State Capitol

12:53pm

Tue March 6, 2012
State Capitol

House Budget Wins First Vote

Budget plans for all three branches of Kentucky’s government are on their way to the House floor after easily passing out of the House budget committee today. The committee passed bills that would cut the judicial and legislative budgets by eight point four percent, to match the cuts already made to the executive budget.  It also adopted the changes to Governor Steve Beshear’s budget proposed yesterday.

Read more

12:05pm

Tue March 6, 2012
State Capitol

Meth Crackdown Bill Wins Another Vote

A proposal that limits the amount of pseudoephedrine consumers can buy in a month could make it out the state House of Representatives intact. The Senate passed a bill last week that would limit consumers to seven point two grams of pseudoephedrine every month, or roughly two boxes of cold medicine.

Read more

11:21am

Tue March 6, 2012
State Capitol

House Panel Passes UPike Compromise Plan

A bill creating a new scholarship fund from coal severance tax monies has cleared a House committee Tuesday morning. The scholarships have evolved from an original proposal that would have added the University of Pikeville into the state university system. But the UPIKE proposal didn’t have the votes to pass, so lawmakers settled on a compromise.

Read more

6:48am

Tue March 6, 2012
State Capitol

Kentucky House Unveils Its Budget Plan

The House committee charged with overseeing the budget has taken its first official steps in the process.  The House Appropriations and Revenue Committee took reports from subcommittees and accepted their recommendations at a meeting today.  The House plan deviates slightly from Governor Steve Beshear’s proposal. It delays the start of substance abuse programs in Medicaid and the creation of an Adult Abuse registry, saving more than two million dollars in the process.

Read more

4:59pm

Mon March 5, 2012
State Capitol

House Unveils Budget Plan Changes

The House committee charged with overseeing the budget has taken its first official steps in the process. The House Appropriations and Revenue Committee took reports from subcommittees and accepted their recommendations at a meeting today. The House plan deviates slightly from Governor Steve Beshear’s proposal. It delays the start of substance abuse programs in Medicaid and the creation of an Adult Abuse registry, saving more than two million dollars in the process.

Read more

6:55am

Mon March 5, 2012
State Capitol

Middle School Athletics Association Proposed

One Central Kentucky lawmaker is spearheading an effort to create a middle school athletic association in Kentucky. State representative Bob Damron is the sponsor of House Concurrent Resolution 155, which holds the force of law if passed.  The resolution would require the Legislative Research Commission to start a task force on middle school athletics. Damron says a new athletic association is needed so as to not add pressure to already-established entities, like the Kentucky High School Athletic Association.

Read more

1:48pm

Fri March 2, 2012
State Capitol

$410K Missing at KY Agriculture Department

More than $410,000 in state property issued to the Department of Agriculture remains unaccounted for or missing about two months after auditors launched a sweeping review of the agency. Inventory records provided to The State Journal show more than $72,000 in state property has been either found, returned to the department or located in the state surplus system. Most of the 45 items are computers, printers and other electronic equipment.

Read more

1:25pm

Fri March 2, 2012
State Capitol

Bill Establishes Child Abuse Review Panel

A House Committee has approved a bill that would establish an independent panel to review and report on child abuse cases. The bill doesn’t settle the issue of what case records are public documents, but lawmakers say it’s a step towards transparency. The question of what information in child death and near death records should be made available to the public is caught up in court. The Cabinet for Health and Family Services wants to protect certain information like still-living victims of child abuse crimes. Others say all information should be made public to identify inadequacies in the system.

Read more

11:45am

Fri March 2, 2012
State Capitol

Meth Crack Down Bill Okayed by Senate

A bill regulating the amount of certain cold medicines consumers can buy over the counter has passed the State Senate. The bill is intended to crack down on meth users, who use cold medicine to make the illegal drug. Senate Bill 3 passed after an amendment raised the monthly pseudoephedrine allotment to seven point two grams per month—or the equivalent of two boxes of medicine. Previously the bill had been prescription only, then limited over-the-counter purchase to three point six grams a month.

Read more

10:40am

Fri March 2, 2012
State Capitol

Child Abuse Panel Would Meet in Secret

An independent panel of experts would examine the deaths of abused and neglected children in Kentucky under a proposal approved unanimously Thursday by a House committee. The independent child-fatality review panel would make recommendations to the state about how to improve its child-protection system, but the group's meetings would be closed to the public, and its documents would remain secret. Jon Fleischaker, a lawyer for the Kentucky Press Association, objected to the secrecy of the panel, saying there was no accountability to the public.

