State Capitol

9:00am

Tue August 27, 2013
State Capitol

Kentucky Lawmakers Predict Another Tight Budget Year

Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee Chair Bob Leeper (right).
Credit Legislative Research Commission

In just over four months lawmakers will be back in Frankfort for a full 60 day session.  This winter, legislators must approve a new two year budget.  While the state finished last year with a budget surplus, Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee Chair Bob Leeper doesn’t anticipate any big increase in state revenue.  So, Leeper says building a budget will remain difficult.

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6:45am

Mon August 26, 2013
State Capitol

Further Legal Action on Redistricting Not Out of the Question

Credit courier-journal.com

With legislative redistricting behind them, many lawmakers say it’s time to reform the process for redrawing those boundaries.  Some, like Richmond representative Rita Smart think a change in the state’s constitution is the answer.  When asked about specific suggestions, Smart said last week more study is need to determine what needs to change.   Smart has an ally in House Speaker Greg Stumbo.

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6:41am

Mon August 26, 2013
State Capitol

Animal Protection Measure Sure to be on General Assembly Agenda

Credit lowcountrydog.com

Come 2014, the Kentucky General Assembly will likely consider ‘animal protection’ legislation.    Melodie Zentall  is with the Kentucky Coalition for Animal Protection.  She says the Commonwealth ranks poorly when it comes to watching over its animals.  “We are ranked 50th, dead last by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, that’s a national group.  They look at animal protective laws across the nation, Kentucky is ranked dead last, dead last,” said Zentall.

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2:13pm

Fri August 23, 2013
State Capitol

General Assembly And Governor Enact New Legislative Districts; Court Approval Likely

FRANKFORT— Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester (left), confers with Senate Democratic Floor Leader R.J. Palmer, D-Winchester, prior to the start of the day's legislative session in the Kentucky Senate.
Credit Legislative Research Commission

FRANKFORT: New legislative boundaries for 138 members of the general assembly have been approved by the general assembly and signed into law by Kentucky’s governor.   The final votes in favor of legislative redistricting were overwhelming; 35 to two in the Kentucky Senate and 79 to 18 in the House.  Most of the debate occured as the full Senate took its first vote on the bill.  Senate President Robert Stivers says the impact of these new district boundaries will be seen across the Commonwealth.

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4:19pm

Wed August 21, 2013
State Capitol

Lawmakers Call For Constitutional Overhaul Of Redistricting Process

Madison County Legislator Rita Smart telling House lawmakers the current redistricting process doesn't provide proper representation.
Credit Stu Johnson / WEKU News

The Kentucky House has adopted new boundaries for its 100 members, but not without some lawmaker grumbling.   The bill to redraw legislative boundaries passed the full house 83 to 17.  Before the votes were cast, House Speaker Greg Stumbo told colleagues there was no intent to punish anyone or either political party.

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2:47pm

Wed August 21, 2013
State Capitol

Top House Democrat Claims No Direct Knowledge Of Sexual Misconduct

House Speaker Greg Stumbo.
Credit Lexington Herald Leader

The leader of the Kentucky House says he doesn’t have the power to discipline any lawmaker who serves in his chamber.  House Speaker Greg Stumbo also says he has no direct knowledge of complaints filed by two statehouse staffers against against Sturgis Representative John Arnold.  The two women, Cassaundra Cooper and Yolanda Costner accuse Arnold of a pattern of sexual assault and harassment dating back to 2010.  Stumbo says his office was contacted by LRC director Bobby Sherman.

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2:15pm

Wed August 21, 2013
State Capitol

House Passes Redistricting Bill By Comfortable Margin

FRANKFORT, Ky. — A legislative redistricting bill has breezed through the House and now heads to the Senate for consideration. Legislative leaders removed many of the partisan overtones that had been in previous proposals, a move that led to broader support among rank-and-file lawmakers of both parties. The House passed the bill 83-17 Wednesday morning. The Senate is expected to rush the measure to a vote on Friday.

