2022 Legislative Analysis Report
Analysis of bills by subject
- Water & Sewer
- Tax Policy
- County Clerks
- County Audit Costs
- Fiscal Courts
- County Attorneys
- County Attorney Funds
- Judicial Branch
- Commonwealth’s Attorneys
- West KY Tornado Relief
- Economic Development
- Area Development Districts
- Additional Bills Affecting Counties
- The Continued Fight: Bills that did not cross the finish line
Unless otherwise noted, the effective date for each bill is July 14, 2022.
Jail Fees Charged to Prisoners
HB 590 (Rep. Meredith) reinstates the ability of counties to assess a per diem amount to inmates for their housing while in the county jail.
Summary: A Supreme Court decision last fall stopped the imposition and collection of the fee, costing counties valuable revenue for operations. This bill requires the fee to be paid out of the prisoner’s initial canteen account deposit and up to 50 percent of any subsequent deposit shall be used to pay the inmate’s per diem. If the prisoner is not convicted, they owe nothing more and will be reimbursed for any expenses already paid.
HB 310 (Rep. Massey) decreases the time inmates spend incarcerated in the county jail post-conviction.
Summary: This bill allows defendants who spent time in pre-trial home incarceration to receive credit for time served, including those that did not participate in a global positioning monitoring system program.
Budget Impact: Jails
- $4 increase in the per diem reimbursement rate for housing state inmates in the county jail, from the current $31.34 per day to $35.34.
- $15 million in FY23 for jail video arraignment equipment grants through the Department for Local Government (DLG).
Transportation Improvement Districts
HB 274 (Rep. Santoro) allows a county, certain cities, or a group of up to three contiguous counties to form a transportation improvement district (TID) for constructing, maintaining and improving transportation-related projects.
Summary: TIDs will be considered special purpose government entities and have the power to issue revenue bonds to pay for the costs of projects. The bill requires TIDs to present improvement projects to the establishing legislative body, which must approve projects prior to the TID being able to proceed.
Two-Year Road Plan
HB 242 (Rep. Petrie) is the two-year road plan.
Summary: The biennial highway construction plan lists each project that was authorized by the General Assembly by county.
Budget Impact: County Road Aid and Rural Secondary Roads
- $140.8 million in FY23 and $137.8 million in FY24 for County Road Aid.
- $170.9 million in FY23 and $167.2 million in FY24 for the Rural Secondary Program.
Budget Impact: Airports
- $11.4 million in FY23 to provide $200,000 to each general aviation airport.
Budget Impact: Mega Projects
- $250 million from the general fund in FY23 to match federal funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) exclusively for the Brent Spence Bridge Project in northern Kentucky, the Mountain Parkway Widening Project in eastern Kentucky, or the I-69 Ohio River Crossing Project in Henderson County.
Budget Impact: EV Charging Stations
- $17.3 million from the general fund in FY23 to match $69.4 million in federal funds from the IIJA for the Electric Vehicle Charging Program. Mandates the Transportation Cabinet to submit an Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Development Plan to the Interim Joint Committee on Transportation on or before June 30, 2022. A federal condition of receiving the funds requires the state to submit the plan to the federal Joint Office of Energy and Transportation by August 1, 2022.
HB 315 (Rep. Reed) establishes an Office of Broadband Development under the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority.
Summary: The office will be the central broadband planning and coordinating entity for the state and will administer the Broadband Deployment Fund and newly established Rural Infrastructure Improvement Fund.
- Improves the Broadband Deployment Fund including increasing the eligible reimbursement rate for less dense areas and creating a required timeline for applicants to receive an application response.
- Establishes a Rural Infrastructure Improvement Fund, funded with $20 million of American Rescue Plan Act dollars, to expedite and facilitate the deployment of broadband service in unserved areas by reimbursing a portion of eligible pole replacement costs incurred by eligible applicants.
- Simplifies the process for electric cooperatives to provide broadband service by no longer requiring a certificate of public convenience and necessity to provide broadband.
