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Floor vote on negotiated Kentucky state budget expected later this week

Man stands at lectern in Kentucky state Senate
Stu Johnson
Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers said there is still work to do before lawmakers finalize the state budget.

Kentucky House and Senate members will likely have some long days this week in Frankfort. Many bills will be voted on over the next four days before the break when Gov. Andy Beshear could deliver vetoes. Still to be worked out is a two-year year state budget.

State Senate President Robert Stivers, a Republican from Manchester, said the end-of-session work actually covers the executive, legislative, and judicial branch budgets, plus transportation.

“So those discussions will really be held about the transportation budget and the general fund budget. They have a lot of interplay between them. Limited interplay with the judicial and legislative branch, but we still have to budget to a balanced number when you combine all together,” he said.

Stivers said members are expected to get the compromise two-year budget to review in the next few days with a probable floor vote on Thursday. Regarding a Senate confirmation vote this session of Robbie Fletcher to head the Kentucky Board of Education, Stivers said there’s no expectation either way right now to confirm or not confirm. The Senate leader noted Fletcher could appear before a Senate panel this week.

Legislation pertaining to medical cannabis remains under review in the Kentucky Senate. The previously approved legislation established 2025 as a start date for the availability of medical marijuana. A bill this session seeks to make some adjustments. The measure passed the House 66 to 30. Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer of Georgetown said there’s GOP caucus support for establishing an office for medical cannabis, as outlined in Louisville GOP Representative Jason Nemes’ bill.

“We have support to work with him on establishing the office, but we’re not going to change the very crux of the bill and start adding treatment afflictions for medical marijuana before the bill even becomes law,” Thayer said.

Kentucky senators and representatives will convene this week through Thursday. Then they will break for the ten-day veto period and come back to consider overriding any vetoes and vote on any remaining bills in mid-April.

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