KY House updates on budgets and bills

Published 1:32 pm Tuesday, February 27, 2024

By Representative Daniel Elliott

As I left Frankfort on Friday, Feb. 23, there are just 23 days remaining in the 2024 Regular Session. While there is some flexibility to move dates around, we will most likely stick with the following schedule:

  • February 26 – Last Day to File New House Bills.
  • February 28 – Last Day to File New Senate Bills.
  • March 27 & 28 – Concurrence (a concurrence day is a specific day set aside in the legislative process for one chamber to consider and potentially agree with changes made by the other chamber to a bill).
  • March 29 – Veto period begins (Kentucky’s governors have 10 days to consider legislation passed by the legislature. During that time, they may sign it into law, veto the measure, or allow it to become law without a signature).
  • April 15 – Adjourn sine die (“Sine die” is a Latin term that means “without assigning a day for a further meeting or hearing.” In legislative language, it means the final day of this session of the Kentucky General Assembly.)

I thought I might use this week’s update to reflect on some of the biggest pieces of legislation we’ve acted on:

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Executive Branch/State Budget: 

HB 6 is the proposed state executive budget for the 2025 and 2026 fiscal years. This budget is over $129 billion and includes increases in teacher retirement contribution, K-12 education, and Medicaid adjustment and waiver expansion. Some of the education provisions include: increases to SEEK for the public education system that will bring the per pupil guarantee to $4,455 in 2026, full funding for school transportation, and many more intentional investments into our public education system. Other significant investments are proposed in the Department of Juvenile Justice, which will receive $34 million to assist in the improvement and extension of their services and programs, the Cabinet for Economic Development and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

Legislative Branch Budget: 

HB 263 is the budget for the legislative branch of the state, with $87.7 million in the first year, and $91.5 million in fiscal year 2026. It also allows for legislative publications to be disseminated through electronic communications.

Judicial Branch Budget: 

HB 264 is the budget for the judicial branch of the state. This proposal provides salary increases for all judicial staff, expands personnel, and supporting funds for construction and preservation budgets. The total investment in the judicial branch budget is $453.7 million in fiscal year 2025, and $469.6 million in the second fiscal year.

One Time Investments in Targeted Areas: 

HB 1 appropriates funds from the state’s Budget Reserve Trust Fund Account for one-time payments and investments into the commonwealth. $1.84 billion dollars would be appropriate to pay down unfunded liabilities in Kentucky’s state retirement funds, infrastructure development, riverport asset preservation, grants to general aviation airports, economic development initiatives, rural community investment, and funding to Kentucky’s state police. The Kentucky Teacher’s Retirement System and State Police pension funds would be at 60% funding, the highest funding level in many years.

Safer Kentucky Act: 

HB 5, coined the Safer Kentucky Act includes more than 20 provisions aimed at a variety of crime issues, including:

  • Requiring life without probation / parole for those convicted of their third violent felony. These are individuals who commit the most heinous of crimes, including murder, rape, and terrorism, multiple times.
  • Increasing the felony class for smuggling contraband substances within a jail, prison, or other type of detention center to a class B felony.
  • Increasing the penalty for fleeing or evading the police to a class C felony.
  • Preventing charitable organizations from furnishing bail of $5,000 or more.

Several measures are still working their way through the system, including legislation aimed at improving health outcomes for pregnant and new mothers; fund the building and maintenance of our roads, bridges, and transportation infrastructure; and allow voters to decide the future of issues ranging from the legislative schedule to empowering parents to make educational choices for their children.

There is still much work to be done this session, and the next month will be quite busy. We have until the end of March to pass legislation if we want to afford ourselves an opportunity to overturn any potential vetoes by the governor.  The governor has issued more than a hundred vetoes since his first term, so I fully expect we will have overrides to consider in April. Rest assured in knowing that I will continue to work hard on your behalf through this session.

As always, I can be reached anytime through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at 1-800-372-7181. You can also contact me via e-mail at and keep track through the Kentucky legislature’s website at