Secretary of State launches new online candidate filing portal for 2018 election cycle

The candidate filing period for the 2018 election cycle has opened and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is encouraging potential candidates to use a new online filing portal on the Secretary of State’s website. “The 2018 election cycle is what’s known in Kentucky as a county election year, so it will feature thousands of candidates,” said Grimes, Kentucky’s...

Western Kentucky University unveils bronze statue honoring longtime supporter Rep. Jody Richards

A bronze statue of longtime Western Kentucky University supporter and Kentucky State Rep. Jody Richards of Bowling Green was unveiled on WKU’s main campus this week in Jody Richards Hall. Jody Richards Hall, previously known as Mass Media and Technology Hall, was dedicated during a May 4 ceremony. Richards, whose 14-year tenure as Speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives was the longest in...

Hoover calls on House members to join bipartisan effort for disaster relief fund for hurricane victims

The Kentucky House of Representatives, led by Speaker of the House Jeff Hoover, has organized a disaster relief fund to aid victims of the recent hurricanes, which have devastated parts of Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and more. More than $4,700 has been raised and all proceeds will go to the American Red Cross. “Millions of people have been adversely affected by these...

Hoover names House panel to review Kentucky’s infrastructure in wake of declining road fund revenue

Speaker Jeff Hoover announced the creation of the Working Group on Kentucky’s Transportation Infrastructure, consisting of nine members from the Kentucky House of Representatives. The bipartisan group is charged with ensuring Kentucky’s transportation infrastructure is safe, effective, and able to support the state’s business and jobs growth, particularly in the fast-growing manufacturing sector. “Kentucky...

Kentucky’s first Republican Speaker of House in 95 years looks back on session — and plans ahead

By Brad Bowman The State Journal Jeff Hoover hasn’t taken time to celebrate the end of the 2017 session as Kentucky’s first elected Republican speaker of the House in 95 years. He’s assembling a new infrastructure workgroup and crafting legislation for the next session to address Kentucky’s crippling opioid problem and lack of treatment for addiction. Hoover remains focused on the future,...

Legislative Wrapup: General Assembly winds up 2017 session by passing flurry of late bills

The 2017 regular session of the Kentucky General Assembly ended Thursday evening shortly before midnight after months of work that led to passage of over 130 bills that will impact most areas of Kentucky life, from public education to the fight against drug abuse. Most new laws – those that come from legislation that don’t contain emergency clauses or different specified effective dates – will...

Commentary: Prescription drug epidemic in Kentucky must be tackled head-on

By Rep. Larry Brown Special to KyForward All across America, but especially right here in my home of Eastern Kentucky, the prescription drug scourge is devastating our families and communities. In a time when so many want to get ahead, they are instead falling down the road of addiction. Much contributes to the epidemic we are facing, and a lack of economic opportunity in rural America has sparked...

Legislative Update: Approval of charter schools, nuclear power plant construction among highlights

This has been a year for early arrivals at the State Capitol. Within a week of the 2017 legislative session’s start in January, bills started arriving in the governor’s office to be signed into law, an extraordinarily quick start for a session of the General Assembly. We’ve had more early arrivals at the Capitol in recent weeks as hundreds of the tulips in the Capitol gardens have already started...

Legislative Briefs: Postsecondary education funding bill approved; toxicology measure okayed

State funding for Kentucky public colleges and universities would be allocated based on the schools’ performance under a bill now on its way to becoming law. Funding would be based on student success, course completion, and school operational needs under the comprehensive funding model created by Senate Bill 153, sponsored by President Pro Tem David Givens, R-Greensburg, with initial distributions...

Legislative Update: Passage of enhanced ID, religious freedom bills among week’s highlights

As the 2017 session of the Kentucky General Assembly headed into its final weeks, legislators moved closer to the possibility of resolving the state’s “REAL ID” issue, as well as allowing public charter schools to operate in the Commonwealth. A REAL ID is an enhanced driver’s license that includes new security features mandated by the federal government as an anti-terrorism measure. If the...

