy Truett — HB 538 addresses classroom disruption by providing a framework for local school districts and school administrators. This 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. HB 538 also includes guidelines to protect due process of the student and takes into consideration students with disabilities and special education.
• Ensuring access to mental health services – HB 56 defines regional service areas and the counties included in them. The measure also establishes guidelines to fill a need in areas where a community mental health center (CMHC) is unable to provide mental health services. HB 56 also allows CMHCs to operate outside of their region if they license as a behavioral health service organization.
• Preserving fertility services for those fighting cancer — HB 170 requires insurance health plans to cover sperm and egg preservation procedures for men and women undergoing treatment for cancer.
• Expanding the use of KEES money — SB 54 allows KEES funds to be used at a qualified proprietary school program and includes students who attend out-of-state high schools or Department of Defense schools due to a parent’s military transfer eligible for a KEES award.
As always, I would like to hear from you regarding your interest in any of the issues before the Kentucky General Assembly. Also, if you would like to see all the legislation, we in the legislature passed in the 2023 Regular Session, please visit our website at legislature.ky.gov to read summaries of the legislation. Feel free to reach out any time through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at 1-800-372-7181 or by email at Daniel.Elliott@lrc.ky.gov.
Daniel Elliott is the representative for District 54.