A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Legislative Research Commission staff drafted to assist with unemployment benefits backlog

Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers and House Speaker David Osborne have instructed Legislative Research Commission (LRC) Director Jay D. Hartz to arrange for legislative staff members to assist in reducing the state’s backlog of unemployment insurance applications.   The authorization from legislative leaders will allow LRC staff to start working with the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development...

This Week at the Capitol: Legislature passes austere one-year budget amid pandemic, uncertain revenues

Over the past month the number of Kentuckians who have tested positive for COVID-19 has grown from zero to 770, the stock market has suffered record-setting plunges and unemployment numbers have skyrocketed. In this environment, no one yet knows the toll the pandemic will ultimately take on the economy. Lawmakers acknowledged as much on Wednesday as they approved an austere state budget. Although state...

This week at the Capitol: General Assembly postponed until March 17, but some bills progress

The COVID-19 virus that is causing disruptions across the state – and in countries throughout the word – prompted a postponement of General Assembly action at the end of this week as Senate and House leaders announced that legislative activity would take a break until March 17. Bringing people together is in many ways the heart of the legislative process. Citizens from across the state come to...

This week at the Capitol: Issues facing lawmakers become clearer as bill-filing deadline passes

Legislative Research Commission Public Information A nearly complete view of the issues lawmakers will consider this year has arrived now that the bill-filing deadlines have passed in the Senate and House. Of course, “nearly” is a keyword. There’s always the possibility of twists and turns as lawmakers continue receiving testimony and contemplating changes to bills in the form of amendments....

This Week at the State Capitol: Several bills advance, including voting rights, pardons, local taxes, more

By Robert Weber Legislative Research Commission More top issues of the General Assembly’s 2020 session came into better focus this past week as legislative action hit high gear. In the Senate, members gave approval to a proposed constitutional amendment that could give the General Assembly authority to establish standards on restoring voting rights for certain felons, not including those who committed...

This week at the Capitol: Honoring Charles Young during Black History month, bills advance

By Robert Weber Legislative Research Commission Highlights of the legislative week typically occur in the historic Senate and House chambers, but this past week the Capitol Rotunda was the scene of an unforgettable moment for many in the statehouse. Those attending the annual Black History Celebration, hosted by the Black Legislative Caucus, recognized a military hero who achieved great success but...

This Week at the Capitol: Lawmakers address legislation concerning the wellbeing of children

Proposals concerning the wellbeing of children are often high-priority items in the General Assembly. Hundreds of measures aimed at improving the lives of young Kentuckians have come before lawmakers in recent years, including last year’s sweeping school safety legislation designed to make sure children are safe while learning. This year alone, more than 50 bills – roughly 11 percent of all bills...

This Week in Frankfort: A wrap-up of what went on — from governor’s budget to issues moving forward

By Robert Weber Legislative Research Commission The biggest issue of the General Assembly’s 2020 session came to the forefront this week as lawmakers received a state budget proposal from Gov. Andy Beshear. Now that the proposal is in legislators’ hands, members of budget subcommittees are digging into the two-year spending plan to fully understand how it would impact state finances, programs,...

This week at the Capitol: Lawmakers address issues ranging from voter identification to school safety

As sure as gavel strikes mark the start of a Kentucky General Assembly session, packed hallways in the Capitol Annex are a sign that a session has gone into high gear as people from across Kentucky converge to make their voices heard. That was clearly the case this past week as thousands of Kentuckians came to the Capitol Campus to weigh in on issues ranging from voter identification to school safety....

Beshear’s transition team going full steam and by book, despite Bevin’s election recanvass request

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today While the voting results in the November General Election for Governor await the outcome of a recanvass request made by incumbent Republican Matt Bevin and certification by the State Board of Elections, work of the transition team for presumptive Democratic Governor-Elect Andy Beshear continues at the State Capitol. On Wednesday, Beshear, currently Kentucky’s attorney...

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce selects Ashli Watts of Frankfort as President and CEO

The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce has named Ashli Watts of Frankfort as President and CEO of the state’s largest business association after an eight-month national search. She will take office on Nov. 1, succeeding Dave Adkisson, 66, who is retiring after serving 15 years in the position. Watts, 37, currently is Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for the Chamber, where she has led the organization’s...

New laws approved during Kentucky General Assembly’s 2019 session take effect June 27

Most new laws approved during the Kentucky General Assembly’s 2019 session will go into effect on June 27. That means law-abiding adults will be able to carry a concealed firearm without a permit, employers will be required to make certain reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees and electric scooters will be regulated by state law. The Kentucky Constitution specifies that new laws take...

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...

State Senator Dorsey Ridley calls judges ruling on public Pension bill the right decision for Kentucky

State Senator Dorsey Ridley, D-Henderson, called last week’s ruling by the Franklin County Circuit Court striking down Senate Bill 151, the public pension bill, the right decision. The bill was found to be “unconstitutional and void.” Franklin County Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd ruled that SB 151 violates the Kentucky Constitution because it did not receive three readings on three...

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....

This Week in Frankfort: $22 billion biennial budget to Governor; adoption, foster care, road bills pass

This week, lawmakers fulfilled a main duty the state constitution requires of them as final approval was given to a state budget that will guide more than $22 billion worth of spending over the next two years.   The budget plan does not include all of the program cuts that received much attention when they were unveiled in the governor’s original budget plan. Rather, lawmakers approved a tax measure...

LRC announces finalists for 2018 Vic Hellard Jr. Award honoring nonpartisan legislative staff

Though their job duties varied greatly during careers at the Legislative Research Commission (LRC), Gordon Adkins, Joyce Honaker, and Jim Swain all now share a common distinction: Each was announced today as a finalist for the 2018 Vic Hellard Jr. Award, the highest honor given by LRC. The Hellard Award is given each year to someone who served the LRC with skill, dedication, professionalism, integrity,...

LRC’s Week at the State Capitol: First measure approved by GA is proposed victims’ bill of rights

The first bill passed by both chambers of the General Assembly this year is a measure that will allow voters to decide on a “bill of rights” for crime victims. Senate Bill 3, more commonly known as Marsy’s Law, proposes adding a section to the Kentucky Constitution to give crime victims constitutional rights similar to those afforded to the convicted or accused. The right to notice of proceedings,...

A range of issues on the table during legislative session; pensions, budget among most pressing

Lawmakers returned to the State Capitol last week to kick off a General Assembly session that’s sure to tackle a wide range of issues. But Capitol observers say there are two issues this year that will likely dominate many discussions: public pension reform and the state budget. Issues concerning the unfunded liabilities associated with the state’s pension systems for public employees received...

Sen. Julian Carroll pre-files bill to improve internal mobility for both full-time, part-time state employees

Senator Julian M. Carroll, D-Frankfort, has pre-filed legislation that, if approved during the 2018 Regular Session, would add an administrative regulation regarding the internal mobility program for state employees. Sen. Julian Carroll Under this legislation, Bill Request 409 (BR 409) would not differentiate between full-time and part-time existing state employees in filling full-time positions. The...