A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Capitol Notes: And they’re off! First week
of 2015 session saw introduction of 200 bills

From left, Rep. Kelly Flood, D-Lexington, Rep. Rita Smart, D-Richmond, Rep. Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort, Rep. Martha Jane King, D-Lewisburg, and Rep. Arnold Simpson, D-Covington, discuss legislation in the opening week of the 2015 General Assembly session. (Photo from LRC Public Information)   Legislative Research Commission   Though regular sessions of the Kentucky General Assembly are yearly...

Two-thirds of Kentuckians want statewide smoking ban; Stumbo says it’s time for vote

Kentucky Health News   Kentuckians have remained steady in their support for a comprehensive statewide smoking ban with two-thirds supporting it, according to the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll. Hours after the poll was released, state House Speaker Greg Stumbo said it is time for a House floor vote on the proposal.   The poll, taken Oct. 8 through Nov. 6, found that 66 percent of adults...

Bill Straub: Paul's vote on NSA bill proves again that he is arming for bigger game

WASHINGTON – If Sen. Rand Paul was, indeed, ever playing the Hamlet role to keep on-the-edge-of-their-seats Republican voters guessing about his true political intentions, he forfeited the game Tuesday night.   That’s the day when the Kentucky Republican, the man constantly bemoaning governmental intrusions into the private lives of the citizens of the United States, voted against legislation...

Bill Straub: Paul’s vote on NSA bill proves again that he is arming for bigger game

WASHINGTON – If Sen. Rand Paul was, indeed, ever playing the Hamlet role to keep on-the-edge-of-their-seats Republican voters guessing about his true political intentions, he forfeited the game Tuesday night.   That’s the day when the Kentucky Republican, the man constantly bemoaning governmental intrusions into the private lives of the citizens of the United States, voted against legislation...

Lexington gets 2016 legislative conference and a potential $2M boost to local economy

Lexington will host the nation’s largest regional meeting of state officials in July of 2016. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)   The city of Lexington has been selected to host the 70th annual Southern Legislative Conference, the nation’s largest regional meeting of state officials, in 2016. As a result, an estimated $2 million will be pumped into the local economy over the course of...

Commentary: Administration should learn lessons from Germany and go back to coal

By Greg Stumbo Special to KyForward   In the last few weeks, ever since the new national carbon emissions standards were released, I have read a number of editorials about the impact this will have on Kentucky.   None of these articles, however, really relied upon the latest and most undisputed evidence regarding the long-term effect of this policy on the Commonwealth.   Greg Stumbo...

Kentucky fairness legislation has record number of co-sponsors, group says

A third of the Democratic House Caucus has joined Rep. Mary Lou Marzian (D-Louisville) as co-sponsors of House Bill 171, which would extend discrimination protections in employment, housing, and public accommodations to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, according to the Fairness Coalition.   The group said House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Presonsburg) is the latest to sign on as co-sponsor....

Capitol Notes: HB 2 would help students
from coal counties finish four-year degrees

Legislation that would help college students from Kentucky’s coal counties complete four-year degrees in their home areas with help from a Kentucky Coal County College Completion Scholarship has cleared the House Education Committee.   House Bill 2, sponsored by House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg) and Rep. Leslie Combs (D-Pikeville) would fund scholarships mostly for students living and...

Bill raising state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour clears House committee

Legislation that would raise the state’s minimum hourly wage of $7.25 to $10.10 by July 2016 has cleared the House Labor and Industry Committee.   The wage would be increased incrementally to $8.10 an hour this July, $9.15 per hour in July 2015, and $10.10 an hour the following July under House Bill 1, sponsored by House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg. The legislation also proposes a prohibition...

Governor’s proposal will create long-awaited
4-lane parkway from Winchester to Pikeville

Gov. Steve Beshear has released his proposal for accomplishing a project long-awaited by Eastern Kentuckians and given new urgency by shifts in the region’s economy – the widening, modernizing and extension of the Mountain Parkway.   “Eastern Kentucky faces a multitude of challenges, made all the more urgent by the rapidly shifting economy. Our people demand a thorough strategy that incorporates...

State recovers $32 million in settlements to be used to expand drug abuse treatment, centers

Attorney General Jack Conway announced the recovery of $32 million in settlement money from two pharmaceutical companies in a press conference with Gov. Steve Beshear, on left, First Lady Jane Beshear and House Speaker Greg Stumbo. (Photo provided)   More than $32 million recovered in settlements with two pharmaceutical companies will be used throughout Kentucky to expand substance abuse treatment,...

Dave Adkisson: Bipartisan atmosphere in the ‘new Frankfort’ enabled government to work

The closing of the 2013 General Assembly at midnight Tuesday was more remarkable than its warm, gushy opening the first week of January.   Remember January? The governor invited legislators to the mansion for dinner, making an important, if primarily symbolic gesture, toward the new legislature. Legislative leaders and the governor, speaking to more than 1,000 state business and political leaders...

Dave Adkisson: Bipartisan atmosphere in the 'new Frankfort' enabled government to work

The closing of the 2013 General Assembly at midnight Tuesday was more remarkable than its warm, gushy opening the first week of January.   Remember January? The governor invited legislators to the mansion for dinner, making an important, if primarily symbolic gesture, toward the new legislature. Legislative leaders and the governor, speaking to more than 1,000 state business and political leaders...

LRC’s Capitol Notes: Three major bills win approval as legislative session nears end

By Scott Payton Special to KyForward Special taxing district bill heads to governor Legislation that would increase transparency of the state’s more than 1,200 special taxing districts cleared the Kentucky General Assembly yesterday without opposition.   Based in part on recommendations by the state auditor, House Bill 1, sponsored by House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, would create...

LRC’s Capitol Notes: House OKs redistricting; Senate passes special tax district legislation

House Bill 2 redraws Kentucky House districts. (Map from Office of Kentucky House Speaker)   By Scott Payton Special to KyForward   The Kentucky House voted 53-46 last night for a state legislative redistricting plan that would redraw the lines for Kentucky’s House districts. (See Fayette County, Jefferson County and Northern Kentucky detail below.)   House Bill 2, sponsored by House...

LRC’s Capitol Notes: House passes its version of bill to boost funding for pension system

By Scott Payton Special to KyForward   The House today approved its version of public pension reform and a measure that would boost funding for the pension system.   As amended by the House, the public pension bill, Senate Bill 2, would help ensure that the state or local government employer pay the actuarial required contribution (ARC) to the public pension systems administered by the KRS,...

Bill to reform Lexington’s police, fire pension fund filed; requires General Assembly OK

A bill to comprehensively reform Lexington’s police and fire pension fund was filed today by Rep. Ruth Ann Palumbo.   Rep. Ruth Ann Palumbo “I’m happy to work with the men and women who risk their lives every day protecting each of us,” Palumbo said in a statement released by Lexington Mayor Jim Gray’s office. “This plan makes their pension solvent and is a fiscally responsible...

House bill introduced to bring accountability, accessibility to state’s ‘Ghost Government’

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, center; Auditor Adam Edelen, at left; and a bipartisan group of state legislators attended today’s press conference in support of the legislation. (Photo from LRC Public Information)   A bill aimed at promoting accountability and accessibility among Kentucky’s special districts was filed today.   Streamlining Kentuckians’ ability to track how, where and...