A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Another adjustment made to Kentucky General Assembly’s calendar for the regular session

Legislative leaders have made another adjustment to the calendar for the Kentucky General Assembly’s 2021 Regular Session. Under the change, the Senate and House of Representatives are now scheduled to convene on March 11 in addition to other previously scheduled days. Lawmakers are still scheduled to conclude the session on March 30, the last day allowed by the state constitution. The revised 2021...

Charles Leis: Education Opportunity Grants empower parents with choice to meet their students needs

Supporting public education or school choice is not an either/or situation – both public and nonpublic schools can thrive if we give parents the opportunity to make choices about the resources their child needs. Our organization — EdChoice Kentucky — agrees with the majority of KY voters that Kentucky parents should have the power to choose what education opportunities meet their student’s...

Commentary: Ky. can’t miss the opportunity to bring $100 million to schools, public services this session

By Members of the Kentucky General Assembly Special to KyForward The Kentucky Supreme Court’s recent ruling that historical horse racing (HHR) slot machines do not meet the definition of pari-mutuel wagering puts the responsibility on the General Assembly to act and clarify their legality. We must do so this session, and ensure continued support for our valued horse industry. At the same time,...

This Week at the Capitol: Lawmakers hit the ground running in session’s second half, override six vetoes

If last month’s quick start to the General Assembly’s 2021 session wasn’t enough to show that lawmakers were serious about passing priority bills into law as soon as possible, the speed at which they override vetoes this week left no doubt. On Tuesday, lawmakers’ first day back at the Capitol after a recess that started in mid-January, the Senate and House voted to override all six of the vetoes...

Jason Bailey: General Assembly should strengthen recovery by approving much-needed relief

The 2021 Kentucky General Assembly will reconvene in early February, and the remaining piece of essential business is agreement on a new state budget. The legislature faces a choice: deploy extra resources to build a bridge to the other side of this crisis, or pursue austerity and leave us facing a slower and more treacherous recovery. Kentucky’s opportunities in this budget are surprising. Given...

Terry Brooks: If oxpeckers and zebras can practice synergy, surely so can the donkeys and elephants

Oxpeckers and zebras. Oxpeckers are small African birds which count on zebras as their key nutritional sources, eating the ticks that cluster on zebras. And zebras? Well, they depend on oxpeckers as pest control agents. The oxpeckers also make a hissing sound whenever they sense a threat, acting as the zebras’ early warning security system to escape to safer locales from impending predators. This...

This Week in Frankfort: A summary of the General Assembly’s actions as they recessed until Feb. 2

This year, for the first time since the Kentucky General Assembly began holding annual sessions in 2001, lawmakers continued their work into a second week of an odd-numbered year session before starting a recess that will last until early February. Legislative leaders said working the extra days gave them a chance to move priority bills through the process. It also allowed them to jumpstart budget...

Budget bills for state’s three branches of government continue to advance in Senate committee Tuesday

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Budget bills for the three branches of Government in Kentucky continue to advance in the General Assembly, winning Senate committee approval on Tuesday. The Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee approved the measures covering the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches. Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue Co-chair Sen. Christian McDaniel, R-Taylor...

Commentary: General Assembly shows lack of leadership prioritizing anti-abortion legislation

By Tamarra Wieder and Jackie McGranahan Once again, we find ourselves at the beginning of a legislative session with house and senate majorities prioritizing anti-abortion legislation instead of the immediate needs of the people. Despite numerous existing problems that have been exacerbated by the pandemic and thousands of Kentuckians dying from coronavirus, lawmakers have prioritized and advanced...

GOP-led legislature passes six bills in first five days of session, four to limit governor’s powers

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News In rare Saturday meetings, the Kentucky General Assembly’s Republican supermajorities passed six of their priority bills, four aimed at limiting Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s powers and two to further regulate abortion and sent them to Beshear, who is expected to veto them and be overridden. The bills passed in five days, the minimum under the state...

