State Capitol

2:55pm

Mon January 14, 2013
State Capitol

Break in the Session

There’s currently a break in the action.  State lawmakers don’t return to Frankfort until February 5th.  They’ll face three pressing issues…tax reform, underfunded public pensions, and legislative redistricting.  The governor has already mentioned special sessions are a possibility, but, House Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover doesn’t want to wait to begin the discussion.

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3:29pm

Thu January 10, 2013
State Capitol

Closer Look at State Revenues

Money coming into Kentucky’s state accounts recently indicates a positive trend, but an official who studies the figures warns against reading too much into them.   For the first six months of the fiscal year, receipts have increased almost four percent.  The official revenue forecast for the entire year calls for two point four percent growth.  Greg Harkenrider with the Office of the State Budget Director says there’s still reason for concern.

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6:58am

Thu January 10, 2013
State Capitol

Bills Filed to Control Federal Health Care

State Sen. Julie Denton has filed two bills that would put control of implementation of the Affordable Care Act into lawmakers’ hands.  Gov. Steve Beshear created a state-run health exchange through an executive order and is mulling whether to expand Medicaid. Both are parts of the ACA, also known as Obamacare.  Denton says her goal is to let lawmakers have some say in either matter.

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5:27pm

Wed January 9, 2013
State Capitol

Minority Party Impact in 2013

Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer at the microphone and Minority Floor Leader R.J. Palmer in the aisle.
Credit Stu Johnson / WEKU News

The G-O-P has long dominated the state senate and the house remains solidly under the control of Kentucky Democrats.  But, their actual numbers are always in flux.  For example, this year, there are more Republicans in both chambers….perhaps making collaboration between the parties a bit more attractive.

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5:11pm

Tue January 8, 2013
State Capitol

First Day Off the Floor

A swearing-in ceremony for returning state Senator Albert Robinson.
Credit Stu Johnson / WEKU News

Kentucky lawmakers, many for the first time, have taken their seats for this winter’s legislative session.  The gavel fell in both the house and senate around noon today.  While many rookie legislators got their first taste of Frankfort politics, veterans were already at work throughout the capitol building, setting the general assembly’s agenda.

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11:53am

Fri December 7, 2012
State Capitol

Commission Recommends $690 Million in New Taxes

Kentucky’s Blue Ribbon Tax Commission has made its recommendations to reform the state’s tax code, which officials say would boost revenues by nearly $690 million. Gov. Steve Beshear created the group to study and recommend tax reforms. According to a University of Kentucky report commissioned by the state, Kentucky's "tax revenue failed to keep pace with the economy or declined more than the economy," over the past decade. The commission held its final meeting Thursday and considered several corporate, sales and individual tax changes, but it’ll be up to the General Assembly to pass the necessary bills.

3:07pm

Thu December 6, 2012
State Capitol

Hemp Commission Promises Economic Impact Study

The second meeting of the state’s Industrial Hemp Commission will soon begin sorting through the details of its efforts to bring legalized hemp to Kentucky. The commission will work on the details of a new legislative bill proposal, such what the bill will include and which legisators will sponsor it during the 2013 session, said the chairman, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer.

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8:27pm

Tue November 27, 2012
State Capitol

Eastern Kentuckians Lead General Assembly

The State Senate Republican Caucus has officially nominated Senator Robert Stivers for Senate president. Stivers’ new role won’t be official until it’s voted on by the full chamber in early January. But the GOP holds a 24-14 advantage, meaning Stivers is all but certain to succeed former Senate President David Williams. Williams left the Senate to take a position as a circuit judge.

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1:45pm

Wed November 21, 2012
State Capitol

Two Lexington Numbers Experts Head to Frankfort

Just weeks before Lexington gets down to the nitty gritty work on a new budget, it’s lost two top fiscal experts.  City Budget director Ryan Barrow is moving onto the state Office of Financial Management.  Plus, in January, Lexington Finance Commissioner Jane Driskell will become the governor’s budget director.  “Working in local government you keep up with trends at the state budget level and also at the federal budget level, so hopefully my learning curve will be shorter than somebody coming in that didn’t have that prior experience,” said Driskell.

