Kenny Colston, KPR-Frankfort

KPR Statehouse Bureau Chief

A bill moving Medicaid managed care late payments to the Department of Insurance's review process has overwhelmingly passed the state House. House Bill 5 passed 99-0 off the floor, after a few technical amendments were added to it. House Speaker Greg Stumbo is the bill sponsor and says his goal is to make sure health care providers start getting paid by Medicaid managed care organizations, which has been a problem since the MCO system was implemented.

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The state pension system would not transition to a hybrid 401K-style plan in an amended version of the pension reform bill. The amended bill also only allows plans to set up a new 11-person committee to provide direct oversight over the pension systems. And cost of living adjustments are no longer banned under the bill, but can only be allowed if there is a surplus in the retirement systems or if lawmakers prepay for the expense.

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Kentucky persistently low-achieving schools would be able to become charter schools to improve performance and test scores under a bill discussed Tuesday in the state Senate Education Committee.  The charter schools bill adds charters a a fifth option for what the state now calls "priority schools—schools that persistently get low scores.  The current options include re-staffing of teachers, firing the principal, giving the school up to outside management or closing the schools.

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A bill addressing problems with last year's prescription pill mill bill has cleared the House Judiciary Committee. House Speaker Greg Stumbo is sponsoring the bill, which reduces some tough regulations that followed the pill mill bill.  The legislation, House Bill 217, requires hospitals and long term care facilities to still pull KASPER reports, but lessens other regulations on them

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A bill  moving Medicaid late payment claims to the Department of Insurance appears to have some support in the state Senate. House Bill 5 would take prompt pay issues with the Medicaid managed care system and put it through the Insurance Department's current claims process. Currently, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services deal with late claims.

State Rep. Sannie Overly has filed a bill that will allow the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to explore public-private partnerships to help construction projects with big price tags.  The bill doesn't specifically name any projects, but Kentucky currently has multiple instances where the bill could help work start, namely the Brent Spence Bridge in Northern Kentucky and Interstate 69 in western Kentucky.

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Six Kentucky's public universities can immediately start construction on more than $300 million in construction or renovation projects, including a $110-million renovation of Lexington's Commonwealth Stadium. Governor Steve Beshear signed House Bill 7 into law on Thursday.

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Ashley Judd—the actress and potential Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate—will meet soon to with Gov. Steve Beshear to discuss the 2014 election, Beshear said on Thursday. Judd has been meeting with potential donors and supporters in the past several weeks, including some in Louisville, the Hill reports.

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House Speaker Greg Stumbo's bill that would transfer late payments claims in Medicaid managed care has cleared its first committee. The legislation moves dealing with late payment issues between health care providers and managed care organizations to the Department of Insurance's third party system. Currently, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services deals with those issues—but how those issues are dealt with has become a major issue in Kentucky's managed care system.

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Kentucky military personnel could get their election ballots electronically—but the ballots would have to be printed and returned to county clerks via snail mail, under changes made to a bill Thursday in a state Senate committee meeting.

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A bill allowing most of Kentucky's public universities to start more than $360 million in bonding projects has officially cleared both legislative chambers. The Senate passed the bill 36-1 today, with Sen. John Schickel, a Union Republican, as the lone dissenting vote. 

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Kentucky's governor and other statewide constitutional officers would be elected in the same year as presidential elections under a bill approved Wednesday in a state Senate committee. Without a change, statewide constitutional officers—including the secretary of state, state auditor and others—would be next up for election in 2015. 

Kentucky Habitat for Humanity

Joined by Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson, the Kentucky Habitat for Humanity foundation celebrated their 20th year of service in the commonwealth with a Capitol rally. Founded in 1993, Kentucky Habitat for Humanity works with affiliations across the state to build homes in much needed areas. They also have helped rebuild West Liberty and other affected areas from the March 2012 tornadoes.

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Kentucky's agriculture leaders are supporting a new five year strategic plan to help the industry in the state. The plan, put together by the Kentucky Agriculture Council, puts emphasis on agriculture education, creating new markets and recruiting new people to farming.

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Gov. Steve Beshear says he's a fan of Instant Racing for Kentucky's horse racing tracks—but he's not sure if legalizing the gambling format would be used to fund the state's struggling pension system. Meanwhile, Beshear said casino gambling is not happening this year.

Kentucky Legislative Commission

Kentucky House leaders are moving ahead with addressing redistricting this session—despite hesitation from the Senate and pleas from the governor. The regional caucuses are still working on their areas when it comes to redistricting, House Speaker Greg Stumbo said.

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