Legislative update: Sen. Higdon reviews Week 10 of the 2024 Legislative session

14 District State Senator

Friday, March 8, 2024 — The Kentucky General Assembly has wrapped up the 10th legislative week of the 2024 Regular Session. The pace quickened this week with several measures seeking Senate approval.


I collaborated closely with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet throughout the session and in week 10 we passed Senate Bill (SB) 199. The bill addresses various issues relevant to the cabinet, including fixes to the problematic KAVIS system rollout, streamlining commercial driver’s licensing, authorizing the Department of Revenue to use a nationally accepted used car valuation, and replacing the no longer used National Automobile Dealers Association guide, and finally, requiring an annual report on identity document issuance for regional offices, submitted to the Interim Joint Committee (IJC) on Transportation.

I enjoy getting to work with Secretary Jim Gray and the cabinet, along with my colleagues on the Senate Transportation Committee and IJC on Transportation. As Senate chair of these committees, I have the great honor and responsibility for the Senate’s crafting of the biennial road plan, which is critical to keeping our roads, bridges, and highway infrastructure. We are decades behind on the resurfacing of roads, but we will continue to make every effort to catch up on needed improvements.

SB 2 strengthens Kentucky’s school safety initiatives by creating the Kentucky Guardians Program, which allows veterans and retired law enforcement officials to enhance student defense. Guardians collaborate with school officers, wearing a unique uniform and carrying concealed weapons. Local boards decide their hiring, fostering cooperation with law enforcement. The initiative forms a comprehensive team of counselors, psychologists, and mental health providers, addressing trauma, mental health, and suicide awareness.

SB 8 reforms the Kentucky Board of Education selection process, moving from gubernatorial appointments to voter elections across seven districts. The change promotes board balance, prevents unilateral political appointments, and promotes a more representative approach.

SB 27 addresses drug manufacturers’ restrictions in the 340B program, prohibiting discriminatory practices and empowering the attorney general to investigate violations. The bill ensures fair access to discounted drugs for health care providers.

SB 58 simplifies the tax protest process, allowing any registered voter to file without forming a committee or including a Social Security number. Each petition sheet can now include names from multiple voting precincts.

SB 110 supports mothers and babies by allowing child support actions from conception. Within the first year, it may be retroactive nine months after birth.

SB 111 requires therapy coverage for stuttering in Medicaid and private health plans, prohibits limits, and allows telehealth services.

SB 147 establishes state-wide standards for adult-oriented businesses, ensures child safety, and prohibits explicit performances on government properties.

SB 153 exempts individuals 70 or older from jury service and simplifies the qualification process if they choose to.

SB 164 streamlines professional licensing, recognizes equivalencies for trade jobs and increases workforce participation.

SB 167 requires cursive writing in elementary schools from 2025-26, aiming to enhance communication and motor skills.

SB 194 enables insurers to communicate electronically with individuals covered under employer-sponsored group health insurance. Employers can consent to electronic delivery, but individuals must have the option to opt-out annually. The provisions apply to contracts entered or renewed on or after the act’s effective date.

SB 202 enhances rehabilitation, allowing violence reduction program participation as parole or probation conditions.

SB 215 prevents the enforcement of California-like air emissions standards for electric vehicles in Kentucky.

SB 240 removes barriers for foster families in Kentucky by allowing them to qualify for child care benefits while working remotely. This addresses the current requirement that they work outside the home for at least 20 hours a week.

SB 244 changes ballot order determination to a draw, ensuring fairness for all candidates.

SB 249 requires sex offenders to display full names on social media, establishing penalties for non-compliance.

SB 255 modernizes social worker services with telehealth standards, ensuring client privacy and communication.

SB 265 modifies the Option 7 alternative teacher certification, removing GRE or CASE requirements and granting provisional certification.

SB 349 forms the Energy Planning and Inventory Commission, which would develop a comprehensive strategy to meet Kentucky’s growing energy demands.

Senate Joint Resolution 149 directs the Energy and Environment Cabinet to guide entities on best practices for PFAS discharges into Kentucky’s water supply.

This week marked the session’s inaugural veto with House Bill (HB) 18. Both House and Senate majorities swiftly united to override the veto, emphasizing their commitment to safeguard property owner rights. Now, with provisions from Senate Bill 25 and an emergency clause, HB 18 has become law.

In closing and as a reminder, the Mama Jo Nuckols 22nd Annual Prayer Breakfast will occur at 8 a.m. EST this Saturday, March 16, at Lebanon Methodist Church, 236 N. Spalding Ave., Lebanon, KY. The prayer service will begin at 9 a.m. Brother Bob Russell will be a guest speaker. Miss Josephine started the prayer breakfast in January 2003 to pray for all elected officials, our community, state, and country. I hope you can attend this years’ service.

To help us have a head count on how many will be attending, please visit the following link and provide your name using the form. If you do not have an easy way to use the online form, please call or text Dustin Isaacs at 502-682-2591 and leave your name.

Find more on these bills online at Legislature.ky.gov and visit KYSenateRepublicans.com for news releases from the Senate Majority Caucus.

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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