Kenny Colston, KPR-Frankfort

KPR Statehouse Bureau Chief

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12:15pm

Tue January 10, 2012
State Capitol

Teacher Evaluations Could Include Student Performance

House Education Chairman Carl Rollins, D-Midway, is once again trying to reform how Kentucky’s teachers are evaluated. The latest incarnation of Rollins’ idea is House Bill 40, which the committee passed Tuesday morning. The legislation would create a statewide teacher evaluation system run by the state Department of Education starting in the 2013 school year.

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10:51am

Tue January 10, 2012
State Capitol

House Might Vote on Charter Schools

A vote on legislation that would allow charter schools may finally have it’s day in the Kentucky state House education committee. House Education Chairman Carl Rollins says he’s considering allowing a charter school bill to receive a hearing and a vote in his committee this session. That’s been unheard of since Rollins assumed the chair of that committee.

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2:23pm

Mon January 9, 2012
State Capitol

New Gambling Plan may Surface this Week

It could be only a matter of days before Governor Steve Beshear unveils his plan for a constitutional amendment for expanded gambling. The governor has been in talks for weeks with Democratic and Republicans lawmakers about how to word the amendment to ensure it’s passed. In the Senate that means getting help from Republican state Senator Damon Thayer of Georgetown.

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11:52am

Mon January 9, 2012
State Capitol

Pseudoephedrine Fight Resumes in Kentucky Senate

The fight over making pseudoephedrine available only by prescription is heating up again in the Kentucky legislature. The state Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to take up the bill on Thursday morning. Last week, senators made passionate speeches on the chamber floor in favor of the bill. The idea is supported by most of Senate leadership, as well as Kentucky State Police. But the Consumer Healthcare Products Association says the bill is too restrictive on the average family.

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12:01am

Mon January 9, 2012
State Capitol

Williams Speaks Softly about Tax Commission

Senate President David Williams is staying out of the mud when it comes to commenting on Governor Steve Beshear’s new tax commission. Williams proposed his own commission last legislative session. It would have included tax experts, economists and others and charged them with completely re-writing Kentucky's tax code. The new tax code would then be subjected to an up or down vote in each chamber of the General Assembly.

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12:01am

Mon January 9, 2012
State Capitol

Unhappy Democrats Delay Redistricting Vote

The Kentucky House of Representatives has hit a road block in drawing new district lines for state lawmakers. After planning to release and vote on a new House redistricting map first thing this week, chamber leaders had to delay a committee meeting until at least Tuesday.

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12:01am

Mon January 9, 2012
State Capitol

Details Slow House Action on UPIKE

An attempt to add the University of Pikeville to the commonwealth’s public university system has slowed amid a flurry of technical questions. House Speaker Greg Stumbo is leading the attempt to make the private UPIKE Kentucky’s ninth state university. If UPIKE is accepted into the state system, the commonwealth would control all of the school's assets, including campus property. But former Kentucky Governor and current UPIKE President Paul Patton wants to know if the university will get the assets back if state funding falls through.

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10:56am

Fri January 6, 2012
State Capitol

Discussion Over College Graduation Rates

A state Senator from Louisville has come under fire for trying to legislate that the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville play each other in basketball and football. Democratic Senator Tim Shaughnessy has filed a bill that includes language that requires UK and U of L to play each other every year. But Shaughnessy says that’s not the point of his bill.

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8:11am

Fri January 6, 2012
State Capitol

Stivers Calls Senate to Task, Demands Meth Crackdown

A push to crack down on drug abuse in Kentucky’ has re-opened old disputes in the state Senate. Governor Steve Beshear has promised to propose comprehensive anti-drug legislation this session. One Republican senator, Robert Stivers of Manchester, says he agrees with the governor’s plan, but wants to add one provision. Stivers wants a bill that would make pseudoephedrine—a key part of over-the-counter cold medicines and meth production—available by prescription-only to pass the General Assembly as well.

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10:13pm

Thu January 5, 2012
State Capitol

Budget Ax will Swing Freely this Session

No Kentucky state agencies or budget line items are safe this year, according to House Budget Chairman Rick Rand. In the past few budgets, education funding has been largely protected from cuts. But now, there’s little left to trim in many state agencies, leaving everything on the table. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has warned that pending cuts to the state budget will be painful. Beshear hasn't given any indication of how painful the cuts will be, but Rand has an idea.

