The Kentucky House of Representatives has passed a bill to increase the minimum wage in the Commonwealth. The measure raises the minimum wage 95 cents a year over a three year period. If enacted into law, the hourly rate would go from seven dollars 25 cents to ten dollars and ten cents after three years.
People considered at risk in domestic situations may soon have access to additional protection. Kentucky’s General Assembly is being asked to approve legislation loosening restrictions on concealed weapons.
A Kentucky Senate committee has approved additional protections for vulnerable Kentuckians who receive personal care services. The bill is aimed at reducing adult abuse, neglect, and exploitation by creating a registry with the state.
The Kentucky Senate has passed a bill that would require ultrasounds for women seeking abortions. The bill does not include an exemption for victims of rape. According to the reproductive rights nonprofit Guttmacher Institute, 88 percent of abortions occur during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear isn’t spilling any secrets about the tax reform proposal he plans to unveil Tuesday. When asked about his plan, mum is the word. Beshear won't say whether he wants to raise taxes, or whether his plan will be revenue neutral.
Leaders from both the Kentucky House and Senate are scheduled to meet with Governor Beshear Monday to talk tax reform. Lawmakers have been waiting on details of a proposal. Governor Beshear promised weeks ago he would come forward with a legislative proposal to reform taxes. But, the particulars of how to change the state’s tax structure will likely be revealed in Monday's meeting.
The Kentucky general assembly is about a third of the way through the 2014 session. As is the case in most Kentucky legislative sessions, a great deal of the voting comes in the later weeks and days. For instance, no votes occurred in either house Friday morning and both the House and Senate were in session for less than an hour.
Legislation seeking to eliminate the state office of treasurer is making its way through the Kentucky Senate. The Senate State and Local Government Committee easily approved the measure Wednesday. Bill Sponsor Chris McDaniel says voter approval of the constitutional amendment would save taxpayers about two and a half million dollars each year.
A bill that would permit monkeys to be used as service companions for paralyzed Kentuckians has been filed in the state Senate At first blush, northern Kentucky Senator John Schikel’s bill sounds like fodder for The Daily Show. It allows primates to serve as service companions in private residences. But when asked about it, Shickel, a former police officer, breaks down in tears.
The Kentucky Senate has adopted legislation aimed at addressing the state’s growing heroin problem. It contains provisions on treatment, education, and intervention. Senate bill five increases penalties for high volume heroin traffickers and paves the way for charging them with homicide when there is an overdose death.
FRANKFORT— Sen. Reginald Thomas, D-Lexington (left), confers with Sen. Paul Hornback, R-Shelbyville, in the Kentucky Senate.
Credit Legislative Research Commission
A proposal to change the timing of elections for Kentucky’s statewide officers has sailed out of a Senate committee. If it passes the House and voters approve the constitutional amendment, statewide races for governor, attorney general, and agriculture commissioner would coincide with national elections. Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer supports the change.
A new federal program could allow eight southeast Kentucky counties to attract more support in their fight against poverty. The program would create a so-called "Promise Zone." The designation could bring more federal money into the region and spawn additional partnerships between government agencies, social service groups and private employers. E-K-U President Michael Benson says his school will also be involved in the initiative.
Gov. Steve Beshear entered the House of Representatives to give his State of the Commonwealth Address at the Kentucky State Capitol on Jan. 7, 2014, in Frankfort.
Credit Mark Cornelison / Lexington Herald Leader
A State of the Commonwealth Speech offers Kentucky's governor an opportunity to emphasize an administration's accomplishments. Last night, Governor Steve Beshear spent a good amount of time talking about health care reforms, but also called on the general assembly to enhance state revenues and reform taxes.
FRANKFORT— House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook (left), speaks with House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, on the floor of the Kentucky House of Representatives prior to the start of the opening day of the 2014 Regular Session of the Kentucky General Assembly.
Credit Legislative Research Commission
The opening day of 2014 general assembly included a renewal of the debate over a highly publicized sexual harassment case. Critics took to the house floor and attacked the House special committee that investigated allegation of sexual harassment leveled against former Representative John Arnold. The panel disbanded just before the holidays without taking action.
