Legislative update: Week 12

Published 5:15 pm Friday, March 29, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Spring has arrived here in the Bluegrass State, and we find ourselves in the final stages of the 2024 Regular Session. With only a few legislative days remaining and sine die (the last day of session) on the horizon, the Kentucky General Assembly remains fully committed to the important work of shaping the future of our commonwealth.

 A final legislative budget proposal should be put forward in the next day or so, and a two-year road plan is expected within the next week. I’m continuing to advocate for our 28th Senate District. My first budget session as your senator has been a great learning experience and I appreciate my colleagues’ careful consideration of how to best put to use the tax dollars that you’ve entrusted to your state government. Our continued priority will be to further lower your income tax, which is now down to 3.5 percent following the January 1 reduction. I expect us to put our best foot forward to make transformational one-time investments using the strong budget reserve trust fund that has been replenished since it was near zero about a decade ago.

 I am pleased to say legislation I sponsored was placed on the House’s Orders of the Day on Friday, so I expect those bills to be delivered to the Governor early in the week. They included SB 46, my window tint legislation, and SB 163 which gives our local elected officials more options relating to unclaimed descendants as they carry out their important roles.

Email newsletter signup

 I was also happy to carry House Bill (HB) 86 to final passage in the Senate. The bill expands interment eligibility in Kentucky state veterans’ cemeteries to include eligible National Guard and Reserve service members and their families.

 The following measures were approved in the Senate this week and will still have time to be approved by the state House of Representatives before the veto period:

 Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 58 served as our annual resolution designating roadways, highways and bridges in honor of Kentuckians who are no longer with us. Among various other sections of the resolution, SJR 58 designates a section of Kentucky Highway 293 within the city limits of Princeton as the Chief Deputy Jody Wayne Cash Memorial Highway. Tragically killed in the line of duty on May 16, 2022, Chief Deputy Cash is remembered for his selfless dedication and servant’s heart. The resolution aims to honor his memory and others worthy by commemorating their contributions by naming the designated highways throughout the commonwealth.

 SB 239, known as the Health Care Rights Protection Act, aims to safeguard the conscience rights of medical practitioners, health care institutions, and payers by granting them the right to refuse participation in or payment for health care services that contradict their sincerely held beliefs. While upholding federal laws on emergency care and sexual assault, this provision shields individuals from legal repercussions and discrimination. However, they must still fulfill their obligations to perform other medical duties.

 SB 344 introduces measures to oversee the sale and advertising of vapor products in Kentucky by mandating the creation of a directory listing approved vapor product manufacturers and products and requiring annual certification for compliance. Provisions include advertising restrictions to prevent the use of certain terms and depictions appealing to minors with fines for violations and seizure of non-compliant products. Additionally, the bill establishes a dedicated enforcement fund, funded by fees, penalties, and enforcement actions, to support monitoring and regulatory efforts.

 Like HB 86, the following House bills were also delivered to the Governor’s desk:

 HB 22 seeks to eliminate the unnecessary burdensome task of requiring a physician to oversee the automated external defibrillators (AED) program for any entity that requires an AED.

 HB 30 establishes the Kentucky Service Members, Veterans, and their Families Suicide Prevention Program.

 HB 88 relates to unlawful trade practices and aims to strengthen consumer protections, enhance transparency in financial transactions, and improve regulatory oversight in the financial and real estate sectors.

 HB 159 establishes that health care providers are immune from criminal liability for harm arising from a health services-related act or omission other than gross negligence or wanton, willful, malicious, or intentional misconduct.

 HB 274 seeks to permit pharmacists to administer vaccines to children 5 years of age or older under prescriber-approved protocols with the consent of a parent or guardian.

 HB 280 pertains to delivery services and delineates insurance coverage for delivery network companies, specifying when these policies are activated while drivers are on the job.

 HB 478 seeks to authorize the Energy and Environment Cabinet to allow the expansion of construction or demolition waste sites from one to two acres, contingent upon compliance with existing permit requirements and meeting additional conditions, including posting a $10,000 bond for the expanded area’s compliance assurance.

 HB 492 defines “qualified local government” and requires employees with access to federal tax information to undergo criminal background checks by both the Kentucky State Police and the FBI. The fee for these checks is limited to processing costs, and the Kentucky State Police can establish necessary regulations.

 HB 581 aims to prohibit local governments from using zoning processes or measures that unfairly hinder retail filling stations from locating in areas where similar businesses operate. It ensures that retail filling stations are treated equitably compared to electric vehicle charging stations and other businesses in zoning processes and measures.

 Any bills vetoed by the Governor will be taken up in the final couple of days following the 10-day veto period, which begins this Friday.

 Thank you for your continued engagement in the 2024 Regular Session. It is a privilege to represent you in Frankfort. Find more on these bills online at Legislature.ky.gov and visit KYSenateRepublicans.com for news releases from the Senate Majority Caucus.

 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 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.