Read more

10:38am

Fri March 2, 2012
State Capitol

Bill Exempts State Contractors from Disclosure Law

Some targets of critical news stories and state audits from recent years could avoid scrutiny under changes that lawmakers are proposing to the Kentucky Open Records Act. Presently, any organization that gets at least 25 percent of its revenue from local or state government must share most of its records under the act, which is meant to bring transparency to public spending. But House Bill 496, set to be heard next week in committee, would change the act to exempt from disclosure any money awarded by a government "for goods or services that are provided by a contract obtained through a public procurement process."

Read more

10:33am

Fri March 2, 2012
State Capitol

Hemp Legislation Pending in Frankfort

Two legislative bills that would legalize industrial hemp could offer a transition crop for farmers in Nelson County. Central Kentucky was the largest producer of hemp during World War II for rope production, but state officials say it isn’t legislation but law enforcement that will decide hemp’s future in the state or Nelson County. Industrial hemp is a non-psychoactive variety of the Cannabis sativa plant. Given its low THC content, it would not be attractive as a recreational drug like marijuana, but the stigma has helped stop its legalization.

Read more

2:24pm

Thu March 1, 2012
State Capitol

Senate Considers Compromise Limits on Meth Makers

A supposed compromise on a bill aimed at cracking down on meth production in Kentucky is once again making its way through the state Senate. The bill passed committee quickly this morning. The bill’s sponsor, Senator Robert Stivers, says the bill could be voted on the Senate floor as soon as this afternoon. The compromise will allow pseudoephedrine—a key ingredient in meth—to continue to be bought over the counter, but will limit consumers to only three point six grams, which is equivalent to one box of cold medicine, a month.

Read more

2:01pm

Thu March 1, 2012
State Capitol

Death Penalty Suspension, Abolition Considered

For the first time in Kentucky, a legislative committee is considering a move to abolish the death penalty. The bill received a hearing in a Senate committee today. Senate Bill 63 would abolish capital punishment in the commonwealth, a move few other states have accomplished by statute.

Read more

1:57pm

Thu March 1, 2012
State Capitol

New State Mine Safety Chief Named

FRANKFORT – Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Len Peters Thursday named Jerry F. “Freddie” Lewis Sr., as the new executive director of the Office of Mine Safety and Licensing (OMSL). Lewis most recently was manager of Safety and Training for Alliance Coal Co. Prior to that position, he worked for more than nine years in the regional OMSL office in Pikeville as a mine safety analyst, mine inspector, mine safety rescue team member and classroom instructor.

Read more

1:50pm

Thu March 1, 2012
State Capitol

Ag Chief Plugs License Plate Fundraiser

Neither rain nor hail nor tornado activity could keep Agriculture Commissioner James Comer from appearing Wednesday at the Warren County Clerk’s Office. Comer was in Bowling Green to promote an annual fundraising drive asking citizens to make an optional $10 donation when renewing farm license plates. The total amount collected will be split three ways – between the Future Farmers of America organization, 4-H and the Kentucky Proud program. Comer was a few minutes late for the event, saying the severe weather Wednesday slowed his pace.

Read more

12:46pm

Thu March 1, 2012
State Capitol

300 Firms Attend Ohio River Bridges Meeting

LOUISVILLE – Gov. Steve Beshear Thursday welcomed more than 600 professionals representing more than 300 companies to the first step in selecting the team that will build the downtown portion of the long-awaited Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project. “The Bridges Project is about improving safety and mobility for the citizens of this region,” Beshear said in a statement. “But make no mistake: the Bridges Project means jobs – thousands of good-paying jobs.”

Read more

3:20pm

Wed February 29, 2012
State Capitol

Lawmakers Rethink Kentucky's War on Drug Abuse

The Kentucky House Judiciary Committee has overwhelmingly passed two bills to overhaul the state’s fight against drugs. One bill deals with synthetic drugs. It would ban the manufacture of any drug that simulates an illegal substance or that contains certain chemical compounds.

Read more

3:04pm

Wed February 29, 2012
State Capitol

Bill Targets Synthetic Drug Distributors

A legislator has introduced a bill aimed at closing loopholes in the fight against what are commonly known as synthetic marijuana and “bath salts” and imposing stricter penalties for distributors. Franklin County Attorney Rick Sparks, Frankfort Police Chief Walter Wilhoite and Sheriff Pat Melton were on hand in the Capitol Rotunda Tuesday when Rep. John Tilley, a Democrat from Hopkinsville, introduced the bill that uses a comprehensive “class approach” to identify synthetic drugs.

12:22pm

Wed February 29, 2012
State Capitol

Auditor Wades into Medicaid Debate

State Auditor Adam Edelen has released ten recommendations for a more efficient Medicaid Managed Care system in Kentucky. For weeks, the MCOs, lawmakers, health care providers and patients have tussled over the new system, which was implemented quickly to plug a budget gap.