Effective date: April 14, 2022 (emergency)
Budget Impact: Broadband
- $1.1 million in FY23 and FY24 to establish an Office for Broadband Development under the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority.
Water & Sewer
Budget Impact: Water and Sewer
- $250 million in FY23 from the state’s portion of the American Rescue Plan Act for a Drinking Water and Wastewater Grant program, which will be allocated to each county based on population.
- $10 million in FY23 from the general fund to establish the Water Management Assistance Fund to provide assistance for capital and non-capital expenses of governmental entities that provide drinking water and wastewater services to the public.
- $35 million in FY23 from the state’s portion of ARPA for regional water supply projects related to the Ford Battery Park in Hardin County, to be distributed to the county fiscal courts: $5 million to Bullitt County, $10 million to Hardin County, $10 million to Meade County and $10 million to Nelson County.
State Tax Reform
HB 8 (Rep. Petrie) is the Republican majority’s plan for the next phase in state tax reform.
Summary: The bill seeks to move Kentucky away from a substantial reliance on the income tax over time and expand the sales tax to additional services. The bill also addresses a variety of other tax policy issues including peer-to-peer car sharing, transient room tax, electric vehicles and prefabricated homes.
Income Tax: Sets reduction conditions for the income tax rate to decrease in 0.5 percent increments. The first decrease from 5 percent to 4.5 percent could occur on January 1, 2023, if the Department of Revenue determines the conditions were met as applied to FY21 and FY22. The reduction conditions will be assessed each year to determine if further reductions will occur.
Sales Tax: Expands the sales and use tax to almost 40 additional services not currently taxable. The bill does not expand the sales tax to food, prescriptions or other essential goods and services. Effective date: January 1, 2023
Motor Vehicle Rental License Fee: Expands the motor vehicle rental license fee currently authorized in counties containing a city of the first, second, or third class to rentals of U-Drive-It, peer- to-peer car-sharing programs and transportation network services (Uber and Lyft). Effective date: January 1, 2023
Transient Room Tax: Clarifies statutory language for the state and local transient room tax and ensures that rentals through companies such as Airbnb and Vrbo are included in the tax. This may increase revenue for smaller counties that do not currently collect the transient room tax from rentals using these services. Effective date: January 1, 2023
Prefabricated Homes: Creates a new local property tax exclusion on prefabricated homes held for sale in a manufacturer's or retailer's inventory. Prefabricated homes are defined as manufactured homes, mobile homes, or modular homes. Effective date: January 1, 2023
Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Stations: Creates a new excise tax on EV charging stations at a rate of 3 cents per kilowatt-hour, which will be adjusted annually based on inflation. The tax will be added to the selling price charged by EV power dealers and will require free charging stations, except those installed prior to July 1, 2022, to still pay the tax. Revenue collected from this tax will be deposited into the state’s road fund. Effective date: January 1, 2024
Electric Vehicle (EV) Fee: Creates new EV ownership fees to be collected by the county clerk at initial vehicle registration and renewal annually: $120 on electric vehicles and $60 on hybrid vehicles and electric motorcycles. The EV fees will also be adjusted annually based on inflation. Revenue collected from the fees will be deposited 50 percent into the state’s road fund and 50 percent into the state's general fund. Effective date: January 1, 2024
SB 111 (Sen. Girdler) corrects tax increment financing (TIF) language passed during the 2021 session that required the engagement of an independent outside consultant or financial advisor to establish a TIF development area.
Summary: This bill makes it optional to hire a consultant and requires the developer to pay for the consultant, unless the county agrees to pay.
Effective date: March 25, 2022 (emergency)
Historical Horse Racing Tax
HB 607 (Rep. Koenig) makes changes to taxes on pari-mutuel wagering (horse racing).
Summary: The bill will allow counties to levy the occupational license tax on racetrack extensions. This does not apply to properties used for training horses or facilities where live horse races are run for stakes, purses, or prizes under the jurisdiction of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.
County Clerk E-Recording
SB 135 (Sen. Howell) will accelerate the online availability of recorded instruments such as titles, deeds and mortgages.
