Week 5 of the 2024 Legislative Session

In the Kentucky Senate, our role is unique, particularly during the 60-day budget session. The Constitution of Kentucky clearly outlines any revenue-raising and, traditionally, appropriation measures that originate with the state House of Representatives. Also, traditionally, before the House submits a two-year state budget proposal, the executive branch provides its recommendations. After these initial proposals, the Senate then makes its contribution.

This process is beneficial as it allows the Senate to analyze and gain an understanding of the proposals thoroughly. Crucially, it will enable us to define our priorities and establish a clear vision for allocating taxpayer dollars. This constitutionallymandated budgeting approach ensures the Senate remains focused on a disciplined and well-informed assessment. You can expect a thoughtful and sound approach from my colleagues and me as we craft our version of the commonwealth’s two-year state budget, road plan and other related appropriation and revenue bills.


A report released this week by a third party that audited the state’s Department of Juvenile Justice confirmed what many of us who have followed reports of the repeated failures of our current executive branch already knew; there continues to be no strategic direction within the system. Despite the legislature enacting reforms last session and providing approximately $50 million, the Beshear administration has failed to follow through on its responsibilities. The audit report indicated issues stemming from a failure to implement changes from a 2017 audit. In the coming weeks, legislation will work to remedy the crisis further. However, without leadership, I am afraid nothing will significantly change.


This week, the Senate passed various bills covering elections, bourbon industry regulations, and more. The following bills were approved and now move to the House for consideration:


SB 50 – Bourbon Industry Regulations: Implements changes to strengthen Kentucky’s bourbon industry, addressing retail sales, private events, and distribution of distilled spirits. Notably, it allows distillers with a Class B license to sell and deliver up to 5,000 gallons annually to licensed retailers. I’m proud to say I am one of an exclusive group of lawmakers who have never opposed a measure strengthening our signature bourbon industry. I was happy to support the bill and my friend and colleague Steve West, the senator from Bourbon County.


SB 75 – Capitol Access: Reopens a portion of Capital Avenue in Frankfort, providing access to residents and tourists. The bill allows emergency responders and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to manage traffic on state Capitol grounds, addressing security concerns and reducing the risk of pedestrian injury.


SB 80 – Election Integrity: Strengthens election integrity by refining Kentucky’s voter ID laws. The bill removes student or employee IDs and credit or debit cards as a primary identification option to vote. A student ID would still be a secondary ID a student can use, sign an affidavit, and cast a vote, so it’s not removed entirely as some reports and detractors suggested. This measure strengthens past election reforms championed by the legislature.


SB 125 – Off-Highway Vehicle Programs: Creates economic opportunities for eastern Kentucky by extending the ability for local governments to start off-highway vehicle pilot programs. The bill expands the definition of local government, opening the program to the entire state.


Thank you for your continued engagement in the 2024 Regular Session. It is a privilege to represent you in Frankfort. Find the status of legislation by calling 866-840-2835, legislative meeting information at 800-633-9650, or leaving a message for lawmakers at 800-372-7181. You can watch and follow legislative activity at KET/org/legislature and Legislature.ky.gov.

# # #

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *