With Republicans controlling pretty much everything in this year’s General Assembly (since they have a “super-duper majority” as Rep. Joni Jenkins calls it), we give them much grief for some of the horrible bills they sponsor and pass. (See, for example, “Twelve crappy bills that need to be burned with fire and die.”)

So, it’s only fair that when the Repubs in Frankfort actually pass some good bills, we call those out as well.

Note that at this point of the session, very few bills have actually passed both chambers and made it to the governor’s desk. So we are including bills that have passed at least one chamber in our list. Let’s hope these make it all the way before we hit sine die.

I’ve included the bill number and a description. If it seemed to need more explanation than just the description, I’ve added that too.

Passed and signed

  • HR 41 / SR 67 — Resolutions in both chambers condemning anti-Semitism – These resolutions were introduced in both chambers, and passed by voice vote in both chambers on 2/24.

Passed in first chamber

  • HB 25 — Remove felon prohibition on KEES scholarships.
  • HB 84 — Exempt out-of-state disaster response workers from paying KY income tax – When workers from other states come to help with disaster relief, such as restoring electrical power, they wound up having to pay KY income tax on what they earned while in the state.
  • HB 126 — Raise felony threshold – Our state’s threshold for felony theft is $500, which is much lower than other states. Because of that, many people wind up with felony convictions that in other states would be misdemeanors. This raises the threshold to $1,000 (which is still lower than surrounding states).
  • HB 148 — Ban the death penalty for people with severe mental illnesses.
  • HB 210 — Leave policies for adoptive parents – This bill requires employers to provide the same family leave policies for parents of adopted children as they do for parents of biological children.
  • HB 574 — Election improvements – This bill keeps many of the temporary improvements from last year’s elections, including three days of early voting, an online portal to request an absentee ballot, and vote centers if a county wishes to use them. It does NOT include no-excuse absentee voting, but it is still a big improvement.
  • SB 4 — Bill limiting no-knock warrants – This is Senate President Robert Stivers’s bill on no-knock warrants. It is more limited in scope than HB 21 (Breonna’s Law).
  • SB 21 — Youth mental health treatment improvements – This bill permits voluntary transport to a hospital or psychiatric facility, and allows mental health counseling to any child who is age 16 or older and is an unaccompanied youth.
  • SB 66 — Background checks for workers at youth camps
  • SB 77 — Require greater minority representation on superintendent screening committee
  • SB 84 — Greater care for pregnant inmates – This bill would prohibit solitary confinement or restrictive housing for pregnant inmates for a period of time after giving birth. It also requires notice to the inmate of community-based programs. And, it adds various penalties for law enforcement officers who force sexual contact on prisoners.

Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments.


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Bruce Maples has been involved in politics and activism since 2004, when he became active in the Kerry Kentucky movement. He has been President, Vice-President, and Treasurer of the Metro Democratic Club, and has served on the Democratic Party Executive Committee in Louisville. He began blogging in 2004, and currently operates two personal blogs (BruceMaples.com and brucewriter.com). He founded Forward Kentucky in the wake of the state elections in 2015, and expanded it in the summer of 2016.
He has lived in Louisville since 1992 with his wife and two sons.


  1. I was surprised when I went looking at Bills passing one chamber that the House passed 33 bills unanimously. I didn’t dive into whether they were Republican or Bipartisan sponsored (almost no Primary Dem bills are making it to the floor with the exception of HB 294 & HB 305). We tend to think of everything being very partisan. That said, there are still a whole lot of really good Primary Dem sponsored bills (the entire KY Democrat Women’s Caucus Ky Maternal & Infant Health Project..19 of the bills still haven’t been assigned to committee) that deserve the professional respect of getting assigned to committee. These are such life affirming bills that would help KY families!

  2. How many really bad bills are still hanging out there for them to pass in the dark of night in a “sewer” type bill? For example, there is SB 83 that could potentially endanger healthcare for every person in KY. I think when it is all over more people will be hurt in some way by this legislative session than were helped by any of their “good” legislation.

    • Oh, no disagreement here. There are any number of bad bills still coming — plus all the “mule bills” still sitting and waiting to be turned into something ugly.

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