Legislative Update: Week four of the session

Published 3:20 pm Thursday, February 1, 2024

By: State Senator Greg Elkins

Guest Writer 

The 2024 Legislative Session in Frankfort is nearing the one-third mark of the 60-day budget session, as last Friday marked the 18th day. The committee process is picking up steam; with that, more bill proposals are proceeding through the legislative process.

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Please check out the KYSenateRepublicans.com website to find press releases from the Senate Majority Caucus. Information on our members—your elected officials—can be found there, along with other valuable resources. 

I’m happy to report the Senate Transportation Committee unanimously approved my Senate Bill (SB) 46, which I mentioned in last week’s legislative update. The Senate Majority Caucus also issued a press release on the bill, available on the previously mentioned website. The bill is simple. It would allow drivers to tint the entirety of their windshield but must not allow less than 70 percent of all visible light to pass through. This change has several benefits, including potentially reducing cancer rates caused by the sun’s UV rays. The Skin Cancer Foundation reports in the U.S. melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers are more common on the left side since drivers are most directly exposed through the side window. The tinting of a windshield this bill would allow has reduced up to 99 percent of the UV rays that can cause skin cancer.

Other benefits of this bill are increased comfort for drivers, such as reducing the glare on roadways from bright headlights and reducing dependency on air conditioning during the hot summer months. The bill is now qualified for consideration by the full Senate, and I am eager to present it on the Senate floor soon.

The Senate, led by our budget chair, Sen. Chris McDaniel, has begun poring through the two budget proposals submitted by the House, House Bill (HB) 1 and HB 6. While they are likely to change as they go through the legislative process, the current versions of the two-year state budget can be found at legislature.ky.gov. As your state senator, I commit to the disciplined use of your hard-earned tax dollars. A strong objective of the Kentucky General Assembly will be to limit new recurring expenses that put taxpayers on the hook each new budget session. We will be especially mindful of this in reviewing our revenue projections. 

SB 7 provides a means for students enrolled in non-certified Kentucky schools (homeschool) to have more access to the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES).  The scholarships will include the base amount for grade point average (GPA) by using an equivalent GPA based on the student’s American College Test (ACT) score. Eligible non-certified school graduates can only access the “supplemental” KEES award as earned on a student’s ACT score. This bill changes their annual KEES award to $2,500 to align with other public, private, and parochial school students. Their award will be based on their equivalent GPA and the supplemental awards. For example, a 2.7 GPA would equal an 18 ACT score, and a 4.0 would be equivalent to a 28+ ACT score. We believe these students work just as hard academically and should be awarded accordingly.  Plus, we’d like these students to pursue higher education here in Kentucky and enter our workforce, strengthening our state.    

SB 25 respects the rights of Kentucky property owners by prohibiting local governments from adopting or enforcing an ordinance mandating a landlord participate in a housing program under Section 8 of the United States Housing Act of 1937. The bill also prohibits local governments from adopting or enforcing an ordinance relating to landlord and tenant laws that conflict with any state law. The measure would prevent these business owners from being forced to accept a voluntary program, making them take less than market value for their properties.

Having the George Rogers Clark High School JROTC Lady Long Knives with me in the state Senate was a joy on Thursday. They finished in first place in the 2023 Raiders National Competition. Before they joined on the Senate floor for the day’s session, I spent some time with them in the state Capitol, taking their questions and learning a lot about them. What a great group of dedicated and talented young ladies they are. They make our community, county, and state very proud. I shared my remarks on my Facebook Page, State Senator Greg Elkins, and a press release about the Senate resolution recognizing them is available at the kysenaterepublicans.com website.

Thank you for your continued engagement in the 2024 Regular Session. It is a privilege to represent you in Frankfort. 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.

Sen. 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 Senate Standing Committees on Local Government, State Government, Families and Children, and Health Services. He is a liaison member of the Budget Review Subcommittee on Human Services. Elkins is also an Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee member.