Kentucky Senate

Abortion Procedure Ban Nears Final Passage In Kentucky

Mar 23, 2018
Stu Johnson

A bill that would prohibit a common abortion procedure after the 11th week of pregnancy is nearing final passage from the Republican-led state legislature.

House Bill 454 would ban dilation and evacuation abortions after the 11th week of pregnancy except in medical emergencies. The procedure involves dilating the cervix and removing the fetus using surgical tools and suction.

The bill passed out of the state Senate on Thursday and now returns to the House, which will consider a change made since it originally passed that chamber earlier this month.

Senate Approves Two Year Road Plan

Mar 23, 2018

The Kentucky Senate has approved the two year road plan which includes both new pavement and bridge repairs all across the Commonwealth.

Kentucky Senate Budget Keeps Most Of Bevin’s Cuts, No New Revenue

Mar 20, 2018
Stu Johnson

Republicans in the state Senate have proposed keeping most of the budget cuts sought by Gov. Matt Bevin, while rejecting House Republicans’ plan to raise about $500 million through taxes on cigarettes and pain pills.

The spending plan quickly passed out of committee Tuesday morning and passed out of the full Senate after a debate Tuesday evening.


Teachers Keep Up Presence at State Capitol

Mar 19, 2018
Stu Johnson

Kentucky educators, both past and present, have been busy making a visible presence at Frankfort’s State Capitol over the past couple of weeks.  That’s likely to continue during this last full week of the 2018 session.

Senate Backs Opiate Proper Disposal Bill

Mar 15, 2018

The Kentucky Senate has approved legislation aimed at reducing the likelihood of abusing controlled substances found in the home. The bill calls on pharmacists to do more through their interaction with customers.

Stu Johnson

The leader of the state Senate said there is a “limited and difficult path forward” for the Republican plan to overhaul the state’s pension systems because there isn’t enough support among lawmakers.

Senate President Robert Stivers also said that as a result, the Senate would likely not consider a bill to provide relief to local governments from ballooning contributions into the pension systems scheduled to begin in July.

Public Pension Reform Status

Mar 12, 2018
Stu Johnson

Kentucky lawmakers have just about two weeks to finalize bills before passing them along to Governor Bevin for his approval or veto. Pension reform and state budget bills, two top priority measures, remain in the ‘yet to be voted on’ category.

Senators Friday considered bringing a pension bill to the floor, but opted to send it back to committee for further review.  Senator President Robert Stivers was asked about closed door discussion on pensions.  The senate leader cited the ‘speech and debate clause.’

Stu Johnson

The state Senate decided to not take a vote Friday on a controversial bill that would overhaul Kentucky’s ailing pension systems.  Teachers and other public workers descended on Frankfort to protest the legislation. 

Senate President Robert Stivers said as late as Thursday evening that there were enough votes to pass the bill, which would alter benefits for state workers, especially teachers. 

Stu Johnson

The State Senate has voted 34 to three to prohibit anyone under age 17 from marrying in Kentucky.  The legislation sets out that 17 year olds must obtain judicial approval through a hearing process.

A senate panel Tuesday approved legislation to remove a $25 million dollar cap for future public-private partnership state projects. 

Legislation to set limits on how much attorneys can retain in medical malpractices cases passed the Kentucky Senate Thursday 20 to 16.

The Kentucky senate voted 32 to 4 yesterday to put state limitations on package liquor licenses in wet communities.  The senate action comes as the State Alcoholic Beverage Control Board proposes to lift the limitation.  

Ky. Senate Leader: No Promise Chamber Will Consider Cigarette, Opioid Taxes

Mar 2, 2018
Stu Johnson

The leader of the state Senate is making no promises on whether proposals to increase the cigarette tax and create a tax on pain pills will be considered in his chamber.

On Thursday, the Republican-led state House of Representatives passed a revenue bill that would increase the cigarette tax by 50 cents per pack and create a 25-cent tax that distributors would have to pay for each dose of opioid pills sold in Kentucky.

A central Kentucky lawmaker says he’s working to modify legislation which would allow so called ‘armed marshals’ at schools.  Paris Senator Steve West considered the initial filing proposal a ‘starting point’.  

West says re-working the measure could address concerns about proper training. “Right now I’m working on the training component, so I want to see that tightened down.  Make sure whoever is in these schools has the proper training.  We’re looking at studies.  We’re looking at all types of options,” said West.

Kentucky Senate Passes Terrorism Related Measure

Feb 2, 2018
Stu Johnson

The Kentucky Senate has unanimously backed legislation making  terrorism a capital offense in Kentucky.  The bill sponsor says it’s a measure focusing on victim compensation and not terrorism prevention.

Kentucky Amusement Park Seeks Overtime Exemption

Jan 26, 2018

Legislation aimed at helping Kentucky’s largest amusement park maintain summertime staffing has opponents worried about weakening minimum wage protections.  The measure got senate committee backing this week.

Senate Passes Bill Requiring Abstinence Instruction

Jan 24, 2018
Stu Johnson

The Kentucky Senate has voted to require abstinence be included in any sex education course taught in public schools.  

