State Capitol

4:37pm

Wed April 18, 2012
State Capitol

Williams' District Draws Road Vetoes

Governor Steve Beshear signed Kentucky’s six-year road plan this afternoon and vetoed several projects in the state's two-year road plan. According to a release from Beshear’s office, the line item vetoes in the two-year plan are only in Senate President David Williams' district. This comes on the heels of a public feud between the two politicians, with both accusing the other of political posturing. The governor's office says the vetoes were necessary because Williams moved his projects to the front of the line. Beshear says the vetoes weren't politically motivated and do not remove any projects from the plan, but rather make some of the projects in Williams’s district a lower priority, in the interest of fairness to other districts.

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2:49pm

Wed April 18, 2012
State Capitol

House Again Approves Funding for Road Projects

The Kentucky House of Representatives has passed both bills on its agenda for this year’s special session. House lawmakers approved both the road plan funding bill and a measure to crack down on prescription pill abuse today by wide margins. The more contentious of the two bills was the prescription pill legislation. The House and Senate reached a compromise at the end of the regular session, but the House chose to introduce the original and tougher form for the special session.

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9:33am

Wed April 18, 2012
State Capitol

House to Vote on Transportation, Pill Bills

The House is set to vote Wednesday on a more than $4.5 billion transportation budget bill and a measure aimed at curbing prescription pain pill abuse after the proposals cleared separate committees on Tuesday. House Bill 2, the transportation operating budget, and House Bill 1, the prescription drug measure, are the sole pieces of legislation to be considered in the special legislative session that started Monday. It's unclear how long the special session will last.

6:25am

Wed April 18, 2012
State Capitol

Bridge Tolls Back in the Legislative Debate

The prospect of bridge tolls is once again dominating the discussion of an infrastructure bill in the Kentucky General Assembly.  The House Budget Committee passed a road plan funding bill Tuesday.  But before voting, lawmakers questioned the need for tolls on bridges in Louisville and Northern Kentucky.  Committee members asked whether the Sherman Minton Bridge in Louisville would be tolled to help fund new spans downtown and in the city's east end. Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock says that was discussed, but it’s unlikely.

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3:36pm

Tue April 17, 2012
State Capitol

Transportation Funding Restarts Tolling Debates

The prospect of bridge tolls is once again dominating the discussion of an infrastructure bill in the Kentucky General Assembly. The House Budget Committee passed a road plan funding bill today. But before voting, lawmakers questioned the need for tolls on bridges in Louisville and Northern Kentucky. Committee members asked whether the Sherman Minton Bridge in Louisville would be tolled to help fund new spans downtown and in the city's east end. Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock says that was discussed, but it’s unlikely.

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2:36pm

Tue April 17, 2012
State Capitol

Williams Asks Beshear to Act on Road Plan

Kentucky Senate President David Williams is renewing his call for Governor Steve Beshear to act quickly on an unfunded road plan that cleared the legislature last week. The road plan outlines the state’s transportation projects for the coming years. Beshear called lawmakers back to Frankfort for a special session after they failed to approve funding for the latest plan. The Senate gaveled in the first day of the special session Monday afternoon, introducing four bills.

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4:51pm

Mon April 16, 2012
State Capitol

Beshear Signs Bill to Benefit Veterans

Gov. Steve Beshear, surrounded by veterans and lawmakers, signed into law several bills benefitting Kentucky veterans and families of the Kentucky National Guard. The bills include House Bill 121, HB 221, HB 224, HB 256, HB 369 and HB 379. “These bills address several serious concerns affecting Kentucky's citizen soldiers and our veterans,” Beshear said in a statement released by his office. “I thank and congratulate the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Military Affairs, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Kentucky's circuit court clerks, the Tourism Cabinet and lawmakers for their cooperation and hard work in making all of these initiatives a reality.”

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1:27pm

Mon April 16, 2012
State Capitol

Special Session Convenes; No End in Sight

Kentucky lawmakers have returned to the capitol for a special session, and it's not clear how long they'll remain in Frankfort to finish their work. The House gaveled in at noon today and quickly filed two bills. One measure cracks down on prescription pill abuse and another funds the state road plan. Neither measure cleared the General Assembly during the regular session this year. And House Speaker Greg Stumbo says his chamber will work quickly to pass the bills.

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12:00am

Mon April 16, 2012
State Capitol

Special Session Begins

Kentucky lawmakers are returning to Frankfort today to begin a special session called by Governor Steve Beshear. Beshear has ordered lawmakers to take up a funding bill for the state’s road plan and one addressing prescription pill abuse. Those were the two major bills that died in the final hours of the 2012 regular session last week. Beshear says passing those bills should only take lawmakers five days.