Beshear unveils ‘Better Kentucky Budget’ during virtual State of the Commonwealth address

The State of the Commonwealth is stronger and more prepared than most to defeat COVID-19 and sprint into the future, Gov. Andy Beshear declared in a speech to a joint meeting of the General Assembly Thursday, while thanking Kentuckians for the many sacrifices made during the pandemic. The Governor delivered his combined State of the Commonwealth and Budget Address in a virtual speech recorded in his...

A how-to guide on ways to stay connected to General Assembly as legislative session starts Jan. 5

No matter what part of Kentucky you’re in, you can stay closely connected to the General Assembly’s 2021 session, which starts at the State Capitol on Jan. 5.   Kentuckians can use online resources to: Click image to go to legislature’s home page. · See the General Assembly’s daily schedule. · Tune in to live video coverage of legislative meetings. · Find out who represents you. ·...

As pandemic rages on, Cameron says virtual swearing-in ceremonies OK for local governments

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Attorney General Daniel Cameron has given his official blessing to local governments who want to hold their swearing in ceremonies virtually on Jan. 1, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In an Attorney General’s opinion issued by his office in response to a request from the Kentucky League of Cities, they noted that while the Kentucky Constitution and state law require oaths...

Kentucky League of Women Voters advocates fair redistricting of legislative districts, offers examples

By Christina Conover Forward Kentucky The Kentucky League of Women Voters is currently working to get the word out to citizens across the state about the League’s effort to assure the creation of fair maps in the upcoming redistricting process. As part of that effort, the League released example maps based on 2010 census data. Redistricting is the process occurring every ten years to change legislative...

Senate Republican leadership begins to set agenda for upcoming session, expects two pro-life measures

Kentucky Senate Republicans began formulating their agenda for the upcoming General Assembly last week that included introducing at least two pro-life measures. Majority Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, said one of the pro-life measures will be similar to a bill Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed earlier this year and aimed at protecting “born-alive infants after a botched abortion.” “Because of the...

Kentucky legislators say options are limited, COVID relief must come from Congress, not state

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky legislative leaders say it’s up to Congress to help Kentucky’s struggling families and businesses get through financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “I think our options are certainly limited on the financial side,” said House Speaker David Osborne, R-Prospect, speaking to reporters after a Legislative Research Committee meeting on Wednesday....

Committee hears complaints from foster parents about treatment by private agencies, social workers

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Several foster parents appeared before the General Assembly’s Child Welfare Oversight and Advisory Committee on Monday to complain about their treatment by both private agencies and social workers with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Among them was Kennedy Robertson of Campbellsville, who fostered four children and said she was even required to have her father...

New Tax Foundation report indicates Kentucky’s business tax climate continues to improve

Kentucky’s business tax climate has officially moved into the top 20 most competitive in the nation, according to a new report by the Tax Foundation. The improved ranking reflects progress in reforming Kentucky’s tax code. The Tax Foundation is a nonpartisan tax policy nonprofit. It annually produces an index ranking the competitiveness of all 50 states’ business tax climates. Rankings center...

Ben Wilcox shapes role of Kentucky’s first state school security marshal amid COVID-19 pandemic

By Jim Gaines Kentucky Teacher Ben Wilcox laughs a little when asked how COVID-19 has changed his job as Kentucky’s state school security marshal. He hadn’t been on the job long when the pandemic hit. The position of state school security marshal had only been created in March 2019. Wilcox formally started work July 1 of that year, but a month earlier he began traveling the state to share information...

Recent audit finds several Kentucky counties are in violation of state’s long-standing ethics laws

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today State Auditor Mike Harmon issued a data bulletin on Wednesday in which he says several Kentucky counties are in violation of ethics laws passed by the General Assembly more than 25 years ago. In response to the Operation Boptrot scandal of the early 1990s, when 17 lawmakers, staffers and lobbyists were convicted on federal corruption charges, the General Assembly passed...