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McBrayer Blogs

2022 Kentucky Legislative Session Wrap-Up

We’ve reached the end of another legislative session in Frankfort, and by all accounts it was among the General Assembly’s busiest and most productive. Here’s an update on some of the key legislation that passed this session, and a few bills that couldn’t make it across the finish line.

HB 1 establishes the state budget for FY 2022 through 2024, allocating funds for improvements in key infrastructure, including roads and bridges, cleaner water, and high-speed internet. To build on Kentucky’s current economic upswing, the budget sets aside money for a site identification and development program to encourage more businesses to come to Kentucky. The budget also includes a significant funding increase for higher education and to fund all-day kindergarten. Relatedly, HB 9 makes available funds for founding tax-funded, privately-run charter schools.

HB 8 will transition Kentucky from an income-based tax model to a consumption-based program, gradually stepping down the income tax rate over coming years. It will also add a 6% sales and use tax to a variety of services, including ridesharing, lobbying, and travel planning. Read more about the tax bill’s provisions here.

Welfare reform was again an area of focus in the form of HB 7, which was enacted over Governor Beshear’s veto.  HB 7 addresses the “benefit cliff” as well as preventing fraudulent use of federal welfare programs by making adjustments to reporting requirements. HB 708, signed into law by the Governor, addresses similar needs by directing the Cabinet of Health and Family Services to establish a basic health program, benefit cliff calculator, and Community Jobs Initiative pilot program.

In the employment realm, HB 144, signed by Governor Beshear, helps to reduce employers’ pay-in to unemployment insurance. HB 499, also signed by the Governor, creates an Employee Child-Care Assistance Partnership program, addressing a need that was made very apparent during the pandemic as many employees were forced to miss work to care for sick children or children in remote virtual schooling. The program would allow a government match for employer contributions to approved childcare programs.

In an important development for the bourbon industry, HB 500 was signed by Governor Beshear and codifies the increasingly popular private barrel selection process as well as allowing distilleries to open satellite tasting rooms. HB 252 lowers the age requirements for individuals working in alcohol-related jobs. Read more about HB 500 and HB 252 on our hospitality blog.

HB 77, signed by the Governor, creates the Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services (KBEMS) as an independent agency of the state government, removing it from the oversight of the Kentucky Community & Technical College System. It will also allow hospitals that are exempt from certificate of need to provide their own transport services, opening the door for more private ambulances to help address current shortages.

Additionally, the session saw the passage of bills relating to the criminal justice system, including SB 90, which creates a pilot program requiring early-process mental and behavioral health assessments for individuals charged with Class D felonies and was signed into law by Governor Beshear.

Bills that failed to see final passage include HB 608, which would have legalized sports betting; HB 457, which sought to limit the powers of pharmacy benefit managers; and HB 136, which would have legalized medical marijuana. Governor Beshear voiced his support specifically for both HB 608 and HB 136, but the bills never made it to his desk.

Unless a special session is called sooner, legislators reconvene in Frankfort in 2023. To learn more about the legislation enacted this session and how it may impact you or your business, contact McBrayer today.

Anne-Tyler Morgan is a Member of McBrayer law. Her law practice primarily focuses on healthcare and pharmacy law; regulatory and administrative law; government and nonprofit institutions and associations; and politics, elections, and campaign finance. Ms. Morgan can be reached at atmorgan@mcbrayerfirm.com or (859) 231-8780, ext. 1207. 

Services may be performed by others.

This article does not constitute legal advice.

Lexington, KYLouisville, KYFrankfort, KY: MML&K Government SolutionsWashington, D.C.