Kenny Colston, KPR-Frankfort

KPR Statehouse Bureau Chief

Pages

5:47pm

Wed January 25, 2012
State Capitol

Discussion of Eliminating State Treasurer

A measure to eliminate the office of the Kentucky Treasurer is working its way through the General Assembly again. Republicans and third party candidates have discussed eliminating the constitutional office for more than four years. GOP Senator Damon Thayer got a constitutional amendment doing so passed out of his chamber in 2008, but the measure later died.

Read more

5:41pm

Wed January 25, 2012
State Capitol

Safety Measure for Buggies Passed

A proposal to allow more safety options for religious groups that operate buggies is making its way through the General Assembly. Senate Bill 75 unanimously passed committee today. It allows for one-inch reflective tape to be placed on buggies instead of a state-mandated reflective triangle. The change comes after many Amish in western Kentucky have been sent to jail for refusing to place the triangles on their buggies. State Senator Ken Winters, the bill sponsor, says the legislature must look out for the safety of everyone on the road.

Read more

2:41pm

Wed January 25, 2012
State Capitol

State Treasurer's Fate Debated, Undecided

A measure to eliminate the office of the Kentucky Treasurer is working its way through the General Assembly again. Republicans and third party candidates have discussed eliminating the constitutional office for more than four years. GOP Senator Damon Thayer got a constitutional amendment doing so passed out of his chamber in 2008, but the measure later died.

Read more

1:20pm

Wed January 25, 2012
State Capitol

Compromise Over Amish Buggies Sought

A proposal to allow more safety options for religious groups that operate buggies is making its way through the General Assembly. Senate Bill 75 unanimously passed committee today. It allows for one-inch reflective tape to be placed on buggies instead of a state-mandated reflective triangle.

Read more

2:42pm

Tue January 24, 2012
Education

Charter School Supporters Ask Unions to Stand Aside

Advocates for charter schools in Kentucky took their cause to Frankfort today. A handful of organizations support charter schools. One of the most vocal has been the Black Alliance for Educational Opportunities or BAEO. Its national president, Kenneth Campbell, helped lead the rally for charter schools at the Capitol. And he told the crowd Kentucky’s education system doesn’t serve all students equally.

Read more

9:56am

Tue January 24, 2012
State Capitol

Charter School Boosters Smell Opportunity

Sensing their time is coming, advocates of charter schools in Kentucky are doubling down on their efforts. One such group, Kentuckians for Reform in Education, or KARE, is out with their second TV advertisement supporting charter schools. KARE is run by former Louisville mayoral candidate Hal Heiner, and the ad is running statewide on network and cable TV. It follows an advertising pushfrom the beginning of this month. 

Read more

7:01am

Tue January 24, 2012
State Capitol

Worries of Small Kentucky Pharmacies

For only the second time in its history, a Kentucky legislative committee will issue subpoenas...This time over Medicaid managed care and locally-owned pharmacies. The Program Review and Investigations Committee voted today to authorize subpoenas to Kentucky’s three new managed care providers over reimbursement rates to independent pharmacies. Passport, based in Louisville, is exempt from the subpoena.

Read more

10:09pm

Mon January 23, 2012
State Capitol

Congressional Redistricting Talks Break Down

Talks have broken down over new Congressional redistricting lines, Kentucky lawmakers say. A conference committee tasked with reach a compromise on new federal districts had no discussions over the weekend or today. And House Speaker Greg Stumbo says both the House and Senate are blaming each other for the lack of progress.

Read more

10:03pm

Mon January 23, 2012
State Capitol

Lawmakers Issue Rare Subpoenas

For only the second time in its history, a Kentucky legislative committee will issue subpoenas...This time over Medicaid managed care and locally-owned pharmacies. The Program Review and Investigations Committee voted today to authorize subpoenas to Kentucky’s three new managed care providers over reimbursement rates to independent pharmacies. Passport, based in Louisville, is exempt from the subpoena.

Read more

2:35pm

Mon January 23, 2012
State Capitol

Higher Drop-Out Ages Likely

After years of trying, a proposal to raise Kentucky’s school dropout age could be on track to becoming law. The measure is a key part of Governor Steve Beshear’s legislative agenda. But every year it has died in the state Senate as critics say the bill isn’t enough to help uninterested students.

Read more

11:53am

Mon January 23, 2012
State Capitol

GOP Judge Enters Race for Congress

What’s expected to be a crowded race to replace Congressman Geoff Davis now has its first official candidate. Republican Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore filed his paperwork with the Secretary of State’s office today, the first candidate to do so. Two other Republicans, Lewis County Judge-Executive Thomas Massie and State Representative Alecia Webb-Edgington are also expected to file to run.