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10:11pm

Thu January 5, 2012
State Capitol

House Makes 1st Attempt at Redistricting

The Kentucky House of Representatives took the first step toward passing new redistricting maps today. The House State Government Committee passed a new congressional district map penned by House Speaker Greg Stumbo. The map would put Owensboro in the 1st District and Ashland in the 5th District. It also splits seven counties: Jefferson, Jessamine, Allen, Whitley, Pulaksi, Bullitt and Scott.

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9:36pm

Thu January 5, 2012
State Capitol

Blue Ribbon Commission to Examine Tax Reform

After weeks of hinting about tax reform, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has provided some details. The governor announced the creation of a blue ribbon tax commission tonight in Lexington and the annual Chamber Day dinner put on by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

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11:09pm

Wed January 4, 2012
State Capitol

Lawmakers Await Speech's Fine Print

Governor Steve Beshear’s chief legislative rival is still waiting to see the meat of the governor’s 2012 legislative agenda. After the governor’s annual State of the Commonwealth address, Republican Senate President David Williams told reporters he gives Beshear credit for delivering a “pleasant speech,” but he’s still waiting to hear the details on proposals like expanded gambling, tax reform and other important issues to the governor.

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4:20pm

Wed January 4, 2012
Education

Education Groups Want Increased Funding

As Kentucky faces it’s most difficult budget yet, a new education coalition is calling for even more early education funding. The Kentucky Education Action Team is made up of well-know education associations, including the Kentucky Education Association and groups representing administratiors, teachers, parents and school boards and councils. In a news conference in the Capitol Rotunda today, they made a case for an increase in SEEK funding back to 2008 levels.

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3:57pm

Wed January 4, 2012
All Politics are Local

Moment of Silence for Galbraith

Lexington native and frequent political candidate Gatewood Galbraith never held elected office, despite his multiple attempts at landing jobs in Kentucky's Capitol. But today, legislators in both chambers took a moment to remember Galbraith, the so-called pernennial candidate to Kentucky's pernennial problems. Galbraith passed away last night from complications related to emphysema.

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2:51pm

Wed January 4, 2012
State Capitol

More Early Education Funding Sought

As Kentucky faces it’s most difficult budget yet, a new education coalition is calling for even more early education funding. The Kentucky Education Action Team is made up of well-know education associations, including the Kentucky Education Association and groups representing administratiors, teachers, parents and school boards and councils. In a news conference in the Capitol Rotunda today, they made a case for an increase in SEEK funding back to 2008 levels.

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6:49am

Wed January 4, 2012
State Capitol

Leaders say 2012 Session has Potential

The 2012 Kentucky General Assembly is starting its 60-day budget session with a laundry list of issues to work out. The highlights are obvious: gambling, the budget, and redrawing congressional districts. Lawmakers must also figure out how to shore up the state's unemployment insurance and deal with Medicaid managed care problems. And there are always pet projects, like the debate over pseudophedrine, various constitutional amendments and more.

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4:31pm

Tue January 3, 2012
Education

Leading Democrat Now Open to Charter Schools

Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo says he’s interested in hearing more about charter schools after a new group launched TV ads in support of the reform Tuesday morning. Shelbyville Republican Brad Montell has introduced legislation into the house allowing charter schools over the past several years. And supporters in the state Senate have filed and passed bills in that chamber. All the measures have died in the House. But Stumbo says this could be the year that breaks the pattern.

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10:32am

Tue January 3, 2012
State Capitol

Charter School Proponents Push Hard this Session

The debate over charter schools is one Kentucky educators and legislators have heard and argued over for the last several years. But supporters of the education reform feel one party left out of those discussions is ready to be brought into the fold. A newly formed group called Kentuckians Advocating Reforms in Education(KARE) is launching TV ad buys across the commonwealth today to educate the general public about charter schools. KARE has spent $8,950 to air the ad on WLKY in Louisville. Former Metro Councilman and Republican mayoral candidate Hal Heiner is the group’s chairman.

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