2024 Legislative Session Begins With Look Towards the Budget

Lawmakers returned to Frankfort on Tuesday to begin the 60-day-long budget-writing session.

Revenue bills, including the budget, start in the House of Representatives; while the House has moved quickly in years past, Republican super majorities are still likely a week away from revealing their version of the state budget, according to House Speaker David Osborne. Crafting a biennium budget will soak up much of the oxygen in this session. Gov. Andy Beshear, D-Kentucky, has announced his top spending priorities in an address to Kentuckians in December.

Osborne said there are “many shared goals,” between the governor’s proposal and where the Republican supermajorities are at in their version. Yet, he refused to divulge specifics. Osborne did say he expects the budget bill to use rainy day funds – something the governor also used in his budget proposal.

“We will end this fiscal year with $4.5 plus billion in fiscal reserve – that’s more than you need,” Osborne said.

He also indicated lawmakers will make “significant additional contributions into the pension system” with the fiscal reserve funds.

Dozens of bills were filed on the first day of the session, and in many cases, it was a first look at what’s to come as pre-filed bills are no longer posted on the Legislative Research Commission’s website.

Lawmakers will also likely consider a Constitutional amendment regarding school choice this legislative session. Another priority bill this session will be the Kentucky SAFE Act, which increases penalties for existing crimes.