A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky lawmakers name Jay Hartz as next Director of Legislative Research Commission

Legislative leaders have named Jay Hartz as the next Director of the Legislative Research Commission. Hartz, the Deputy Chief of Staff in the Senate President’s Office, is a familiar figure to many in the State Capitol, where he’s known for his extensive knowledge on legislative operations and policymaking. He’s also known for his good humor and the colorful bowties he frequently favors. When...

Commentary: Sky-high jump in retirement costs an issue that cannot be ignored by Kentucky’s leaders

By Rocky Adkins, Derrick Graham and Joni Jenkins Special to KyForward Sometime before the end of June, Gov. Matt Bevin is expected to call the General Assembly to the Capitol to address an issue that cannot be ignored: a sky-high jump in retirement costs for nearly 120 human-service agencies and our regional universities. Time is truly of the essence, because few if any can afford that increase, which...

As special session looms, Ky. House Democrats are still not sold on Governor’s pension proposal

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today There’s still no word on when Gov. Matt Bevin will call a special session of the General Assembly to address a public pension bill because he doesn’t appear to have enough votes to pass his proposal. The governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff Bryan Sunderland, Budget Director John Chilton and Kentucky Retirement Systems Executive Director David Eger spent more than two hours...

General Assembly wrap-up: bills that became law, bills that didn’t, bills awaiting Governor’s signature

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The General Assembly wrapped up on March 28 sending 10 bills to Gov. Matt Bevin, who still has about a week to decide if he will sign, veto or allow them to become law without his signature. 
Among the bills already signed into law are four pro-life measures. 
- Senate Bill 50 mandates that any time an abortion-inducing drug is dispensed, a report must be made to the...

New bear hunting regulations proposed by Fish and Wildlife; proposal involves zone changes

The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission proposed several new bear hunting regulations at its March quarterly meeting. The commission recommends all hunting, fishing and boating regulations for approval by the General Assembly. Legislators must approve all recommendations before they become law. In bear-related business, the commission recommended adjusting bear hunting zones and seasons: -Break Zone...

A list of health-related bills in the General Assembly as legislators plan to return for last day March 28

When the General Assembly returns Thursday, March 28, for the final day of its session, it could pass any number of bills, including several related to health: to make schools tobacco-free, to set up a hotline for students to report “vaping” of electronic cigarettes; to give health departments a reprieve from increased pension payments; to require children under 12 to wear helmets when...

Jason Bailey: Watch out for attack on pensions on legislative session’s final day, March 28

The General Assembly adjourned for the veto period without providing relief from soon-to-spike pension costs to quasi-governmental organizations like regional universities and community mental health centers. The legislature can still prevent an unaffordable increase on the session’s final day — March 28 — but must reject attempts to attach harmful pension changes that would set Kentucky...

This Week at the State Capitol: Bills arrive on Bevin’s desk, including school safety; others advance

The Kentucky General Assembly’s 2019 session passed a major milestone this week as bills passed by both the Senate and House began arriving on the governor’s desk to be signed into law. The first bill of the year delivered to Gov. Matt Bevin’s office was Senate Bill 4, a measure that would require candidates for public office in Kentucky to electronically file their campaign finance reports starting...

Matt Partymiller: Monopoly utilities trying to force anti-consumer legislation through Senate Bill 100

Once again, monopoly utilities are trying to force anti-consumer and anti-competitive legislation through the General Assembly – this time at breakneck speed. Senate Bill 100 would strengthen an already monopolistic industry and greatly increase bureaucracy and regulations. It would destroy the current net-metering law, which not only gives Kentuckians the freedom to choose, but benefits all consumers...

Last Week at the State Capitol: School safety bill, State of Commonwealth, suicide prevention and more

Family members of the two students killed in last year’s shooting at Marshall County High School held hands, shed tears, and spoke bravely about their grief during this week’s Senate Education meeting.   They came to Frankfort on Thursday to call for safety improvements in Kentucky schools and to deliver a simple message directly to state lawmakers: “We’re counting on you.”   “We can’t...

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...

Wayne Lewis: 2019 legislative agenda prioritizes student success and parent empowerment

At its Dec. 5 meeting, the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) voted to approve a list of legislative priorities for the 2019 session of the General Assembly that places student success and preparedness and family empowerment at the center of our legislative efforts during the upcoming session. Admittedly, our agenda is ambitious, but I believe the legislative changes we are seeking are central to taking...

Members of Pro-Life Caucus hold rally is support of four bills under consideration by General Assembly

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Members of the General Assembly’s Pro-Life Caucus rallied at the State Capitol Rotunda on four bills that have been or will be introduced for consideration by the 2019 General Assembly. Rep. Tim Moore, R-Elizabethtown, who serves as chair of the caucus, said their purpose is simple: “We have dedicated ourselves to coordinating our efforts and to unifying in purpose to...

General Assembly turns focus to comprehensive school safety bill introduced in Senate Wednesday

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A comprehensive school safety bill was introduced Wednesday in the State Senate, which lawmakers have made the top priority of the General Assembly. Sen. Max Wise, R-Campbellsville, who chaired a 16-member House and Senate working group that travelled across the state to meet with all groups involved in the school safety issue over an eight-month period, is sponsor of the...

Pension reform takes center stage as lawmakers prepare to roll up sleeves for legislative session

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today State lawmakers return to work Tuesday with a lot of their plate – foremost being pension reform – during the 30-day session. The Kentucky Supreme Court unanimously struck down public pension reform legislation passed by the 2018 General Assembly, saying lawmakers violated state law in the process used to approve the bill. General Assembly House Speaker Pro Tem Davis...

Gov. Matt Bevin: Legislators must address Kentucky’s pension crisis

When I ran for Governor in 2015, I launched a seven-point plan outlining my vision for moving Kentucky forward, entitled the “Blueprint For A Better Kentucky.” The plan was ambitious and unapologetic in its call to change government, grow our economy and enact policies that would modernize education, healthcare and our tax code. Above all, however, I noted that no matter what we accomplish in any...

Gov. Bevin calls special legislative session to address Kentucky’s pension issue

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Gov. Matt Bevin has called a special session of the General Assembly beginning Monday night in the wake of last week’s Supreme Court decision that unanimously held the process used to pass Senate Bill 151, the wastewater bill turned into pension reform legislation, unconstitutional. During a Capitol press conference announcing the special session, Bevin said, “Our State...

John Schickel: Proposed Marsy’s Law amendment would undermine Kentucky State Constitution

On Election Day (Nov. 6), citizens will vote on whether to amend our Kentucky State Constitution. The proposed amendment is known as Marsy’s Law. The Marsy’s Law campaign originated in California after a woman was tragically killed by her former boyfriend. The ex-boyfriend was released from jail on bond and proceeded to confront her family in a supermarket. In a recent ruling, Franklin County...

Legislative committee hears about the growth of KY’s biggest exporter — aerospace and defense

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today If you thought the automotive industry was Kentucky’s biggest exporter, think again.   
It’s the aerospace and defense industry. 
Stewart Ditto, executive director of the Kentucky Aerospace Industry Consortium, told the General Assembly’s Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee the industry has over 600 companies, employs 17,000 and exported...

Officials tell committee that sports betting, online sales tax are not the answer to state’s financial woes

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Neither sports betting nor sales tax for online purchases will solve Kentucky’s financial woes, a legislative committee was told on Thursday. Department of Revenue Commissioner Daniel Bork told the Appropriations and Revenue Committee internet retailers and mail-order companies weren’t required to collect sales tax on out-of-state sales until a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court...