A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Amye Bensenhaver: KY Supreme Court strikes blow for open government; court is arbiter of access

In what may be the single most important victory for open government in recent memory, the Kentucky Supreme Court issued an opinion on September 26 in which it repudiated the Legislative Research Commission’s argument that it, and not the courts, are the final arbiter of access to records of the LRC and the legislature. The opinion in Becky Harilson, etc., et al. v. Hon. Phillip J. Shepherd, et...

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,...

Legislative Briefs: Concealed carry bill passes House Judiciary panel; new staff fitness program set

The right of off-duty and retired law enforcement officers to carry concealed weapons in the same locations as on-duty officers would be affirmed under a bill passed Wednesday by the House Judiciary Committee. Rep. Steve Riggs, D-Louisville, said he filed House Bill 314 at the request of the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office in response to a situation in which off-duty officers were prohibited from...

Legislative Briefs: Donohue named budget committee chair; legislative pension bill advances

Leaders for the Kentucky House of Representatives have named state Rep. Jeffery Donohue as chairman of the Budget Review Subcommittee on Economic Development, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection. As chairman, Rep. Donohue will oversee budget discussion and negotiations relating to key elements of the Commonwealth’s next two-year budget plan. The House Budget Review Subcommittee on Economic...

This Week in Frankfort: ‘If’ is always the key word in politics – and not as a bad thing

By Scott Payton LRC Public Information   It was written 414 winters ago that “If” was the key word in politics. And not as a bad thing.   “Much virtue in If.”   Now that January has mercifully blown through – and with it Tuesday’s candidate filing deadline — the landscape in Frankfort should clear of its cold, uncertain fog. Time to address the virtue...

This Week in Frankfort: Session’s ‘bloody’ budget work about to get deeply real, real fast

By Scott Payton LRC Public Information   A governor’s budget address is a momentary snapshot defining a version of reality. It has also, for 10 years or more, been a painful picture from a bad family trip, often rock-back-on-your heels disturbing.   But it’s also the necessary opening statement in a discussion that will consume Frankfort’s deep Capitol winter, throwing terms of debate...

Capitol Notes: Senate passes informed consent bill, sends to House for consideration

A bill that would mandate an in-person meeting with a doctor, nurse or social worker at least 24 hours prior to an abortion procedure was approved 33-5 by the Kentucky Senate.   Senate Bill 3, sponsored by Sen. Sara Beth Gregory, R-Monticello, would require the informed consent process mandated prior to abortion procedures occur in face-to-face meetings.   According to Gregory, informed...

This Week in Frankfort: A ‘hothouse bloom’
of committee meetings, a first floor of votes

By Scott Payton LRC Public Information   Any description of any Legislature begs for metaphor, or, if you like, simile. Here’s one: Full legislative sessions, 60 working days with a budget to write and an election year ahead, are like supertankers. Slow to start. Slow to turn. Not graceful at launch. But once on high seas, pure, heavy momentum, straight with purpose and intent.   House...

LRC’s Capitol Notes: Special session passage of redistricting plan shows legislature’s mettle

Special to Ky Forward   Most folks have only a vague idea of what “redistricting” means, and how, really, it personally affects them. It’s not like a proposed tax increase or something hugely controversial like, say, casino gambling or legalizing pot. It’s political inside baseball to the average person. But within any legislative body, anywhere, it’s the World Series. It has...

LRC’s Capitol Notes: Committee approves pension reform bill; HB 1 clears House panel

From Kentucky Legislative Research commission   Wednesday, Feb. 6 Pension reform bill gets panel OK The Senate State and Local Government Committee unanimously approved a proposal today aimed at paying down public pension debt and creating a new retirement plan for future employees of the state.   Senate Bill 2, sponsored by Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, mirrors...

LRC’s Capitol Notes: Lack of pressing budget crises gives session a little ‘breathing room’

“There is a tide in the affairs of men which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves …”   In other words: When opportunity comes, grab hold.   Every legislative session has its moods, it expectations, its hopes, fears,...

LRC’s Capitol Notes: Kentucky citizens have many ways to see their government in action

With the convening of the General Assembly’s 2013 session, citizens once again are welcome to observe their government in action from the legislative chamber galleries. But those unable to make the trip to Frankfort have many ways to stay in close touch with the legislative process.   The Kentucky Legislature website is updated daily to give citizens the latest legislative updates. Web surfers...