Legislative Briefs: School calendar bill heads to governor; shock probation rules tightened

A bill that would give school districts more leeway in setting school calendars is on its way to the governor’s desk after passing the Kentucky House Wednesday. Senate Bill 50, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, would allow school districts to operate on a “variable student instructional year” that would offer the same 1,062 or more hours of instructional time that’s...

Legislative Briefs: REAL ID compliance bill advances to Senate; ‘Tim Tebow’ measure gets House approval

The Kentucky House voted 77-19 Tuesday to create “voluntary travel ID” cards that would meet federal REAL ID requirements, while also voting to change procedures for issuance of standard Kentucky driver’s licenses and permits. House Bill 410, sponsored by Rep. Jim DuPlessis, R-Elizabethtown, would create the voluntary travel ID—an enhanced driver’s license that could be used to board airplanes...

Legislative Update: Improving, protecting the lives of children the focus of legislative work last week

Improving the lives of Kentucky’s children was on the minds of the state’s legislators this week as several bills made their way through the General Assembly. Included were measures to stabilize the lives of children in foster care, stem the tide of young people being recruited into criminal gangs, and broaden the scope of background checks for adults who work in proximity with children. Senate...

House advances bill to allow operation of charter schools in Kentucky, Senate will consider measure

Public charter schools would be allowed to operate in Kentucky under a bill advanced Friday by the Kentucky House. House Bill 520, sponsored by House Education Committee Chairman and public school teacher John Carney, R-Campbellsville, passed the House by a vote of 56-39 and now goes to the Senate for its consideration. The bill would allow local school boards and the mayors of Louisville and Lexington...

Legislative Briefs: New veterans’ home bill passes; Senate approves juvenile record expungement bill

The Kentucky Senate has approved a measure that marks a step toward building a nursing home for veterans in Bowling Green. Senate Bill 13, which passed 37-0, authorizes $10 million in state bond funds to construct the Bowling Green Veterans’ Center Nursing Home. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will also provide $20 million in federal funding for the project, said Sen. Mike Wilson, R-Bowling...

Legislative Briefs: Medical review panel bill passes House; Senate approves nuclear power measure

Medical malpractice lawsuits can now be filed in Kentucky at any time. But under a bill passed narrowly Wednesday by the Kentucky House, peer review of malpractice cases would be required before they could go to court. “Medical review panels” proposed under Senate Bill 4, sponsored by Sen. Ralph Alvarado, R-Winchester, would be required to review any malpractice complaint against a health provider...

Legislative Briefs: Increased opioid penalties bill approved; DUI measure heads to Senate

With one lawmaker calling it a crisis starting “in our medicine cabinets,” the Kentucky House Tuesday voted 96-1 to pass a bill that would fight Kentucky’s opioid addiction epidemic by limiting the amount of opioids pain killers prescribed and increasing jail time for those who deal opioids on the streets. Rep. James Kay, D-Versailles, praised provisions in House Bill 333 that would limit prescriptions...

Legislative Update: Public pension, higher education measures highlight General Assembly’s week

With the first half of the General Assembly’s 2017 session in the rear view mirror, some of the session’s major bills have already passed into law while matters like criminal justice reform and education initiatives continue to make steady progress through the legislative process. Further work on strengthening the state’s troubled public pension system was among the matters that advanced in the...

Legislative Briefs: House passes student athlete safety bill, food donation measure, dog bite law

The House passed legislation Wednesday to strengthen concussion protocol for student athletes across the Commonwealth. House Bill 241 would disallow coaches from returning a student to play after receiving a concussion diagnosis. The issue was brought about by recent concerns over student safety in sports, where concussions have been on the rise as of late. For example, many former football players...

Legislative Briefs: Opioid education bill clears House; Bill would create new veterans’ nursing home

A bill to require lessons for public school students from elementary through high school about the dangers of prescription pain killers and addiction cleared the House Tuesday by a vote of 97-0. Recommendations for a prescription opioid abuse prevention curriculum would be developed by the state Office of Drug Control Policy and published on the Kentucky Department of Education’s website for school...