Legislative update: Higdon reviews the final week of the 2022 Legislative Session

14th District State Senator

Friday, April 15, 2022 — This week marked the official end of the 2022 Regular Session, including the final days of the veto period and the final two legislative days. The General Assembly convened to override the Governor’s vetoes on Wednesday and Thursday. In what could be the most active veto override session ever, eight Senate bills and over 20 state House bills were enacted into law over vetoes. In addition to these overrides, we passed a few additional bills mutually agreed upon, and I expect those bills will be signed into law.


One of the agreed measures was some cleanup language to the state road plan, which I have had the honor to play a role in as chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. The modifications to the road plan included additional funding projects, including projects in Nelson and Washington Counties. I’ll share more specifics on how our 14th Senate District has benefited from this year’s legislative session in the weeks ahead.

In the latest effort of the General Assembly to champion pro-life legislation and be a leading national voice for the voiceless, we passed House Bill 3, banning mail-order abortion-inducing pills and requiring a judicial review for all minors requesting an abortion. House Bill 3 also included language from Senate Bill 321 prohibiting abortions after 15 weeks.

In addition to pro-life legislation, we made final passage of a Senate bill ensuring fairness in women’s athletics. Senate Bill 83 requires those competing in female-sanctioned sports must be biologically female, which applies to all sports from the sixth grade through collegiate level athletics. Under Title IX, women have worked incredibly hard to have equal sports opportunities.

Senate Bill 1 restructured the public school site-based decision-making councils, putting final curriculum decisions with each district’s superintendent and local elected school boards. This provides accountability for curriculum selection, as the school board selects superintendents and the school board consists of elected officials who answer to voters in the district. Kentucky is the only state with these councils; Senate Bill 1 strengthens community voices by ensuring the ability to effect change via local school boards

Included in Senate Bill 1 are the new United States history standards, requiring the instruction of 24 original, primary source, core documents foundational to the fabric of our country. These new standards conform to middle and high school education standards with those already present in elementary education. The bill promotes unity around the core principles that make America great.

House Bill 9 is widely known as the charter school bill and enables the creation and funding for two charter school pilot programs, one in west Louisville and the other in northern Kentucky. The bill stipulates a charter cannot be authorized in districts with 7,500 students or less. Only a local school board can approve.

I was proud to have Senate Bills 119 and 207, which I was the primary sponsor of, make final passage. They address the process of the honorary and memorial naming of Kentucky roadways and bridges and take additional steps to strengthen Kentucky’s workforce.

Here are some additional bills that made final passage in the waning hours of the legislative session:

Senate Bill 163 would lift restrictions that prevent some felons from accessing state aid for college, including funds from the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship, known as KEES.

House Bill 222, known as the Anti-SLAPP bill, seeks to protect freedom of speech. It would offer those who speak out against a matter of public interest protection from strategic lawsuits against public participation, known as SLAPP lawsuits.

House Bill 604 establishes the Kentucky Center for Cannabis Research at the University of Kentucky. It also defines the mission and responsibilities of the center and appropriates funding.

House Bill 263, known as Kami’s Law, makes criminal abuse against a victim under 12 years of age a Class B felony.

The next regular session of the General Assembly won’t convene until January 2023, but lawmakers will kick off the interim period in June.

It has been an extraordinary session, and I have strived to serve you and our district well. I was honored to once again work with my colleagues in the state House who work hard on your behalf. They include Rep. McCoy (Nelson), Rep. Pollock (Marion), Rep. King (Washington), Rep. Reed (LaRue) and Rep. Tipton (Spencer).

Don’t hesitate to contact me at (502)-564-8100 (office), (270) 692-6945 (home), or email Jimmy.Higdon@LRC.ky.gov if you have any questions or concerns.


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