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11:06am

Wed August 21, 2013
State Capitol

Kentucky Statehouse Staffers Accuse Rep. John Arnold of Sexual Harassment, Assault

State Rep. John A. Arnold Jr.
Credit Jonathan Meador / Kentucky Public Radio

Two longtime Kentucky statehouse employees have filed ethics complaints against Democratic state Rep. John A. Arnold Jr., alleging a pattern of sexual assault and harassment dating back to early 2010. Cassaundra Cooper and Yolanda Costner, in separate complaints, allege Arnold inappropriately touched them and made lewd and vulgar comments in numerous incidents over several years. Arnold is a veteran legislator from Sturgis.  Read more...

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8:43am

Wed August 21, 2013
State Capitol

Kentucky House Poised To Pass Redistricting Compromise

FRANKFORT— Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, discusses a plan to redraw legislative district boundaries during a meeting of the House Committee on State Government.
Credit Legislative Research Commission

A legislative redistricting bill is expected to get a vote on the House floor this morning. House Speaker Greg Stumbo predicted that it will pass overwhelmingly and be sent to the Senate to be acted on by Friday. The House State Government Committee approved the measure 25-4 on Tuesday.

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4:40pm

Mon August 19, 2013
State Capitol

Protesters Push For Restoration Of Child Care Funds; No Can Do Says Governor

FRANKFORT— Rep. Kevin Sinnette, D-Ashland (right), discusses legislation with Rep. Tanya Pullin, D-South Shore, on the floor of the Kentucky House of Representatives.
Credit Legislative Research Commission

A rally today in Frankfort urged state leaders to spend surplus dollars on programs that provide child care.  Since April, no new additions have been made to the list of low-income families eligible for child care or kinship care assistance.  That’s when the governor ordered cuts in both programs.  Without a restoration of funding, Michelle Sanborn with Children’s Alliance predicts more foster parents will be needed.

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3:30pm

Mon August 19, 2013
State Capitol

Despite Narrow Agenda, Special Session Attracts Special Interests

FRANKFORT— House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg (left), confers with House Republican Floor Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown (right) as House Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark, D-Louisville, looks on.
Credit Legislative Research Commission

Kentucky’s aviation industry is looking for some tax relief.   Airport representatives came to Frankfort today for National Aviation Day.   Kentucky Aviation Association President Rob Barnett says Kentucky’s aviation industry lags behind its neighbors and needs state assistance.

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11:51am

Thu August 8, 2013
State Capitol

House Republican Leader Unveils House GOP Redistricting Plan

House Republican leader Jeff Hoover unveils House GOP plan for redistricting.
Credit Jack Brammer / Lexington Herald Leader

House Republicans unveiled a legislative redistricting plan Thursday that places eight current House members together — one district with two Republicans, one district with two Democrats and two districts with incumbents from both parties. The GOP plan, introduced 11 days before a special legislative session on redistricting begins in the state Capitol, also splits 24 counties — the minimum number required by the Kentucky Supreme Court and splits only two precincts in the entire state. It does not divide any districts three ways as some plans have. Read more...

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2:46pm

Wed August 7, 2013
State Capitol

Texting While Driving Will Cost 3 Points Against Driver's License

Credit VCU CNS Photostream

Kentucky drivers will soon be assessed three "penalty points" against their licenses each time they're convicted of texting while driving. The new penalty will be enacted through administrative regulations ordered by Gov. Steve Beshear, who announced the change in Louisville on Wednesday morning. Drivers rack up points against their licenses upon a conviction on various highway law violations—three points for speeding 11 to 15 miles per hour on a limited access highway, for example.  Read more...