Summary: The bill designates 90 percent of state funds held for the local records grant program to be set aside and distributed as grants for county clerks. The $10 storage fee collected by county clerks shall be held to provide funding for the permanent storage of recorded instruments. It also allows for county clerks in counties with a population of less than 70,000 to receive an advancement to defray necessary official expenses.
Electronic Motor Vehicle Titling System
HB 284 (Rep. Meredith) tasks the Transportation Cabinet with establishing an electronic title application and registration system.
Summary: The new system will allow the submission of required forms and signatures electronically, in lieu of the paper title application process.
Effective date: January 1, 2024
SB 216 (Sen. Mills) amends voting equipment statutes and candidate postings.
Summary: The new law includes a requirement that voting equipment be under video surveillance for 30 days after any election and cannot be connected to the internet. It requires posting of candidate filings from the county clerk onto the Secretary of State’s and county clerk’s websites.
HB 564 (Rep. Branscum) cleans up unforeseen issues as a result of 2021 legislation.
Summary: The bill cleans up the time gap between the closing of absentee ballot application portals and the beginning of early voting that runs the Thursday to Saturday before Election Day and sets the hours of early voting for those days: there must be eight hours available between 6 a.m. - 8 p.m. local time.
Effective date: April 7, 2022 (emergency)
Budget Impact: County Clerks
- $25 million in FY24 for grants to county clerks for e-recording.
- $12.5 million in both FY23 and FY24 for grants to county clerks to purchase election equipment.
County Audit Costs
Budget Impact: County Audits
- $500,000 in FY23 and $250,000 in FY24 to support the establishment of the Outlier Audit Assistance Program.
- Outlier Audit Assistance Program: a sheriff or county clerk audit exceeding 150 percent of the state average of the preceding fiscal year audit cost for its type would be eligible for the outlier fund to help cover their audit costs.
- Reduces the cost to counties for all county clerk and sheriff audits from 100 percent to 50 percent for FY23 and FY24 and appropriates $2.25 million in each year to cover the increased cost to the auditor’s office.
Library Board Appointments
SB 167 (Sen. Wheeler) addresses issues regarding library district board appointments.
Summary: The bill provides judge/executives with the option to either continue to choose appointees from the Department for Libraries and Archives (DLA) list, or request two more names from DLA. If the judge/executive does not select from the second list, then they can appoint members of their choosing with the approval of the fiscal court. Current library board members will finish their term and the new process will take place upon their vacancy, which includes the option to reappoint members. The bill also requires approval of both the library board and the fiscal court for expenditures for leasing or capital construction projects with a total cost of $1 million or more, providing more oversight of tax dollars by elected officials.
Effective date: January 1, 2023
Fiscal Court Reapportionment
HB 212 (Rep. Meredith) extends the fiscal court reapportionment deadline, requiring fiscal courts to initiate reapportionment proceedings in 2023 instead of 2022.
Summary: Under previous law, reapportionment could have resulted in changes to district lines after the primary and before the general election, potentially leaving some primary winners ineligible to run in November if they were moved to a different district. This bill prevented these issues by allowing the districts to be redrawn after the current election cycle.
Effective date: February 25, 2022 (emergency)
Opioid Settlement Funds
HB 92 (Rep. Bentley) clarifies the distribution of Kentucky's share of the national opioid settlement funds.
Summary: While it was line-item vetoed, the Governor emphasized in his veto message that those lines were stricken at the request of the Office of the Attorney General to preserve Kentucky's full share of the national settlement.
Effective date: April 26, 2022 (emergency)
Local Government Records
HB 351 (Rep. Frazier Gordon) allows local governments to submit to the state or the Legislative Research Commission an affidavit in lieu of a record that has been lost, damaged or destroyed that was required to be submitted.
Summary: The bill requires that local governments make a good-faith attempt at replacing or recreating record, and if they are unsuccessful, they may then file an affidavit.
HB 399 (Rep. Branscum) amends requirements for public hearings relating to the expenditure of Local Government Economic Assistance funds and County Road Aid and Rural Secondary funds.
