As of January 6, 2023 there have been 242 bills filed in the KY House and Senate. Which bills are a priority and reflect the values of the Republican supermajority? Which bills work toward improving the lives of all Kentuckians and which bills do not?
It is interesting to note the stark contrast between the Democrat-sponsored bills and the bills sponsored by Republicans. All of the “bad bills” listed below are sponsored by Republicans. Many of these bills are filed as “performative politics” to rile the base.
Bills listed below are grouped by general topic (but not cross referenced as they are in the Index Headings found on the LRC website). An important note: priority bills in each chamber usually are bill numbers 1-10. The House has not filed bills 3 through 9. The Senate has not filed bills 1 through 8. I will leave it to your imagination to figure out what the Republican supermajority will consider priority bills. Expect a flurry of action beginning Feb 7th.
The following is not an exhaustive list but includes some of the most controversial bills. A subsequent article will outline some of the Good Bills.
HR 2 (Speaker David Osborne, R) – This resolution changed the rules in the House so the Republican supermajority can limit debate/comment time and waive the required 2nd and 3rd readings of bills if approved by the majority. It will be interesting to see how many times this rule change is used.
HB 1 (B. Reed, R) – The gradual reduction in income tax has been discussed a lot in the media, and has been called out by Ky Policy for the bill’s projected decimation of the future state budgets and the impact on services for Kentuckians. It has already passed the House and been sent to the Senate, where it will move quickly once the legislature returns Feb 7.
SB 39 (D. Givens, R) – Once HB1 passes, other pieces of taxing legislation will need to be adjusted. TIFs (tax increment financing) will be impacted and need to be adjusted, which is what this bill does. While this isn’t necessarily a bad bill, it’s the result of a bad bill. It will likely move forward.
HB 44 (K. Fleming-R) – Now that the new sales taxes are in place, many special interests are pushing back about their services being newly taxed. One such group is marketing services, who want to be exempted from the sales and usage tax. More groups will push back about being newly taxed. Another result of a bad bill (22GA HB 8). Unsure if this bill will move forward.
SB 50 (D. Thayer, R) – This bill has an identical partner bill in HB 50 (M. Lockett). Both bills want to make more races partisan in order to expand the Republican takeover of Kentucky politics, school boards, and other offices (part of the national plan). This is the second set of matching bills; the first set, SB 10 and HB 10, were rushed through their respective chambers and the House conceded to let SB 10 be the final bill so it could be moved more quickly. It will be interesting to see if the same thing happens with this pair. SB 50 has been assigned to the Senate State & Local Government Committee. HB 50 has not been assigned. This is one to watch.
SB 16 (A. Southworth, R) – Another election security bill to go along with her statewide election denier campaign. The Republican leadership/other members shut her down during last year’s General Assembly and would not allow her to “ask the gentleman a question” during a Senate floor debate. That will probably be the same this year. Unlikely to move forward.
SB 23 (A. Southworth, R) – Ditto SB16. This one has to do with election audits. It is unlikely to move forward.
HB 30 (B. Wesley, R) – Another “bathroom bill,” like so many sweeping the U.S. in the ongoing culture war being waged against trans kids. Students can only use bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms for their “biological” sex. Schools can provide an alternative, if available, for kids who do not identify with the assigned biological sex. Civil action/damages can be sought if the school does not comply and a student/family can bring a complaint that they have suffered an invasion of their privacy. It has not been assigned to a committee.
HB 120 (S. Maddox, R) – Prohibits gender transition/gender affirming care to individuals under 18. Legal action may be sought against practitioners, including punitive damages. Not assigned to committee.
HB 118 (S. Maddox, R) – Lowers the age requirement for being able to carry a concealed deadly weapon from 21 to 18. Not assigned to a committee. She filed this same bill in the 22GA and it was never assigned to a committee.
HB 138 (S. Maddox, R) – Expands where concealed deadly weapons can be carried, including elementary and secondary schools, airports (except in areas controlled by TSA), and local government buildings. Not assigned to a committee. She filed a similar bill in 22GA and it was never assigned to a committee.
SB 31 (A. Southworth, R) – Similar to Maddox’s HB 138, expanding locations where concealed carry is allowed. This bill was introduced on 1/3/23 and has not been assigned to a committee. She filed a similar bill in 22GA and, while it was assigned to a committee, it never was heard.
HB 31, HB 57, HB 58, HB 92, HB 101, HB 110, HB 137, HB 74 – All of these bills have to do with anti-vaccination, anti-immunization, what vaccinations schools cannot require, conscientious objection to receiving or providing medical care, making water fluoridation programs optional, etc. None have been assigned to a committee and it will be interesting to see if any move forward.
In reviewing the 242 bills filed so far, there really are more good bills than bad bills. BUT, the bad bills can really do some damage to many Kentuckians, and are worth monitoring and trying to stop or minimize the harm. Many of these bills will not move forward, and we have heard that the Republican leadership is trying to tamp down the further right wing of their caucus. The biggest concern will be the lower numbered bills filed in both chambers. The week of February 7th will reveal a lot.
And remember, if you want to make your voice heard on any bill, you can contact your legislators directly through the LRC site, or call the LRC Comment Line at (800) 372-7181.