FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Kentucky lawmakers rushed to pass as much legislation as possible before Governor Andy Beshear's veto period began Thursday. That effort resulted in more than 100 bills being sent to the governor's desk in two days.
Why the hurry? It was an effort to veto-proof their bills. The legislature's GOP supermajorities can override any vetoes issued by the governor as long as the bills were passed before midnight on Wednesday.
So, what did they pass? Here's a look at the six biggest bills that are on their way to becoming law:
HOUSE BILL ONE
This is Kentucky's executive branch budget. It funds everything from full-day Kindergarten to raises for state employees. The raises are significant too. All state workers are approved for an 8% raise in the next fiscal year. They're also expected to receive another raise of up to 12% in the following fiscal year. However, the budget does not mandate or allocate raises for public school teachers.
HOUSE BILL EIGHT
This bill is a tax reform measure. It will lower the individual income tax rate from 5% to 4%. It also creates a system of further decreasing the tax rate until it is eliminated. It also adds sales tax to additional services in Kentucky.
HOUSE BILL SEVEN
This bill makes changes to Kentucky's public assistance benefits system. It requires recipients of benefits like food stamps and Medicaid to provide additional proof of need.
HOUSE BILL 564
This bill further addresses election security and further reforms Kentucky's election process. It prohibits the state's voting machines to be hooked up to the internet, which is already standard practice in Kentucky. It also extends the hours of in-person early voting, allows six extra days of in-person absentee voting, and makes it a more serious crime to intimidate an election official.
HOUSE BILL NINE
This bill creates a funding stream for charter schools in Kentucky. In 2017, lawmakers legalized charter schools but did not provide a way to fund them. This bill addresses that issue. It will allow charter schools to access state and local tax dollars, just like traditional public schools.
HOUSE BILL THREE
This bill is an omnibus anti-abortion measure. It will place sweeping new restrictions on abortion access in Kentucky. It places restrictions on medication abortion and youth access. It also bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, just like the Mississippi law being reviewed by the United States Supreme Court.