A bill allowing Kentucky students to utilize financial aid money they have earned in new ways saw final passage in the Senate with a 32-0 vote on Wednesday afternoon.
Senate Bill 54, sponsored by Sen. Jared Carpenter, allows Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES) awardees to use their scholarship monies at proprietary schools, provided that the program falls within one of Kentucky’s top-five high-demand workforce sectors (advanced manufacturing, business/IT, construction, healthcare, and transportation). Carpenter has also noted the legislation would also apply to agriculture.
The bill receiving final passage means it now heads to the governor’s desk for his signature or veto.
The Senate also passed legislation to help with Kentuckians access to quality recovery housing.
House Bill 248, sponsored by Rep. Samara Heavrin, would establish statewide minimum standards for the operation of recovery residences in Kentucky. Residences would be required to obtain certification from a certifying organization and ensure residents participate in key support services like employment training and self-help meetings.
This bill now goes back to the House for final passage before heading to the governor.
Additionally, the House and Senate did not agree on their different versions of a revenue bill which now sends House Bill 360 to a conference committee to hammer out their differences.
The Senate appointed Republican Senate leadership members Robert Stivers, Damon Thayer, Julie Raque Adams, David Givens, and Mike Wilson along with House Appropriations and Revenue Committee Chair Chris McDaniel. Democratic members Gerald Neal, Senate minority leader, and Sen. Cassie Chambers Armstrong.
From the House, members of House Republican leadership including House Speaker David Osborne, Floor Leader Steven Rudy, House Speaker Pro Tem David Meade, Jason Nemes, and Suzanne Miles have been added to the conference committee along with House Appropriations and Revenue Committee Jason Petrie and Rep. Brandon Reed. Democrats from the House include Democratic leadership members Cherlynn Stevenson and Rachel Roberts.
This bill contains important provisions including language to allow small business owners to deduct a greater share of their state and local taxes (SALT) from their federal income tax liability as well as new verbiage seeking to narrow the applicability of a recent Kentucky Supreme Court ruling that preserved a key manufacturing sales tax exemption. Read more on The Bottom Line here.
Finally, House Bill 165, sponsored by new state Rep. Nick Wilson. The legislation is a technical cleanup bill for the Employee Child Care Assistance Partnership set up in House Bill 499 passed in the 2022 session.
House Bill 499 set up a public-private partnership to encourage businesses to provide childcare assistance as a benefit of employment. Employers interested in participating in the program can learn more here: https://www.kychamber.com/childcare .
The bill passed on consent and now heads to the governor’s desk.
Stay tuned to The Bottom Line for more updates in the final days of the 2023 legislative session.