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Kentucky Association of Counties


County Champion


Bills of county interest see movement this week

By Kayla Carter Smith, Policy Analyst
Several county-related bills were advanced this week; 13 legislative working days remain


HB 12, sponsored by House Speaker Pro Tempore David Meade, was passed out of committee and on the House floor. It now heads to the Senate.

The bill would prohibit jail construction, remodeling or renovation without express approval of the General Assembly, with some exceptions. Exceptions include a court order; if a jail is out of compliance with federal or state standards; or in the case of a catastrophic event. The bill’s provisions would expire Dec. 31, 2029.

In committee, Rep. Meade said counties struggle to pay for jails, and ask the legislature for assistance. If the state is going to be more involved financially, the General Assembly will have to do its due diligence. He said while there are ongoing discussions on what should be the next steps to tackle this complex issue, the House feels this is a good step and discussions will continue in the interim.  

Also in the committee discussion, Rep. Josh Bray -- who co-chaired last summer’s Jails and Corrections Task Force -- mentioned the need to balance providing help to counties with the need for more inmate programming and adequate facilities.

Building costs and staffing challenges were raised by Rep. Michael Meredith.

SB 283 sponsored by Sen. Jimmy Higdon, would establish a framework for the Department of Corrections to contract with fiscal courts and regional jails to provide correctional services for state inmates, not to exceed 5% over the actual cost. Sen. Higdon advocated for the need to help jails that offer programs and meet standards.

The bill passed out of the Senate Friday and heads to the House.


HB 265 is the Transportation Cabinet budget and includes increased funding for county bridges and county priority projects. For a full analysis of the bill, click here.  

HB 266 is the biennial highway construction plan containing projects for the first two years of the Six-Year Road Plan.

HJR 91 is the list of projects for the last four years of the Six-Year Road Plan.

HJR 92 contains a one-year listing of projects to be funded through the County Priority Projects Program in FY25. The House transportation budget provides $20 million a year for the program, which will fund qualified discretionary projects ranked an 8, 9, or 10. The Transportation Cabinet will be required to submit a list of qualified projects by Nov. 1 of each year to the legislature. Rep. Upchurch testified in the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee that HJR 92 provides funding to all qualified projects ranked 10 and most of the projects ranked 9.

HB 265, HB 266, HJR 91 and HJR 92 passed the House Tuesday and await Senate action. All are likely headed for a conference committee, where bills with differences between the two chambers' versions are sent for final negotiation.

Other noteworthy legislation for counties

HB 137 sponsored by Rep. Steve Bratcher passed out of the House Friday and heads to the Senate. If passed, it would repeal current statutory residency requirements for assistant county attorneys which require them to live either in the county, within 30 miles of the county line or in a contiguous county.

HB 13 sponsored by Rep. Adam Bowling extends the popular Kentucky Product Development Initiative (PDI). The bill increases reporting by the Cabinet for Economic Development and sets each county’s limit up to $2 million, with regional projects able to pool their individual county allocations. The bill also addresses the local match requirements to help smaller counties that did not have enough funding to meet the match requirements.

The bill passed out of the House Friday and heads to the Senate.

SB 162 sponsored by Sen. Robby Mills would allow law enforcement agencies to access vehicle accident reports and contract with third parties to provide reports to other eligible entities for the purpose of solving stolen vehicle crimes. The bill awaits final action in the House.

Veto Override

HB 18, sponsored by Rep. Ryan Dotson, which prohibits local governments from requiring landlords to lease or rent to tenants who use federal housing assistance as part of their rent or lease payment, survived a gubernatorial veto this week after the legislature voted to override the governor’s attempt to stop the measure. 

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