First part of Kentucky legislative session adjourns

We’re taking a closer look at several of the issues that will be back on the table when they return in February
Published: Jan. 8, 2023 at 12:53 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky lawmakers wrapped up the first part of the 2023 legislative session on Friday. In odd-numbered years, legislative sessions are known as short sessions, lasting 30 days rather than the 60-day sessions seen in even-numbered years. The session started Tuesday, adjourned Friday, and will reconvene in early February. We’re taking a closer look at several of the issues that will be back on the table when lawmakers return in February.

The first part of the 2023 short session saw discussion of a further reduction to Kentucky’s income tax, House Bill 1.

Legislation passed during the last 2022 session signaled a half-percent drop to 4.5%, which took effect on January 1, 2023. Now, lawmakers have advanced House Bill 1, a measure to drop it further.

The Budget Committee voted 16-4 Thursday morning to lower the income tax to 4%, effective January 2024. Thursday afternoon, the full House sent HB 1 to the Senate in a 79 to 19 vote.

Senate Bill 9 is known as “Lofton’s Law.” The bill is named in honor of Thomas “Lofton” Hazelwood. He was a student at UK when he was found unresponsive in the FarmHouse Fraternity. Hazelwood later died at UK Hospital.

“We believe that the activity of hazing is not something that we should turn a blind eye to because it can lead to death, injury, and destruction of Kentucky families and friends,” said Senator Robby Mills.

“Lofton’s Law” would make hazing a felony. The bill was introduced to the Senate and is now in committee.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer supports making all Kentucky elections partisan.

“I think the best way for people to know who they’re voting for is, what party affiliation have they claimed?” said Senator Thayer.

Senator Thayer and Representative Matt Lockett are leading the efforts. The Kentucky League of Cities says only six Kentucky cities hold partisan elections. Neither version of the bill has made it out of committee.

Senator Adrienne Southworth has also introduced several election-related bills. They would make changes like including more information on voter instruction cards and adding more requirements for the certification of election results.

Representative James Tipton filed House Bill 12, the Phone Down Kentucky Act.

“Essentially, what this law would do is prohibit the holding of a phone, or any type of device, on any part of your body,” said Representative Tipton.

If passed, the bill would take effect in January 2024. Tipton says he is optimistic he can get a hearing on his bill in the Transportation Committee in February.