Read more

5:37am

Mon January 23, 2012
State Capitol

Romney Files for Kentucky Primary

Kentucky’s presidential primary is months away and tends to serve little purpose in selecting a major party nominee. But that doesn’t mean the event is being ignored.  At least one presidential hopeful is in front of the pack in Kentucky: Mitt Romney. The Republican frontrunner is the only candidate to have filed to run in the state's primary so far.  Romney qualified for the ballot by showing he qualified in more than twenty other states, which is one of four ways Kentucky allows presidential ballot access

Read more

4:27pm

Fri January 20, 2012
State Capitol

Bright Spots in Budget Plan

Kentucky’s latest budget proposal appears to be all doom and gloom, but that’s not entirely the case.
Governor Steve Beshear did propose deep cuts to many state agencies in this year’s budget. But he also left some funds available for bright spots. Two appropriations Beshear made were for free colon cancer screenings for the uninsured and to create an adult abuse registry.

Read more

3:12pm

Fri January 20, 2012
State Capitol

Legislative and Judicial Lines Signed Into Law

 Governor Steve Beshear has signed new legislative and judicial districts into law, ending one part of Kentucky's redistricting fight.  There was pressure on the governor not to sign House Bill 1 because it leaves state Senator Kathy Stein of Lexington without a seat for two years.  In a statement, Beshear denounced the Senate’s decision to move Stein’s district, but he did not criticize the state House for any political lines it drew.

Read more

2:09pm

Fri January 20, 2012
State Capitol

New Congressional Boundaries on Hold

Kentucky’s congressional delegation will have to wait a little longer to find out who exactly they’ll represent this year.  Legislative leaders are trying to work out a compromise on new congressional redistricting maps, having already passed maps of their own districts and their own versions of the congressional map. The congressional map is currently in a conference committee, but the chambers adjourned today with no compromise in hand. The committee will meet again on Monday.

Read more

8:41am

Fri January 20, 2012
State Capitol

State Ag Commissioner on Industrial Hemp

New Agriculture Commissioner James Comer has made industrial hemp his first legislative priority.
Comer, a Republican, has enlisted the help of two Democratic representatives and one Democratic senator to file a bill to legalize the crop in each chamber. A former state representative himself, Comer says many myths about industrial hemp are starting to fade, and farmers are looking to it as a replacement for tobacco, which is waning.

Read more

3:45pm

Thu January 19, 2012
State Capitol

Statewide Smoking Ban Proposed

Kentucky has once again received a bad grade for lung health from the American Lung Association.
“Kentucky received all F’s, again," says Barry Gottschalk of the ALA's Kentucky chapter.  The announcement was made today, at the same time that state Representative Susan Westrom of Lexington filed her bill to institute a statewide smoking ban. Westrom’s bill has the support of the lung association and business leaders across the Commonwealth.  Currently only major urban areas like Louisville, Lexington and Bowling Green and other urban counties have smoking bans in place

Read more

3:33pm

Thu January 19, 2012
State Capitol

Final Legislative Action on Boundaries

New legislative and judicial districts are just a signature away from becoming law. The General Assembly has given final approval to House Bill 1, sending the new maps to the governor’s desk.  The battle over redistricting has been brutal. It ended with members of the minority parties in each chamber drawn into unfavorable districts.

Read more

3:14pm

Wed January 18, 2012
Health and Welfare

Tax Checkoff to Fight Breast Cancer

Kentucky lawmakers are encouraging the public to give money to breast cancer research by checking box 36 on their tax returns. A coalition of Democratic and Republican lawmakers, along with First Lady Jane Beshear, held a news conference today to remind citizens of the state fund, which was created in 2005.  “If just half of [Kentucky's 1.8 million] taxpayers donated ten dollars to the fund each year, 9.1 million dollars could be raised annually," says Representative Joni Jenkins, a major sponsor of the announcement.

Read more

5:47am

Wed January 18, 2012
State Capitol

Stumbo Reacts to Beshear's Budget

House Speaker Greg Stumbo says he expects to change little of Governor Steve Beshear’s budget this session. Speaking to reporters after Beshear gave his budget address Tuesday night, Stumbo said times are tough, and there's little the governor could change in his proposal to please lawmakers.

Read more

8:19pm

Tue January 17, 2012
State Capitol

Governor Beshear's Budget Plan

Governor Steve Beshear predicted his next state budget would be bleak. Now, many state agencies are being told to cut another 8.4 percent of their budgets for the next two years.  That means some agencies will have taken cuts of up to 38 percent during Beshear's term as governor. The hardest hit are the Labor and Finance cabinets. Universities are cut 6.4 percent, but the KEES program that funds scholarships is fully funded. State police are cut 2.2 percent. But the budget is not all bad. The governor proposes almost $8 million in funding for a substance abuse program in Medicaid for fiscal years 2013 and 2014. The budget also includes $1 million for colon cancer screenings for the uninsured. That will be matched by $1 million in private donations.

