Legislative update: Week two of the session

Published 10:40 am Tuesday, January 16, 2024

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The second week of the 2024 Legislative Session concluded on Friday, and week three will begin on Tuesday following the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

The first bill I was able to vote in favor of in the Senate chamber was Senate Bill 5, a bill that I co-sponsored. The measure removes the requirement that resident owners of farmlands must own five or more acres of land to be exempt from sport hunting and sport fishing license requirements when hunting or fishing on their property. The measure rectifies the concerns of sportsmen and Kentucky landowners by correcting the statutory language imposing the requirement from the 2023 Regular Session.

As my previous legislative update outlined, the state income tax rate dropped another half percent on January 1. You should notice an increase in your take-home pay in your next paycheck. I remain committed to the further responsible reduction of the state income tax, made possible by 2022 legislation establishing a measured framework to achieve that goal while ensuring we maintain needed state revenue.

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The state House of Representatives is still crafting its biennial budget and road plan proposals. I remain eager to get involved in budget discussions and advocate for our district, but for now, we continue to monitor the effort in the Senate in preparation for our time to offer our own recommendations. I’ll keep you informed on budget details as it progresses through the legislative process. In 60-day sessions, legislators often focus on crafting a conservative, fiscally disciplined budget.

Committee meetings this week have been light, though the Senate Family and Children Committee held an informational meeting specific to Kentucky’s child care needs. With federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds expiring in 2023, lawmakers heard from many concerned about early childhood education during the interim. Following COVID-mandated closures, federal funds provided stability for staff wages and relief for child care centers facing financial struggles. Committee members cautioned against proposals for universal public pre-K from the executive branch. This one-size-fits-all approach to a complex issue would be beholden to the traditional school schedule and unable to meet the needs of many families who work the second shift and need care during the summer months.

The Kentucky Senate Republicans and members of our caucus have a more personal website, KYSenateRepublicans.com, where constituents and media members can find additional access and insight into Senate Majority Caucus Members. We have information on committee meetings and floor action and include important resources. This website showcases each individual member in a more personal way so Kentuckians can get to know their unique legislators.

I’m excited about this session and take my responsibilities to represent you seriously. 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.

I want to remind you my 2024 Legislative Survey is still available online and will be until Tuesday, February 13. That date is the official mid-point of the session, day 30, and it leaves a week or so for other legislation to be filed if necessary. If you visit my LRC profile page, you will find a survey link below showing our Senate District number. I encourage you to take the time to complete that survey.

President Ronald Reagan signed the King Holiday Bill into law on November 2, 1983, designating a federal holiday to be observed annually on the third Monday of January. This year, the holiday falls on Dr. King’s actual birthday, as he was born on January 15, 1929. First celebrated in 1986, the holiday has come to commemorate the strides this country has made in civil rights. King was a leader who strived for progress in racial equity and equality during the modern civil rights movement. King, A world leader focused on change and progress, is the only non-president to have a national holiday. State and local offices are closed, and many businesses observe this important date.

You can learn more about these bills and others by visiting legislature.ky.gov and following legislative coverage at KET.org/legislature or on the LRC YouTube Channel. Thank you for staying engaged in the legislative process. You can reach my office by calling 502-564-8100 or emailing me at Greg.Elkins@lrc.ky.gov. It is an honor to serve you in Frankfort.

Senator Greg Elkins, R-Winchester, represents the 28th Senate District, including Bath, Clark, Menifee, and Montgomery Counties and an eastern portion of Fayette County. Elkins is a member of the Interim Joint Committees on Local Government, State Government, Families and Children, and Health Services. He is a liaison member of the Budget Review Subcommittee on Huan Services. Elkins is also an Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee member.