Lawmakers file scores of bills throughout the first days of the 2024 session

by Mike Wynn, Legislative Research Commission

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 5, 2024) — Lawmakers filed more than 200 bills this week on issues ranging from milk safety to the death penalty as the Kentucky General Assembly rolled through the first four days of the 2024 legislative session. 

The House and Senate convened the 60-day regular session on Tuesday and maintained a lean schedule throughout the week with a heavy focus on introducing bills in the chambers and assigning them to committees. 

The chamber rules, specifically the process for hearing and adopting bills, was the only issue to draw much debate during the four days, and a Senate measure related to hunting and fishing licenses was the first and only bill to receive a hearing in committee. 

Under state law, Kentuckians may hunt and fish without a license on their own farmland – if the property is at least five acres in size. Senate Bill 5 would eliminate the language on acreage, which supporters said has caused concern among some landowners.  

Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, said on the Senate floor that SB 5 is on track to receive a floor vote on Tuesday and will likely be the first bill advanced out of the chamber. 

One highly-anticipated measure this year is the state’s biennial budget. The spending plan will guide state appropriations through the end of fiscal year 2026 and is expected to generate as much or more discussion than any other issue this session. 

On Wednesday, House Minority Floor Leader Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort, filed House Bill 114 and 110, two measures that reflect Gov. Andy Beshear’s budget proposals for the state executive branch. 

House Speaker David W. Osborne, R-Prospect, told reporters at a press conference later that day that he expects the House majority to unveil a budget plan within the next week or two. 

“Obviously this is a budget session. That will dominate much of our focus, certainly in the early part of the session,” he said, adding that bills on crime and maternal health are also garnering an early focus. 

The Senate wrapped up the week on Friday with a solemn resolution and a moment of silence in memory of the late Kentucky governor and legislator Julian Carroll, who passed away in December. 

Lawmakers are scheduled to gavel back in on Monday for day five of the session. They have until Feb. 26 to introduce new bills in the House and until Feb. 28 to introduce new bills in the Senate. The chambers are scheduled to adjourn sine die on April 15.

Kentuckians can track the action through the Legislative Record webpage, which allows users to read bills and follow their progression through the chambers. Capitol observers can also track budget bills on the 2024 Budget Bills webpage

Citizens can also share their views on issues with lawmakers by calling the General Assembly’s toll-free message line at 1-800-372-7181.

Top photo: Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, (left) and House Speaker David W. Osborne, R-Prospect, speak to reporters at a press conference Wednesday. (LRC PIO)