A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Commentary: Sheila Mason’s 50-year career at the State Capitol is worthy of recognition

By Senate President Robert Stivers, House Speaker David Osborne, Senate Minority Floor Leader Morgan McGarvey and House Minority Floor Leader Joni L. Jenkins When General Assembly interns show up for their first day at the State Capitol, one of the first things they learn is that the well-being of our representative democracy depends on upholding the people’s trust in their government. Fortunately,...

Beshear says ‘no politics,’ focus on coronavirus crisis; legislature should do budget and go home

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Gov. Andy Beshear told a press briefing on the coronavirus Tuesday that he received a letter from General Assembly leaders asking him to declare an immediate special session so lawmakers could adjourn, then return and address anything they like, without a time limitation. 
Beshear responded that he’s done with politics.


  “We’re here in a state of emergency...

Senate President Robert Stivers introduces three bills affecting governor’s actions on final filing day

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Wednesday was the last day for new bills to be filed in the Kentucky Senate and three of them introduced by Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, affect employees of the governor’s office as well as a governor’s powers under executive orders. Senate Bill 269, regarding pay of employees of the governor, states, “Any person who has not retired from any of the...

Sen. President Robert Stivers says most in state support bills on sanctuary cities, voter IDs

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Senate President Robert Stivers has responded to criticism of two bills that are considered top priorities in his chamber. Senate Bill 1 would ban so-called “Sanctuary Cities”, by prohibiting local governments and other agencies from adopting procedures that would hinder federal immigration laws; while Senate Bill two would require photo IDs to vote, which some say would...

Bill Straub: Looks like Bevin managed to step on his own tail, but don’t count Mitch out just yet

It was during the Republican National Convention in Houston in 1992 and renowned columnist Molly Ivins was talking about Clayton Williams, the Republican gubernatorial candidate in Texas who, despite all odds, lost to Democrat Ann Richards as a result of highly erratic behavior and questionable comments, like publicly recounting various adventures in a Mexican cathouse. Ivins allowed that the Williams...

Republican leaders Stivers, Thayer say any casino bill presented in their chamber is ‘dead on arrival’

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Two Republican senators have weighed in on one issue in the governor’s race by pronouncing any casino bill that arrives in their chamber “dead on arrival.” Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, and Majority Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, made the comment while condemning a proposal by Democrat Andy Beshear to legalize casino gaming. Beshear says the revenue...

More contention arises over public pension bill; are there sufficient votes for the measure to pass?

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Another point of contention has arisen between Democrats and Republicans in the General Assembly during talks over a public pension bill for the regional universities and quasi-governmental agencies. 
The question: How many votes are needed for passage? 
Under the state Constitution, during budget years, it only takes a simple majority to approve appropriations bills,...

Senate leader Stivers wants ethics legislation to apply to executive branch lobbyists too

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky’s top Senate leader introduced legislation to require lobby executive branch agencies to have the same reporting requirements as legislative lobbyists. 
During a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday, Sen. Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, talked about bribery convictions over the last two years, particularly involving Tim Longmeyer, the personnel secretary under former...

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...

Special session shortlived; House adjourns saying issues too complicated for a five-day session

Staff report While the two public pension bills remained in the House, members of the Senate were not sitting still during the second day of the special session, said Senate President Robert Stivers. But the House discussions went on until about 4 p.m. when acting GOP House Speaker David Osborne said the issues were too complicated to resolve in a five-day session — and the House adjourned. Later...

Council of State Governments holds national conference in Covington, elects new leadership

Staff report With Kentucky State Sen. Robert Stivers as its outgoing chair, the Council of State Governments held its National Conference in Covington this week. The conference brought government leaders from around the country to the Northern Kentucky Convention Center — and hundreds of visitors to the area. Stivers is Kentucky Senate President; he has represented Senate District 25 since 1997...

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...

Legislative leaders name members of a bi-partisan School Safety Working Group

Legislative leaders have named the 10 members of a bi-partisan panel on school safety. The School Safety Working Group was decided upon by House and Senate leadership, in the wake of the shooting at Marshall County High School earlier this year, in which two students were killed and 18 others injured, 14 by bullets and four others while trying to flee. 
Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester...

Bill to exempt private electronic devices from open records requests on life support, but not dead yet

By Mark Hansel Northern Kentucky Tribune An amendment to House Bill 302 that would exempt private electronic devices from public records requests may have been slowed down, but it still has life. Sen. Damon Thayer The Kentucky Legislative Research Commission confirmed Monday that HB 302 was pulled from the Consent Calendar last week but remains in the Senate Orders of the Day Tuesday. Click here to...

Senate President Stivers says pension reform bill has ‘limited, difficult’ path forward; hints special session

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today About a week after assuring he had the votes to pass Senate Bill 1, the controversial pension reform bill, Senate President Robert Stivers now doubts it will happen during the 2018 General Assembly.   “I think it has a very limited and difficult path forward at this point in time,” the Manchester Republican told reporters after the Senate adjourned on Wednesday. 
When...

Expanded gaming not likely as new revenue source; Senate president doubts House proposed taxes

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Don’t expect expanded gaming to come up as a new revenue source, even if the Senate doesn’t go along with tax hikes approved by the House as part of the biennial budget legislation this week. House Bill 366, the revenue legislation accompanying the budgets for the Executive, Judicial and Legislative Branches of government, includes three money-generating provisions:...

Republican lawmakers tout their pension bill; KY Public Pension Coalition calls it “unacceptable”

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Republican lawmakers said legislation aimed at overhauling Kentucky’s pension system for government employees and retirees could save taxpayers $4.8 billion over the next 30 years while also eliminating an unfunded liability of more than $40 billion. 
While they tried to build public sentiment for the measure that was filed late Tuesday, government workers and retirees...

Lawmakers drop 401(k)-style retirement plan for government workers citing insufficient savings

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A mandatory 401(k)-style plan will not be part of an overhaul of Kentucky’s public pension systems, lawmakers said Wednesday, because the savings wouldn’t be sufficient to make it worthwhile to the state. Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said the overhaul, which is now in the hands of legislative staffers, has undergone substantial change since...

Some Kentucky lawmakers continue to push for expanded gaming despite staunch opposition

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today One of Kentucky’s top lawmakers questioned Thursday whether a constitutional amendment is necessary to legalize casinos in Kentucky. “Somebody explain to me what the constitutional prohibition is against land-based casino gaming?” Senate President Robert Stivers told reporters at the Capitol. “There is none.” The Manchester Republican said lawmakers have the authority...

Commentary: “Keeping the Promise” helps current employees but meets obligations to already retired

By Governor Matt Bevin, Senate President Robert Stivers, and House Speaker Jeff Hoover Special to KyForward “Keeping the Promise,” our plan to save Kentucky’s pension systems, keeps the promise made to Kentucky’s current employees while also meeting the legal and moral obligations we owe to those who have already retired. Promises made are promises kept. Make no mistake: there will be no changes,...