Every two years, the Governor and legislature craft a biennial budget to guide the operation of state government. Kentuckians rely on the budget beyond what we may automatically think of, like roads, public parks, and public-school education.

Kentucky families rely on the state budget to keep children safe, support kids’ healthy development, and put kids on track for a prosperous future. Kentucky invests in kids by crafting a state budget that provides preventive oral health services, helps working parents who earn little income afford safe child care, and ensure safe placements and appropriate treatment of children removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect.

While decisions on what’s in the state budget get finalized during the legislative session, many decisions are being made in the months leading up to the first day of the legislative session in January. Currently, state agencies, like the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Administrative Office of the Courts, and Department of the Education, are filling out uniform budget forms with their budget requests, which must be submitted to their respective branch of government by November 15th.

In January by the 10th day of the legislative session, the Governor, the Chief Justice, and the Legislative Research Commission submit their budget proposals to the General Assembly. During the legislative session:

  • The legislature initiates the budget review process, which begins with reviews by the subcommittees of the House Appropriations and Revenue (A&R) Committee and moves to the Senate once it’s approved by a majority of the full House.
  • The Senate A&R Committee conducts its own budget hearings and historically makes amendments to the House budget proposal.
  • Once the Senate Committee and majority of the full Senate approve a Senate budget proposal, a conference committee consisting of select Senators and Representatives is created to work through differences in the House and Senate budget versions.
  • The Kentucky House of Representatives and Senate must both pass the new budget bill by a majority vote.
  • The Governor then receives the final budget bill and may sign the bill into law, enacting the two-year state budget.

So, what does this mean for advocates, families, and kids? It means that now is the time to stress to our leaders that the future of Kentucky depends on prosperous communities and strong families, and that our communities and the economy can only win when Kentucky kids succeed. It means that now is the time to highlight that Kentucky families are counting on their leaders to prioritize kids in the state budget.

We recognize budgets are about tough choices and priorities, and leaders must protect investments in kids.

View a full timeline of budget preparations here. View a one-pager on Kentucky state budget investments in kids here.