Kentucky Politics Distilled: Clash of the Governors

Feb 12, 2016
Kentucky LRC

This week in Kentucky politics, former Gov. Steve Beshear returned to confront current Gov. Matt Bevin over health care, lawmakers took another crack at the local option sales tax and, once again, anti-abortion legislation maneuvered its way through the General Assembly.

State Senate Leader Blasts Management of Kentucky Horse Park

Feb 12, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News


The Senate Majority Leader is calling for a performance audit of the Kentucky Horse Park.  Senator Damon Thayer is proposing legislation to alter the make up of the Kentucky Horse Park Commission.

Floor Leader Damon Thayer brought to light his concerns during a speech to members.  “Things are not as good as they seem at the Kentucky Horse Park,” said Thayer.

Kentucky’s House Health and Welfare Committee has voted to make it illegal to sell tobacco and vapor products to anyone under age 21.  The current legal age to purchase cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or electronic cigarettes is 18.  Bill Sponsor David Watkins of Henderson believes raising the legal age would reduce tobacco related illnesses.  “If we could get people to get a little bit older before they start smoking, then the odds are there would be a lot less of them who actually start smoking,” said Watkins.

As part of his proposed budget cuts, Republican Gov. Matt Bevin exempted what he considered to be key government services. Not protected: The government agencies charged with holding him and his administration accountable.

Investigators: Bluegrass Stockyard Fire Accidental

Feb 12, 2016
Matt Goins / Lexington Herald Leader

Lexington Division of Fire and Emergency Services investigators say the January 30 fire at the Bluegrass Stockyards was accidental and not the result of any criminal intent or conduct.

“Our investigation is continuing, but we are ready to rule the cause of the fire accidental,” said Interim Fire Chief Harold Hoskins.

In a Friday morning news release, officials said the preliminary investigation indicates the fire was started accidentally by construction workers who were working on the Stockyards’ roof. Investigators say a construction worker was using a circular saw to cut metal roofing, which generated sparks that ignited combustible materials.

Legislation to revamp how academic standards are set in public elementary, middle, and high schools is headed to the Kentucky Senate. The measure is one of this year’s top priorities for senate republicans.

Stu Johnson / WEKU News

University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto says his school is an economic engine that deserves more, not less.  Capilouto testified Thursday before the House Budget Review Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education.  Governor Bevin is proposing a 4.5% cut for the current year, and 9% over the next two years. Capilouto says the reductions would impact the gains UK has made.  “These cuts will have a chilling effect on our momentum," Capilouto said. "And we can’t simply absorb these cuts, even with our size."

Former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear says he is starting an advocacy group to oppose Republican Gov. Matt Bevin's plans to dismantle Kynect and scale back the state's Medicaid expansion.

Beshear is scheduled to announce "Save Kentucky Healthcare" during two events Thursday. In a news release, Beshear said he is troubled by Bevin's plans to roll back what he called Kentucky's nation-leading progress in improving the health of its people.

Legislation calling for two separate marriage license forms at Kentucky county clerk’s offices has won the backing of a senate committee.  The proposal comes five months after Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.  Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer says his republican led chamber has given thoughtful consideration to the issue.  “We made this one of our priority bills, Senate Bill 5. And you would have thought, ‘Oh they’re gonna rush that bill through and try to get it down to the House,’” said Thayer.  “We did exactly the o

Blue Grass Stockyards Ready to Move Forward with Rebuild

Feb 10, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

The chief operating officer of the Blue Grass Stockyards is expecting a thorough cleanup of fire debris at the Lexington site to begin in earnest very soon.  Jim Akers appeared before the House Agriculture Committee Wednesday to discuss the massive blaze that destroyed the 70 year old livestock auction complex in late January. 


Eastern Standard

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