Kentucky winemakers are asking state lawmakers for approval to use waste products like grapes, stems, and seeds to make fortified wine.
The Kentucky House easily approved the measure Monday and sent it on to the Senate. Kentucky Winery Association Treasurer Eddie O'Daniel says the bill would help wineries and vineyards recover lost money. "Many times the vineyards in Kentucky, because of erratic weather conditions, the grapes are not the highest quality,” said O’Daniel. “Up to now, they've had to just waste the fruit."
Major telephone companies won’t have to offer basic land line service to residents in the 15 largest markets in the state if Gov. Steve Beshear signs a bill that passed the state Senate on Monday.
The so-called AT&T deregulation bill removes a requirement that “carriers of last resort” offer packages with 911 calling, operator service and unlimited local calls to those who ask for it in markets of more than 15,000 people.
The Kentucky Senate has acted to require public school students to use the bathroom of their biological sex. Much of the committee discussion centered on a Louisville high school's decision to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their gender identity. The bill is sponsored by Senator C.B. Embry of Morgantown. "This bill is about student privacy; it also deals with choices, common sense," said Embry.
Paducah Senator Danny Carrol argued that the concerns of students who not feel comfortable sharing restrooms with transgender students, need to be considered.
The Kentucky Senate has approved legislation that could shut down internet sweepstakes cafes in the Commonwealth. The computer based businesses give away chances to win monetary prizes with the purchase of a service or product.
Proponents of the bill say the games the businesses offer are equivalent to gambling. Bowling Green Senator Mike Wilson says the establishments in his town are impacting charitable groups. "It has taken away from, in Warren County, the revenue that comes from charitable gambling for our veterans' organizations," said Wilson.
Work continues to determine the specific strategies of the 'Shaping Our Appalachian Region' initiative, usually referred to as SOAR. Legislation to establish a grant framework has passed the Kentucky Senate.
The first SOAR Summit was staged in December of 2013 in Pikeville. Discussions focused on the economic and social needs of eastern Kentucky. Since then, working groups have met several times. New legislation would create the Kentucky Appalachian Regional Development Fund. The measure does not specify how it will be funded.
Under a bill making its way through the Kentucky House, multi-passenger bicycle cart businesses that shuttle riders to area bars could be allowed to serve alcohol on board. The measure emerged from the Licensing and Occupations Committee Wednesday. Shelbyville Representative Brad Montell says the bill could boost tourism in cities like Louisville and Lexington. "It permits businesses like the 'Thirsty Pedaler' to be licensed and then to transport their customers from site to site while they have an alcoholic beverage in hand," said Montell.
A bill to include workers compensation protections for certain types of cancer found in firefighters is headed to the Kentucky Senate. The House approved the measure Wednesday. Chris Bartley represents firefighters in Lexington. He says studies show that firefighters are at a higher risk of cancer affecting the prostate, brain, and colon, among others. "It gives the presumption that this is a job related injury," said Bartley.
Booster seat advocates say legislative action is needed to fix Kentucky's current law. A bill that would increase the height requirement to 57 inches and age standard to nine years old, passed the House Transportation Committee Tuesday. Dr.
After failing on the initial vote last week, legislation to require most public school students in Kentucky to use the bathroom of their biological sex is now headed to the full Senate. The measure was approved during a surprise vote Monday by the Senate Education Committee.
A Bowling Green Senator wants to clarify Kentucky's stance on internet sweepstakes cafes. The computer based businesses give away chances to win monetary prizes with the purchase of a service or product. Senator Mike Wilson's legislation aims to shut down those trades. "I do not even know that it exists because on the front of the building it says ‘Faxes and Copies,’ and you can get copies there, but they'll only give you three,” Wilson said. “That's not what they are there for and it says ‘No One Under 21 Admitted’ and there's a little kind of sign to the side that says 'Better than B
Legislation aimed at reducing Kentucky's debt is headed to the Senate floor. The measure seeks to lower overall debt over time.
The bill limits general fund supported debt to 6 percent of general fund revenues. Sponsor Joe Bowen told budget committee members the state's current debt ratio is at 8.1 percent, including the state's participation in county courthouse construction borrowing.
