Kentucky General Assembly

Politics
7:06 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Kentucky Legislative Research Commission Authorizes Audit, Appoints Acting Director

The Kentucky State Capitol Building
Credit Wikipedia Commons

FRANKFORT — Kentucky Legislative Research Commission leaders on Wednesday elected a new acting director and authorized an audit of the nonpartisan state agency's operations in the wake of the LRC’s handling of sexual harassment complaints.

Lawmakers—who make up the LRC's leadership panel—chose Marcia Seiler by a unanimous 15-0 vote to replace Robert Jenkins, who was named as interim director last month after the resignation of his supervisor, Robert Sherman.

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Politics
1:55 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Kentucky State Sen. Bob Leeper Won't Seek Re-Election

Bob Leeper
Credit Legislative Research Commission

Kentucky state Sen. Bob Leeper says he will not run for re-election in 2014.

The Paducah independent said the decision to step away from office was difficult.

“It’s a complete change of course, so it’s not easy to do, but it comes a time when you realize it’s time and you should give somebody else a chance," Leeper said. "There’s a lot of good people out here I think that may step up and run, and I look forward to seeing who makes that decision.”

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Politics
11:17 am
Tue October 1, 2013

In Lawsuits, Kentucky Statehouse Employees Claim Sexual Harassment, Retaliation

Attorneys filing lawsuit with clients Cassaundra Cooper and Yolanda Costner.
Credit Jonathan Meador/WFPL News

FRANKFORT — In the latest salvo in the sexual misconduct allegations in the Kentucky General Assembly, three Statehouse staffers filed lawsuits Tuesday against two state legislators, claiming sexual harassment and retaliation.

The lawsuits also name the Legislative Research Commission as a defendant. The lawsuit filed against former state Rep. John A. Arnold Jr. also names House Speaker Greg Stumbo, claiming he didn't prioritize an investigation into sexual harassment claims.

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Politics
9:36 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Kentucky State Police to Investigate Document Shredding at Legislative Research Commission

Robert Sherman
Credit Legislative Research Commission

Kentucky State Police has opened an investigation into the shredding of documents by Robert Sherman days after he resigned as director of the Legislative Research Commission.

The investigation will be handled by KSP's special investigations branch, said Sgt. Rick Saint-Blanchard, state police spokesman.

Saint-Blancard declined to comment further on the investigation.

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Politics
11:00 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Second Kentucky State Lawmaker Facing Sexual Harassment Claim

Will Coursey
Credit Legislative Research Commission

A second Kentucky state lawmaker is being publicly accused of sexual harassment.  

Louisville attorney Thomas Clay is representing Nicole Cusic, who claims she was retaliated against when she complained about the behavior of state Rep. Will Coursey, a Democrat from Symsonia in western Kentucky.

“For instance, I believe he was asking one of the interns to go to the Governor’s Ball with him, and there were some other things that involved explicit language, which she thought was inappropriate," Clay says.

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Politics
6:12 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Alison Lundergan Grimes Pressured Over New Sexual Harassment Claims in Kentucky Legislature

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes
Credit Creative Commons

Saying Alison Lundergan Grimes needs to prove her commitment to women, the chair of the Republican Party of Kentucky is challenging the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate to join a call to investigate new sexual harassment allegations in the state legislature.

As The Courier-Journal's Joe Gerth reports, Democratic state Sen. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington, is asking for a probe to examine the decision-making by Democratic House leadership.

At issue is House Speaker Greg Stumbo's office ordering the transfer of a female staffer who complained about the behavior of a Democratic lawmaker.

From The C-J:

Legislative Research Commission employee Nicole Cusic said that after she complained to state Rep. Will Coursey, D-Symsonia, about his behavior in 2012 — she alleges he tried to date interns and made inappropriate statements about another staff member — LRC officials moved her out of a suite of offices where Coursey worked to a temporary desk.

Coursey has denied the allegations, but Stein told the newspaper there is "a bad smell, a noxious smell" in the House and a need to regain the public's trust.

In response, the state GOP is pressuring Grimes—who has continually criticized Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell's voting record on women's issues—to speak up.

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Local News
3:04 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Longtime Kentucky State Rep. Dwight Butler Won't Seek Another Term

kentuckyhouserepublicans.org

Longtime Kentucky lawmaker Dwight Butler has announced he won’t seek re-election to the House next year.

Butler says he wants to devote more time to his family and real estate business.

During his 19 years in office, Butler faced challengers only twice, and represents a sprawling district that includes Breckinridge and Hancock counties, as well as parts of Bullitt, Daviess, and Hardin counties.

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Politics
2:13 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Stumbo Refers LRC Chief Robert Sherman's Doc Shredding to Kentucky State Police

Robert Sherman
Credit Legislative Research Commission

A Republican Kentucky House leader is calling for Kentucky State Police to be brought in to investigate document shredding by Robert Sherman following his resignation Friday as director of the Legislative Research Commission. 

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Politics
11:20 am
Wed September 25, 2013

In Kentucky Legislature, Lax Rules Govern Workplace Relationships Despite Long History of Scandal

Kentucky State Capitol
Credit Wikipedia Commons

During the 1990s, the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission’s public image was shaped primarily by the sordid antics of Kent Downey, whose day job there often overlapped with his sideline business promoting golf trips with scantily clad hostesses offering sex for money.

Downey, who was director of House operations prior to being fired in 1996, sometimes drank and caroused at work. He put strippers on the state payroll and adorned his office with pictures of scantily clad women and a small plant with condoms hanging from the branches.

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Politics
2:00 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Kentucky Lawmakers to Discuss Local Option Sales Tax

Credit File photo

A committee in the Kentucky General Assembly will discuss the idea of giving local voters an option to raise their sales tax to fund special projects.

State lawmakers tell WFPL they are keeping an open mind, but some cite a recent study showing Louisville is already a heavily tax-burdened city.

For the past year, Mayor Greg Fischer has been lobbying the General Assembly and others to support the idea.

The specifics haven't been unveiled, but in general a local option would allow voters to approve a temporary 1-percent tax increase that would go towards specific efforts such as new infrastructure.

A report conducted by the University of Louisville found such as tool could generate up to $138 million in revenue for the city.

Democratic state Rep. Steve Riggs of Louisville is co-chair of the Interim Committee on Local Government, which is holding a hearing to discuss the proposal on Wednesday.

He says a temporary tax is an intriguing idea, but it is important legislators learn more about the proposal.

"I'm leaning for it because I see so many other communities around the nation that do it and I love letting the citizen decide and giving the citizen the liberty to determine where there money goes without sending it to Frankfort first and then it goes somewhere else. I love that part of it,” he says.

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