Read more

12:19pm

Wed February 29, 2012
State Capitol

Debt Deal Proposed in Frankfort

A deal to help Kentucky repay a federal loan is officially on the table. During the recession, the commonwealth borrowed more than $900 million from the federal government to shore up the unemployment insurance fund. In 2010, the General Assembly approved a plan to repay the debt over time. But when that measure passed, lawmakers and the governor believed the federal government would defer interest payments. That didn’t happen, and the state was left on the hook for millions of dollars in interest. If Kentucky doesn’t make the interest payments, employers will face government fees and the loss of federal tax credits on unemployment insurance.

Read more

5:04pm

Tue February 28, 2012
State Capitol

House Passes Reflective Tape Bill

Proposals to allow the Amish to use reflective tape on their buggies instead of state-mandated orange triangles have passed both Kentucky legislative chambers. The House voted today in favor of a bill that requires the Amish to put 200 inches of red tape on their buggies. The bill passed overwhelmingly, 90-9, despite objections from lawmakers in areas where the bill would matter the most. Among the no votes was Representative Martha Jane King of Logan County.

Read more

4:54pm

Tue February 28, 2012
State Capitol

Special Needs Diploma Clears General Assembly

A bill creating an alternative diploma for special needs students in Kentucky is just a signature away from becoming law. Senator Dennis Parrett's bill soared through the General Assembly. It passed the state Senate 36-0 last week and cleared the House 100-0 Tuesday.

Read more

3:08pm

Tue February 28, 2012
State Capitol

Tea Party Upset with IRS Inquiries

Kentucky Tea Party groups are joining others around the country in complaining about inquiries from the Internal Revenue Service. Many of the groups are not-for-profit 501(c)(4)s. Such organizations may engage in elections and political campaigns, but the activities must primarily promote social welfare. The IRS has sent several groups questionnaires about their activities. The surveys ask about the groups’ fundraising activities, political rallies and candidate endorsements.

Read more

2:48pm

Tue February 28, 2012
State Capitol

Tougher Penalties for Makers, Users of Synthetic Drugs

Kentucky lawmakers are doubling down on efforts to fight synthetic drugs. Synthetic drugs are chemically-altered substances meant to simulate other drugs. House Bill 481 would drastically increase penalties for crimes related to synthetic drugs. The measure is the General Assembly’s latest attempt to catch up with increasingly-popular methods of getting high.

Read more

10:06am

Tue February 28, 2012
State Capitol

Trainer Heads Up Kentucky Horse Racing Commission

Governor Steve Beshear has announced the appointment of veteran Thoroughbred trainer John Ward as the new executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. Ward, who along with his wife Donna operate John T. Ward Stables in Paris, Ky., as well as training and racing operations in New York and Florida, will assume his new role April 1. He succeeds Lisa Underwood who resigned in November 2011 to return to private law practice. 

Read more

6:15am

Tue February 28, 2012
State Capitol

Legislative Leaders say No New Districts this Session

Legislative leaders in Kentucky say the issue of redistricting is over for the current session. Lawmakers drew new maps of their districts earlier this year to reflect the latest census data. But the state Supreme Court ruled that the maps were unconstitutional and threw them out. House Speaker Greg Stumbo says there’s no need to redraw maps this year because,after this November, there are no legislative elections until 2014.

Read more

6:11am

Tue February 28, 2012
State Capitol

Stumbo Predicts Minor Budget Modifications

The leader of the Kentucky House of Representatives says his chamber will make few changes to Governor Steve Beshear’s budget. Beshear released his two-year budget plan earlier this year. It calls for cuts of more than eight percent to most state agencies. And it includes roughly six percent cuts for higher education. House leadership has been reviewing the plan for the last few days. Speaker Greg Stumbo says they plan to pass it off to the Senate by the beginning of March.

Read more

5:37pm

Mon February 27, 2012
State Capitol

Expanded Gambling on this week's "Kentucky Tonight"

On this week's edition of Kentucky Tonight, host Bill Goodman and guests will discuss expanded gambling.  The program that airs on Kentucky Educational Television (KET) Monday  at 7:00 pm/8:00 Central will be re-broadcast on WEKU Tuesday at  11:00 am.

Read more
Tags: 

9:30am

Mon February 27, 2012
State Capitol

House Expected to Propose Budget

The state House is expected to propose a two-year state budget with no new taxes that mostly will keep Gov. Steve Beshear's recommended 8.4 percent spending cuts for many agencies and provide no salary increases for state workers and teachers. House Democratic leaders worked during the weekend on their chamber's financial plan for the state. They mulled over the budget Beshear unveiled in January, one of the most austere in recent history.

Pages