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10:31am

Wed November 21, 2012

4:28pm

Tue November 20, 2012
State Capitol

Pension Reforms Would End Cost of Living Increases

Kentucky's state pension plans have problems, and a bipartisan legislative task force has approved sweeping recommendations to overhaul them -- including putting new employees in a hybrid plans akin to 401Ks. The task force -- with an 11-1 vote -- is recommending that the General Assembly start fully funding their pension contributions starting with the next budget in 2014. Lawmakers’ inability to do that is part of the pension plans problems. 

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5:40am

Mon November 19, 2012
State Capitol

Taxpayer Savings Through Amnesty

Kentuckians who owe state taxes now have just two weeks to take advantage of an amnesty program.  Delinquent taxpayers can pay what they owe and avoid penalties, fees, and additional interest.  Kentucky Secretary of Finance and Administration Lori Flanery says it’s been ten years since Kentucky has offered tax amnesty.  “The amount of money that is anticipated is about 55 million dollars.  In the 2002 effort, there was actually 40 million dollars collected,” said Flanery.

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6:45am

Thu November 8, 2012
State Capitol

Kentucky House Standing Alone

Kentucky Democrats successfully defended their control of the state House -- but they're now stranded on a political island.  It appears that Republicans will take control of the Arkansas House of Representatives, leaving Kentucky as the only southern state with a Democratic-controlled House.  And that will make Kentucky House Democrats a big blue target in future years.

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6:39am

Wed November 7, 2012

5:35pm

Tue November 6, 2012
State Capitol

Beshear Recovering From Eye Surgery

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is recovering from minor eye surgery. Beshear developed a detached retina this past weekend and his office says he had minor surgery on Monday to reattach it. Spokeswoman Kerri Richardson says there was no injury that caused the retina to detach. The surgery will require the governor to limit his travel for the next week.

4:51pm

Fri October 26, 2012
State Capitol

Williams says Some Regrets but No Scandals

The first ever Republican state Senate president will end his 12-year reign by taking a circuit court judgeship back home.  David Williams will resign his leadership position and Senate seat next week to start a judgeship that he was appointed to by his chief rival, Gov. Steve Beshear.  It ends Williams' nearly 30-year legislative career, which included more than a decade as his chamber's leader. Williams leaves his party with a "super majority" in a Senate that's part of a divided state government

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6:22am

Tue October 9, 2012
State Capitol

Status Offender Punishments Debated

The state’s leading authority on juvenile justice says he would like to see status offenders kept out of incarceration facilities.  A status offense is something a youth gets in legal trouble for, but an adult wouldn’t. Common status offenses are running away from home or skipping school.  Department of Juvenile Justice Commissioner Hasan Davis says he believes status offenders shouldn’t be held in a detention center for minor offenses.

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3:09pm

Thu October 4, 2012
State Capitol

Senate Leadership Succession

Kentucky Senate Republicans have established a succession plan in the case their current leader, David Williams, is appointed into an open judgeship in his district.  Williams is considered a leading candidate for the open circuit court judgeship that covers his home county.  Governor Steve Beshear, Williams’s main enemy in Frankfort, has the final say over who is appointed to finish the two year term. And Beshear hasn’t ruled out appointing Williams if his name shows up on the nomination list.

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12:14pm

Wed September 26, 2012
State Capitol

Ballots in the Mail

More than two thousand absentee ballots have been sent to Kentuckians in military service and other voters overseas.   With the presidential election less than six weeks away, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes says it’s important to allow for time and distance.  “The process of receiving, filling out, and returning an absentee ballot, whether you are in the middle east or here in the United States, it can take weeks, especially for those active duty military members that I saw,” said Lundergan Grimes.

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6:51am

Thu September 20, 2012
State Capitol

Committee Breakup Over Health Exchange Program

A second legislative hearing on Kentucky’s federally-mandated health insurance exchange led to a dramatic walkout by Democrats to Wednesday.    For the second consecutive time, the interim joint Health and Welfare committee saw their meeting devolve into arguments over the exchange.  And this time, a motion by Republicans to register a vote of disapproval against the exchange led every Democrat to get up and leave in the middle of the meeting.