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12:00am

Mon April 16, 2012
State Capitol

Legislative Rivalry Could Influence Elections

Kentucky lawmakers will begin a special session today that could become election fodder for legislative candidates on both sides of the aisle this fall. This is the seventh straight year lawmakers have gone into special session, which costs the state sixty thousand dollars a day to fund. And Democratic Governor Steve Beshear and Republican Senate President David Williams are locked in a stalemate over the state’s road plan template.

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12:26pm

Sun April 15, 2012
State Capitol

Lawmakers Prepare for Special Session

Fifth District Rep. Melvin Henley and First District Sen. Ken Winters will remain in Frankfort for another week of legislative duty following Gov. Steve Beshear’s call for a special session. Lawmakers adjourned the 2012 regular session without funding a $4.5 billion transportation bill and a bill imposing new regulations on prescription drugs that was left in limbo. Taxpayers will reportedly be stuck with a $300,000 bill to fund another week of legislative action. Henley said he has become used to returning to Frankfort for special sessions during his four terms.

12:29pm

Fri April 13, 2012
State Capitol

Coal Scholarships Die as Regular Session Ends

An education proposal favored by Kentucky House leadership will not be included in next week’s special session, effectively killing its chances this year. A bill that began as a measure to bring the University of Pikeville into the state system morphed into one that would have created scholarships for college students from coal counties.

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12:09pm

Fri April 13, 2012
State Capitol

Special Session Blame Game Resumes in Frankfort

A blame game over important legislation is turning into a full-blown repeat of last year’s gubernatorial election. Democratic Governor Steve Beshear and Republican Senate President David Williams are arguing over who is to blame for lawmakers adjourning their regular session without passing key bills. A bill to crack down on Kentucky’s prescription drug abuse died in the final minutes of the session, and even though lawmakers passed a road plan, they neglected to pass the bill that funds the projects.

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6:13am

Fri April 13, 2012
State Capitol

Special Session Looming

Governor Beshear is expected to call the Kentucky legislature into special session this Monday.  It comes after another hectic and long last day of the regular 2012 session Thursday.   The governor says lawmakers will return to Frankfort early next week to take up the transportation budget bill and legislation to crack down on prescription drug abuse.

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1:49pm

Thu April 12, 2012
State Capitol

Last Minute Compromise over Road Spending

Kentucky lawmakers have once again reached a late night agreement on an important revenue bill to avoid a special session. The House and the Senate finally compromised on two-year and six-year road plans early this morning, after Governor Steve Beshear threatened to call a special session if they could not do so. House Speaker Greg Stumbo says the impasse was finally broken at about the same time the budget conference committee passed their compromise two weeks ago.

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5:35am

Thu April 12, 2012
State Capitol

Few Vetoes Anticipated

Kentucky lawmakers have one more legislative day in their calendar this year, but they likely won’t spend it overriding vetoed bills.  Governor Steve Beshear spent most of the day Wednesday signing bills into law. And outside of the almost mandatory line item vetoes every governor has in budget bills, Beshear says he doesn’t expect to use his veto pen.

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4:47pm

Wed April 11, 2012
State Capitol

Governor Predicts Passage of Pill Bill

Supporters of a bill that would put more restrictions on prescription pills say they believe the measure will pass soon, despite increased lobbying efforts by doctors to weaken the bill. The bill would move the KASPER prescription tracking system to the Attorney General’s office and strengthen restrictions on pain clinics.  Kentucky lawmakers were unable to pass a compromise version of House Bill 4 before leaving for a veto recess. When they return, they’ll have one day to pass the bill.

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4:04pm

Wed April 11, 2012
State Capitol

Slow Moving Vehicle Bill Signed

Drivers of slow moving vehicles now have the option of using reflective tape instead of the standard orange triangle while on Kentucky roads.  Governor Steve Beshear signed Senate Bill 75 into law today. The bill is in response to the jailing of Amish men in Western Kentucky, who refused to use the orange triangles for religious reasons.

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3:25pm

Tue April 10, 2012
State Capitol

Tax Code Commission Holds Meeting in Frankfort

A commission tasked with coming up with elements of a new tax code for Kentucky held its second meeting in Frankfort today.The group is chaired by Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson and is made up of business leaders from across the state. During the all-afternoon meeting, the group received overviews of the dozen tax commissions that came before the current one.

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5:03pm

Mon April 9, 2012
State Capitol

Gubernatorial Action

Governor Steve Beshear has signed more bills that passed the General Assembly this session.  Lawmakers will return to Frankfort Thursday to try and override any potential vetoes, but so far, the governor hasn’t vetoed anything.  He has, however, approved more than a dozen bills since lawmakers left Frankfort late last month.

