Weekly Legislative Update – January 26th, 2024


Friday, Jan. 26 marked the 18th day of the 60-day legislative session. A total of 530 bills have been filed: 139 bills in the Senate and 391 in the House.


HB5, the crime bill

Sponsored by Rep. Jared Bauman, R-Louisville, the 72-page bill is dubbed the Safer Kentucky Act. After a slew of amendments, the bill was passed in the House by a vote of 72-22 and awaits a Senate committee assignment.

Among its provisions is a three strikes law to require a life sentence after a person’s third violent felony, along with increasing penalties for crimes like carjacking and fentanyl trafficking that causes an overdose death. It would also crack down on vandalism, homeless encampments and allow businesses to use force to stop shoplifters. Support

More information about the bill from an LRC press release on the House vote:

House members sparred for more than two and half hours Thursday over an omnibus crime bill that seeks to ramp up the penalties for repeat violent offenders and other crimes. 

Under the latest version of House Bill 5 – known as the Safer Kentucky Act – offenders could face a life sentence in prison if convicted of three violent felonies. Individuals could also face a manslaughter charge if they distribute fentanyl that causes a fatal overdose. 

The 74-page bill would also create a felony carjacking law and call for violent felony offenders to serve at least 85% of their criminal sentences before release. Other provisions aim to curb shoplifting and street camping. 

Supporters say the legislation will strengthen Kentucky’s approach to crime and reassert basic principles of safety and civility in response to years of growing disorder. 

Critics counter that the bill would apply antiquated policies to complex problems and drive-up incarceration costs in a state that already has a high rate of imprisonment. 



KLEPF Increase/budget

During the session, the legislature will also craft and enact a two-year budget. KACP has already met with Senate Appropriations & Revenue Committee Chairman Chris McDaniel, R-Ryland Heights, to discuss a potential increase in the annual KLEFPF training stipend. Further discussions are planned. Under Kentucky’s constitution, revenue bills must first be filed in the House. Note – the House budget does not include funding for the Madisonville Police Academy and a KLFPF increase of less than $300.

KACP issued a legislative alert last week, asking members to contact their state representatives and express support for the academy funding.

Pension System Health Insurance

KACP met on Tuesday, Jan. 16, with Sen. James Higdon, R-Lebanon, to discuss legislation that would increase the healthcare stipend for some law enforcement officers in the pension system. (Tier 1 who began participation after July 2003; all Tier II and III.) The discussions with Sen. Higdon and others are ongoing.



HB329, related to police officer mental health

Filed by Rep. Chris Freeland, R-Benton, the bill stipulates that to be eligible for KLEFPF/Law Enforcement Foundation Program funds, law enforcement agencies would be required to have a written policy related to police officer mental health programs. Awaiting committee assignment. Monitoring.

HB331, related to firearms

Filed Rep. Lisa Willner, D-Louisville, the will would allow law enforcement officers to petition a court to issue an extreme risk protection order when a respondent poses a present danger of causing serious physical injury to themselves or others through purchasing, processing or receiving a firearm, other provisions. Awaiting committee assignment. Monitoring. Note: similar to SB13

HB349, related to in line of duty disability benefits

Filed by Rep. Emily Callaway, R-Louisville, the bill would provide full hospital and medical insurance benefits for a member of the retirement system, their spouse, and their dependents if a member becomes disabled in the line of duty with a hazardous disability. Awaiting committee assignment. Support.

HB359, related to telecommunicators/KLEFPF funds

Filed by Rep. Bill Wesley, R-Ravenna, the bill would provide KLEFPF funds to telecommunicators. Awaiting committee assignment. Opposed.




HB134, taxing of retirement distributions

Sponsored by Ashley Tackett Laferty, D-Martin, the bill increases the retirement distribution exclusion from $31,110 to $41,100 for taxable years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2025. Awaiting committee assignment. Support

HB143, retirement benefits 

Sponsored by Rep. Rachel Roberts, D-Newport, the bill would amend retirement benefits for members in the State Police Retirement System (SPRS) or in a hazardous position in either the Kentucky Employees Retirement System (KERS) or County Employees Retirement System (CERS) who are hired after Jan. 1, 2014, but before Jan. 1, 2025. Awaiting committee assignment. Support

HB207, related to sex dolls

Sponsored by Rep. Stephanie Dietz, R-Edgewood, the bill prohibits the possession, trafficking, importing and advancing of a child sex doll. The bill has passed out of the House Judiciary Committee and awaits action by the full House. Support

HB 248, relating to reinstatement of police and fire department employees

Sponsored by Rep. Killian Timoney, R-Fayette, Amend KRS 95.440 to remove the requirement that a person shall only be eligible for reinstatement to a police or fire department within one year following separation from employment. Awaiting committee assignment. Support

HB293, related to kratom

Filed by Rep. Kim Moser, R-Taylor Mill, the bill would regulate the sale and licensing of kratom. Awaiting committee assignment. Support.


