The waning hours of the 2014 Kentucky General Assembly session found senators debating nuclear and coal-based power. The discussion occurred during consideration of a bill to help AK Steel, a manufacturer suffering sizable job loss.
Lawmakers waited until the last few hours of the 2014 General Assembly session before they approved a statewide road plan. House and Senate members agreed to spend more than 3 billion dollars in state money over the next two years for repair and replacement of roads and bridges. The Senate voted 37-to-1 for the measure. Senate Speaker Pro Tem Katie Stine cast the only "no" vote. Her concern focused in part on a source of funding for a new outer loop highway in northern Kentucky.
Proponents of Lexington's Rupp Arena project will likely be looking for new sources of funding to re-work the downtown complex. Kentucky lawmakers left Frankfort just after midnight Wednesday without backing a plan to borrow 80 million dollars toward the capital construction effort. Lexington Senator Reggie Thomas called it disappointing that legislators didn't come up with support for a project which could create five thousand jobs.
Kentucky's bourbon industry is about to gain an income tax credit. Beginning next year, distilleries can get the credit for state and local property taxes paid on aging barrels of bourbon. Governor Steve Beshear signed the bill into law Tuesday afternoon. Former Maker's Mark President Bill Samuels Jr. says Kentucky needs to maintain its position in the industry.
Leaders in the House and Senate appear closer to reaching an agreement on a three billion dollar road plan. Differences between the two chambers have made negotiations difficult. House Budget Review Committee on Transportation Chair Leslie Combs says there's still some details to work out.
"We're back and moving forward. It's never done until it's done. As far as a time frame, I've been asked that a couple of times, we've got til midnight tonight," said Combs.
As the hours pass on the 60th and final day of the 2014 General Assembly, it looks more unlikely Kentucky legislators will reach agreement on state funding for the Rupp Arena project. The governor initially suggested borrowing 65 million dollars to go toward construction of the new Rupp facility. The senate opted to delete that funding. If not passed, House Speaker Greg Stumbo doesn't believe it's an issue which deserves special session attention.
State of Kentucky and Lexington officials are considering revised strategies for funding the proposed Rupp Arena project. Governor Beshear said yesterday it would not involve any increase in the hotel/motel tax in Lexington, but it does call for the state to increase its commitment from 65 to 80 million dollars.
In his budget address last week, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray called for borrowing 40 million dollars for the downtown project.
A new Kentucky law banning the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors is being hailed as a step to curb teenage use of tobacco products. With the official signing by Governor Beshear, the sale of all types of e-cigarettes to minors is now illegal.
Decisions about three and a half billion dollars in road and bridge projects across Kentucky will wait for another day.
Lawmakers from the House and Senate spent many hours negotiating over the weekend before finally reaching agreement on a two year state budget. But, consensus on a road plan remains on the 'to do' list.
The Kentucky House has passed the much-debated juvenile justice reform bill. Proponents say it could lead to state savings of 25 million dollars over a five year period by reducing incarceration for "low level offenders".
The Kentucky General Assembly is working to further public-private partnerships when it comes to large expensive projects. Legislation to assist in local and state projects has been approved by the state senate.
The state senate's approach to building and maintaining roads and bridges across the Commonwealth is moving forward. The transportation committee adopted the six-year road plan Wednesday. Committee Chair Ernie Harris says the multi billion dollar transportation program contains no tax increases.
A bill permitting the research and medicinal use of cannabis oil to treat neurological disorders has cleared the Kentucky House. Families with ailing children gathered into the House chambers to witness the vote on the bill.
Victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Kentucky can now register to vote in confidentiality. The Address Confidentiality Program is being implemented through the Secretary of State's Office.
The Kentucky Senate has now passed its version of a two year $20 billion budget. The lengthy document will end up in a House-Senate Conference Committee where a key House leader expects successful passage this session.
Legislation aimed at shortening Kentucky General Assembly sessions has easily passed the state's senate. If approved by the full legislature, the constitutional amendment would require statewide voter approval before it could to go into effect.
Lexington's legislative request for authority to raise the city transient room tax seems to face clear sailing in the Kentucky House, The backing comes as time winds down for the 2014 session of the General Assembly.
A state House panel has unanimously approved a bill to provide tax incentives to the ailing coal industry. House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins says his bill will permit tax breaks on machinery and manufacturing for coal-related companies.
When severe storms blow through the Commonwealth, less-than-reputable roof repair crews often times offer their services. Louisville Representative Steve Riggs says legislation approved in the House hopes to remedy the problem. "It's a terrible problem in Kentucky with storm chasers and contractors that do work on roofs that come out of state and are basically predators.
The Kentucky Senate has approved legislation aimed at keeping certain key maintenance drugs in the hands of patients. The bill requires pharmaceutical benefit managers to contact prescribing doctors before cutting off coverage of the medications.
Kentucky school districts could shorten their academic calendars by up to ten days under legislation approved in the House today. Local school officials have been clamoring for some legislative guidance in the wake of a rough winter and many cancelations.