A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

John Schaaf: Court of Appeals refusal to rehear Schickel case sends strong pro-ethics message

Kentucky’s Legislative Ethics Commission (KLEC) recently scored several more important wins in the federal court case filed against the members of KLEC by Sen. John Schickel, whose lawsuit claims he has a constitutional right to accept meals, beverages, and campaign contributions from legislative lobbyists. First, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit denied Schickel’s request that his...

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals sides with Legislative Ethics Commission on contribution and gift ban

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the constitutionality of the contribution and gift bans in the Kentucky Code of Legislative Ethics. The three-judge panel ruled on Thursday that the measures “enacted to prevent corruption and protect its citizens’ trust in their elected officials, comport with the Constitution,” and reversed a lower court ruling, which...

Four bills advance through Senate, one by Sen. Schickel takes power of school councils to hire supt.

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Lawmakers wrapped up the Organizational Session of the 2019 General Assembly on Friday with four bills receiving final passage in the Senate. 
One measure, sponsored by Sen. John Schickel, R-Union, would remove the power of site-based councils to hire principals for their schools, placing it back into the hands of the district’s superintendent,...

Medical marijuana proponents have their say; opponents on deck for next meeting

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A legislative committee heard from proponents of medical marijuana last week with opponents to be given an opportunity at the next meeting. Proponents tried to make it clear the marijuana was in no way for recreational use or a revenue source for Kentucky. Opponents have argued that marijuana is a gateway drug that opens the door for much worse later. Sen. John Schickel,...

KYCIR: Devil in details; bill in Ky Senate could keep doctor discipline secret — and it’s not alone

By Eleanor Klibanoff Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting  If your doctor, social worker or therapist has violated professional standards, you have a right to that information under the open records law. But that could change under a bill before the state Senate. The purpose of the 269-page bill is a reorganization of Kentucky’s licensing boards. But the bill also includes new language allowing...

Minton tells committee judicial redistricting will ensure more appropriate allocation of resources

Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr. said Wednesday that the “singular goal of redistricting is to ensure that Kentucky’s judicial resources are allocated appropriately.” His full remarks can be found here.   In testimony before the Interim Joint Committee on State Government at the Capitol Annex, Minton gave an overview of the process and methodology being used to create what is the...

State lawmakers to discuss pros and cons of medical marijuana during summer hearing

A bipartisan panel of state legislators will meet this summer to hear the advantages and disadvantages of legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, the chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations announced. The Interim Joint Committee on Licensing and Occupations, will tackle the issue during its July gathering. The meeting is open to the public...

Legislative briefs: Omnibus liquor measure clears Senate; prevailing wage limits measure advances

Liquor and labor were the subjects of the first three pieces of legislation the state Senate passed during its current session. Legislation (Senate Bill 11) that would make a host of changes to the state’s 1930s-era liquor laws passed by a 29-8 vote on Thursday. The omnibus bill would raise the amount of packaged alcohol that could be sold at distilleries to nine liters from the current three liters....

Legislation to modernize state’s alcohol statues clears committee, could get floor vote soon

A push to modernize the state’s 1930s-era alcohol regulations to maximize the economic impact of a worldwide thirst for bourbon and birth of the craft beer and small-farm wine industries in Kentucky continues during this year’s General Assembly. Setting it up to become one of the first bills to come to the floor of the Senate for a vote, the Senate Standing Committee on Licensing, Occupations and...

John Schickel: Pre-Civil War era document triggers reflection as legislative session draws near

I could hear the excitement in his voice when I answered the phone. My friend, Boone County Clerk Kenny Brown, was eager to talk. Since we are fellow history buffs, he couldn’t wait to share the news of the rediscovery of a long forgotten pre-Civil War era document – right here in Boone County. One of his employees had just discovered a 155-year-old voter tally sheet from the 1860 presidential...

Capitol Notes: Distributorship bill passes, ending ‘beer wars’ in General Assembly

The state Senate has passed legislation banning breweries from owning beer distribution networks – a move expected to force Anheuser-Busch to sell its two Kentucky distributorships.   The legislation, known as House Bill 168, passed with a 23-13 vote – ending what has been dubbed the “beer wars” in the General Assembly. HB 168 would affirm that the state’s three-tier system of regulating...

Making a Comeback: Kentucky tapping back into hard cider, thanks to change in state law

A change this summer in a Kentucky law has allowed the state’s burgeoning microbrewery industry to tap into the fastest-growing alcoholic beverage category in the nation – hard cider.   That’s what Country Boy Brewing co-owner Daniel “D.H.” Harrison testified to before the Interim Joint Committee on Licensing and Occupations.   Daniel ‘D.H.’ Harrison “Thank you so...

New bill calls for horses racing in Kentucky be eligible for bigger purse, meet at Turfway Park

Representatives of the Kentucky state legislature, the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and Thoroughbred industry organizations met at Turfway Park recently to hear from Sen. John Schickel (R-District 11) about a new bill to make more purse money available to certain Thoroughbred horse racing in Kentucky.   The bill was pre-filed Dec. 12 as BR 328 by Schickel, who represents Boone County....