The legislature passed 120 bills this session, and Gov. Andy Beshear has already signed 68 into law so far, with more expected before the veto period ends on March 28.
After the 10-day veto period, which started on March 18, the legislature will reconvene on March 29 and 30 to pass any additional legislation or veto any of the governor’s bills.
House Bill 594 – the bill to ban slot-style gray machines
The most significant bill in the group signed by Beshear so far is the ban on slot-style gray machines in bars and gas stations across the Commonwealth.
House Bill 594 bans “gray machines” — often referred to by supporters of the machines as “skill games” — throughout the state. Those violating the law will be fined $25,000, with the money going to the county where the violation occurred.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Killian Timoney (R-Nicholasville), said it would clarify what types of gaming devices are legal under Kentucky law. Currently, according to Timoney, Kentucky allows three types of gaming — lottery, charitable gaming, and pari-mutuel gaming.
“Kentucky has always done an excellent job of regulating gaming, and we want to continue that effort now by outlawing illegal gaming machines,” Timoney said on the House floor earlier this session.
Workforce development legislation
Beshear signed five bills into law on March 22 that specifically deal with workforce development.
“I’m honored to sign legislation aimed at boosting our Kentucky workforce and supporting our workers,” Beshear said in the capitol rotunda.
While focusing on the legislation, he also hit on removing barriers for Kentuckians in the workforce.
“We expect somebody to go work a job. They gotta be able to see well enough to drive to the job and do the job, so let’s get a pair of glasses,” Beshear said.
He also said he wants to provide universal pre-kindergarten — a significant policy he’s pushed for the last two years.
“It’s been proven to be the fastest way to get people back into the workforce,” Beshear said, elaborating that it will save parents $12 – $13,000.
Beshear then signed five bills into law — all from Republican lawmakers.
- Senate Bill 75 would allow military spouses to transfer their out-of-state cosmetology license to Kentucky. Sponsored by Sen. Amanda Mays Bledsoe (R-Lexington).
2. House Bill 200 addresses the healthcare worker shortage in the Commonwealth by creating the healthcare workforce investment fund for the Council on Postsecondary Education, which will use it for healthcare programs and allow healthcare providers to match public and private dollars for scholarships. Sponsored by Rep. Ken Fleming (R-Louisville)
3. House Bill 320 would allow out-of-state drivers with a CDL instruction permit to take the CDL test in Kentucky. Sponsored by Rep. Chris Freeland (R-Benton).
4. Senate Bill 54 opens up KEES eligibility to students attending proprietary schools that are not eligible to participate in the Federal Pell Grant program. Sponsored by Sen. Jared Carpenter (R-Berea)
5. House Bill 32 would allow schools to hire classified workers — such as janitors and cafeteria workers — that don’t have high school diplomas and enable them to work toward their diploma or GED while employed with the school. Sponsored by Rep. Kevin Jackson (R-Bowling Green).
House Bill 1 – legislation to further lower the income tax
Gov. Andy Beshear signed House Bill 1 into law, lowering the state’s income tax from 4.5 to 4% on Jan. 1, 2024.
House Bill 1 codifies the cut in House Bill 8 — a bill passed during the 2022 legislative session that seeks to eliminate the income tax over ten years by half percent increments. Beshear vetoed House Bill 8, but the legislature overrode his veto in 2022.
In a Twitter video, Beshear said he wants to help Kentuckians fight the high costs of inflation. The best way to do that, he said, would’ve been to cut the sales tax, “but the General Assembly refused to go that route.”
Further, Beshear said he faced a bill that would lower the income tax that has some long-term repercussions for potentially funding state services but would put a couple of hundred dollars in the pockets of most Kentuckians.
House Bill 180 – biomarker testing bill
Gov. Andy Beshear signed a bill requiring insurance companies to cover biomarker testing, which advocates say will improve the state’s dismal cancer statistics.
Sponsored by Rep. Kim Moser (R-Taylor Mill), House Bill 180 will cover biomarker testing, which healthcare professionals say is a way to determine the best treatment for each individual.
“Biomarker testing is a way to track the progression of certain diseases, especially tumors,” Beshear said. “The testing looks for genes that can provide information about the possibility of a future cancer diagnosis.”