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Kentucky Association of Counties


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House budget proposal takes center stage for the third week of the 2024 legislative session

By Kayla Carter Smith, Policy Analyst
County-friendly bills make progress as the budget comes into focus

House Appropriations and Revenue (A&R) Committee Chair Jason Petrie filed a county-positive House executive branch (HB 6) and judicial branch (HB 264) budget proposals on Tuesday. The House transportation budget is still awaiting release. Chair Petrie also filed HB 1, a separate appropriation with $1.74 billion in one-time investments from the state’s Budget Reserve Trust Fund. HB 1 proposes $450 million ($175 million in FY2024 and $275 million in FY2025) for the Government Resources Accelerating Needed Transformation (GRANT) Program, also referred to as the HB 9 program, that passed during the 2023 legislative session. For analysis of the House budget bill and one-time investment appropriation bill, click here. 

Former House A&R Vice Chair, Brandon Reed, resigned Monday to join the newly-elected Commissioner of Agriculture’s (Jonathan Shell) administration resulting in a shuffle of vice chair seats in the House. Rep. Adam Bowling and Rep. Josh Bray were appointed co-vice chairs of the House A&R committee. Rep. Josh Bray was formerly the vice chair of the House Local Government committee but his move to A&R left his vice chair seat open. Rep. Ken Fleming will replace him as the House Local Government Vice Chair.  

HB 5, sponsored by Rep. Jared Bauman, passed the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday. The bill is referred to as the “Safer Kentucky Act” and there are many favorable parts of the bill. However, the legislation creates harsher penalties for violent crimes and spotlights new consequences for homeless encampments in particular, which could negatively impact multiple county offices. Rep. Bauman has pledged to continue working with us to address our concerns. The Commonwealth’s Attorneys and County Attorneys testified in support of the bill, which passed out of committee and awaits a floor vote.  

HB 53, sponsored by Rep. John Hodgson, received an information-only hearing in House Elections, Constitutional Amendments, and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee on Thursday. The bill would require that the Attorney General randomly select at least one ballot scanner and one race tabulated on that scanner for a hand-to-eye recount to replace the current process for a risk-limiting audit. The bill is supported by the Kentucky County Clerk’s Association; however they are still in discussions on how to fund the measure. Secretary of State Michael Adams also supports the bill.   

HB 137, sponsored by Rep. Steve Bratcher, passed the House unanimously Friday. The bill removes the residency requirement for assistant county attorneys. Hardin County Attorney Jenny Oldham testified that the available pool of attorneys is small in many counties where there are few practicing attorneys. This would allow county attorneys the option to hire assistants who reside outside of the county.  

SB 10, sponsored by Sen. Chris McDaniel, passed on the Senate floor this week 26-9. The bill would propose an amendment to the constitution to move elections for state constitutional officers, including the governor’s race, to even-numbered years beginning after the 2027 election. Sen. McDaniel testified in committee that moving these races to even-numbered years would save counties $15 million by removing the odd number year election cycle for county clerks.  

SB17, sponsored by Sen. Matthew Deneen, passed on the Senate floor this week unanimously. The bill would create efficiencies for families and coroners by issuing the medical certification after any medical tests results are conclusive, removing the cumbersome process of issuing two death certificates when a death is unknown or under investigation. It awaits a House committee hearing. 

Follow KACo on Facebook and X (Twitter) for the latest updates. Email any questions or comments to Shellie Hampton ( or Gracie Kelly ( 

Mark your calendars for the upcoming County Officials Legislative Reception, which will be held at KACo headquarters in Frankfort on Wednesday, Feb. 21 from 4:30 – 7 EST. You can register for that event here. 


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