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6:48am

Thu September 20, 2012
State Capitol

State GOP Platform Released

Kentucky Republicans have unveiled a new legislative platform to help boost their chances of winning the state House this fall.  The GOP needs to win 9 seats in order to take the House majority.  Wednesday, they unveiled the agenda they'll enact if they win those seats in November.  House Republican leader Jeff Hoover says, among other goals, the GOP wants to change the state tax code.

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10:10am

Tue September 11, 2012

4:13pm

Mon September 10, 2012
State Capitol

State Revenues Fall Below Expectations

State  Forecasters predicted 3% revenue growth this year, but so far this summer, state revenues have been flat.  While there’s no need yet for alarm, Budget Director Mary Lassiter says steady declines in income and sales taxes is cause for concern.   It’s still early in the state’s fiscal year, and the Commonwealth has until next summer to improve revenues.

5:42am

Thu August 30, 2012
State Capitol

New Chief of Staff in the Governor's Office

Governor Steve Beshear has promoted his deputy chief of staff to the top spot.  Louisville native Larry Bond was named chief of staff today.  He replaces Mike Haydon, who died unexpectedly earlier this month.  Bond was named to the deputy spot two years ago, after spending years in various roles in state government. He also worked in Louisville city government for years, including time as the city’s chief administrative officer.

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6:26am

Tue August 28, 2012
State Capitol

Medical Marijuana Bill Filed

Kentucky lawmakers will consider a medical marijuana bill in 2013.  The legislation has been pre-filed by Louisville Senator Perry Clark.  It would allow patients with a doctor’s recommendation to use medical marijuana to treat multiple sclerosis, HIV-AIDS, cancer, and other serious medical conditions.  The measure also establishes a network of state regulated dispensaries where patients could purchase medical marijuana.

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6:24am

Tue August 28, 2012
State Capitol

Businesses Get Second Chance

A second chance for thousands of Kentucky businesses to make required filings with the Secretary of State’s office is about up.  Entities authorized to transact business in Kentucky were required to file annual reports and pay a 15 dollar fee no later than July second of this year.  Those businesses which missed the July deadline were notified they were no longer in good standing with the state.  Officials with the Secretary of State’s Office say they now have until September tenth to remedy the delinquency before being administratively dissolved or having their certificates of authority revoked.

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1:10pm

Thu August 23, 2012
State Capitol

Governor will soon name Chief of Staff

Governor Steve Beshear says he will appoint a new chief of staff soon, despite still being saddened by the sudden loss of his former chief of staff, Mike Haydon. Haydon died suddenly of a heart attack earlier this month. Haydon worked in government for more than three decades, and had been Beshear's chief of staff since 2010.

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12:09pm

Thu August 23, 2012
State Capitol

Dormant Hemp Commission Revived

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul voiced his support Thursday for legalizing industrial hemp. He backs Agriculture Commissioner James Comer efforts.
Jack Brammer Lexington Herald Leader

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer says he is restarting the long-dormant Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission. The General Assembly created the commission ten years ago to look into hemp's potential in the commonwealth, but it has never met. This morning, Comer announced that he is reforming the commission and, per state law, he will be the chairman.

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1:37pm

Wed August 22, 2012
State Capitol

Kentucky DEMS Wary of Senate Races

Conway, Edelen and Grimes.

Two of Kentucky's highest profile Democrats say they are not interested in taking on U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell in 2014. Attorney General Jack Conway, who ran for Senate in 2010 against Republican Rand Paul, says he isn't interested in running for the chamber again.

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9:54am

Tue August 21, 2012
State Capitol

Conway Open to Exemptions in Prescribed Pill Law

A leading advocate of Kentucky's new prescription pill law says he's ready to listen to doctors who want to change it. Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway has made fighting prescription pill abuse one of his top priorities. Earlier this year, he was a leading supporter of House Bill 1, which mandates that most doctors use the KASPER pill tracking system.

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