LEGISLATIVE UPDATE Interim meetings begin as lawmakers work towards 2024 Regular Session Representative Chris Freeland





June 1, 2022


The 2023 Regular Session of the Kentucky General Assembly ended just two short months ago. Since then, my colleagues and I laid the groundwork for another successful, productive legislative interim.

The legislative interim plays a vital role in the lawmaking process. This time is dedicated to discussing issues that are prevalent throughout the state and nation and looking at potential solutions that can be brought to the commonwealth through legislative action in the next regular session. 2024 will be what is known as a “budget year,” which means the General Assembly will pass two-year spending plans for the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government, as well as a budget for our investment in road and infrastructure construction. It is also a “long” session with 60 legislative days, which means our work as lawmakers starts now as we tailor our agenda.

If you are interested in keeping up with our interim work, there are several great resources. The legislature’s website, legislature.ky.gov, contains committee agendas, minutes, and presentations as well as countless other resources. You may also follow along on YouTube @KY LRC Committee Meetings and @KYHouseGOP. I will also include updates on my social media pages, particularly my official legislative Facebook page @Freelandforky. And, if you would like to be added to my email update list, please shoot me a note at Chris.Freeland@lrc.ky.gov.

This interim, there will be several new task forces that will consider issues that are not necessarily new to the commonwealth but are problems that need to be researched so we can come up with fiscally strong and sensible solutions to carry forward in our next session. For this week’s legislative update, I thought I might provide some insight into what these task forces are.

Local Government Annexation Task Force: With city annexation becoming a hotly contested issue in some areas of the commonwealth, the task force will delve into current statutory requirements, as well as consider the benefits and drawbacks that existing policies have on local governance. These could include taxation, economic development, public safety, emergency services, and utilities.

Certificate of Need Task Force: The certificate of need requirement has long been a point of discussion among policymakers considering how to improve access to quality healthcare. A certificate of need (CON) is simply a legal document required in Kentucky before a proposed acquisition, expansion, or creation of a healthcare facility can take place. The legislative task force was created to investigate the commonwealth’s CON program, as well as how it ties in with the state health plan and other existing laws and regulations relating to the healthcare industry. Some form of CON requirements exists in over 30 states; however, most states do not have as robust of a list.

Lottery Trust Fund Task Force: According to figures from the Kentucky Lottery Corporation, 21 cents of each dollar spent on lottery games is used to fund grants and scholarships through the Lottery Trust Fund. Since 1999, more than $4.4 billion in lottery proceeds have been directed to education. Those scholarships include the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES), College Access Program, Dual Credit, Work Ready Scholarship, Kentucky National Guard Tuition Award Program, and the Kentucky Tuition Award Program. This task force will continue its work to ensure these scholarships and grants align with current education needs in the commonwealth as well as future needs that may arise as a result of today’s unpredictable economy.

Multimodal Freight Transportation System Improvement Task Force: Members of the task force will study and make recommendations regarding infrastructure supporting the different modes of transportation within the commonwealth, including roads, bridges, ports, air terminals, and transit terminals for trucking and air freight. With commerce being the pinnacle of any successful economy, the House Majority Caucus has made improving infrastructure a priority, adopting strong road plans that are being executed in communities across the commonwealth. Transportation infrastructure plays a vital part in ensuring Kentucky has the resources needed to support businesses.

Jail and Corrections Reform Task Force: Kentucky’s justice system has faced several significant challenges and problems over the years, and nowhere is that more obvious than the state’s jail and corrections system. Many of the state’s prisoners remain housed in county jails, leading to both overcrowding, financial strain, and concerns that the federal government may intervene. This task force will study existing jail and correctional facilities to determine if they are adequate and meet the state’s current and future needs while also considering pretrial and post-conviction data as it pertains to bail posting and release metrics.

Health and Human Services Delivery System Task Force: This task force began its work during the last interim and will continue to study the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to determine if or how services can be delivered more effectively and efficiently. The cabinet contains scores of agencies, offices, and programs aimed at protecting the health of all Kentuckians and providing services to help individuals meet basic needs like housing and food, particularly for our most vulnerable.

School and Campus Security Task Force: As a result of legislative discussions from the 2023 legislative session, this task force takes aim at keeping school safety a priority after passage of the School Safety and Resiliency Act.

While we begin these meetings to form the legislative agenda for 2024, I would like to hear from you regarding your interest in any of the issues before the Kentucky General Assembly. Feel free to reach out any time through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at 1-800-372-7181 or by email at Chris.Freeland@lrc.ky.gov. For more information, please visit the legislatures website at legislature.ky.gov.