Courts should decide whether the U.S. should use drone attacks on American citizens who are abroad and accused of committing crimes against the nation, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul said. Paul told Kentucky Public Radio on Monday that he would prefer a judge or jury make those decisions, as they do with crimes committed inside the U.S.
FRANKFORT — After testimony from a bevy of high-level supporters, the state Senate agriculture committee unanimously approved Monday a bill that would establish oversight for Kentucky industrial hemp farmer if hemp were made legal federally. Agriculture Commission James Comer—the leading proponent of industrial hemp in Kentucky—recruited U.S. Reps. Thomas Massie and John Yarmuth to speak in favor of the bill at the committee, as well as U.S. Sen. Rand Paul. But the bill has opposition from many law enforcement agencies, including the Kentucky State Police and Operation UNITE, a federally-funded program.
U.S. Sen.Rand Paul will be one of two GOP senators providing a rebuttal to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday. Paul is providing the tea party response to the annual address, while U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida will provide the Republican Party's official response.
As Kentucky lawmakers consider whether to legalize the growing of hemp, they're hearing arguments from both sides of the issue. The nightmare hemp scenario for Kentucky State Police apparently is a field legally licensed to grow hemp for grain with illegally planted marijuana mingled in. Unlike hemp grown for fiber (when the plants are inches apart to promote tall stalk growth), the hemp grown for grain and marijuana plants would look substantially the same, said Jeremy Triplett, supervisor of the state police forensic lab.
In the wake of the fatal school shooting in Newtown, Conn., and possible federal firearm regulations, the debate on gun rights is taking shape in the 2013 legislative session. Democratic lawmakers Thursday introduced House Bill 265, which would require background checks for private firearm sales, ban firearms on college and university campuses, require the use of safety measures like gun safes and locks, and allow local governments to set gun regulations. HB 265 would not ban assault weapons or high-capacity ammunition magazines, said Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, the bill’s primary sponsor.
A bill reforming how the state's special districts are categorized and making them more transparent easily passed the state House this morning, 96-1. State Rep. Lynn Belcher, a Republican from Crittenden County, was the lone "no" vote. Many local library boards, sewer districts and fire districts are considered special taxing districts separate from other types of government.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo has filed a bill to move complaints about late payments in Kentucky's Medicaid system from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to the Department of Insurance. Health care providers—such as hospitals and doctor's offices— have complained about severely late payments since the managed care system started. Currently, the cabinet deals those issues that arise when one of the state's Medicaid operating companies delays payment to a health provider.
Groups supporting a bill creating medical panels to review allegations of nursing home abuse are taking their cause to the airwaves. The Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities this week released a 60 second television radio ad, urging people to support Senate Bill 9.
FRANKFORT — Advocates for Kentucky children on Thursday called for state leaders to provide funds and stave off recently announced cuts to programs that provide assistance for child care costs and to family members who take in young relatives. The calls were made Thursday at the ninth annual Children Advocacy Day rally, which organizers estimated more than 1,000 people joined. Because of the crowd's size, the rally was moved from the Capitol Rotunda to outside.
A pension reform bill that would move new state employees to a 401(k)-style hybrid plan and eliminate annual cost-of-living increases for retirees cleared its first legislative hurdle Wednesday. The Senate State and Local Government Committee voted unanimously — 10-0 — on Wednesday to pass Senate Bill 2. The measure now goes to the full Senate.
Hoping to reduce gun violence in Kentucky, a group of Democratic lawmakers have filed a bill that would allow Kentucky State Police to set regulations banning certain firearms or high-capacity magazines. The bill, which state Sen. Kathy Stein plans to file in the Senate on Thursday, would also allow cities and colleges to regulate guns and would require private background checks for every gun sale in Kentucky.
Congressman John Yarmuth of Louisville has reintroduced a bill that would put a moratorium on mountaintop removal coal mining until the practice’s health effects can be better understood. The Appalachian Community Health Emergency Act—or ACHE—was first introduced last summer, but died when it was referred to committee. Now, Yarmuth and New York Congresswoman Louise Slaughter are reintroducing the legislation.
