Filing deadline brings human trafficking, vaping, social media bills

Published 3:30 pm Thursday, March 7, 2024

By Representative Daniel Elliott

We have officially concluded the ninth week of this year’s regular session and begun our race to the finish line. Last week was the filing deadline to file new legislation, meaning we can no longer file new bills or resolutions. However, we can draft substitutes and amendments to existing legislation, and once we begin concurring with legislation the conference committee process also allows for changes and improvements to be made. I will continue to update you on legislation as it goes through the legislative process.

In the meantime, I want to take the time in this update to fill you in on some of the measures that were filed this week.

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Protecting our most vulnerable: 

The legislature has long maintained the welfare of the Commonwealth’s children and other vulnerable populations as a top priority in our legislative agenda. HB 3 is further proof of that fact. This measure takes steps to create a working group whose sole purpose will be to investigate ongoing human trafficking concerns in Kentucky, as well as establish parameters for human trafficking reporting in publicly frequented places such as hotels and highway posts. While this measure doesn’t directly solve the human trafficking crisis taking place in our state and across the nation, it will grant us the ability to investigate and report in ways that aren’t otherwise available to us.


Mitigating underage nicotine use: 

Ever since vaping became a popular alternative for tobacco consumption, youth across the nation have taken advantage of the fruity and inviting flavors and packaging of the substitute. HB 11 is a measure that takes strides in mitigating youth usage of nicotine products. HB 11 limits the sale of products to only those authorized by the US FDA or given a safe harbor to be marketed in the United States. For the first time, it establishes penalties for the retailer who sells unauthorized products or to youth under 21 years of age. For those repeat offenders, it requires ABC to establish a registry so the public as well as manufacturers and wholesalers are aware. It requires those businesses selling tobacco products at retail to register with the Secretary of State.


Holding the Department of Education accountable: 

Now more than ever, we need better control in the classroom and in our schools. Before the filing deadline, HB 825 was introduced, which mandates the State Auditor to conduct a full fiscal and operations audit of the Kentucky Department of Education and submit the report generated with the audit to the Interim Joint Committee on Education by July 1 of next year. This measure will give us a better understanding of the financial workings of the institution entrusted to govern our children.

In addition to the bills filed this week, many others have already advanced through the various stages of the legislative process. The following are just a few measures that have been recently passed by their assigned committee, and are now headed to the full House for consideration.


Managing the dangers of social media: 

Instagram, Facebook, and the other titans of the social media industry have cornered the market on media consumption, particularly with our younger generations. With this blessing comes a curse. Throughout the last few years, we have seen instances of children on social media being approached virtually in inappropriate ways, leading them to make life-altering decisions with real-world implications. Because of these horror stories, HB 463 was passed out of the House Small Business and Information Technology Committee. This measure requires a parent or guardian to authenticate and authorize the use of all major social media platforms for minors. This will entail the parent identifying themselves with a government-issued ID, as well as the signing of an affidavit that simply states they are, in fact, responsible for the minor in question.


Providing second chances to those who earn them: 

Through life, there is not one among us who will not make a mistake. Though others will make greater mistakes, we must remember that none of us are perfect. Misdemeanor offenses carry a lifetime burden for those who commit them. HB 124 was passed through the House Licensing, Occupations, and Administrative Regulations committee earlier this week and aims to grant a new life to those who have otherwise been rehabilitated. HB 124 requires hiring and licensure authorities to have an improved application process in place for rehabilitated felons seeking a professional license and employment. There are current laws in place that allow this, but this legislation aims to correct some of the formalities on the front end of the process. This measure grants every individual convicted of a crime the chance to apply for professional licensure and mandates that equal opportunities for these citizens and the associated process are advertised appropriately. Additionally, HB 569 was filed and assigned to the House Judiciary Committee and creates an automatic expungement process for individuals who have been convicted of certain misdemeanors.

Many other measures have already been passed by the full House, and are now headed to the Senate for further consideration.


Expanding access to doctoral programs: 

The workforce utilization rate in Kentucky has struggled for quite some time. One of the main focuses of this year’s regular session has been creating new opportunities for education that a student would otherwise have to leave the state to obtain. We believe that if a student can get their education here, there is more incentive to stay in the state to practice in their field. Because of this notion, HB 630 was passed through the House recently, which allows Western Kentucky University to add up to five additional doctoral programs to meet the workforce needs of Kentucky.

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