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1:51pm

Tue August 6, 2013
State Capitol

Kentucky Audit Highly Critical of State Department of Emergency Management

Credit bipps.org

Governor Beshear is reacting to state audit findings today which are highly critical of the Kentucky Department of Emergency Management.  The Lexington Herald Leader reports the audit shows more than five million dollars were spent on alcohol, entertainment, hotels and other items.  The document also states agency workers were told to stay quiet about it.

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8:31am

Tue July 30, 2013
State Capitol

New Appeals Court Judge Appointed By Governor

Prior to serving on the Court of Appeals, Judge Allison Jones presided over workers’ compensation claims as an administrative law judge.
Credit Commonwealth of Kentucky

A former administrative law judge from Oldham County has been appointed to the Kentucky Court of Appeals. Gov. Steve Beshear's office announced Monday that he appointed Allison Jones to fill the unexpired term of Justice Michelle M. Keller, who was appointed to the state Supreme Court in April.

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12:14pm

Fri July 26, 2013
State Capitol

Kentucky Missing DNA Samples From 6,300 Felons

Credit Keith Ramsey / Flickr, Creative Commons

Kentucky corrections officials say they failed to take DNA samples from between 6,300 and 7,000 felons as required by law over a four-year period. Justice Cabinet Secretary and Corrections Commissioner LaDonna Thompson said during a news conference Thursday in Frankfort that they are now trying to locate about 3,900 people no longer in state custody or on probation or parole to take samples from them.

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9:23am

Fri July 26, 2013
State Capitol

With Help From Kentuckians, State Agency Seeks To Improve Website

Credit Charles Compton / WEKU News

The agency that's home to most of Kentucky's human services and health care programs is seeking public input to help reconstruct its website. The state Cabinet for Health and Family Services is offering an online survey for Kentuckians to fill out. Cabinet officials are seeking feedback on how to improve the usability and features of the agency's website.

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3:05pm

Thu July 25, 2013
State Capitol

Progress Surprises Governor As Commonwealth Battles Pill Abuse

Credit Bartz / Flickr, Creative Commons

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear says he's been surprised by the progress made in fighting prescription drug abuse in the year since a state law took aim at the problem. Beshear told reporters Thursday that the law has made some "swift changes" in combating a chronic state problem.

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1:53pm

Thu July 25, 2013
State Capitol

Columnist Drops Attorney General From 1st Amendment Lawsuit

Syndicated columnist and family psychologist John Rosemond.
Credit Blueridge Business Journal

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway says his office and attorneys for nationally syndicated parenting columnist John Rosemond have agreed that Conway should be dismissed from a lawsuit.

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1:43pm

Wed July 24, 2013
State Capitol

Lawmaker Will Target Kentucky Constables In 2014 Session

Credit Kentucky Constables Association

The push to abolish Kentucky constables will continue in the 2014 legislative session, despite failed efforts in recent years. Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger, said Tuesday he will reintroduce a constitutional amendment in the 2014 session that would give fiscal courts authority to eliminate the office of constable by ordinance. Franklin County has six constables, who have law enforcement powers similar to sheriffs by law. They largely perform fee-based duties such as serving court paperwork and traffic control.

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5:04pm

Tue July 16, 2013
State Capitol

Property Tax Rates Remain Constant In Kentucky

Credit Matt Stewart / Flickr, Creative Commons

Property owners across the Commonwealth will once again pay just over 12 cents for every 100 dollars in land value.  So, a homeowner with a 100-thousand dollar house would pay 120-dollars in property tax next year.  The property tax rate is set by the State Department of Revenue and Policy Advisor Tom Crawford says that tax rate’s been constant for several years.

    

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2:57pm

Mon July 15, 2013
State Capitol

House Speaker Hears Only Silence Over Proposed Tax Reforms

Credit Lexington Herald Leader

In just over a month, lawmakers are back in Frankfort for a special session on new boundaries for Kentucky’s legislative districts.  But, there are no plans yet to resolve another issue facing the state. 