Summary: Previously, a separate hearing was required for the expenditure of these funds. The bill changes these requirements: fiscal courts must provide an opportunity to the public to provide input with regard to the project or projects in a public meeting for which notice has been given and include the topic as a specific item on the public meeting agenda.
HB 453 (Rep. Dixon) amends open meetings laws for public agencies, including fiscal courts.
Summary: The bill excludes meetings of any selection committee to select a successful bidder for award of a local contract from the open meetings requirement. The bill also amends virtual meeting laws:
- Regular meetings that are switched to virtual can remain a regular meeting if the meeting occurs on the same date and time as originally scheduled and the public agency provides notice to the public including providing specific information on how the public can view the meeting electronically.
- Fiscal court members who participate in a virtual meeting must remain visible on camera at all times when business is being discussed.
- Fiscal courts will no longer be required to provide a physical location for the public to view virtual meetings unless two or more members are attending from the same physical location.
Driving Under the Influence
HB 154 (Rep. Flannery) amends the DUI laws to allow search warrants for blood or urine tests on a showing of probable cause, without the requirement of a fatality or serious injury.
Summary: This bill will allow county attorneys to more effectively prosecute DUI cases.
Effective date: April 5, 2022 (emergency)
County Attorney Funds
HB 782 (Rep. Massey) will require county attorneys to file an annual settlement with the Prosecutors Advisory Council within 60 days of the close of the fiscal year.
Summary: The settlement must account for all money received, disbursed, or held by the county attorney in his or her official capacity. A county attorney vacating the office must file a similar statement of account with the fiscal court and ensure the successor receives all books, papers, records, and other property, and any unexpended funds held by the county attorney’s office. The bill also authorizes county attorneys to invest and reinvest money within their control and jurisdiction.
Purchase Money Deeds of Trusts and Mortgages
HB 523 (Rep. Massey) relates to purchase money deeds of trust and mortgages.
Summary: This bill establishes priority for purchase money deeds of trust and mortgages over a prior judgment lien against the purchaser.
Budget Impact: County Attorneys
- $549,800 in FY23 and FY24 for the Rocket Docket program.
- $1.9 million in FY23 and FY24 for retirement costs.
- $2.9 million in FY23 and $3 million in FY24 for additional positions.
- $75,000 in FY23 and FY24 for expert witnesses.
- Salary increment for county attorneys based on the same increment provided for eligible state employees, an 8 percent increase effective July 1, 2022.
HB 214 (Rep. Johnson) details the changes to the judicial branch districts and circuits.
Summary: Implements the redistricting plan that began in 2014 to reallocate judicial resources where the need is greatest, according to a workload assessment study. Nine jurisdictions will receive new judgeships effective January 2023. Nine others will lose judges, effective in 2031.
Budget Impact: Circuit Clerks
- Includes a $2,000 salary increase followed by an 8 percent increase on the base salary and wages for non-elected personnel, including deputy circuit court clerks, effective July 1, 2022. The salary increment in FY24 is subject to the completion of a classification and compensation report.
- Includes an 8 percent salary increase for elected personnel, including circuit court clerks, effective July 1, 2022. The salary increment in FY24 is subject to the completion of a classification and compensation report.
Budget Impact: Graves County
- $3 million in FY23 to support renovations of the temporary courthouse and $969,000 in FY23 for the cleaning, restoration, and digitization of court records in Graves County.
Budget Impact: Court Security Officers' Reimbursement
- Increases the court security reimbursement rate to $15/hour. To be eligible for this enhanced rate, deputies providing services must be paid at least $10/hour. If deputies are paid less than $10/hour, the reimbursement rate will default to the statutory rate of $8/hour.
SB 66 (Sen. Alvarado) requires coroners to complete a four-hour training course on the subject of the grieving process, effective January 1, 2023.
Summary: Within three years of taking office, coroners and deputy coroners must complete a four-hour training course on the grieving process and best practices for providing a notice of death, in addition to receiving training for their certificate of continuing education.
