2017

With hopes of passing a charter schools bill out of the legislature by the end of the day, the Senate Education Committee Wednesday approved last-minute changes to a bill that would allow the organizations to open up across the state.

Gov. Matt Bevin showed up to the committee to once again throw his support behind the bill.

“It’s hard for me to imagine that it’s needing a debate at this point,” Bevin said. “This idea that some would say ‘well we’re not ready, we haven’t had time, we haven’t studied it.’ Really?”

Kentucky.com

The state Department of Alcohol Beverage Control is implementing monthly alcohol serving classes across the state aimed at creating a consistent training schedule as the number of wet counties grows.

The Server Training in Alcohol Regulations or STAR classes are for ABC licensees and their employees.  Classes are intended for people who serve or sell alcoholic beverages.  They'll be held monthly at state park venues.  Alcoholic Beverage Control Commissioner Christine Trout said the training is not state mandated.

LRC.GOV

Disabled veterans who own small businesses would be advised of state contracts under legislation before the state Senate. The measure, sponsored by Owensboro Representative DJ Johnson, passed out of the Senate Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection Committee last week.

“When there’s a small purchase contract bid going out, the agencies will be requested, or actually required, to have at least one disabled veteran small business owner bid on that contract, if there’s one available.”

Kentucky.com

Women in Kentucky with so-called dense breast tissue would be notified of that under legislation before state lawmakers aimed at improving early detection of breast cancer.

The Senate Health and Welfare Committee heard testimony saying 40 percent of women have dense breast tissue.  It’s described as breasts with more of such tissue than fatty tissue.  Bill sponsor Jim Duplessis said these women are twice as likely to develop breast cancer. 

Proposal for Adoption Task Force Before Ky Senate

Mar 13, 2017
Kentucky.gov

Kentucky lawmakers are being asked to establish an adoption task force,  the proposed legislation is awaiting action in the state Senate.

House Majority Caucus Chair David Meade said the panel would work to modify the adoption process in Kentucky.  He said it took 3-years for he and his wife to adopt their daughter.  The Stanford lawmaker said it’s very expensive and requires a lot of redundant paperwork.


A controversial bill that would change the way local school districts assign students to schools is running out of time as lawmakers close in on the final four working days of the General Assembly.

The bill would give priority to students who live closest to schools — and would likely mean the end of Louisville’s anti-segregation program designed to mingle students from different races, backgrounds and parts of town in the same schools.

Bill Aims To Reduce Student Athlete Concussions

Mar 9, 2017
Kentucky.com

Kentucky lawmakers are considering steps to reduce concussion-related complications for student-athletes with a bill passed unanimously out of the Senate Education Committee Thursday.

Kentucky.com

A bill changing the mine inspection requirements emerged from the Senate Natural Resources Committee Wednesday. The measure offers flexibility to the State Division of Mine Safety in carrying out its inspection duties. Charles Snavely, Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary, explained the bill.

“The proposed statute maintains the six required inspections annually, but it allows the division, actually the commissioner, to replace up to three of those inspections with mine safety analyst visits.” 

Kentucky.com

The Kentucky House voted 77 to 18 in favor of a school calendar bill offering districts an option for when class begin after summer break.


Kentucky.com

The Kentucky Senate has added emergency first responders to the list of protected groups when it comes to hate crimes with a as 33 to 5 vote after much debate on the Senate floor Tuesday.


Kentuckytourism.Gov

Two state legislative resolutions calling for a national constitutional convention got a hearing Monday in Frankfort.  Elections, Constitutional Amendments, and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee Chair Kenny Imes told the packed room no vote would come this session, but the issue would be studied over the next year. 

 Bowling Green Representative Jim DeCesare’s resolution contains balanced budget and state’s rights language.

Eku.edu

Proposed legislation that would institute performance-based funding for public universities and community colleges is now on its way to the floor of the Kentucky House not without an unsuccessful effort Tuesday to make changes in the budget committee.

Damon Thayer

A bill doubling the individual campaign contribution limit in Kentucky continues to move through the General Assembly, emerging from the House Elections, Constitutional Amendments, and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee Monday.

Bill Aims To Reduce Deer Damage

Mar 7, 2017
Kentucky.com

The House is being asked to urge the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife to take steps to help reduce deer-related property or vehicle damage in certain regions of the Commonwealth, after the Senate passed a bill Friday.


'Religious Expression Bill' Moving Forward

Mar 6, 2017
Kentucky.com

The so-called “Freedom of Religious Expression” bill is before Kentucky House members and likely to get a vote this week after winning overwhelming approval in the Senate.

Senate Bill 17 spells out permission for school students to voluntarily express religious or political viewpoints in school assignments or during school activities.   Elizabethtown Representative Tim Moore carried the bill in the House Education Committee.

After a lengthy debate and rushed legislative process, the state House of Representatives has passed a charter schools bill. The measure passed 56-39.

The legislation now heads to the state Senate, where it’s expected to pass.

Under the bill, private organizations and community members can apply to open up a charter school. Local school districts and the mayors of Lexington and Louisville would be charged with approving or denying the charters, though denials could be appealed to the state board of education.

