Week 2 of the 2024 Legislative Session

The second week of the 2024 Legislative Session concluded on Friday, and week three will begin on Tuesday following the observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

I want to start by informing you about our kysenaterepublicans.com website, where constituents can find additional access and insight into the Senate Majority Caucus. We have information on committee meetings and floor action and include important resources. This website showcases each member more personally so Kentuckians can get to know their legislators. You can visit the page to find all the press releases from our office.

As my previous legislative update outlined, the state income tax rate dropped another half percent on January 1. You should notice an increase in your take-home pay in your next paycheck. The state income tax rate is now four percent, down from six percent just a few years ago. I remain committed to the further responsible reduction of the state income tax, made possible by 2022 legislation establishing a measured framework to achieve that goal while ensuring we maintain needed state revenue.

It's no surprise that I am a big advocate of cutting taxes. The Republican supermajorities have done a great job transitioning Kentucky to a tax system based on consumption rather than penalizing production. Here in Kentucky, we don't tax groceries or medicine. That's why I was happy to sign on in support of one of my colleagues across the aisle, Democratic Sen. Cassie Chambers Armstrong of Louisville. Her measure would remove the sales tax on diapers. As a fiscally conservative and pro-life member of the Kentucky General Assembly, I feel like the bill is valid. When a member of the other party has a good idea, I'm happy to support it. I want to commend Sen. Armstrong for doing well in this effort. She represents her district well and has proven to be a great addition to the Senate.

The first bill to pass from the Senate chamber and move to the House was Senate Bill 5, a measure we moved swiftly as it was designated as priority legislation. The measure removes the requirement that resident owners of farmlands must own five or more acres of land to be exempt from sport hunting and sport fishing license requirements when hunting or fishing on their property. The measure rectifies the concerns of sportsmen and Kentucky landowners by correcting the statutory language imposing the requirement from the 2023 Regular Session.

We moved a Senate priority bill forward in week two of the session. Sen. Chris McDaniel, my friend and fellow senator representing a portion of Kenton County, filed the bill. It would move the election of our state constitutional officers (governor, attorney general, secretary of state, etc.) to even-numbered years where those races would appear on the ballot with federal elections such as the presidential race. The bill would propose an amendment to the state constitution for voters to ultimately decide. I am a believer in the merits of this effort.

Voter turnout is significantly higher in presidential election years. Oddly enough, we often hear from those who oppose this measure how important it is to participate in our democratic process. What better way to increase voter participation than by including constitutional officer elections on the ballot in years when people are paying the most attention? Aside from the obvious desire of voters to have a break from politicians appearing on their television and computer screens and campaign signs populating their roadways, the measure would save our state $2 million each year an election doesn't take place. It saves local governments approximately $15 million yearly without an election.

I'm excited about this session, perhaps even more so because it is my last, but I remain committed to my responsibility to represent you. Find the status of legislation by calling 866-840-2835, legislative meeting information at 800-633-9650, or leaving a message for lawmakers at 800-372-7181. You can watch and follow legislative activity at KET/org/legislature and Legislature.ky.gov.