Abortion Procedure Ban Nears Final Passage In Kentucky

Mar 23, 2018
Stu Johnson

A bill that would prohibit a common abortion procedure after the 11th week of pregnancy is nearing final passage from the Republican-led state legislature.

House Bill 454 would ban dilation and evacuation abortions after the 11th week of pregnancy except in medical emergencies. The procedure involves dilating the cervix and removing the fetus using surgical tools and suction.

The bill passed out of the state Senate on Thursday and now returns to the House, which will consider a change made since it originally passed that chamber earlier this month.

Senate Approves Two Year Road Plan

Mar 23, 2018

The Kentucky Senate has approved the two year road plan which includes both new pavement and bridge repairs all across the Commonwealth.

EKU President Outlines Potential Budget Reductions

Mar 22, 2018

Eastern Kentucky University President Michael Benson is alerting the university community of far reaching cost saving measures now under consideration.  That could include job reductions totaling 200.

In a campus wide email, Benson said the Budget Advisory Committee was charged with coming up with a plan to deal with an anticipated $25 million budget impact over the 2019-2020 fiscal years.  He says the budget dilemma involves additional pension costs, along with projected state cuts in funding, plus decreased tuition revenues.

Senate Acts to Add Family Court Judges

Mar 22, 2018

The Kentucky Senate has adopted legislation calling for additional family court judges in needed service areas.  While the bill easily passed, there were still significant concerns expressed during floor debate.

 Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer believes more comprehensive judicial redistricting is needed. “It is my hope that we will continue to consider addressing judicial redistricting so we can provide access to justice to those growing regions of the state with dockets that are backed up as far as the eye can see,” said Thayer.

Stu Johnson

Legislation assuring that Kentucky public school students will be taught about the Holocaust has won final passage in the general assembly.  A holocaust survivor who lives in Kentucky was in attendance for the vote.  

81 year old Fred Gross was held in a concentration camp in France during World War II.  His brother, 13 years older, escaped and returned to help free captives, but Gross says they remained in hiding before making it to Switzerland. Gross remained on the floor of the Senate for the discussion and unanimous vote. 

Overhaul Of Workers’ Compensation Benefits Passes Kentucky Senate Panel

Mar 21, 2018

A bill that would overhaul the state’s workers’ compensation system continues to roll forward in the state legislature despite opposition from law enforcement and labor groups.

House Bill 2 is a top priority of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and is also supported by the Kentucky Coal Association, who say that businesses have to pay too much for workers’ compensation insurance.

Tyler White is the president of the Kentucky Coal Association.

Female Incarceration Reforms Move on to Full House

Mar 21, 2018

Legislation to bring reforms to female prisons appears headed for final passage.  The senate measure got the approval Wednesday of the House Judiciary Committee.

Louisville Senator Julie Raque Adams wanted to keep the bill narrowly focused on incarcerated women and not be expanded to include broader criminal justice reforms.

“That was really my intent all along in filing this bill is to kind of address the problems we see with females who are incarcerated and I didn’t want that message to get watered down in a bigger bill,” said Raque-Adams

Kentucky Senate Budget Keeps Most Of Bevin’s Cuts, No New Revenue

Mar 20, 2018
Stu Johnson

Republicans in the state Senate have proposed keeping most of the budget cuts sought by Gov. Matt Bevin, while rejecting House Republicans’ plan to raise about $500 million through taxes on cigarettes and pain pills.

The spending plan quickly passed out of committee Tuesday morning and passed out of the full Senate after a debate Tuesday evening.


Stu Johnson

Senate consideration of the state budget Tuesday concluded with the measure passing generally along party lines with Democrats voting against the bill and Republicans for the spending plan. The floor debate which preceded the vote featured an often-heard refrain in Frankfort. 

Youth All Terrain Vehicle Legislation Advances

Mar 20, 2018

Legislation proponents say seeks to align Kentucky’s definition and classification of youth all-terrain vehicles with federal standards is making its way through the legislature.  

Rail Traffic Could Resume at Crash Site Tuesday

Mar 19, 2018
Stu Johnson

Clean up work is moving along quickly following a two train head-on collision near Georgetown Sunday night.  While an investigation is ongoing, a Norfolk Southern Railroad Representative says rail traffic is expected to resume Tuesday.

Senate Acts on Outside Attorney Fees

Mar 19, 2018
Stu Johnson

The Kentucky Senate has acted to limit attorney fees for certain personal service contracts.  Proponents and opponents both say the change could affect taxpayers when it comes to legal action tied to opioid distribution.

The measure, approved 26 to 12 along party lines, sets standards and rules for state agencies in awarding contingency fee contracts for legal services.  Minority Floor Leader Ray Jones argued it seeks to hamstring the attorney general going after opioid manufacturers.

Trains Collide,Derail in Georgetown. 4 People Injured

Mar 19, 2018
Stu Johnson

  GEORGETOWN, Ky. (AP) — Two freight trains collided and derailed shortly before midnight, injuring four people and igniting a fire that forced nearby residents to evacuate, authorities said Monday.

Nearby residents were evacuated "out of an abundance of caution after the crash was reported at 11:14 p.m., Lexington Fire Lt. Jessica Bowman told The Associated Press. Bowman said she couldn't confirm what substance had spilled and was burning, but the people were allowed to return home once safety risks were ruled out.