The future of a disbanded Kentucky House committee formed to look into harassment claims against a former lawmaker may be decided this year. Kentucky Public Radio’s Jonathan Meador reports House Speaker Greg Stumbo says the committee charged with investigating John Arnold could be resurrected.
Although the committee had nothing to show after meeting five times and spending thousands of taxpayer dollars, Stumbo says there’s still a chance for it to continue its mission. He says that if he were in charge, the outcome would have been different.
Kentucky lawmakers are being asked to consider a new proposal for privatizing certain services or projects. It is not new to Kentucky state government. Privatization was used in a significant way to house inmates across the Commonwealth for decades.
The state’s classification of its cities could be significantly modified under legislation being promoted by the Kentucky League of Cities. Currently there are six different classes...all based on a city's population. League of Cities Director Jonathan Steiner says the proposal cuts the number of classifications in half.
New revenue in Kentucky’s upcoming biennial budget will not be enough to account for an estimated $450 million shortfall. Lawmakers expect about $230 million in new revenue to be available for the budget. But House Speaker Greg Stumbo recently told a group of Kentucky’s top business leaders that more than half of that money will be used to pay down the state’s pension debt.
A former western Kentucky lawmaker is not expected to face sanctions from the House over allegations that he sexually harassed legislative staffers. A House investigative committee voted 3-2 along party lines today to adjourn without taking any action against former Democratic state Rep. John Arnold of Sturgis. The committee concluded it has no legal authority because Arnold has already resigned.
Kentucky legislative leaders are moving forward with an audit of the state’s largest bureaucracy. Kentucky House and Senate leaders hired the National Conference of State Legislatures to conduct an audit of the Legislative Research Commission, which has come under fire over its handling of employee harassment complaints. Taxpayers will be on the hook for more than $42,000 for the review.
Thomas and his supporters celebrate the senatorial win
For the first time, an African American will represent Fayette County in the Kentucky state senate. Democrat Reginald Thomas easily won Tuesday’s special election. He will finish the unexpired term of Kathy Stein, who now serves as a Fayette County judge. Thomas defeated former Lexington council member Richard Moloney and Republican minister Michael Johnson.
State revenues exceed expectations but budget officials say they won’t be enough to satisfy the need. State Budget Director Jane Driskell offered a financial report Monday in Lexington during the annual Kentucky Chamber Legislative Preview. By the end of June, state income will likely run 130-million over budget. But Driskell says the amount needed to cover the growing costs in areas like Medicaid, teacher retirements, and education is much higher than the available monies.
Next Tuesday’s special election in Lexington pits Democrat Reginald Thomas, Republican Michael Johnson, and Independent Richard Moloney in a race for the state senate. The winner will replace former State Senator Kathy Stein, who’s now a family court judge. The community’s next representative will have a part to play in the revitalization of downtown Lexington, including a major overhaul of Rupp Arena.
The three candidates in the special senatorial election in Lexington offer their thoughts about the Rupp Arena and convention center projects
Kentucky's top judge will ask for more funding to bring justice cabinet salaries in line with those of the legislative and executive branches. Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John Minton will present a budget overview and a request for additional money to lawmakers today in Frankfort.
Just a week after a Louisville lawmaker pre-field expanded gaming legislation, opposition to it is already starting to take shape. Stan Cave is a former Republican House member and an attorney for the anti-gaming Family Foundation. He says that recent expanded gaming bills from Democratic Rep. Larry Clark do little to protect the thoroughbred industry, and would pave the way for casino interests to control Kentucky politics.
A Kentucky lawmaker has filed a pair of bills that will again bring the issue of expanded gaming before the General Assembly. State Rep. Larry Clark, a Louisville Democrat, has pre-filed legislation that would place a constitutional amendment on the Nov. 2014 ballot asking Kentucky voters if they permit "the General Assembly to pass laws authorizing casino gaming?” according to language in BR 108.