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6:41am

Mon June 17, 2013
State Capitol

Losing Voters Through Legislative Redistricting

Credit freedomkentucky.org

Kentucky lawmakers will likely make the trip back to Frankfort before fall.  They will try to finalize new legislative boundaries.  Within the next week, Governor Beshear expects to announce the dates for a special session.  Madison County Senator Republican Jared Carpenter says the realignment of lawmaker districts should be a bit easier in his legislative chamber.

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10:16am

Thu June 13, 2013
State Capitol

Call to Special Session on Redistricting Likely this Month

Credit Kentucky Public Radio

With some important work undone, Kentucky state lawmakers will likely meet in a special session before year’s end.  Governor Steve Beshear recently met with House and Senate leaders to set what he calls ground rules for a special legislative session.  The only apparent agenda item is legislative redistricting.  Special sessions cost about $60,000 a day.  But, Governor Beshear says leaving the issue to the courts is not the way to go.

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12:18pm

Wed May 29, 2013
State Capitol

107 mph on I-75, Lawmaker Cited

State Rep. Regina Bunch.
Credit Lexington Herald Leader

State Rep. Regina Bunch, R-Williamsburg, was cited shortly after 10:30 a.m. Tuesday by Lexington police for traveling 109 miles per hour in a 70 mph zone on I-75 near the 108-mile marker. Bunch, who represents the 82nd House District of Whitley and part of Laurel County, said in a telephone interview that she did not think she was going that fast "because I was traveling with the traffic." Read more... 

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4:12pm

Fri May 24, 2013
State Capitol

New Education Committee Chair Selected

Credit Legislative Research Commission

State Rep. Derrick Graham has been named the new chairman of the state House Education committee, Democratic leaders announced today. Graham is a Frankfort native who recently retired as a social studies teacher at Frankfort High School. He is a well-known education advocate and previously chaired a budget subcommittee on education.

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5:31pm

Tue May 21, 2013
State Capitol

New Tourism Cabinet Secretary

Governor Steve Beshear has named a longtime tourism veteran to oversee the part of his cabinet dealing with travel and the arts.Bob Stewart is a familiar face in state government, having worked for 11 years as commissioner of travel from 1992 to 2003.  And now, he'll be the new Tourism Secretary, having been appointed by Beshear to fill the post vacated by Marcheta  Sparrow, who’s retiring.

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1:20pm

Tue May 21, 2013
State Capitol

State Ag Commissioner Holds Out Hope for Hemp

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Jamie Comer
Credit Kentucky Agriculture Department

Kentucky's agriculture commissioner says a recent setback shouldn't cause hemp supporters to give up hope of getting the crop legalized. James Comer says he's not surprised that language legalizing industrial hemp wasn’t added to the first drafts of farm bills in the U.S. House and Senate.   Last week, a group of Kentucky U.S. Senators and House members tried--and failed--to get the provision included in the legislation.  Comer says the federal farm bill has a long way to go before it gets passed, and a lot of things will be added and taken out in the next few months

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3:15pm

Fri May 17, 2013
State Capitol

State Tourism Secretary Resigns

Marcheta Sparrow.

Kentucky's Tourism Secretary, Marcheta Sparrow will retire at the end of this month. Sparrow was one of Governor Steve Beshear's first cabinet appointments, taking office in 2007. Beshear did not return a request for comment, but in a statement, he praised Sparrow for the state's recent uptick in tourism, including a 4.4 percent jump last year. Beshear says he will name a new secretary soon. The secretary oversees many departments, in addition to tourism, including parks, fish and wildlife and other humanities-related offices. 

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10:14am

Fri May 17, 2013
State Capitol

Farmer trial delay gives lawyers more time

Credit Lexington Herald-Leader file photo

The trial date for former Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer has been rescheduled to 10 a.m. Oct. 22, a federal judge ordered Wednesday. Farmer’s attorney, Guthrie True, had asked U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove to delay the proceeding to February from its original July 2 trial date.

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