Tom Martin talks with Dr. Thomas Erekson, Dean of the EKU College of Business and Technology, about a new ranking of Kentucky's business climate.

Teachers Keep Up Presence at State Capitol

Mar 19, 2018
Stu Johnson

Kentucky educators, both past and present, have been busy making a visible presence at Frankfort’s State Capitol over the past couple of weeks.  That’s likely to continue during this last full week of the 2018 session.

Senate Budget Vote On Tap for This Week

Mar 19, 2018
Stu Johnson

Members of the Kentucky Senate are expected to vote this week on a two year budget.  A vote before the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee could come as early as Tuesday.  Senate consideration of pension reforms have stalled.

WEKU’S Stu Johnson asked Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer if the biennial budget document could include pension provisions. “Nothing structural, I mean, obviously the funding of pension systems, all eight of them, is including in the budget,” said Thayer

“But nothing in the reform area?” Asked Johnson.

Stu Johnson

The Kentucky general assembly would have more say over implementation of executive orders issued by governors under a bill approved today in the state senate.

The Kentucky Senate has voted overwhelming to change the candidate filing deadline for those running for the general assembly. Proponents say it could help dispel perceptions that January is a relatively unproductive month at the state capitol.

Sports Agent Legislation Heads on to the House

Mar 16, 2018
Stu Johnson

The Kentucky Senate has passed legislation tightening the requirements under which sports agents operate in the Commonwealth.  Both the University of Louisville and University of Kentucky have been mentioned in recent FBI investigations that allege agents paid or loaned money to college basketball recruits or their families. 

Bill Sponsor Morgan McGarvey says the measure levies financial penalties following improper conduct by an agent.

Stu Johnson

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke about efforts to reduce production of opioids Thursday during a stop in Lexington.  The Trump administration A-G also met with a group of central Kentuckians who lost loved ones to opioid overdoses.

In speaking to federal and state prosecutors plus many from the law enforcement community, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions noted 64,000 Americans lost their lives to an overdose in 2016, roughly the same number as the population of Bowling Green.  

‘Compromise’ On Judicial Redistricting Seeks To Help Overworked Judges

Mar 15, 2018

Instead of tackling a comprehensive plan to reshuffle judgeships around Kentucky to alleviate overworked judges, the state legislature is poised to pass a more limited approach.

The changes would reallocate two judgeships from areas that have light caseloads and move them to areas with heavy caseloads.

Chief Justice John Minton said he would prefer more ambitious changes, but the compromise would still help courts with the most critical needs.

Senate Backs Opiate Proper Disposal Bill

Mar 15, 2018

The Kentucky Senate has approved legislation aimed at reducing the likelihood of abusing controlled substances found in the home. The bill calls on pharmacists to do more through their interaction with customers.

Stu Johnson

The leader of the state Senate said there is a “limited and difficult path forward” for the Republican plan to overhaul the state’s pension systems because there isn’t enough support among lawmakers.

Senate President Robert Stivers also said that as a result, the Senate would likely not consider a bill to provide relief to local governments from ballooning contributions into the pension systems scheduled to begin in July.

Ryland Barton

Students from across Kentucky traveled to the state Capitol to rally against gun violence as part of demonstrations that took place across the country on Wednesday.

More than 40 students from Marshall County High School made the three-and-a-half hour trip to Frankfort.

Marshall County Junior Leighton Solomon was one of several students to speak at the rally. She called on lawmakers to put politics aside and come up with solutions to school violence.

Stu Johnson

Scaled down legislation aimed at protecting certain religious organizations that don’t conduct same sex marriages emerged from the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday.

The initial bill covered a number of entities including churches and religious schools.  Martin Cothran with Kentucky’s Family Foundation says the amended bill applies solely to places of worship and their leaders.

In the wake of the January shooting at Marshall County High School, Kentucky lawmakers have advanced a bill that would require schools to employ mental health professionals to recognize symptoms of trauma in students.

Senate Approves Free Speech Measure

Mar 14, 2018

The Kentucky Senate has voted 27 to 11 in favor of free speech legislation regarding the state’s public colleges and universities.  The measure, extensively debated Tuesday afternoon requires policies ensuring the protection of freedom of speech and expression by faculty and students.  

Platooning Trucks Measure Heads to House Floor

Mar 13, 2018

Legislation to allow for commercial truck platooning along Kentucky interstates continues to move on down the general assembly ‘bill highway’.  The Senate measure prompted questions from members of the House Transportation Committee Tuesday.

The technology allows semi-trucks to be connected electronically and travel in close proximity to each other.  Pike County Representative Chris Harris asked about platooning in high traffic areas. “This seems a little bit dangerous, particularly when you are talking about in congested areas,” said Harris.


It’s a new week in Frankfort, but the same issue -pensions- was heard inside and outside the capitol. Tension continued Monday over pension reform.

Stu Johnson

Term limit related legislation fell one vote shy of approval in the House Elections, Constitutional Amendments, and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee.  The measure, calling for a constitutional amendment and voter referendum, limits members in both the House and Senate to 16 years, starting with this fall’s election.