State Capitol

Jack Brammer / Lexington Herald Leader

A Kentucky historic commission has voted to keep a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in the state Capitol rotunda.

Setting Priorities for the 2016 Kentucky General Assembly Session

Jul 12, 2015

In less than six months, state lawmakers are scheduled to return to Frankfort. At that time, there will be a slew of issues to wrestle with, but few are likely to be broadly adopted by a divided legislature.  Lexington Representative Ruth Ann Palumbo thinks state pensions passes that litmus test.  Palumbo said lawmakers need to be willing to negotiate and put everything on the table."  She added, "because for Kentuckians, that matters.  That's an important issue."

The Family Foundation’s Kentucky chapter has established a legal defense fund for county clerks who refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Governor Steve Beshear believes in time, all 120 Kentucky counties will be issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.  Currently, there are a few county clerks refusing to issue marriage licenses.  The governor says it may take a few months before complete adherence to the Supreme Court ruling occurs.  "My feeling is we've got a constitutional duty to follow the law, regardless of your personal beliefs and that's tough for some people, I understand that.  But, really, that's my attitude on it, but I think it will work itself out," said Beshear.

The Lane Report

Kentucky's legislative leaders have resolved a sexual harassment lawsuit involving a former Democratic lawmaker and three state workers.


Kentucky collected less tax money in May, but the decrease was likely not enough to endanger the state's budget projections.

Stu Johnson / WEKU News

779 Kentucky state workers will receive a pay increase this summer.  Governor Steve Beshear made the announcement Monday.

Kentucky legislative leaders said on Wednesday that the Legislative Research Commission will move forward with seeking a new director.

LRC Public Information

Analysts say Kentucky will need to hire more state employees or have them pay more into the retirement system in order to reverse the state’s pension crisis, painting a grim portrait of Kentucky’s main public pension system.

Motion Filed to Intervene in Sexual Harrassment Lawsuit

Apr 10, 2015

The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting and The Courier-Journal have filed a motion to intervene in an ongoing sexual harassment lawsuit filed against the Legislative Research Commission by two former staffers of the agency.

The media organizations are trying to bring to light depositions of former Legislative Research Commission director Bobby Sherman and state Rep. Sannie Overly, a Paris Democrat.

Overly is scheduled to be deposed on Monday and Sherman was deposed on Wednesday. They have tried to keep the depositions sealed, citing privacy concerns.

Localities Looking Into Needle Exchange Options

Mar 26, 2015

Local governments are already moving to set up needle exchanges just a day after the Kentucky state legislature authorized the programs through a comprehensive heroin bill.

If implemented, drug users would be able to exchange dirty needles for clean ones from local public health departments.

Rice Leach, the commissioner of the Lexington-Fayette County Public Health Department, said needle exchanges would stymie the transfer of blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis C and HIV.

Gas Tax Stabilization Gets 11th Hour Passage

Mar 25, 2015
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

The Kentucky legislature has acted to stem the drop in gas tax revenues that are used to repair and build roads across the Commonwealth.  Passage of a measure to stabilize the state's road fund was a priority of Governor Beshear's.

Officially, it came very early Wednesday morning when House members put their stamp of approval on the gas tax agreement.  Owensboro Representative Tommy Thompson voted yes.  "We need our roads for convenience, we need them to be safe, but we need them for commerce," said Thompson.

The newest member of the Kentucky Supreme Court has been sworn in as a justice.

Horse Racing Commission Backs Proposal for Drug Free Races

Mar 23, 2015

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is backing a proposal to prohibit the use of Lasix in some races.  The Courier Journal reports the commission approved the regulation Monday.  The rule would ban the drug from being used within 24 hours of post times for particular races.  Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer believes it's the right move to make.  "I do know that it is therapeutic for horses, but I also believe there is good evidence that it is performance enhancing and the public perception is it's performance enhancing," said Thayer.


Kentucky lawmakers have yet to reach agreement on what many consider to be this session's priority issue.  Legislators are working until the final hours of the 2015 session trying to reach consensus on a bill aimed at reducing the state's heroin problem.

Governor Beshear is expressing confidence that Kentucky lawmakers will approve heroin and dating violence legislation next week.  General Assembly members return Monday for the two final days of the 2015 session.  Beshear expects passage on both pieces of legislation.  "There's so much pressure from the public behind both of those bills, so that I don't really think these folks will leave here on March 24 without having accomplished both of those things," said Beshear.

Governor Signs Breeders Cup Incentives Into Law

Mar 17, 2015
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

Tax breaks related to the high profile Breeders Cup Championships at Keeneland have been signed into law.  The ceremony was held Tuesday at the state capitol.  The law exempts the pari-mutuel tax on wagering on live races during the two-day event.  Breeders Cup President Craig Fravel says when it was held in California, the event had an $80 million impact on the local economy.  "When you combine this year's event with the thoroughbred sales that will follow immediately, you're gonna have people coming to Lexington, coming to Kentucky for a much longer period of time that has historically b

Freshman Lawmaker Experiencing Challenges in Legislative Process

Mar 16, 2015

First term state Senator Danny Carrol says the current 30 day session of the Kentucky General Assembly has been a learning experience.  Carrol says, in business, decisions tend to be black or white.  He says he's quickly learning that in the legislative process there are a lot of gray areas.   "And I've already had an incidence where you get two bills combined like that and one of them you're very supportive of, the other one, you know, you're really not supportive of," said Carrol.

