Kentucky Association of Counties

KACo Logo

The Kentucky Association of Counties


County Champion


2023 legislative session adjourns sine die

By Shellie Hampton, Director of Government Affairs
Snapshot of final two days of 2023 legislative session

After 30 working days, the 2023 General Assembly gaveled out of session Thursday night. The final two days of work on Wednesday and Thursday saw a moderate pace of action that did not feel like the usual flurry of intensity to beat the clock. They signed off sine die before 11 p.m. 

Most partisan high-priority bills were passed prior to the veto period, so that the Republican majority legislature would have the opportunity to override any vetoes that Gov. Andy Beshear might issue. And with 15 vetoes issued, all 15 were overridden and will become law. 

While we continue our work on a final analysis of all county-related action from this session to share with you, here are some highlights from the last 48 hours of action. Unless otherwise noted, all bills passed become law 90 days after the end of session. Contact or with any questions. 

Bourbon Barrel Tax

HB 5, sponsored by Rep. Jason Petrie (R- Todd County)

  • Creates a 20-year phase out of the barrel tax. The bill incrementally phases out the tax rate that counties, cities, and other taxing districts levy beginning in 2026 and decreases until the tax reaches zero in 2043
  • Distilleries with warehouses financed by industrial revenue bonds issued prior to January 1, 2024 will continue to pay the tax until 2043 using the state and local tax rate for tax assessments made on January 1, 2023
  • Creates a replacement tax for fire districts and emergency services boards which will replace lost revenue up to the 2025 calendar year barrel tax revenue collected by the taxing district. This tax will be collected by the Department of Revenue and distributed to the taxing districts
  • Creates a replacement tax for school districts which will replace lost revenue up to the 2023 calendar year barrel tax revenue collected by the school district
  • Because this bill contains an emergency clause, it becomes law either ten days after final passage or upon the Governor’s signature before the ten days expire. 

Increased County Procurement Threshold

HB 522, sponsored by Rep. William Lawrence (R- Mason County)

  • Increases the small purchase amounts for public agency contracts from $30,000 to $40,000 before requiring a newspaper advertisement seeking bids

EMS Medicaid Waiver 

HJR 38, sponsored by Sen. Jared Bauman (R- Jefferson County)

  • Directs the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) to apply for a Medicaid waiver to permit coverage of triage, treatment and transport of patients by emergency ambulance services
  • Directs CHFS to submit a state Medicaid plan amendment to cover treatment in place
  • Urges CHFS to increase the Medicaid reimbursement rate for ambulance services as funds become available
  • Because this bill contains an emergency clause, it becomes law either ten days after final passage or upon the Governor’s signature before the ten days expire. 

Matching funds grant program for coal-related job loss counties

HB 9, sponsored by Rep. Richard Heath (R - Graves County) 

  • Establishes the Government Resources Accelerating Needed Transformation (GRANT) Program to enable ‘priority communities’ to access federal funding for projects in the public interest and for a public purpose, as outlined in Presidential Executive Order issued in January 2021 that created the Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization
  • For FY2024, $2 million in state General Fund dollars has been appropriated
  • 41 counties have been designated by the IWG and will be eligible for the funding
  • The program will be administered by the Department for Local Government and grant application assistance shall be provided by the Kentucky Council of Area Development Districts and individual ADDs
  • Program will sunset December 31, 2026 unless extended by the General Assembly. 

Sports Wagering

HB 551, sponsored by Rep. Michael Meredith (R- Warren County)

  • Legalizes, regulates and taxes sports wagering in Kentucky
  • Authorizes the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to regulate the sports wagering operations
  • Allocates the revenue generated to cover regulatory costs, combat problem gaming and the rest to the state public pension system

Medical Marijuana

SB 47 sponsored by Sen. Steve West (R- Bourbon County)

  • Includes a delayed implementation date of January 1, 2025 for time to establish a comprehensive system for state regulation of the cultivation, processing, sale, distribution, and use of marijuana and related activities for qualifying medicinal purposes that include a medical, therapeutic, or palliative benefit
  • would exclude medicinal marijuana from the definition of “marijuana” for purposes of Kentucky criminal law in KRS Chapter 218A defining a controlled substance. It does not allow for use or consumption by smoking 
  • Local governments may by ordinance prohibit cannabis businesses or may regulate the time, place, and manner of cannabis businesses in its jurisdiction; a local government may submit to voters the question whether cannabis businesses should be allowed; if a local government prohibits cannabis operations a public question to allow cannabis operations may be initiated by petition
  • A county prohibiting cannabis businesses may assess a fee to compensate for corrections impacts caused by approval of cannabis businesses by a city within the county; if both a city and county assess a fee, only one fee is paid and the city and county split the fee as negotiated. 

Kentucky Association of Counties
400 Englewood Drive, Frankfort, KY 40601