The Kentucky League of Cities is heading to Frankfort this week with a full legislative agenda. Near the top are two long standing issues: stabilization of funding for emergency 9-1-1 services, and giving cities the option of pursuing a local sales tax.
The All 'A' Classic high school basketball tournament is in Frankfort this week. Games for both boys and girls teams run through the weekend at the downtown convention center. Tourist and Convention Commission Director Joy Jeffries says the city is expected to see almost a $1.5 million economic impact. "As the tournament progresses there's less and less games during the day, so they've got a little more time,” said Jeffries. “Or, they can take a run out and check something out. Jeffries says man of the city’s attractions are in close proximity to the convention center.
Two former Kentucky governors say future opportunities for Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes to seek higher office remain strong. Julian Carrol and Martha Layne Collins had front row seats Monday for Grimes' announcement in Lexington.
When they return to work next week, Kentucky lawmakers are expected to consider ways to stem a drop in state gas tax monies. Significant declines in the price per gallon at the pump have led to a loss of revenue to maintain and build roads.
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has repeatedly said he and the legislature demonstrate the ability to get along and be productive. That point was driven home again last week in the governor's State of the Commonwealth Address.
A veteran Kentucky lawmaker says last week's mandatory ethics training carried an impactful message. The workshop took place as questions remain about sexual harassment allegations within the Kentucky legislature.
Civil lawsuits filed by three women in two separate cases allege sexual harassment by a former state lawmaker and a current representative. Both men have denied any wrongdoing. The issue was first brought to light publicly by Louisville Representative Tom Riner during a floor speech in 2013.
The Kentucky Senate has adopted far reaching legislation to tackle the state's heroin-related problems. It's unusual to see action on the floor of the first week of the so-called short session. Among other things, the bill calls for allowing first responders access to a drug designed to reverse the effects of a heroin overdose.
Kentucky State Senator Whitney Westerfield of Hopkinsville might put his name in the currently unopposed race for Kentucky Attorney General. Westerfield said he doesn’t want current candidate Andy Beshear to be Kentucky’s only option.
From left to right House Speaker Greg Stumbo-Senate President Robert Stivers
Credit Stu Johnson / WEKU News
Governor Steve Beshear Wednesday night delivered his final State of the Commonwealth address. House and Senate leaders offered positive comments regarding Beshear's tenure.
Governor Beshear's eighth State of the Commonwealth Speech ran a little over an hour and was interrupted by applause from legislators more than 35 times. Beshear spoke about leading Kentucky through a historic recession, as well as achievements in education, and insuring Kentuckians through the state's health care exchange.
Families who've lost loved ones to heroin addiction were among the attendees Tuesday for the opening of the 2015 session of the Kentucky General Assembly. Governor Steve Beshear assured them something will be done to address the state's drug epidemic.
The 2015 Kentucky General Assembly session is off and running. As is tradition, the first day included a great deal of ceremony.
The Kentucky House and Senate traditionally open the session at high noon. The primary focus of this first week is to formalize leadership in both chambers. But, the first day also included a brass rendition of the national anthem, an acoustic version of My Old Kentucky Home, and a visit by the Supreme Court Chief Justice to both houses of the legislature.
During this week of January, Kentucky lawmakers will select their party leaders in Frankfort. Some posts will see little change but house republicans will have a decision to make. Northern Kentucky Rep Adam Koenig is challenging Majority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover for his position. "You know I appreciate representative Hoover’s 14 years of service, but he's had 14 years and it's time for some new ideas and new energy," said Koenig.
Kentucky House leaders are joining the mayors of the state's two largest cities in lobbying for a local sales tax option. The initiative will be outlined in House bill One that will be before lawmakers this February.
The proposal is characterized as a way for local citizens to have a say in how designated tax funds are spent. If the bill is adopted by the legislature, and then statewide by voters, local governments could put up to a one percent sales tax before their citizens.
The State Agriculture Committee heard an update last week on Kentucky's hemp pilot project. In September, researchers at the University of Kentucky harvested the first legal crop in decades. UK Plant Sciences Professor David Williams says there's growing interest in a variety of hemp supported products. "They're particularly interested in the vast of the long strong fibers for composite materials like car door panels, pseudo plastics, particle board type products, building construction materials," said Williams.
Attempts to win approval of dating violence legislation in the Kentucky General Assembly could be bolstered by a new strategy. Kentucky Domestic Violence Association Director Sherry Currens says lawmakers will be asked to consider creating a new section in Kentucky Revised Statutes for domestic partner dating violence. Currens says the domestic partner statutes pertaining to dating violence have been aired in the state capital numerous times. "And it's calling it an IPO, so it's an interpersonal protective order and it will be in chapter 456.
For the first time since 1988, Lexington will play host to lawmakers and other government officials from 15 southern states. The formal announcement was made this morning (yesterday) that the Southern Legislative Conference will be held in the city in July of 2016.
Officials with the state treasurer's office are giving Kentuckians a 'heads up' about some questionable unclaimed property mailings.
Kentucky Treasurer Todd Hollenbach says the postcards carry a Denver postmark. Bethany Goad is with the Kentucky treasurer's office in Frankfort. "They were finding in multiple reports, it was an internet company that was sending cards who was a debt collector and the cards were reported to be blue, yellow, orange, or green," said Goad.
Kentucky will receive about $110 million from an agreement between the state and tobacco companies over the state’s alleged mishandling of tobacco settlement funds.
An arbitration court ruled last year that Kentucky and five other states mishandled their management of the tobacco funds beginning in 2003. The funds have been paid by tobacco companies since 1998 to shore up state health-care costs associated with tobacco usage.