Where Things Stand in the Legislative Session

With 41 days down in the 60-day session lawmakers have sent a handful of bills to the governor and have more than a thousand bills and resolutions filed between the two chambers.

The last day for new bill filings passed last week with lawmakers filing 898 bills and resolutions in the House of Representatives this session and 555 in the Senate.

Eleven bills have become law since the beginning of the 2022 legislative session, but several major bills, including the budget, wait for approval in the General Assembly.

Two bills soon making their way to the governor include House Bill 6, which would allow lawmakers to duplicate efforts from Gov. Andy Beshear, D-Kentucky, to find relief for rising vehicle taxes as the value of used cars skyrocket. House Bill 4, a much-debated bill that would change the length of unemployment benefits and job search requirements for recipients is nearly set to go to Beshear despite protests from some in the General Assembly. It would also require claimants to engage in at least five work search activities each week in order to remain eligible.

“The legislation, which passed off the Senate floor on Thursday, effectively changes the maximum duration of benefits from a flat 26 weeks to between 12 and 29 weeks based on economic conditions and a claimant’s personal decision to seek job training,” according to a news update from the Legislative Research Commission’s Mike Wynn.

Those supporting the legislation say it is needed to combat workforce shortages. But critics argue that the measure will strip working Kentuckians of crucial support during times of economic hardship. The bill is before the state Senate for their concurrence. If they approve it will head to Gov. Beshear.

Here are a few more bills moving between the chambers dealing with politics as detailed by the LRC:

Gubernatorial pardons: Senate Bill 149 proposes changes to two sections of the state constitution, which would prohibit the governor’s ability to grant pardons or reduce sentences around election time. The legislation received approval on the Senate floor Thursday.

Election security: Senate Bill 216 seeks to strengthen the security of elections in Kentucky through about a half dozen changes to state law. That includes backing up voting machines with ballots and preventing them from being connected to the internet. The Senate State and Local Government Committee approved the bill on Thursday.

Tax reform: House Bill 8 seeks to expand the state tax base and incrementally lower the state’s 5% income tax over a number of years until it is eliminated. Most of the reductions can only take effect if the state meets revenue targets from expanding the base. It passed off the House floor on Friday.