Legislation Would Shut Down Persistent Logging Violators

Mar 16, 2015

The State Division of Forestry is looking to the Kentucky legislature for help in dealing with persistent logging violators.  Legislation to that end has passed both chambers of the Kentucky General Assembly and has been sent to the governor.  Division of Forestry Director Leah McSwords says the bill focuses on repeat offenders.  "If we find a three or more 'bad actor' who has not paid the penalty or has not cleaned up the site, we can shut them down wherever they're harvesting in the state," McSwords said.

Ky Lawmaker: 'Cowboy Day' Designation is About State Heritage

Mar 13, 2015

Kentucky lawmakers are considering legislation that would recognize the cowboy profession.  House approved legislation to designate the fourth Saturday in July as the National Day of the Cowboy is awaiting action in the state Senate.  The bill is sponsored by Cynthiana Representative and farmer Tom McKee.  "It's important that we realize what a heritage we have with cowboys taking care and cowgirls taking care of our herds," said Mckee.  "You know, they don't all ride horses." 

Remedy For Road Fund Problems Remains Elusive

Mar 12, 2015

    A number of widely debated issues await Kentucky lawmakers when they return to the capitol on March 23.  One piece of legislation that remains in limbo is related to taxation and the upkeep of Kentucky's roads.

Legislation aimed at cracking down on dog fighting in Kentucky remains a topic for debate.  A bill pertaining to bees was amended Wednesday in the House to include anti-dog fighting language. Louisville Representative Mary Lou Marzian says, beyond the argument that animals should be treated humanely, there are also image issues to consider.  "You know, do we want Kentucky to look like we're the dog fighting capital of the world?” asked  Marzian. “We are out here trying to recruit businesses, large companies, to move to Kentucky."

Stu Johnson / WEKU News

    Many Kentucky lawmakers are probably a bit worn out after another late night session in Frankfort Wednesday.  It's become a tradition for state legislators to work a long day right before the end of the session break.

More Work Required to Reach Consensus on Heroin Legislation

Mar 12, 2015

The debate over heroin legislation in Kentucky will continue over the next week.  The state House Wednesday night voted on a second version of the bill which includes penalties for traffickers, treatment funding, and a needle exchange provision.  Judiciary Committee Chair John Tilley has led the heroin legislation effort in the House.  "I think this bill once passed, will represent the most comprehensive, common sense, evidence based, data driven approach to what is a public health epidemic," said Tilley.

Legislation to toughen Kentucky's vehicle booster seat law is moving closer to becoming a reality.  The Senate Transportation Committee approved its version of the measure Wednesday.  The modification raises the age and height requirement for children riding in vehicles.  Louisville Representative Steve Riggs says the Senate revision relates to the age restriction.  "My bill was, you had to be less than nine and this changes it to less than eight, which matches most of the other states,” said Riggs.  “Only Tennessee is higher and Utah is higher."

The Kentucky legislature is working to keep up with relatively new on-line ride-sharing services. The House Transportation Committee Tuesday approved a Senate measure which impacts the ride-sharing companies Lyft and Uber.   

The bill's supporters say it serves to protect riders and company drivers by guaranteeing adequate insurance coverage. Oldham County Senator Ernie Harris is sponsoring the bill.  "It clears the way for them to continue to operate and be regulated and have a level playing field with regard to insurance requirements," said Harris.

Fracking Regs Appear Headed for Final Approval at State Capitol

Mar 9, 2015


Additional regulations regarding hydraulic fracking appear headed for legislative approval in Frankfort.  Supporters of the measure include members of the oil and gas industry.

A group of farmers, environmental activists, and members of the oil and gas industry have worked together on the bill for months.  Andrew McNeil with Kentucky's Oil and Gas Association called it 'consensus legislation.'  "They're regulations that we think meet the needs of protecting the environment, but it's not gonna be something that will create an impediment to investment," said McNeil.


Kentucky court costs will be going up in the future under a measure approved in a state Senate committee Monday. Proponents say the additional funds would help increase investigations of internet crimes against Kentucky children. The bill calls for an additional $10 fee in both circuit and district courts. 

Bill to Clarify Police Disciplinary Process Heads to Full Senate

Mar 9, 2015

A proposed measure that would give more clarity in police disciplinary matters is moving through the Kentucky General Assembly.  With just a few days left in this session, the House bill passed out of a senate committee Monday. 

House-approved Bill Targets Roofing Fraud

Mar 4, 2015
Stu Johnson / WEKU News


Officials with the Kentucky Better Business Bureau say they've received a high number of complaints of shoddy roof work.  The House approved a measure Wednesday aimed at addressing such fraud.