Budget Impact: Increased Funding for State Medical Examiner
- $7.5 million in FY23 and FY24 to support the operations of the Office of the Kentucky State Medical Examiner.
- $3.7 million in FY23 and FY24 to support additional positions and salary increases within the Office of the Kentucky State Medical Examiner.
- This funding will prevent unfunded mandates from being pushed down to coroners' offices.
Budget Impact: Funding for PVAs
- $8.5 million in FY23 and FY24 for an aerial mapping project.
- $3.1 million in FY24 to purchase computers, tablets, scanners and other technical equipment needed to modernize the county property valuation offices.
- $1.6 million in FY23 and FY24 to support the continuation of mandatory services.
- Salary increment for PVAs based on the same increment provided for eligible state employees, an 8 percent increase effective July 1, 2022.
Budget Impact: Funding for Commonwealth's Attorneys
- $1.3 million in FY23 and $1.4 million in FY24 for the Rocket Docket program.
- $2.4 million in FY23 and FY24 for additional positions.
- $643,200 in FY23 and $547,100 in FY24 for the conversion of four part-time Commonwealth's Attorneys to full-time status.
- Salary increment for Commonwealth’s Attorneys based on the same increment provided for eligible state employees, an 8 percent increase effective July 1, 2022.
West KY Tornado Relief
HB 5 (Rep. Heath) was filed in response to the devastation from the December 10-11, 2021 deadly tornadoes in western Kentucky. It was filed, passed and signed into law in five days.
Summary: The bill appropriated $200 million to provide immediate financial assistance to those impacted by the storms and support local governments, nonprofits, state agencies and schools in the region to recover.
SB 150 (Sen. Mills) expands on HB 5 disaster assistance.
Summary: It allows public agencies defined in statute (KRS 61.870(1)), located in areas named in the Presidential Declaration, and using funds for capital construction expenses related to storm damage, to bypass required public procurement procedures so long as vendor selections are made in open meeting and subject to disclosure per KRS 61.870-61.884. It also establishes a Western Kentucky Risk Assessment Fund to pay a qualified lender a capped amount of the remaining principal balance of a commercial loan that is a loss suffered as a result of the December 2021 tornadoes.
Kentucky Product Development Initiative
HB 745 (Rep. Bowling) expands the Kentucky Product Development Initiative between the Kentucky Association of Economic Development (KAED) and the Cabinet for Economic Development to support economic development across the Commonwealth through site improvement projects.
Summary: Eligible grant recipients include local governments or an economic development authority. Funds may also be pooled to create regional projects. Counties that participate in the Rural Project Development Initiative are disqualified from the Kentucky Product Development Initiative.
Budget Impact: Kentucky Product Development Initiative
- $100 million in FY23 to support approved site development projects. Projects will be awarded through a grant application process under the Kentucky Product Development Initiative, which will be allocated by county based on population, with Jefferson County’s share discounted by 50 percent.
Area Development Districts
Area Development Districts Funding Formula
HB 482 (Rep. Fugate) codifies in statute the Joint Funding Administration Program allocation formula to Area Development Districts (ADDs).
Summary: 70 percent allocated equally, 20 percent allocated based on ADDs proportionate share of total state population, and 10 percent allocated based on ADDs proportionate share of total incorporated cities and counties. This formula has been in prior budgets and will not change the allocation to ADDs.
Effective Date: April 8, 2022 (emergency)
Budget Impact: Increased Funding for ADDs
- Increased funding for the Joint Funding Administration Program in support of ADDs to $3.9 million in FY23 and FY24. Previous budgets appropriated $1.9 million each year.
- $250,000 in FY23 and FY24 for ADDs to match the increased Appalachian Regional Commission grants and $250,000 in FY23 and FY24 to match the increased Delta Regional Authority grants.
Additional Bills Affecting Counties
Jail Pilot Program: SB 90 (Sen. Westerfield) establishes a four-year pilot program for a conditional dismissal program in at least 10 counties for defendants who have a behavioral health disorder. Administrative regulations will require telehealth services in county jails.