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11:42pm

Sun April 8, 2012
State Capitol

2012 General Assembly on Kentucky Tonight

On the Tuesday morning April 10 edition of Kentucky Tonight,  host Bill Goodman and guests will discuss the 2012 General Assembly. The program also airs on WEKU at 11:00 a.m.

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2:39pm

Fri April 6, 2012
State Capitol

First Obama Headquarters in Kentucky

President Barack Obama's re-election campaign will open its first office in Kentucky this weekend.  The Obama campaign will hold an open house at its new Louisville office tomorrow (Saturday) from 2 to 4 pm.  Kentucky has never been a priority for the president, not in his 2008 bid and not now. But spokesman Frank Benenati says the president is serious about competing in all fifty states.

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9:26am

Wed April 4, 2012
State Capitol

Advocates Cheer Passage of Several Bills

Child advocates are praising the General Assembly's passage of a handful of key bills aimed at making life better for Kentucky's vulnerable children. Terry Brooks, executive director of the non-profit Kentucky Youth Advocates, said Monday that he was pinching himself because so many pieces of legislation that could improve the lives of children were approved this session. "We think there were some really big wins for kids," Brooks said.

12:41pm

Tue April 3, 2012
State Capitol

Coal Scholarships Again at Risk

A bill to create a scholarship fund to help students from coal mining counties in Kentucky finish their education is once again in limbo. House Bill 260 would create a fund to give scholarships to college juniors and seniors who finish their degrees at schools in coal-producing counties. The program was originally meant only for students from eastern Kentucky, but it was expanded to apply to students from all 38 mining counties in the state. 

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10:37am

Tue April 3, 2012
State Capitol

Heavy Workload Set for Session's Last Day

State lawmakers will face a heavy workload when they return to Frankfort April 12 to end Kentucky's 2012 General Assembly. Their biggest jobs will be to consider any vetoes issued by Gov. Beshear and to decide what to do with legislation that was left hanging when they left Frankfort Friday night. High on that list are two measures pushed by House Speaker Greg Stumbo: an anti-drug bill to regulate pain-management clinics in hopes of curbing prescription drug abuse, and a bill to set up a scholarship program for students in coal-producing counties.

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5:32pm

Mon April 2, 2012
State Capitol

Fourth Congressional District Primary Heats Up

As primary campaigns in Kentucky warm up, one of the highest-profile contests has turned into a blame game. State Representative Alecia Webb-Edgington is one of six Republicans vying to replace outgoing Fourth Congressional District Congressman Geoff Davis. One of her opponents, Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore, is criticizing Webb-Edgington for missing crucial votes on the state budget last week. Moore says his opponent was too busy fundraising to fulfill her duty as a state lawmaker.

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6:22am

Mon April 2, 2012
State Capitol

Left Over Legislation

With budgets passed and lawmakers in recess, the focus in Frankfort is now on Governor Steve Beshear and his veto pen. A host of bills are on Beshear’s desk. The most important are budget bills for all three branches of government.  But many other relevant bills are waiting for the Governor. Most notably, bills that would create an alternative diploma for special needs students, an incentives program for the Kentucky auto industry and crackdowns on synthetic drug and methamphetamine manufacturing.

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6:20am

Mon April 2, 2012
State Capitol

Prescription Pill Bill in Limbo

Confusion and last-minute lobbying have potentially derailed what some Kentucky lawmakers considered the hallmark of the current legislative session.  House Bill 4 is better known as the prescription pill bill. It's centerpiece is the transfer of the KASPER drug tracking system to the attorney general’s office. Late last week, it appeared lawmakers had struck a last-minute deal to pass the bill before this week's recess. But confusion about which amended version of HB4 was up for a vote mired them in procedural minutiae.

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12:54pm

Sun April 1, 2012
State Capitol

Lawmakers Officially Approve Budget Bills

Kentucky lawmakers have officially passed two-year budgets for all three branches of state government. After hatching a deal early Thursday morning, lawmakers finally received the compromise in bill form this afternoon. The Senate passed the executive branch budget 36 to 1 and passed a judicial budget compromise unanimously. The House also overwhelmingly approved the budgets.

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1:23pm

Fri March 30, 2012
State Capitol

Lawmakers Delay Road Plan Vote

Kentucky lawmakers are unlikely to approve new two-year and six-year road plans in time to override any gubernatorial vetoes. The conference committee working on the plans did not come to a compromise late last night, significantly decreasing the potential for a deal today. The plans fund many projects, including the widening of Interstate 65, the expansion of the Mountain Parkway and portions of the Ohio River Bridges Project in Louisville.

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