Sen. Higdon: Senate is now reviewing state budget proposals, passing other bills

14th District State Senator

Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024 — The 2024 Legislative Session in Frankfort is nearing the one-third mark of the 60-day budget session, as Friday marked the 18th day. The committee process is picking up steam; with that, more bill proposals are proceeding through the legislative process.


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

This week I introduced Senate Bill (SB) 4, a measure aiming to stabilize the pension system of our teachers. In short, the bill creates a means by which the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System can track and report sick leave to determine the state’s financial obligation. Since 2016, the General Assembly has put over $10.6 billion into TRS, reflecting record funding well above the statutorily required amount. Nevertheless, the system’s unfunded liability has increased and will require even more significant financing in the future. We are investing $1.2 billion annually, but are projected to need to provide $2 billion annually by 2030.

On Tuesday, the Senate adopted my Senate Resolution 90, which adjourned the Senate in honor and memory of the late Brother Joe Adams, who served his nation in Vietnam and spent around 28 years ministering to members of the Senate and House of Representatives. He was well-known in Nelson County and beyond. He loved Jesus, his state and his nation. The resolution was adopted on the same day of his burial. Brother Joe passed away on January 17. He is deeply missed but lived an extraordinary life and consistently demonstrated love. The adoption of the resolution is a shared expression of sympathy for Brother Joe’s family and friends.

The Senate, led by our budget chair Sen. Chris McDaniel, has begun poring through the two budget proposals submitted by the House, 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.

Kentucky Right to Life sponsored a pro-life rally at our state Capitol this week. It was standing room only in the Capitol Rotunda as hundreds gathered to celebrate the thousands of lives saved since Roe v. Wade was overturned in July 2022. I’m a proud member of the pro-life caucus, and it was a privilege to celebrate those who believe in the sanctity of life and want to do all they can to protect it. Much of the discussion called on those who value life to step up in support of mothers and babies who are in difficult situations.

Thank you for your continued engagement in the 2024 Regular Session. It is a privilege to represent you in Frankfort. If you have any questions or comments about these or any other public policy issues, please call my office toll-free at 502-564-8100 or the legislative message line at 1-800-372-7181. You can also reach me at 270-692-6945 (home) or email Jimmy.Higdon@LRC.ky.gov.


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