Gov. Steve Beshear said Tuesday a constitutional amendment to expand gambling is hung up on opposition from some racetracks and might not be filed this legislative session. Beshear said that although horse breeders and owners support a plain up-or-down vote on expanding gambling, racetracks including Keeneland, The Red Mile and Kentucky Downs oppose a bill that does not guarantee racetracks a monopoly on casinos.
The Super PAC American Crossroads has released a stinging ad targeting actress-activist Ashley Judd, who is considering a bid against Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. The digital spot portrays Judd as an out-of-touch Hollywood liberal and criticizes her for being a supporter of President Obama, living in Tennessee and progressive politics.
A liberal group is attacking Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell in a new television ad over his opposition to gun control measures. The group Progressive Change Campaign Committee is launching the commercial, which will air in Kentucky and Washington, D.C. area. It features gun owner and former military marksman Rodney Kendrick from Berea, calling on McConnell to support a ban on assault weapons and background checks on gun purchases.
Efforts to reform the laws concerning more than 1,000 special taxing districts are quickly moving in Frankfort this week. The reforms were filed as House Bill 1 today and compromise a partnership between Auditor Adam Edelen and House Speaker Greg Stumbo. It would create an online registry to list the special districts and their required financial paperwork.
Advocates for more wireless and broadband options in Kentucky will once again push a bill reforming the state's telecommunications laws—specifically, removing language that requires old-school land-line service throughout the state.
Kentucky Senate Republicans are rallying around a bill to allow a Christian health-sharing organization to continue operating in Kentucky. Christian Care Medi-share collects dues from members, then uses those funds to pay other members' health bills. Last year, the Department of Insurance successfully argued in court that Medi-share should be regulated like other insurance companies.
Congressman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., has introduced a bill that seeks to diminish the influence of special interest groups. The Fair Elections Now Act—or FENA —would create a public financing system for congressional races by providing a 5-to-1 federal match of contributions smaller than $100. In order to qualify, candidates would have to raise $50,000 through those small, in-state contributions.
Support is clearly growing behind Agriculture Commissioner James Comer's efforts for industrial hemp in Kentucky are growing. Call it hempmentum. With last week's endorsement from U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, Comer now has the majority of Kentucky's federal delegation behind him.
Another downgrading in Kentucky’s financial outlook has the state’s business leaders calling on the General Assembly for immediate pension reforms. Standard and Poor’s has downgraded Kentucky’s outlook to negative, citing the state's large unfunded pension obligations as the main reason.
By Katie Brandenburg & The Daily News Bowling Green & Katie Brandenburg
Changing Kentucky’s tax code will likely take longer than this year’s short legislative session, Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson said Wednesday during a meeting of the Bowling Green Noon Rotary Club. Abramson chaired the governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform, which reported to the governor in December.
After a year of budget cuts to Kentucky's court system, Chief Justice John Minton said furloughs won't happen in the next year, but he is asking lawmakers to find more money for the state’s judicial branch. Kentucky's judicial branch will face more cuts in the upcoming fiscal year, though, Minton said in his annual address to the interim judicial committee.
A public pension reform package is expected to get a vote on the Senate floor about a week after it’s filed, Senate Republican leaders said Wednesday. GOP and Democratic senators heard recommendations from a pension task force co-chaired by Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer in a private meeting Wednesday.
Joining his fellow Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell now supports industrial hemp. In a statement released Thursday, McConnell said Paul and Comer—both Republicans, like McConnell—have convinced him that growing hemp for paper, oil and other purposes would be an economic boon for Kentucky farmers.
Liberal and Tea Party groups are denying claims by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's campaign that they are working together to defeat the GOP leader in 2014. In a campaign fundraising e-mail Monday, McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton told supporters that liberal organizers were "attempting to infiltrate conservative" groups across the state.