Johnny Keene, right and Mary Maxwell of Frankfort stand of the steps of the Capitol and sing 'We Shall Overcome' at the end of the 50th Anniversary of the MLK March on Frankfort program, Wednesday, Mar. 5, 2014 at the Capitol in Frankfort. Keene and Maxwell were college friends at KSU and are now neighbors
Credit Jonathan Palmer/Special to the Courier-Journal
Even as thousands of Kentuckians marched on the state Capitol last week and called for voting rights for ex-felons, lawmakers have yet to reach an accord on the issue in the 2014 General Assembly. The demonstration Wednesday commemorated the 50th anniversary of a landmark civil-rights march led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to end segregation and extend voting rights for African Americans.
But the message this year focused on restoring voting rights to many felons who have served out their sentences. Legislators in the House and Senate are sparring over provisions in House Bill 70, which seeks a constitutional amendment on voter rights restoration.
Kentucky day care centers would be required to be tested for radon under legislation approved by a House committee. Louisville Representative Steve Riggs says Kentucky ranks in the top ten nationally when it comes to radon levels. “It’s a piece of legislation that requires where young children spend nine or ten hours a day, day care centers actually get a test from a licensed professional for radon which cause lung cancer,” said Riggs.
Kentucky's House Judiciary Committee heard testimony Wednesday on a proposed statewide Fairness Bill. The legislation, sponsored by Louisville Representative Mary Lou Marzian, would prohibit discrimination in employment, housing or public accommodations based on sexual orientation.
Sen. Gerald Neal knew he was part of something historic when, as a freshman at Kentucky State University, he joined a mass of 10,000 who marched peacefully on the Capitol with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders 50 years ago today.
Some of the excitement he felt that day — “We thought we were on the path of eliminating racism in society, bigotry,” he said — has resurfaced as organizers recognize the Freedom March on Frankfort.
Concerns about distracted driving continue to draw attention in the Kentucky General Assembly. On Friday, the House approved a measure that would double the fines for texting while driving in school or work zones.
The Kentucky Senate's majority floor leader anticipates a major difference in the budgets expected to emerge in the legislature during the next month. House members will cast their votes first on a 20 billion dollar spending plan.
Domestic violence victims could be given approval to carry concealed weapons sooner under legislation approved in the Kentucky House Friday. If approved by a judge, individuals under court protective orders, could conceal a weapon without having to wait for a training session.
Proposed legislation to allow for the opening of certain juvenile court proceedings to the public is moving in the Kentucky Senate. The bill that emerged from the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday has been an emotional issue, debated by policy makers for years.
An Eastern Kentucky University expert believes Appalachian Kentucky is ripe for the growth of beekeeping. Tammy Horn is Director of Coal Country Beeworks. a project of the Environmental Research Institute at Eastern Kentucky University.
Opponents of the proposed Blue Grass Pipeline got a victory of sorts Wednesday in the Kentucky general assembly. By the thinnest of margins, the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would prohibit eminent domain action for the transmission of natural gas liquids.
As they prepare to vote on funding for road repairs, state lawmakers are asking questions about maintenance and new projects. State transportation department officials went before the House Budget Subcommittee on Transportation Monday.
The Kentucky House has overwhelmingly approved a bill requiring teachers to be paid for a minimum of 120 minutes a week for non-teaching activities. Bill sponsor Rita Smart says having adequate planning time in the daily schedule seems to be a bigger issue for elementary teachers.
In the Kentucky Legislature, there was budget talk Friday in both houses, but it had little to do with dollars and cents. It began in the Senate when Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer asked members in the House to move on a two year budget and get it to his chamber.
The Kentucky Senate has approved legislation its sponsor argues would help reduce water patrol harassment in the state. A Marina operator testified in committee about a growing wave of boater complaints about overzealous officers.
With support from U.S. Senator Rand Paul, a weakened version of a bill restoring voting rights for some felons has cleared the Kentucky Senate. The issue hasn't had strong Republican support in the past. But Wednesday,
Despite unanswered questions about the impact of federal health care reforms, Kentucky's lawmakers are taking steps to pass a state budget. House members have begun the process of evaluating and modifying the spending plan proposed by Governor Beshear.
The Kentucky House is backing a significant expansion of the early child care provider rating system. It will mean hundreds more child care centers will be able to tap into the “Star Rating” program offered by the state. The expansion will necessitate training paid for by federal dollars through the “Race to the Top” grant program.
Next Wednesday marks the midway point for the 2014 Kentucky General Assembly. Typically, much of the heavy lifting regarding legislation occurs during the second half of the 60-day session. This winter’s lawmaking exercise seems to be following that tradition.
A measure being filed in the Kentucky House would increase the monthly statewide wireless fee by 30 cents. Proponents say the increase is needed to offset the loss of revenue as a result of declining land-line phone service.
A bill that would allow bar owners to open their doors to concealed weapons has won approval by a Kentucky Senate committee. Current state law prohibits anyone to enter a bar with a gun that is not openly visible.
Leaders of the Kentucky Senate and House are exchanging words on minimum wage legislation. The House approved a bill Thursday to raise the minimum wage 95 cents a year for three years, eventually reaching ten dollars ten cents an hour. Senate President Robert Stivers says his chamber is more interested in creating new jobs.
The Kentucky Senate Thursday approved a constitutional amendment measure which would give the legislature the ability to block administrative regulations proposed by the governor’s office when lawmakers are not in session.
National "Wear Red Day" has been recognized by the Kentucky General Assembly. The American Heart Association urged everyone to wear red on Friday to bring attention to the number one killer of women, heart disease.