A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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,...

Bevin, Senate and House leaders unveil plan to stablize Kentucky’s ailing pension systems

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Gov. Matt Bevin and legislative leaders unveiled the framework of the proposed changes to the public pension plans, which will be voted on during a special legislative session. Flanked by House Speaker Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, and Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, Bevin outlined the plan during a Capitol press conference Wednesday morning. While he termed the...

Commentary: We must not ‘kick the can down the road’ in fixing Kentucky’s ailing retirement system

By Governor Matt Bevin, Senate President Robert Stivers, and House Speaker Jeff Hoover Special to KyForward Kentucky’s pension systems are in critical condition. While certain state retirement plans are arguably in “better shape” than others, every system is severely underfunded and rapidly spiraling downward toward a single outcome: no more money to pay Kentucky’s retirees. Understandably,...

Phillips Diversified Manufacturing in Annville creates new three-year apprenticeship program

Labor Secretary Derrick Ramsey joined officials from Phillips Diversified Manufacturing in Annville to announce the creation of a new apprenticeship program. This three-year welding apprenticeship program comes on the heels of another eastern Kentucky apprenticeship announcement from American Metal Works last week. Together, these programs represent an on-going effort to strategically cultivate more...

Beshear creates work group to recommend ways to stabilize teachers’ retirement system

  By executive order, Gov. Steve Beshear has created a 23-member work group to develop recommendations to strengthen the solvency of the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System.   Gov. Steve Beshear The group is made up of policy and education leaders, according to a press release from the governor’s office, and is charged with developing recommendations to resolve a funding shortfall...

Smoking ban bills assigned to committee
that appears unlikely to send to full Senate

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News   FRANKFORT – The state Senate’s Republican leaders have assigned both the Republican and Democratic smoking ban bills to a committee that appears unlikely to send them to the full Senate.   The Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee got House Bill 145, which the House had passed 51-46, and Senate Bill 189, filed by Sen....

Westrom, others passionate about statewide smoking ban; want it to be a priority in 2015

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News   While the advocates of a statewide smoking ban might have been “preaching to the choir,” as one put it during a legislative committee meeting last week, they heard a passionate call to go out and persuade their fellow legislators to pass a smoking ban in the 2015 legislative session, or at least give it a vote on the floor of a chamber.   “Go...

Bourbon Bonanza: State’s signature industry smashes records, makes mark on economy

In the time it takes to age a Kentucky straight bourbon – that’s two years – the state’s bourbon industry has nearly doubled its workforce, tripled its number of distilleries, and set new modern records for exports and barrel inventories.   These are among the findings of a new economic impact study of the distilling industry announced today by Gov. Steve Beshear and the Kentucky Distillers’...

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...

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: Revised pension bill goes to House, Senate OKs military voting bill

By Scott Payton Special to KyForward   House panel approves amended pension bill   Revisions to a Senate pension bill that would help Kentucky eventually reduce an estimated $30 billion in unfunded obligations to its public pension systems has cleared the House State Government Committee.   The amended version of Senate Bill 2 represents an effort “to do as much as we can within this...