State Capitol

4:17pm

Thu May 31, 2012
State Capitol

State to Address Concerns with Outdoor Tents

FRANKFORT – In the past year, sudden and dangerous storms caused eight deaths and several dozen more injuries during the collapse of an outdoor concert stage at the Indiana State Fair and a beer tent in St. Louis. These events have prompted the Kentucky Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction (HBC) to join with industry representatives to form a committee to elevate the discussion over whether such tents and structures need closer scrutiny and whether building codes should be enhanced, according to a press release from the state's Public Protection Cabinet.

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4:10pm

Thu May 31, 2012
State Capitol

Beshear Signs Synthetic Drug Bill

HOPKINSVILLE – Saying the law would help Kentucky stay one step ahead of backyard chemists who constantly change the formulas of banned drugs to keep them legal, Gov. Steve Beshear Thursday ceremonially signed House Bill 481, which bans whole classes of synthetic drugs. The new law, which was passed by lawmakers in this year’s legislative session, targets substances that are often sold as bath salts and potpourri but which have harmful and hallucinogenic effects.

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3:31pm

Wed May 30, 2012
State Capitol

Groundbreaking Held for New Emergency Operations Center

Adjutant Maj. Gen. Edward Tonini speaks about the extension to the National Guard's Emergency Operations Center Tuesday morning. Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson also addressed the crowd.
Dylan Buell/The State Journal

Government and military representatives officially broke ground Tuesday on the state’s new $9.8 million Emergency Operations Center in Frankfort that officials say will help them be more efficient during natural disasters and state and federal emergencies. At present, emergency personnel are located in several spots across Frankfort. The new facility will bring them under one roof.

4:00pm

Tue May 29, 2012
State Capitol

Beshear Creates Coal Scholarship Program

Governor Steve Beshear has created a program lawmakers could not. The governor has released four million dollars to be given as scholarships to Eastern Kentucky college students. Lawmakers wrestled with several scholarship proposals during the last legislative session, but an agreement was never passed. “Kentuckians recognize the importance of completing a college degree, and more and more people are pursuing higher education,” says Beshear in a release.

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3:57pm

Tue May 29, 2012
State Capitol

Beshear Signs Bills Supporting Education

VERSAILLES – Gov. Steve Beshear joined lawmakers and school children Tuesday at the Woodford County Early Childhood Center to sign two bills related to education innovation and strategies. House Bill 37, sponsored by Rep. Carl Rollins, allows school districts to apply to become a “District of Innovation.” This designation will allow the districts more flexibility in curriculum, instructional models, funding and school scheduling.

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2:51pm

Tue May 29, 2012
State Capitol

Medicaid Managed Care Audit

After months of mounting problems, State Auditor Adam Edelen says he will launch a full investigation into Kentucky’s statewide Medicaid Managed Care system.   Edelen created a Medicaid task force in February after taking a first look at the managed care system. He also gave recommendations to managed care companies, health care providers and the state on how to make the system run better in the future.

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9:36am

Tue May 29, 2012
State Capitol

Edelen to Audit Private Medicaid Operators

After months of mounting problems, State Auditor Adam Edelen says he will launch a full investigation into Kentucky’s statewide Medicaid Managed Care system. Edelen created a Medicaid task force in February after taking a first look at the managed care system. He also gave recommendations to managed care companies, health care providers and the state on how to make the system run better in the future.

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9:57pm

Tue May 22, 2012
State Capitol

Most of Legislature's Incumbents Survive Primary

At least one incumbent member of the Kentucky House will not be returning to Frankfort next year. Republican-turned-Democrat Wade Hurt has lost his primary to union activist Jeff Donohue. Wade ran as a Republican in 2010 against Donohue, who has remained a Democrat. Hurt switched parties shortly after that election, saying it would help him better serve his district.

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2:22pm

Thu May 17, 2012
State Capitol

Kentucky Supreme Court Reelects Minton Chief Justice

Chief Supreme Court Justice John D. Minton.
Lexington Herald Leader

FRANKFORT — Justices of the Kentucky Supreme Court have unanimously voted to elect Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. of Bowling Green to a second term as leader of the state's court system. The four-year term begins June 27. Minton was sworn in as Kentucky's fifth chief justice on June 27, 2008, after being elected to the Supreme Court in 2006.

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3:21pm

Wed May 16, 2012
State Capitol

Women's Health Walk at State Capitol

Kentuckians are invited to gather from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at the state Capitol to take part in the annual Women’s Health Walk, an event sponsored by the Kentucky Department for Public Health, Frankfort Regional Medical Center and the Kentucky Commission on Women. The event will include opening remarks from Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes and Commission on Women Executive Director Eleanor Jordan. Also included are educational and promotional booths pertaining to women’s health, as well as a walk along Capital Avenue.

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2:43am

Mon May 14, 2012
State Capitol

Third Party Wants Part in Presidential Politics

A national group that hopes to give voters more choices in this year's presidential election is bringing its campaign to Kentucky. Americans Elect wants to field a presidential ticket in all 50 states. The group will nominate a candidate through a primary online at AmericansElect.org. The group will soon petition to get a candidate on the ballot in Kentucky.

