State Auditor Adam Edelen is encouraging Senate lawmakers not to tweak the special district taxing district reform bill, which is largely based on his proposals from a report last year. The Senate State and Local Government committee discussed the bill for more than an hour, but did not vote on House Bill 1 because Sen. Damon Thayer says he's attempting to amend the bill. Thayer's main concerns are giving control of a new registry of special districts to the Department of Local Government and that local elected officials often don't have control of a special district.
The liberal super PAC Progress Kentucky is moving forward with a planned fundraiser despite a national backlash over controversial attacks on the ethnicity of Republican Senator Mitch McConnell's wife. However, many Democratic lawmakers who were once behind the group are either pulling their support or questioning if they will continue to back them.
Ashley Judd has begun reaching out to Kentucky House Democratic leaders as she continues to explore a 2014 bid for the U.S. Senate seat held by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. Judd has called House Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark asking for a meeting, Clark said. She also called and left a message on House Speaker Greg Stumbo's cell phone—but asked to speak with House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins. Stumbo said he's returned the call but hasn't heard back.
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.
A Democratic group is under sharp criticism for controversial online messages about Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s wife. For months, the liberal super PAC Progress Kentucky has attacked McConnell and held demonstrations at his offices and home. Recently, the group turned its attention to McConnell’s wife, former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, with a focus on her race.
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
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.
House Democratic leaders will likely propose adding a 6 percent sales tax on Kentucky Lottery ticket sales and expanding available lottery games to fund future pension contributions. Rep. Brent Yonts, D-Greenville, said the lottery sales tax would generate $49 million annually, and new lottery games could bring in between $60 million and $90 million over time.
By John Faherty & Dave Malaska & The Kentucky Enquirer
Organizers estimate that more than 1,000 people turned out Saturday afternoon for one of Kentucky’s two Day of Resistance gatherings. The crowd cheered keynote speaker Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Garrison, and other speakers who railed against federal efforts at mandated gun registration and “gun-free” school zones. The Florence rally was one of more than 100 scheduled accross the country, according to organizers.
FRANKFORT – Eleven major construction projects at six state universities, including dormitory renovations, new student centers, and athletic facility improvements will soon be underway thanks to the quick passage of a bill that allows the schools to issue bonds for project financing – all at no cost to Kentucky taxpayers.
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.
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.
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.
FRANKFORT — Seeking the passage of three pieces of legislation protecting against discrimination based on sexual orientation, more than 200 people rallied on Wednesday in the Capitol Rotunda with Kentucky's Fairness Campaign.
Credit Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons and foxnews.com
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul isn’t sure if Louisville businessman Matthew Bevin would pose a problem for Mitch McConnell in a primary election. The wealthy investor acknowledged an interest in taking on McConnell and has been in discussion with Tea Party groups. A Bevin spokeswoman said several individuals have voiced "frustration with their current representation" in Washington.
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.
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.
Just as the deadline for filing new bills was to expire, a bill to amend the Kentucky constitution to allow for casino gambling was introduced Tuesday afternoon in the state House. The bill would require the Kentucky General Assembly to allow and create regulation for casino gambling at no more than seven locations. The revenue, the bill says, would be used "job creation, education, human services, health care, veterans programs, local governments, public safety, and the support of the horse industry; create the Equine Excellence fund of dedication funds from gambling."
Speaking with reporters in Frankfort Tuesday, Gov. Steve Beshear said he's pushing to put the hemp legalization issue on hold until law enforcement's concerns can be addressed. According to WTVQ-TV, Beshear has concerns similar to those of Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo, who's said the state should listen to the concerns of police officers since hemp leaves look like marijuana leaves.
In the first ad of the 2014 Kentucky Senate race, Republican Mitch McConnell pokes fun at Democrats for being unable to find an opponent for the general election. The online spot utilizes clips of President Obama, and shows him looking at a number of rumored challengers including actress Ashley Judd, former U.S. Ambassador Matthew Barzun and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.
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.
Parallel to the divide between Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and the Tea Party, Kentucky Democrats are vocally split over actress Ashley Judd running the GOP leader. Democratic officials, lawmakers and operatives have voiced opposition to Judd, suggesting the Hollywood star is too liberal and would hurt down-ticket candidates. Judd has been described as a "catastrophe" for not only state House candidates but gubernatorial ones in 2015.
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.
A bill aimed at reforming the way special districts are treated in Kentucky is likely to undergo some changes in hands of the state Senate. House Bill 1 is a partnership between Auditor Adam Edelen and House Speaker Greg Stumbo, based off recommendations Edelen made during his investigation of special taxing districts across Kentucky.
Hemp doubters, including prominent Kentucky politicians and law enforcement, scoff at the idea that the market for the crop could mean much to Kentucky farmers. But they have not been answering the phones at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, where Commissioner James Comer gets two or three calls a week. "Industry leaders in automotive manufacturing, cosmetics, energy, processing and certified seed are all interested in Kentucky-grown industrial hemp," Comer told the Senate Agriculture Committee hearing Feb. 11.
Kentucky House leaders are considering legalizing Instant Racing across Kentucky to help plug the funding gap in the state's pensions. Instant Racing is a slots-like game currently played at two Kentucky tracks, Ellis Park and Kentucky Downs. The legality of the game is also currently being litigated at the Kentucky Supreme Court.
State Sen. Paul Hornback, R-Shelbyville. Photo provided by Legislative Research Commission.
A controversial telephone-deregulation bill that opponents say could leave people in rural areas without land-line service cleared the state Senate Thursday on a 24-13 vote. The measure now goes to the House, where two key lawmakers have said the bill is problematic because of its potential impact on rural areas. But the bill's sponsor said those areas will be protected.
A bill authorizingmore than $360 million in bonds for university projects is just steps away from becoming a reality. House Bill 7 allows six of the state's eight public universities to use bonds and other means to fund projects like building renovations, construction and renovations to Commonwealth Stadium. And it passed the Senate budget committee unanimously Thursday.
The state Senate has passed a bill aimed at creating a hemp industry in Kentucky, though the bill's future appears to lack the support of key government leaders. The Senate's 31-6 approval of a bill establishing oversight for Kentucky industrial hemp farmer if hemp were made legal federally comes with the release of a poll stating that most Kentuckians believe legalized hemp would create jobs.