SB32, driving under the influence of marijuana

Sponsored by Sen. Johnnie Turner, R-Harlan the bill creates a per se limit for marijuana concentration measured by a blood test. KACP will meet with the sponsor for more details on the legislation. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee. Support




SB115, related to federal law enforcement officers

Filed by Sen. Adrienne Southworth, R-Lawrenceburg, the bill would remove the authority of delineated federal law enforcement officers to function as peace officers in Kentucky. Awaiting committee assignment. Oppose.




HB20, cost-of-living increase retirement benefits

Sponsored by Rep. Ruth Ann Palumbo, D-Lexington, the bill provides a one-time, 2 percent COLA adjustment for KERS nonhazardous and hazardous duty recipients and State Police Retirement System recipients. KACP is concerned the bill does not include CERS recipients and we plan to speak with the sponsor about making that change. Awaiting committee assignment. Monitoring.

HB45, privacy protection

Sponsored by Rep. John Hodgson, R-Louisville, the bill defines terms related to automated license plate readers, establishes limitations on the use and sale of data captured by the readers and defines terms and establishes limitations on the use of drones. Awaiting committee assignment. Monitoring.

HB142, nicotine products

Sponsored by Rep. Mark Hart, R-Falmouth, the bill requires the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to establish a vapor retail license and establishes penalties for under the age of 21 who purchase or attempt to purchase alternative nicotine, tobacco or vapor products. Assigned to House Education Committee. Monitoring.

HB157, interrogation of children

The bipartisan bill sponsored by Rep. Keturah Herron, D-Louisville, and Rep. Mike Nemes, R-Louisville, prohibits a child from being interrogated using deceptive methods. Awaiting committee assignment. KACP is seeking a meeting with the sponsor. Monitoring.

HB216, related to retirement

Sponsored by Rep. Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort, the bill would provide supplemental payment for recipients of a monthly retirement allowance from the systems administered by KERS. KACP is concerned the bill does not include CERS recipients and we plan to speak with the sponsor about making that change. Awaiting committee assignment. Monitoring.

HB286, related to DNA

Filed by Rep. Patrick Flannery, the bill would allow law enforcement officers to collect DNA samples. Awaiting committee assignment. Monitoring.

HB298, related to DUI

Filed by Rep. Chad Aull, D-Lexington, the will would increase penalties for a driver under 21 who operates a motor vehicle with an alcohol concentration of 0.02 or more. Awaiting committee assignment. Monitoring.


SB13, relate to crisis aversion and rights retention orders.

Filed Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Fruit Hill, the will would allow law enforcement officers to petition a court to issue an extreme risk protection order when a respondent poses a present danger of causing serious physical injury to themselves or others through purchasing, processing or receiving a firearm, other provisions. Awaiting committee assignment.  We have some concerns about the provisions of this legislation and officer safety issues.  We plan to speak with the sponsor about making changes to address our concerns.  Monitoring. Note: similar to HB331.

SB45, missing adults 

Sponsored by Sen. David Yates, D-Louisville, the bill requires KSP to create and operate the Kentucky Ashanti Alert System to provide public notification through the use of media providers and highways signs when an adult is missing and may have been abducted or kidnapped or may be in physical danger. Assigned to Senate Veterans, Military Affairs & Public Protection Committee. Monitoring.


SB114, concealed carry/school buildings

Filed by Sen. Adrinne Southworth, R-Lawrenceburg, the bill would modify the prohibiting of weapons on school grounds. Awaiting committee assignment. Monitoring.

HB259, concealed carry age requirements

Filed by Rep. Savannah Maddox, R-Dry Ridge, the bill would lower the age requirement for carrying a concealed weapon from 21 to 18. Awaiting committee assignment. Monitoring.

HB288, concealed carry/government facilities 

Filed by Rep. Savannah Maddox, R-Dry Ridge, the bill would limit or eliminate prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons in government buildings, college campuses, schools and portions of airports. Awaiting committee assignment. Monitoring.



Feb. 19: Presidents Day holiday; legislature not in session

Feb. 26: Last day for introduction of new House bills

Feb. 28: Last day for introduction of new Senate bills

March 29 – April 9: Veto recess

March 12, 15: Final legislative days



As always, questions, suggestions, comments or concerns can be directed to Executive Director Shawn Butler, who can be reached at 859-743-2920 or sbutler@kypolicechiefs.org or KACP lobbyist Patrick Crowley, who can be reached at 859-462-4245 or pcrowley@strategicadvisersllc.com.

You can also follow the legislative activity through the Kentucky General Assembly website.