With the clock ticking on this year’s General Assembly, a charter schools bill will be given its first hearing in a legislative committee on Friday and House Speaker Jeff Hoover said the measure will likely be heard on the House Floor for a potential vote later in the day.

Hoover said he’s confident the bill will pass despite past disagreements among Republicans over crucial parts of the legislation.

Stu Johnson

The so called "Blue Lives Matter" bill  to include police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians in Kentucky’s hate crime statute is on its way to the full Senate. The measure easily passed out of the Senate State and Local Government Committee Wednesday.

If the legislation is enacted, anyone who attacks first responders could face an additional finding of a hate crime.  It would give judges and parole boards discretion when it comes to denying probation in those crimes.

Kentucky.com

A Kentucky House bill that would prohibit shock probation in the case of fatal accidents caused by driving under the influence is heading for a vote in the full Senate.

Bill sponsor Robert Benvenuti told the Judiciary Committee Wednesday that Kentucky is one of six states that allows shock probation in such DUI cases.


Kentucky.com

Proposed legislation regarding solar energy was passed over during a legislative meeting Tuesday. The bill concerned with net metering was scheduled to be heard in the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee.


Nuclear Waste Bill Passes In Kentucky Senate

Mar 2, 2017
Kentucky.com

Proponents of nuclear power are hoping the seventh time is a charm at Kentucky's capitol.  The state Senate voted Wednesday to lift a moratorium preventing the storage of nuclear waste in the commonwealth. 

That action is viewed as opening the door to future nuclear reactor construction. Bill sponsor Danny Carrol admits, even with passage of this bill, such a project could be a decade away.


Hemp Bill Could Triple Kentucky Production

Mar 2, 2017
Kentucky.com

The Kentucky Senate voted Tuesday to make modifications to the state’s growing industrial hemp research program.

State Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said the aim is to better align Kentucky’s hemp effort with federal research exemptions.  Quarles said that could put Kentucky growers in a solid position if the federal government approves broader hemp production.


Bill Could Increase Food Bank Donations

Mar 2, 2017
Kentucky Association of Food Banks

A legislative effort to expand primarily retail and farmer donations to Kentucky food banks is one step away from general assembly approval.  The House bill won backing from the Senate Agriculture Committee Tuesday. 

Kentucky Association of Food Banks Director Tamara Sandberg said the bill ensures donors don’t face liability issues when making food donations.  She said it affects grocery retailers and individual growers.

“This bill also establishes and clarifies that the farmers would not be liable, unless there is intentional misconduct, for any of the food that they allow volunteers to come pick in their fields,” she said.

A bill that would separate the relatively healthy retirement fund for local governments from one of the state’s ailing pension systems is dead — despite a push from local officials.

Gov. Matt Bevin announced on Thursday that he has asked bill sponsor Sen. Joe Bowen to pause the legislation.

“The most critical thing is to make sure we get this right,” Bevin said.

Bowen said he still supports the bill and argued that tabling it now would help its chances in the future.

A bill that would centralize Kentucky’s driver’s licensing program and bring the state into compliance with federal ID card rules has received initial approval from a legislative committee.

The General Assembly needs to pass the bill in order to meet stricter REAL ID standards passed by Congress more than a decade ago.

If lawmakers don’t pass the legislation, starting June 6, Kentuckians will have to bring additional identification — like a passport — in order to access military bases.

Kentucky.com

A county clerk in Kentucky is backing legislation aimed at reducing the number of special elections across the 120 counties supporting a measure approved Monday by the House Election, Constitutional Amendments, and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee.

Bill Would Deny Shock Probation In Fatal DUI Cases

Feb 27, 2017
Kentucky.com

 

The Kentucky House is expected to vote this week on proposed legislation to prohibit shock probation in driving under the influence cases that involve fatalities, after the measure emerged from the House Judiciary Committee last week.

 


Redcross.org

Every Kentucky school would be required to have an automatic external defibrillator under proposed legislation easily passed in the Kentucky House Friday.  The bill  would also require that at least three people in each school be trained to use the device.

 

Ag.Ky.Gov

A controversial bill affecting the operation of the state attorney general's office won approval in the Kentucky House today and is expected to get a favorable reception as it moves to a vote in the Senate.

In addition to requiring the attorney general to explain why outside counsel is needed, the bill sets a cap at $20 million dollars that an attorney can recover in any given case. 

Providence Representative Jim Gooch said that can mean more dollars for taxpayers in large civil cases, “The more you have to pay one of these attorneys, the less money you’re going to get.”


Criminal Justice Reform Bill Moving Forward

Feb 23, 2017
Kentucky.com

The Kentucky Senate will consider a lengthy criminal justice reform bill after a Senate Judiciary Committee approved the measure without testimony and little debate.  

The measure resulting from months of study focuses on ways to move more inmates into productive roles in society and save corrections dollars.  Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Whitney Westerfield said the legislation will improve public safety. “I think it will hold offenders accountable,”  Westerfeld said. “I think it will reduce recidivism and reduce future crime.”  


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