Legislative Update: Lawmakers return to Frankfort for the 2024 Interim session

14th District State Senator

Saturday, June 8, 2024 — Lawmakers returned to Frankfort this week for the start of the 2024 Interim. As we kick off the interim period, I am excited to share updates on our recent legislative activities. Our work during this interim is crucial as we review past legislation, address ongoing issues, and prepare for the 2025 Legislative Session.



In the recent meeting of the Interim Joint Committee (IJC) on Transportation, which I co-chair, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) provided a comprehensive update on the Kentucky Automated Vehicle Information System (KAVIS). This modernization project is the largest in Kentucky’s history, migrating over 250 million records and updating 45 years of code. KAVIS impacts every vehicle owner in the state, ensuring that all related vehicle and tax legislation is reviewed and incorporated.

The transition from the legacy AVIS system has not been without challenges, including processing delays and unforeseen bugs. However, the KYTC has made significant progress and is implementing system improvements to address these issues. Efforts are ongoing to enhance bulk transactions, update legislative requirements, and improve overall system speed and efficiency. The feedback from county clerks has been invaluable, and the KYTC remains committed to refining KAVIS to serve the public better.

The Budget Review Subcommittee on Transportation also met, and we reviewed the County Priority Projects Program and the County/City Bridge Program. Applications for the County Priority Projects Program open from July 1 to October 15, providing $20 million annually for local road projects.

Additionally, the Contingency Account continues to offer $5 million each year for emergency road needs. The new County/City Bridge Program, with $25 million in annual funding, will support local bridge rehabilitation and replacement, with applications available by July 1. For forms and details, visit the KYTC Forms Library.

NATURAL RESOURCES & ENGERGY: Coal is still Kentucky’s most vital energy source

The Public Service Commission testified during the week’s IJC on Natural Resources and Energy, reporting Kentucky’s ongoing reliance on coal for energy production. Coal remains the dominating primary source, powering nearly two-thirds of the state’s electricity, natural gas contributes around 19 percent to the energy mix, while the growth in solar power is and is expected to remain minimal.

AGRICULTURE: Strategic roadmap and cannabis research discussed

During Thursday’s IJC on Agriculture, discussions focused on regulatory frameworks, potential revenue streams, and the need for comprehensive research on cannabis’s impacts. Key findings include a significant market opportunity, the necessity for robust legal and regulatory structures, and strategies to integrate cannabis into existing agricultural practices. Talks emphasized the importance of aligning with other states’ best practices and preparing for a legal cannabis market to support the state’s economic and agricultural growth.

JUDICIARY: Wrongful Conviction Compensation

The IJC on Judiciary discussed a bill proposal to compensate individuals wrongfully convicted in Kentucky. This proposes monetary compensation of up to $50,000 annually for wrongful imprisonment, job training, education assistance, and mental health services to help exonerees rebuild their lives. Additionally, it covers reasonable legal fees, capped at $25,000, but only for those who prove their innocence. Personal testimonies from exonerees highlighted the impacts of wrongful convictions. Guests emphasized the need for this reform. The bill, which aims to align Kentucky’s standards with those of other states, is under review, with further refinements expected.

EDUCATION: Kentucky State University Update

During the IJC on Education meeting, we received a significant update on Kentucky State University (KSU). As some may know, KSU has faced significant financial challenges, prompting a thorough review by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. The Kentucky General Assembly has responded by providing critical financial support, resulting in the most significant general fund in the school’s history. In the most recent budget, in lieu of providing KSU with funding for a specific campus infrastructure project, we instead authorized substantial asset preservation funds to help the university prioritize upgrades to dorm rooms and other facilities, which are currently in poor condition and not reflective of what KSU deserves to be. Improvements to essential infrastructure will help KSU attract more students and better serve long-term goals.

KSU’s Board of Regents, represented by Tammi Dukes, highlighted the nearly 400 percent increase in asset preservation funds and the $5 million allocated for the new health sciences education building. These investments are crucial as the university works towards balancing its budget, improving internal controls, and growing its enrollment. Efforts include hiring five admissions specialists to increase outreach across the state, including Northern Kentucky and other regions. Additionally, KSU celebrated a record-breaking graduating class and a notable increase in graduation rates.


I am honored to have been appointed to the newly established Kentucky Housing Task Force by Senate President Robert Stivers. This task force will meet monthly throughout the 2024 Interim to address housing challenges across the state. Our goals include analyzing housing costs, examining state and local housing policies, and evaluating land use practices. We aim to develop comprehensive recommendations to improve housing affordability and accessibility for all Kentuckians.


I was happy to join Interim Education Commissioner Robin Kinney at Glasscock Elementary for the Summer Boost Program. This initiative helps students improve their reading and math skills over the summer, preventing learning loss. I enjoyed reading with the kids and seeing the positive impact of our educational policies. We’ve made significant strides with the Read to Succeed Act (SB 9) for early literacy, and this session’s HB 162 enhances math support for K-3 students. Programs like Summer Boost build on these efforts, ensuring our students stay on track and succeed.


Thursday was the 80th anniversary of D-Day when our heroes stormed the beaches and protected the world from tyranny. These members of our greatest generation are now less than 70,000, with an average of 30 passing away daily. With the continued loss of WWII veterans, the 80th anniversary might be the last milestone anniversary we can spend with living heroes. If you know one of these great heroes, please express your love and appreciation for their sacrifices. The world will never again have men as great as them.


As we move through the 2024 Interim, I encourage all constituents to stay informed and engaged. The interim period allows lawmakers to study issues and prepare for the next legislative session. You can view the full interim calendar and access committee meeting materials on the Legislative Research Commission’s (LRC) website. Kentucky Educational Television (KET) and the LRC also provide livestreams of the meetings for public viewing. Find those at KET.org/legislature and via the LRC YouTube Channel

The General Assembly’s Message Line and LRC’s Public Information Office are available to assist those who wish to share feedback or ask questions. You can leave a message for lawmakers by calling 1-800-372-7181. The number for the meeting information line is 1-800-633-9650.

Thank you for your continued support and engagement. Don’t hesitate to reach out to my office.


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