This Week at the State Capitol

Republished with permission of Forward Kentucky.

“This Week at the State Capitol” is a non-partisan newsletter published by the Legislative Research Commission, and posted here with permission.

Two bills related to elections – including one that seeks to amend the state constitution – were on the move this week as lawmakers began to pick up steam in the 2024 legislative session.

Friday marked day nine of the 60-day session, and eight measures have received at least one vote in committee so far. Only one, however, has been sent to governor’s desk.

House Bill 161 was the first measure to pass out of both chambers after it received a final nod on the Senate floor Thursday. The legislation, passed with bipartisan support, seeks to address concerns over candidate filings for the next election.

Kentucky counties recently redrew the boundaries for their local voting precincts, and HB 161 would ensure that candidates are not disqualified for using outdated precinct names or numbers on their nomination forms if the changes occurred after Nov. 8.

The other election bill, Senate Bill 10, proposes an amendment the Kentucky constitution related to election cycles.

Right now, elections for governor, treasurer, state auditor, attorney general, secretary of state, and agriculture commissioner all occur in odd-numbered years. SB 10 aims to move those elections to even-numbered years starting in 2032.

Lawmakers have debated the change for years with supporters saying that it would save millions in state and local dollars and improve voter participation by aligning state and national elections. Critics, however, say the change would conflate state and national issues at election time.

The legislation advanced out of the Senate State and Local Government Committee on Wednesday and is posted for action on the Senate floor next week. If the bill becomes law, the proposed constitutional amendment would still need approval from Kentucky voters before taking effect.

Another measure making progress this week was House Bill 179, which would clear the way for employers to offer their workers an option to purchase paid family leave insurance. Workers who purchase the insurance would receive temporary wage replacement when caring for a sick family member or new child.

HB 179 won approval from the House Banking and Insurance Committee and now heads to the House floor.

The week closed out with some parting words in the House on Friday as lawmakers said farewell to one of their own – Rep. Brandon Reed of Hodgenville – who is resigning to take on a role as policy director for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

The chambers will not convene on Monday in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, but will gavel back in on Tuesday for the 10th day of the session.

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.

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Republished with permission of Forward Kentucky.

https://forwardky.com/this-week-at-the-state-capitol-2024-01-12/