Proponents like Bill Sponsor Stephen Meredith stressed Wednesday afternoon it is not an abstinence only measure. “Abstinence and monogamy are just plain old fashion common sense.  Period. No hidden agenda,” said Meredith.

Paducah Senator Danny Carrol characterized the legislation as setting a firm baseline for students to follow. 

Louisville Senator Denise Harper Angel cast a no vote.

Stu Johnson

A moment of silence was held Tuesday afternoon in the Kentucky Senate to recognize the loss of life and injuries in the Marshall County School shooting.

Two 15 year olds died and some 17 suffered various injuries in the early morning gunfire.  The shooter has been taken into custody. On the floor  Tuesday, Cadiz Senator Stan Humphries said at eight o clock in the morning at Marshall County High School “tragedy rang out.” “Unfortunately it’s something that we deal with in our society, but, somehow it strikes a different cord when it’s this close to home.”

Stu Johnson

The Kentucky Senate has given its approval to a measure which seeks to move the election of statewide constitutional officers to even numbered years.  

Stu Johnson

The Kentucky Senate has adopted legislation calling for a Constitutional amendment concerning victims’ rights. Kentucky’s version of Marcy’s Law passed the senate in 2016, but failed to make it to the House floor.

A major proponent of legislative steps to reduce smoking in Kentucky believes a dollar increase in the state’s cigarette tax faces an uphill climb.  But, Winchester lawmaker Ralph Alvarado says including such a hike in an overall tax reform measure would increase the chances of passage.

Stu Johnson

Public pension reforms and the adoption of a two year budget are among the weighty issues before Kentucky lawmakers in Frankfort in 2018.  But, the newly sworn-in Senate President Pro Tem says funding for state roads is also a big challenge.

Stu Johnson

In an extremely rare Saturday meeting of the Kentucky General Assembly, legislators took final action on abortion and labor-related bills.  Both the House and Senate voted to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and require an ultrasound prior to any abortion. 

During debate on the ultrasound measure, Lexington Senator Reggie Thomas said some Kentucky children face extreme trauma every day.  “We see children that are unattended.  We see children who will suffer. We see children who are harmed and permanently damaged.”

State Budget Impasse Remains an Issue

Apr 4, 2016

Kentucky lawmakers are deadlocked on a state budget but have to come up with a compromise by April 15th—the last day the state constitution allows them to meet.  If the stalemate continues, state government could be partially shut down. 

Leaders of the Democratic-led House refuse to accept cuts to K-12 and higher education proposed by Senate Republicans and Gov. Matt Bevin. GOP leaders say the cuts are necessary to put more money into the state’s ailing pension system.

Natural hair braiders in Kentucky would be exempt from cosmetology licensing under a bill given unanimous senate approval Friday.  Louisville Representative Perry Clark told his colleagues that the practice represents 5,000 years of deep African cultural heritage.  He says it’s an economic fairness issue.  “They really want to apply for a business license, pay the taxes, and really start making some money doing their hair braiding," said Clark.  "It’s an economic freedom bill."

Ky. Motorcycle Group Lends Support to Auto Cycles Bill

Mar 18, 2016

Members of Kentucky’s motorcycle community are seeking legislative clarification regarding auto cycles in the areas of licensing, insurance, and sales.  So far, the three-wheeled vehicle with an inside cab hasn’t shown up on many Kentucky roads, but, they are expected to increase in number. 

Ky. Senate Vote to Eliminate State Mine Inspections

Mar 18, 2016


State inspections of Kentucky’s underground mines would be eliminated under a bill approved by the state senate on Thursday. Supporters say the measure reduces duplication of federal mine assessments.

2016 Version of Charter School Legislation Passes Ky. Senate

Mar 17, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News


The Kentucky Senate has again put its stamp of approval on charter school legislation.  However, this session’s bill is different from past proposals.

The public charter school measure calls for pilot programs in Louisville and Lexington over the next five years.  Another change came through a floor amendment offered by Lexington Senator Reggie Thomas.  “What my senate floor amendment does is say, Okay, let’s have charters," Thomas said.  "Let’s bring them to the table.  But, let the local school board do it and also let’s not charge them fees."

Ky. Senate Acts to Define Bullying in Schools

Mar 10, 2016

Kentucky lawmakers are working to establish a standardized definition for bullying within public schools.  Legislation to add an official definition to each school’s code of conduct cleared the full senate 30 to 6 on Wednesday. Paducah Senator Danny Carroll says the measure would not create a new criminal offense.  “Bullying means an unwanted verbal, physical, or social behavior among students that involves a real or perceived power imbalance and is repeated or has the potential to be repeated,” explained Carroll.

Ky. Senate Passes Bill to Restrict Abortion Clinics

Mar 10, 2016

New facilities in Kentucky seeking to perform abortions would be required to obtain from the state a ‘certificate of need’ under legislation approved Wednesday in the republican-led senate.  The measure also requires facilities to have a doctor on site with hospital admitting privileges within 50 miles of the clinic.  Republican Senator Albert Robinson of London brought the bill to the senate floor.  “Currently abortion clinics are not required to go through this process, which means that there is little oversight of their operations," Robinson said.