KY House updates on budgets and bills

Published 5:58 pm Thursday, February 29, 2024

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By Representative David Meade

As we reach the second half of this year’s 60-day session, I am encouraged by the progress we have made so far. We have tackled significant issues facing our state, but there is still much work to be done in the remaining days. For me, the halfway mark serves as a reminder of the limited time we have to enact meaningful legislation that will positively impact the lives of Kentuckians and an opportunity to share with constituents information about the measures that have already passed the House.

Executive Branch/State Budget: 

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HB 6 is the two-year $129.8 billion spending plan that includes record funding for K-12 public schools, and strategic investments in public safety, infrastructure, and health services. HB 6 also includes major investments in mental health and substance abuse recovery, and programs serving the state’s most vulnerable. 

Other significant investments are proposed in the Department of Juvenile Justice, which will receive $34 million to assist in the improvement and extension of their services and programs, the Cabinet for Economic Development and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. There are also increases to SEEK funding for the public education system that will bring the per pupil guarantee to $4,455 in 2026, full funding for school transportation, and many more intentional investments into our public education system.

In addition to the state budget, we are also preparing to act on the updated state road plan, which includes funding the expansion and four-laning of US Highway 27 from Stanford to Highway 34 in Garrard County.

One Time Investments in Targeted Areas: 

HB 1 appropriates funds from the state’s Budget Reserve Trust Fund Account for one-time payments and investments into the commonwealth. $1.84 billion dollars would be appropriate to pay down unfunded liabilities in Kentucky’s state retirement funds, infrastructure development, riverport asset preservation, grants to general aviation airports, economic development initiatives, rural community investment, and funding to Kentucky’s state police. The Kentucky Teacher’s Retirement System and State Police pension funds would be at 60% funding, the highest funding level in many years.

Making Kentucky Safer: 

HB 5 aims to make Kentucky a safer place to live and work. Called the Safer Kentucky Act, it includes more than 20 policy provisions such as a new “three strikes law” targeting persistent violent felony offenders. It also regulates bail funding organizations, creates a statute for carjacking, removes early release for criminals using guns in crimes, toughens the penalty for the murder of a first responder, hardens sentences for adults using juveniles as criminal accomplices, cracks down on those involved in drive by shootings, improves protocol for involuntary confinement of the mentally ill, increases penalties for attempted murder, and toughens sentencing for those who flee the police.

Veteran Suicide Prevention: 

HB 30 would train employees within the Kentucky Department of Veteran Affairs to better assist our veterans with connecting to mental health services tailored to their needs. Many nonprofit groups exist that work to prevent veteran suicide, and we want to ensure that we are maximizing the impact that these groups can have.

Protecting children from sexual abuse: 

HB 207 provides prosecutors and law enforcement an additional tool in prosecuting child sexual abuse cases. Currently, there is no legal restriction in the commonwealth for the possession or trafficking of child sex dolls. HB 207 would prohibit the possession, trafficking, importing, or otherwise advancement of a child sex doll. The measure would also make the digitization of a minor that portrays a sexual act a class D felony on the first offense. This measure would help keep our children safe, and hold predators accountable for their actions.

Addressing teacher misconduct: 

HB 275 seeks to prevent those with a history of abuse or misconduct from continuing to be employed by Kentucky schools. HB 275 would require school districts to thoroughly investigate allegations of sexual misconduct and inappropriate behavior towards a minor. If passed, the measure would prohibit school districts from signing nondisclosure agreements with staff that have been under investigation for these actions. Additionally, it would require school districts to conduct reference checks for new personnel and requires the former school districts to disclose if any cases against a teacher were substantiated.

Ensuring school personnel are treated fairly: 

HB 300 establishes due process rights for educators if they have a complaint filed at the Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB). HB 300 would help make sure that professional school personnel will be treated fairly, professionally, and in a timely manner. This will serve as an opportunity to treat our educators as the professionals they are.

As always, I can be reached anytime through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at 1-800-372-7181. You can also contact me via e-mail at and keep track through the Kentucky legislature’s website at