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2:04pm

Fri May 11, 2012
State Capitol

Governor Off to Asia on Trade Trip

Governor Steve Beshear will once again embark on an international trade mission to Asia. Beshear has made several such trips as governor. His most recent was a visit India last year. This time, Beshear will spend seven days promoting Kentucky industries in Taiwan and Japan.

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12:27pm

Thu May 10, 2012
State Capitol

Local Sales Tax Talk

Despite heavy odds against her in the state senate, a Lexington lawmaker thinks Kentucky cities should be allowed to levy a local sales tax.  Democrat Kathy Stein told Lexington council members this week such a tax would benefit local government.  “I’m sure that studies could be done to make sure that anything that we did would not harm our tourism business…but I can’t imagine that a penny here or a penny there would harm things…but it would certainly add up in our coffers,” said Stein.

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4:04pm

Thu May 3, 2012
State Capitol

Drug Group Sets Record for Lobbying Expenses

A lobbying group for various drug manufacturers has set a record for money spent during a Kentucky legislative session. The Consumer Healthcare Products Association spent nearly half a million dollars between January and March lobbying against a bill aimed at curbing meth production by limiting pseudoephedrine purchases. According to the Legislative Branch Ethics Commission, that’s a new yearly record,  and there’s still one month of accounting left to do. Further, the group’s advertising expenses weren’t included, meaning the CHPA likely spent  millions fighting the bill, which ultimately passed.

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12:36pm

Thu May 3, 2012
State Capitol

If Court Agrees, Governor Ready to Act on Health Reforms

A key part of the Affordable Care Act will be implemented by executive order in Kentucky, if the healthcare law is upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. Exchanges in which residents can purchase insurance are a major part of the law. Each state must have an exchange, and if states don't set them up, the federal government will.

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3:55pm

Wed May 2, 2012
State Capitol

Battle over ALEC Reaches Commonwealth

A national battle between two legislative groups has reached Kentucky. The advocacy group Common Cause is asking federal agencies to remove the non-profit tax-exempt status of the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC.  ALEC provides lawmakers with sample legislation and talking points, often to promote conservative issues, and Common Cause says the organization is a lobbying group.

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1:31pm

Wed May 2, 2012
State Capitol

Budget Cuts Delay Justice

For the first time in a generation, Kentucky courts will temporarily close due to budget cuts. All state court employees will be furloughed on August 6, September 4, and October 15 of this year. Chief Justice John Minton says except for holidays, this will be the first time since 1976 that the courts have closed.

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2:11pm

Tue May 1, 2012
State Capitol

Bill Supporting Foster Children Signed by Beshear

Gov. Steve Beshear, joined by bill-sponsor Sen. Ken Winters, children’s advocates and former foster youths, Monday signed a bill that will enhance protections and support for foster children as they transition to adulthood. “These are some of our most vulnerable kids – those who are moving from state-sponsored care to the responsibility of adulthood, and we must give them the best chance for a successful transition,” Beshear said in a statement released by his office.

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1:37pm

Mon April 30, 2012
State Capitol

Former Ag Commissioner Accused of Criminal Misdeeds

An audit of former Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer's administration has revealed multiple abuses of state resources. The report says the former University of Kentucky basketball star illegally hired friends and family, used department resources for Christmas gifts and made state employees mow his yard and build a basketball court at his home on state time.

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10:01am

Mon April 30, 2012
State Capitol

State Audit Bashes Former Ag Commissioner

An audit of Richie Farmer's two terms as Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner has revealed a toxic culture of entitlement and an extravagant misuse of taxpayers dollars, state employees and time. Current Agriculture Commissioner James Comer requested the audit earlier this year. State Auditor Adam Edelen released his final report today, showing more than a dozen infractions by Farmer and a consistent abuse of state law.

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12:00am

Mon April 30, 2012
State Capitol

Young Turks Make Run at General Assembly

Two 24-year-old Democrats from opposite ends of the Commonwealth hope to be the newest and youngest members of the General Assembly next year. Kendrick Bryan is from Elizabethtown and hopes to unseat longtime lawmaker Jimmie Lee. Tyler Murphy is from Greenup County and is challenging state representative Tonya Pullin. Bryan and Murphy’s bids for office come after a trio of young Republicans in their 20s successfully ran for the state House two years ago.

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11:48am

Fri April 27, 2012
State Capitol

College Loan Rates Concern Kentucky Governor

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.

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4:09pm

Wed April 25, 2012
State Capitol

Instant Racing Slots Ruling Due by Summer

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.

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12:08pm

Tue April 24, 2012
State Capitol

Pill Bill "Step in the Right Direction"

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.

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8:53am

Mon April 23, 2012
State Capitol

Legislature Finally Goes Home

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.

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11:48am

Sun April 22, 2012
State Capitol

Special Session Officially Ends

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.

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1:47pm

Fri April 20, 2012
State Capitol

State Auditor Vows Crackdown on Special Districts

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."

3:56pm

Thu April 19, 2012
State Capitol

Senate Committee Restores Vetoed Projects

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.

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3:49pm

Thu April 19, 2012
State Capitol

Pill Bill Delayed Again in Senate

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.

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2:13pm

Thu April 19, 2012
State Capitol

Senate has Concerns About Passing Pill Bill

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.

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