Read more

5:56pm

Tue January 17, 2012
State Capitol

Dropout Bill Moves in a House Committee

One of Governor Steve Beshear’s main priorities is once again making its way throughKentucky’s General Assembly. A bill sponsored by state Representative Jeff Greer would gradually raise the school dropout age from 16 to 18 by 2017.  The bill has been received very well in the Democratic-controlled House in the past two session. But the state Senate has killed the bill each time, saying it doesn’t account for extra expenses or provide alternative means of education.  The governor signaled his favorability toward technical education as an alternative in his state of the Commonwealth address. But Greer told the House Education Committee that he believes raising the dropout age and dealing with technical education should be separate issues

Read more

4:55am

Mon January 16, 2012
State Capitol

Redistricting Fallout

Last week's redistricting battles may increase the partisanship in the Kentucky General Assembly. That’s what the Republican House Leader Jeff Hoover told his peers on the House floor after that chamber passed new district lines unfavorable to Republicans.  Issues such as the budget and making the University of Pikeville a public institution are still on the table for lawmakers, but Hoover says when a House Democrat asked him about the UPIKE issue, he wanted to laugh it off.

Read more

5:39pm

Thu January 12, 2012
State Capitol

New House Boundaries

After two hours of heated debate, the Kentucky House of Representatives has approved new district lines. House Bill 1 passed 63-34 with only two representatives not voting.  Many Republicans took to the floor to argue against the plan, calling it ugly politics. There are nine Republican members who will have to run against one another under the new redistricting map, and nearly all of them took to the floor to argue against the bill. But House Speaker Greg Stumbo, a Democrat, maintained there aren’t any malicious ideas behind the new plan.

Read more

3:23pm

Thu January 12, 2012
State Capitol

Proposed Amendment Would Restrict Debt

Sen. Joe Bowen -- photo by LRC Public Information

A proposed constitutional amendment that would restrict how much debt the Commonwealth can carry took its first steps in Frankfort Wednesday. The amendment is sponsored by state Sen. Joe Bowen, a Republican from Owensboro. It caps state spending to six percent of annual revenue. Currently, the state has spent 6.3% more than it has taken in. The measure passed the Senate State and Local Government committee today.

Read more

2:52pm

Thu January 12, 2012
Health and Welfare

More Testimoney on Ways to Stop Meth

Officials from outside of Kentucky are encouraging state lawmakers not to repeat their missteps in the fight against meth.  At a joint meeting of the House and Senate Judiciary committees, officials from Oklahoma and Mississippi testified about how they've restricted the purchase of pseudoephedrine (PSE)—a common decongestant in cold medicines and an integral ingredient in meth.

Read more

5:28pm

Wed January 11, 2012
State Capitol

Capping Debt in Kentucky

A new constitutional amendment that restricts how much debt the Commonwealth can carry took it’s first steps in Frankfort today.  The amendment is sponsored by state Sen. Joe Bowen, a Republican from Owensboro. It caps state spending to six percent of annual revenue.Currently, the state has spent 6.3 percent more than it has taken in. The measure passed the Senate State and Local Government committee today.

Read more

3:12pm

Wed January 11, 2012
State Capitol

House Seat Redistricting

A plan to redraw all 100 Kentucky House districts is being pegged as unfair to Republicans because it forces up to nine GOP incumbents to run against each other.  The plan cleared the State Government Committee today despite complaints from Republicans.

Read more

4:03pm

Tue January 10, 2012
All Politics are Local

House Approves Congressional Redistricting Map

The Kentucky House has approved a plan that would drastically alter the state’s current congressional districts. The plan passed 54-42, almost entirely along party lines. Only two Democrats—state Representative Ben Nelson and former House Speaker Jody Richards—voted against the new map. The proposal would cut out the eastern edge of the 4th Congressional District and extend it south to Nelson County, even picking up some of Jefferson County in the process. The 6th District is pulled in multiple directions across Central Kentucky. And the 2nd District shoots north into Central and Eastern Kentucky.

Read more

1:31pm

Tue January 10, 2012
State Capitol

Billboards on School Buses

With education a prime target for budget cuts, Kentucky state lawmakers are looking for new ways to fund schools. State Representatives Brad Montell, a Shelbyville Republican and Terry Mills, a Lebanon Democrat, have teamed up on a bill that would allow advertising on school buses. The bill was first introduced last session, but didn't make it out of the Senate.

Read more

Pages