Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is adding his voice to one of President Barack Obama’s top campaign issues. The president spoke at two college campuses this week urging Congress to prevent an automatic rate hike in interest on student loans from taking effect. Now, Beshear has penned a letter to all six members of Kentucky’s Congressional delegation, asking for them to take action to block the increase.
A decision is expected within six weeks over whether Instant Racing is legal in Kentucky. The state’s Court of Appeals heard arguments in the case today. Instant Racing is a slots-like game that Kentucky racetracks hope to use to boost race purses. But the Family Foundation of Kentucky says the game isn’t pari-mutuel betting like horse racing, but instead is closer to a slot machine.
Kentucky lawmakers and Governor Steve Beshear are applauding the passage of a bill aimed at reducing prescription pill abuse. Beshear signed the pill bill today, inviting key legislators and law enforcement officers to take part in the ceremony. The new law isn’t as tough as some had hoped. But House Speaker Greg Stumbo says changes can always be made later.
After spending 65 days in Frankfort, Kentucky lawmakers can once again point to strong new drug laws as their signature achievements. The General Assembly passed bills cracking down on synthetic drugs, prescription abuse and meth production.
The seventh straight special session in Frankfort has ended with agreements on a transportation budget and House Bill 1, dubbed the “pill mill bill.” The former survived after eleventh hour negotiations between the House and Senate produced a watered down compromise. The revised bill keeps KASPER, the state’s drug tracking database, under the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and does not move it to the Attorney General’s office, as was originally planned. But the bill guarantees funding for KASPER’s expansion.
State Auditor Adam Edelen plans in the near future to launch a "massive undertaking" to bring the state's special taxing districts to heel, but he's going to need your help to do it. That's the message he brought to the Henderson Rotary Club Thursday. There are 45 different categories of special taxing districts governed by about 50 different state laws, he said. "We're going to find out who has been audited as they should be by law and who has not filed the proper documentation with the Department of Local Government."
A Kentucky Senate committee’s amendment to the state transportation budget could take the special session off course. Lawmakers are in special session in part to pass a funding mechanism for the state road plan. But Senate President David Williams declined to take up the issue until Governor Steve Beshear acted on the unfunded road plan that passed previously. Beshear did so this week, issuing line item vetoes that make projects in Williams’s district a lower priority for the state.
A bill aimed at cracking down on prescription pill abuse could be stalled once again in the Kentucky Senate. Senate leaders say they are still reviewing the bill, which would enhance the KASPER tracking system and make it part of the attorney general’s office. The chamber is taking an extra day to look over the bill and has scheduled a committee meeting for tomorrow, what was supposed to be the last day of the special session.
The Democratic-led House passed a measure Wednesday that supporters hope will curtail Kentucky's prescription pill addiction, but the bill's future in the Republican-led Senate remains uncertain. House Bill 1 would allow only doctors to own pain clinics and would move the state's prescription electronic monitoring system from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to Attorney General Jack Conway's office. But many of the "no" votes in the House, where the bill passed 70-28, were cast by Republicans, who questioned whether the attorney general's office was given too much power over the state's doctors.
Kentucky Senate President David Williams says Governor Steve Beshear’s latest action on the state road plan will not lead to an extended special session. Governor Steve Beshear has changed the two-year road plan to give projects in Williams’s district a lower priority. Those were the only modifications the governor made. Williams had promised not to consider a bill to fund the road plan until Beshear acted on the unfunded measure. Despite his displeasure with Beshear’s move, Williams says the Senate will approve a funding bill and should adjourn the special session within five days.
After reviewing nearly 400 pages of road project legislation, Gov. Steve Beshear Wednesday exercised his line-item veto authority, returning some projects to their original funding sources in order to restore fairness and equity to the Road Plan legislation. Wednesday’s action on the Road Plan also eliminates the Senate’s single stated reason for not passing the Transportation budget, according to a press release from the governor's office.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.