A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Advocates hoping this is the year lawmakers move to throw tobacco and e-cigarettes out of Ky. schools

At a Jan. 22 rally in the state Capitol, students, educators and health advocates asked Kentucky lawmakers to pass a law to make all schools in the state 100 percent free of tobacco and electronic cigarettes. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, said passing such a law should be a “no-brainer” for state elected officials who are committed to kids. “Many issues...

Kentucky lawmakers have 170 bills waiting as General Assembly convenes in Frankfort

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The Kentucky General Assembly convenes Tuesday at noon in their chambers at the State Capitol for a 30-legislative day session. While shoring up the state’s public pension systems, adjustments to last year’s tax reform legislation and school safety are among legislative leaders’ top priorities, around 170 bills have already been prepared for filing when the 2019 session...

PSC Names Karen Wilson as legislative director; veteran of state government to advise commissioners

Karen Wilson, a 22-year employee of Kentucky state government, has joined the staff of the Kentucky Public Service Commission as its legislative liaison and executive advisor to the commissioners. Wilson most recently served a policy advisor in the Department of Energy Policy in the Energy and Environment Cabinet. She previously held several other posts in EEC and also worked in the Governor’s Office...

New deer hunting regulations proposed for 2019 season at Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting

New public land deer hunting regulations highlighted the quarterly meeting of the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission on Dec. 7. The commission recommends all hunting, fishing and boating regulations to the Kentucky General Assembly for approval. The Legislature must approve regulation recommendations before they become law. The commission proposed changes for deer quota hunts on several wildlife...

Department of Agriculture seeks applications for industrial hemp research pilot program

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles announced today that the Kentucky Department of Agriculture has opened the application period for Kentuckians wishing to participate in the state’s industrial hemp research pilot program for the 2019 growing season. “I am proud to report that our program participants grew more than 6,700 acres of hemp this year, the most ever under the industrial hemp research...

New legislation modernizing laws governing Kentucky nonprofit organizations takes effect

House Bill 443, new legislation that makes necessary clarifications and provides statutory flexibility to the laws governing nonprofit organizations in Kentucky, took effect Saturday. The bill, sponsored by Repreuseative Robert Benvenuti of Lexington, passed unanimously in both chambers of the Kentucky General Assembly and was signed into law by Gov. Matt Bevin on April 26. The legislation builds...

Jason Kilmer: Kentuckians deserve a new majority in Frankfort to embrace opportunities for the state

Viewing the dysfunctional proceedings of the recent session of the Kentucky General Assembly, I believe Kentucky deserves better. Kentucky needs to get serious about the relationship between education and state revenues. A University of Kentucky study shows the relationship between educational attainment and increased tax revenue. This study shows even the modest change of increasing Associate’s...

Most new laws approved during legislative session go into effect July 14; here are some of them

Legislative Research Commission Most new laws approved during the Kentucky General Assembly’s 2018 session will go into effect on Saturday, July 14. That means drivers will soon be required to leave at least three feet of space between their vehicles and cyclists they pass. Children under the age of 17 will not be allowed to get married. And penalties will get tougher for those who post sexually...

Sen. Dorsey Ridley says Supreme Court’s decision on online sales tax good for Kentucky

Senator Dorsey Ridley, D-Henderson is hailing the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to allow states to require online retailers to collect tax revenue owed to them. Senator Ridley has been working through the Kentucky General Assembly, its leaders and past governors to get to this stage, which will result in added revenue for the commonwealth. “This is a big deal for Kentucky,” said Senator Ridley....

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...

With final spending numbers in, lobbying hits all-time high for 2018 General Assembly session

The final lobbying spending numbers for the 2018 General Assembly are in, and spending hit an all-time high of $10.67 million, putting Kentucky on track for a record-breaking year in which more than $22 million will be spent on lobbying. The lobbying spending reports filed by a wide array of businesses and organizations give another clear picture of the increasing importance of public policy to the...

Kentucky Highway Plan prioritizes 1,000 bridge repairs, 5,000 miles of pavement improvements

Kentucky’s 2018 Highway Plan will prioritize spending on more than 1,000 bridge repairs and 5,000 miles of pavement improvements during the next six years. “The recently enacted six-year Highway Plan represents the most balanced approach released by Kentucky in decades for addressing the Commonwealth’s transportation needs,” said Gov. Matt Bevin. “This data-driven plan moves us in the right...

Kentucky lawmakers override governor’s vetoes as teachers watch from the gallery, protest outside

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The Kentucky General Assembly overrode three major vetoes from Gov. Matt Bevin on Friday when thousands of teachers again made their presence felt in the Capitol, showing up to call for more money for education and protesting changes to their pension plan. Lawmakers voted to override three of Gov. Matt Bevin’s vetoes on Friday. (LRC photo) Lawmakers overturned vetoes...

Cigarette tax hike of 50 cents per pack is largest ever in Ky. but will do little to cut smoking, advocates say

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News As part of a larger tax bill, the Kentucky General Assembly voted April 2 to increase the state’s cigarette tax by 50 cents, to $1.10 per pack. That fell short of the $1 increase wanted by health advocates, who bemoaned “a missed opportunity” to improve the health of Kentuckians. And in the final hours, legislative leaders dropped a plan to...

Early results of state’s 2017 Industrial Hemp Pilot Project reveals multi-million dollar economic impact

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday at the annual conference of the Kentucky Hemp Industries Association (KYHIA) that preliminary analysis of the 2017 Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program reveals a multi-million-dollar economic impact for the state. According to early analysis of the 2017 processor production reports, Kentucky licensed processors paid Kentucky growers $7.5 million...

This Week in Frankfort: With just eight days remaining, legislature still has budget issue looming

The first piece of legislation to pass a legislative chamber this week dealt with making playground equipment accessible to all children. One of the final bills of the week to advance through a chamber focused on the mental health of students. In between, lawmakers cast votes on a range of topics including bike safety, health care, prayer, and teen marriage.   It was a particularly busy week at the...

Bill Straub: A billion here, a billion there adds up, but even KY House tax plan doesn’t go far enough

Legend has it that Winston Churchill, trying to draw the United States into WWII, famously said you can always count on the Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else. Apparently old Winnie, in his travels, never made it to the Bluegrass where, having tried ad infinitum to escape that which needs to be done, continues on its merry way ignoring its responsibilities and...

Secretary of State leads Board of Elections in move to require voter-verified paper trails in Kentucky

The State Board of Elections on the recommendation of Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes on Tuesday moved to require all future election equipment purchased in Kentucky to provide a voter-verified paper trail. “The Board of Elections takes the integrity of our Kentucky elections very seriously, and we want Kentucky voters to be assured that their votes count and the results are accurate,”...

Kentucky Bluegrass Cannabis launches statewide grassroots campaign to promote medical marijuana

Kentucky Bluegrass Cannabis, LLC has launched a statewide grassroots campaign seeking to pass legislation that will legalize, regulate, and tax medical marijuana in Kentucky. The campaign – known as Compassionate Access and Relief Effectiveness (CARE) for Kentucky – advocates that citizens and policymakers support legislation currently before the Kentucky General Assembly to legalize medical cannabis. The...

Lobbying on cigarette tax ramps up with foundation ads and tobacco firms use of farmers, retailers

By Al Cross Kentucky Health News If activity by lobbying interests is any indication, the idea of raising the state cigarette tax $1 a pack is an active idea among members of the Kentucky General Assembly. The main group advocating the tax increase, the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, reported spending more than any other lobby during the first month of the session. Its total of $100,240 was not...