Legislation before Kentucky lawmakers could impact the Kentucky Lottery's plan to offer online electronic ticket sales this fall. A measure prohibiting the use of credit cards for such transactions cleared a senate committee Thursday. Bill Sponsor Jimmy Higdon says the law also calls for establishing a pre-paid card program. "If you're gonna buy that internet product, you first have to buy a pre-paid card from a lottery retailer,” said Higdon. “That's simply to protect the retailers from competition of the internet."
Credit Jessica Hein / Paint Horse Journal/American Paint Horse Association
There's an effort underway to bring the paint horse breed into the racing mix in Kentucky. Legislation to clear the way for paints to participate in sprint horse racing is making its way through the Kentucky General Assembly. Rich Wilke is with the American Quarter Horse Association. "This is the kind of racing that never goes more than a half a mile. A thousand yards is the most they ever go, so that would be quarter horses predominantly, but also paints and appaloosas. They are the other major sprint breeds," said Wilke.
The Kentucky Senate has approved legislation paving the way for development of a new state lottery game that has an equine connection. Proponents say the game would benefit the horse industry and school children.
Advocates for economic, environmental, and social issues in Appalachia braved windy, cold conditions at the state capitol Thursday. The 10th 'I Love Mountains Day' event attracted a crowd on the capitol steps.
The annual February event always includes an emphasis on ending mountain top mining. But this year's rally also focused on minimum wage, clean energy, and restoring voting rights for former felons. Terri Blanton has championed these and other causes for decades.
The Kentucky Senate has adopted a resolution honoring former Kentucky Governor and U.S. Senator Wendell Ford. The man known as 'Mr. Democrat' died last month at the age of 90 in his hometown of Owensboro. For 33 years, State Senator Joe Bowen lived next door to the Ford family. Bowen, a republican, says the neighborly conversation would sometimes turn to politics and even agreement on some matters. "And when we didn't, we would have very lively conversations about that. And it was entertaining for both of us. There was an entertainment component of that," said Bowen.
The Kentucky General Assembly is considering legislation that would tackle problems associated with abandoned horses. The House Agriculture and Small Business Committee approved a measure Wednesday to lower the required holding period for abandoned horses from three months to 10 days. After that, the recovered horses could be handed over to a rescue group or new owner.
Governor Beshear Speaks with Senate President Robert Stivers Before Ceremony
Credit Stu Johnson / WEKU News
With support from Kentucky's governor and legislative leaders in both chambers, the dating violence bill is heading to the House floor. Final passage appears more likely than ever.
Efforts to extend civil protections to dating couples in Kentucky began some six legislative sessions ago. Prior to the bill's first committee hearing, Governor Beshear predicted the measure would pass. "For several sessions we have been discussing these protections, this session, we're gonna pass a bill," said Beshear.
Dave Tatman with the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association
The head of a Kentucky automotive organization is working to clear up misconceptions about manufacturing professions. Dave Tatman, head of the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association, testified in Frankfort last week.
A measure approved in the state senate would allow for the creation of piloted charter schools in Kentucky's two largest cities. The charter school bill is expected to run into heavier opposition in the House.
Leaders of both houses of the Kentucky general assembly remain committed to passage of legislation to address heroin problems. House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Senate President Robert Stivers appeared Thursday on WEKU's Eastern Standard program. Both men are confident that a heroin bill will be passed this session.
Efforts to pass heroin legislation last spring fell apart at the end of the session. Neither leader is saying when final approval might come during the current session.
Democrats in the Kentucky Senate sent a formal letter to the chamber’s president expressing concern about the pace of bill consideration. Senate Minority Floor Leader Ray Jones says the majority party’s method is not in line with a representative democracy. "Since the republicans took control of the state senate, the process has been a fast track, railroad type process to moving legislation," said Jones.
Testimony included Comments from Tom Shelton with the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents
Credit Stu Johnson / WEKU News
Legislation that would exempt officials with some Kentucky school construction projects from paying the prevailing wage easily cleared a senate committee Thursday. Bill Sponsor Wil Schroder told members more work could be done for less money, without jeopardizing the quality of the project.