A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Al Cross: Mischievous Christmas gifts for Kentucky politicians, a tradition continued

Thirty-nine years ago, Ed Ryan, then the Frankfort Bureau chief of The Courier-Journal, wrote a column headlined “Possible gifts for officials, first family.” Ed had great material to work with – Gov. John Y. Brown Jr., his appointees and wife Phyllis George Brown – and he made the column annual. Ed died in 1984, at only 45, but his journalistic legatees have continued the tradition. Since...

House Speaker says governor not providing data to legislators, calls court’s decision a setback

By Mark Maynard Kentucky Today Kentucky House Speaker David Osborne said the appellate court’s decision to uphold Gov. Andy Beshear’s order to shut down privately run religious schools is a setback. But that wasn’t his only disappointment. He said the governor needs to involve stakeholders and share data, if any exists, in the decisions that are being made during the coronavirus. Republican leadership...

Kentucky Republican leaders tout stronger supermajority during news conference in Frankfort

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Three of Kentucky’s top Republican leaders spoke to reporters Friday about the huge gains the GOP has made in the state over the past 36 years. During a press conference at the Kentucky History Center in Frankfort, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was joined by Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, and House Speaker David Osborne, R-Prospect. They pointed...

Commentary: Sheila Mason’s 50-year career at the State Capitol is worthy of recognition

By Senate President Robert Stivers, House Speaker David Osborne, Senate Minority Floor Leader Morgan McGarvey and House Minority Floor Leader Joni L. Jenkins When General Assembly interns show up for their first day at the State Capitol, one of the first things they learn is that the well-being of our representative democracy depends on upholding the people’s trust in their government. Fortunately,...

More contention arises over public pension bill; are there sufficient votes for the measure to pass?

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Another point of contention has arisen between Democrats and Republicans in the General Assembly during talks over a public pension bill for the regional universities and quasi-governmental agencies. 
The question: How many votes are needed for passage? 
Under the state Constitution, during budget years, it only takes a simple majority to approve appropriations bills,...

House leaders Rocky Adkins, David Osborne sign off on bills regarding election recount procedures

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The top House leaders of both parties have signed on to each other’s bills that would have candidates for the General Assembly follow the same recount procedures as nearly all other candidates in close races. House Speaker David Osborne, R-Prospect and Minority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, are the main co-sponsors House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy...

This week in the state Capitol: Leadership sworn in, some bills advance, recess until February 5

The excitement of the opening day of a Kentucky General Assembly session was evident amid the packed crowds, broad smiles, and welcoming handshakes throughout the State Capitol.   But the spirit of the first day might have been most clearly revealed in the trembling voices of some new lawmakers the first time they offered public comments in legislative chambers. The mix of nerves, emotion, and deep...

Special session shortlived; House adjourns saying issues too complicated for a five-day session

Staff report While the two public pension bills remained in the House, members of the Senate were not sitting still during the second day of the special session, said Senate President Robert Stivers. But the House discussions went on until about 4 p.m. when acting GOP House Speaker David Osborne said the issues were too complicated to resolve in a five-day session — and the House adjourned. Later...

Lawmakers named to permanent child welfare committee created by passage of HB 1

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Legislative leaders have named most of the members of the permanent Child Welfare and Oversight Advisory Committee created by the passage of House Bill 1, the adoption and foster care reform measure in the 2018 General Assembly. Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, named three Republican members: Sens. Julie Raque Adams of Louisville, Tom Buford of Nicholasville...

Gov. Bevin signs new law aimed at strengthening Kentucky’s bid for future Breeder’s Cup events

Gov. Matt Bevin on Tuesday joined state legislators and Thoroughbred horse racing officials at Louisville’s iconic Churchill Downs to ceremonially sign House Bill 259. HB 259, sponsored by House Speaker Pro Tempore David Osborne and championed by Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, strengthens the Commonwealth’s bid to become a regular stop for Breeders’ Cup World Championships, a two-day, $30...

This Week at the State Capitol: General Assembly 2018 session ends with overrides, last-minute bills

State lawmakers put the finishing touches on the General Assembly’s 2018 session this week by overriding gubernatorial vetoes, most notably on the state budget and tax reform legislation, and passing bills right up to the session’s final hours. House Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne joined the applause shortly after he brought down the gavel to adjourn the House for the final time in the General Assembly’s...

Expanded gaming not likely as new revenue source; Senate president doubts House proposed taxes

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Don’t expect expanded gaming to come up as a new revenue source, even if the Senate doesn’t go along with tax hikes approved by the House as part of the biennial budget legislation this week. House Bill 366, the revenue legislation accompanying the budgets for the Executive, Judicial and Legislative Branches of government, includes three money-generating provisions:...

Lawmakers drop 401(k)-style retirement plan for government workers citing insufficient savings

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A mandatory 401(k)-style plan will not be part of an overhaul of Kentucky’s public pension systems, lawmakers said Wednesday, because the savings wouldn’t be sufficient to make it worthwhile to the state. Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said the overhaul, which is now in the hands of legislative staffers, has undergone substantial change since...

House votes 90-0 to disband seven-member committee investigating former speaker Jeff Hoover

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A special committee appointed to investigate former House Speaker Jeff Hoover is no more. House colleagues voted 90-0 on Wednesday to repeal a rule that authorized the formation of the 7-member panel to look into a claim that Hoover sexually harassed a former staffer, triggering a scandal that led to his resignation from his leadership post. Former House Speaker Jeff Hoover...

Former House Speaker Jeff Hoover seeks new rules governing discipline in wake of resignation

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Jeff Hoover resigned as Speaker of the House on Monday, but he’s far from finished speaking. Hoover on Tuesday asked for a new rule in the House that would make it more difficult for lawmakers to discipline each other. His idea was to require lawmakers who are trying to get him expelled from the House to pay his legal expenses if they fail in the bid. Former House Speaker...

Bill defining horses as livestock goes to Bevin for signature, called a ‘step forward for the industry’

The Kentucky House of Representatives unanimously passed Senate Bill 139, which would amend the definition of livestock in Kentucky to include horses and equines. The bill now moves to Gov. Matt Bevin for his signature. Securing livestock classification has been among the top policy priorities of the Kentucky Equine Education Project since its 2004 creation. “SB 139 is an important step forward...

House Republican Majority announces new leadership team for 2017 legislative session

Following Wednesday’s biennial leadership elections, the Kentucky House Republican Majority caucus announced its leaders to join already-nominated Speaker-Elect Jeff Hoover for the 2017-18 sessions of the Kentucky General Assembly. David Osborne, Speaker Pro-Tem, was first elected to represent District 59 (part of Oldham County) in the Kentucky House in 2005. In 2016, he was Vice Chair of the...

LRC’s Capitol Notes: School safety, DNA
bills among several that advance on busy day

By Scott Payton Special to KyForward   School safety legislation approved by Senate   Kentucky school districts would be required to maintain emergency management plans under a bill unanimously passed by the Senate Tuesday.   Based on recommendations from the Kentucky Center on School Safety, Senate Bill 8, sponsored by Sen. Mike Wilson, R-Bowling Green, would require school administrators...