Coal and Mineral Severance Budget Language:
- LGEA: $34.8 million in FY23 and $35.2 million in FY24.
- LGEDF: $37.4 million in FY23 and $39.8 million in FY24.
- Returns 100 percent of coal receipts to coal counties.
Pipeline Location Notification: HB 195 (Rep. Johnson) creates new requirements for pipeline location notifications for new developments within 660 feet of the center point of a natural gas transmission pipeline or interstate hazardous liquid pipeline facility.
Prank 911 Calls: HB 48 (Rep. Pratt) will make the offense of falsely reporting an incident to law enforcement that results in an emergency response a Class D felony.
School Building Enforcement: HB 33 (Rep. Branscum) will allow schools the option to utilize local governments, in lieu of the state, for plan review, inspection, and enforcement over buildings intended for educational purposes.
CERS Separation Expenses: HB 297 (Rep. Miller) includes a sunset provision on the costs associated with the separation of the County Employees Retirement System (CERS) that is billed by the Kentucky Retirement System. Effective date: April 14, 2022 (emergency)
Employee Childcare Assistance Fund: HB 499 (Rep. Heavrin) creates the Employee Child Care Assistance Partnership program. Effective date: April 8, 2022 (emergency)
Constable Training: HB 239 (Rep. Koenig) creates training requirements for constables to exercise police powers. Effective date: January 1, 2023.
Emergency Medical Services: HB 777 (Rep. Fleming) changes the certificate of need (CON) process for counties, cities, and hospitals and establishes a task force to explore the challenges of EMS across the state.
Health Care Workers: HB 573 (Rep. Moser) establishes a needed recruitment and retention tool for addressing the health care worker shortage, especially in rural and underserved areas of Kentucky. Effective date: April 20, 2022 (emergency)
State Parks Budget Language: $150 million in bond funds in FY24 for improvement to state parks, contingent on the Department of Parks’ submission and approval by the General Assembly of a comprehensive statewide proposal. The proposal may include a plan of action regarding disposal of property to local governments.
The Continued Fight
Bills that did not cross the finish line
Credit for Time Served: HB 211 (Rep. Meredith) would have required the state to reimburse counties when inmates convicted of a felony receive credit for time served in the county jail pre-trial.
Pretrial Release: SB 31 (Sen. Storm) would have required that conditions of pretrial release be the least restrictive to reasonably mitigate the risk of flight or danger to others.
Per Diem Fees for Pre-trial Felonies: SB 81 (Sen. Wheeler) would have required the state to pay counties the per diem fee for each day a prisoner is charged with a felony beginning on the day the prisoner is first lodged in the county jail.
Occupational License Tax: HB 438 (Rep. Smith) would have removed the arbitrary restrictions placed on occupational license fees in counties with more than 30,000 population.
Restaurant Tax: HB 449 (Rep. Smith) would have allowed all counties and cities to levy a 3 percent restaurant tax.
County Revenue Diversification: HB 475 (Rep. Meredith) would have proposed an amendment to the Constitution of Kentucky that would allow the General Assembly to expand and modernize the revenue options available to counties.
Mass Foreclosure: HB 245 (Rep. Imes) would have allowed counties to adopt a mass foreclosure process.
Dark Store Theory: HB 260 (Rep. Bridges) would have adopted safeguards against vacant ‘big box’ property valuations.
Jail Training: HB 439 (Rep. Tipton) would have enhanced the training and continuing education required of deputy jailers and create the Kentucky Jail Training Council.
Death of First Responders from COVID-19: HB 56 (Rep. T. Huff) would have qualified these individuals for in-line-of-duty death benefits.
Solar Power: HB 392 (Rep. Branscum) and SB 69 (Sen. Hornback) would have streamlined requirements for developers and operators of solar energy sites and given counties options on overseeing the decommissioning process and access to information on any changes in ownership/operators.
Images Captured by a First Responder: SB 101 (Sen. Carpenter) would have made a Class D misdemeanor of an unauthorized capture of an image or video of a deceased person when working an accident or crime, for purposes unrelated to their first responder duties.