Kentucky General Assembly

Politics
6:56 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Kentucky Senate Restores Mine Inspections to 6 Per Year

Credit Decumanus / Wikimedia Commons

The Kentucky Senate will likely restore funding for state coal mine inspections.

Currently, mines get six state inspections a year. A previous draft of the budget cut the number to two. Senate President Robert Stivers says his chamber will likely restore funding for six inspections.

But that doesn't mean Stivers wants to keep the amount of money exactly the same. He says the House budget didn’t address the reduction in the number of coal mines, which he argues requires fewer inspections.

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Politics
6:42 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Kentucky Senate Once Again Tries For Charter Schools

Credit File photo

A bill that would open the door to charter schools in Kentucky has passed the state Senate, although similar legislation has previously failed to gain traction in the Democratic-led House.

The measure passed by a 22-14 party line vote—not unlike the vote last year.

The bill would allow certified teaching staff and parents to petition the principal of a low-achieving school for a vote on whether a privately run charter organization should be in charge of the school.

State Sen. Mike Wilson, a Bowling Green Republican, sponsored the bill.

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Politics
6:56 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Kentucky Senate Passes Budget Plan That Differs From House Version

Credit File photo

The Kentucky Senate passed its version of a two-year $20-billion budget. The lengthy document will end up in a House-Senate Conference Committee where a key House leader expects successful passage this session.

The Democratic-led House and the Republican-led Senate have budgets that differ in a number of areas. The senate plan restores funding for higher education, but cuts out most projects, including those on university campuses. 

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Politics
7:00 am
Sun March 23, 2014

Siddique Malik Wants to be Kentucky's First Muslim State Legislator

Malik
Credit twitter.com/SidMalik2014

Kentucky is among several states this year targeted for a Republican takeover. The GOP is hoping to win a majority in the House, a chamber currently controlled by Democrats 54-to-46.

But with all eyes on the House, there's a different battle brewing in the state's Republican-run Senate—one candidate is testing to see if the commonwealth is ready for its first Muslim lawmaker.

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Politics
5:37 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Kentucky House Passes Eminent Domain Bill Aimed at Bluegrass Pipeline

Credit Wikipedia Commons

FRANKFORT — The Kentucky House has passed a bill that would prevent the builders of a proposed natural gas liquids pipeline from using eminent domain.

Lawmakers voted 75 to 16 in support of the measure, which is aimed at the Bluegrass Pipeline. The pipeline would cross a handful of Kentucky counties and carry the product of natural gas drilling in the northeast.

The bill only allows public utilities regulated by the state Public Service Commission to use eminent domain.

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Politics
6:36 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Kentucky's Local Option Sales Tax Push Gets Boost From Speaker Greg Stumbo

Credit Wikipedia Commons

A push to allow Kentucky's local governments to fund projects with  a 1-percent sales tax increase has won the support of key leadership in the state House.

All it took was a conversation between House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Gov. Steve Beshear, both Democrats.

After spending the past 50 days of the session criticizing the measure championed by Democratic Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Stumbo says he now supports legislation to allow local governments to fund capital construction projects with a new sales tax.

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Politics
8:43 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Kentucky House Committee Declines Bills Requiring Ultrasounds Before Abortions

Credit File photo

The Kentucky House Health and Welfare Committee voted down two similar bills Thursday that would require ultrasounds for women seeking abortions and penalize doctors who don’t comply.

The committee also rejected a measure requiring women to meet in person with their doctor before having an abortion. They were each rejected along party-line votes.

Derek Selznick is executive director of the ACLU of Kentucky’s Reproductive Freedom Project. He says the mandatory ultrasounds would be traumatic to a woman who conceived a child after being raped.

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Environment
1:01 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Would the Eastern Kentucky Biomass Plant be Good for the Environment?

A concrete slab indicates the site of a projected biomass power plant.
Credit Frankie Steele/Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting

This story is part of a series from the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting and WFPL.  Read the other stories here.  

For decades, Eastern Kentucky has been coal country. Coal provided work for thousands, while severance taxes contributed to county budgets. And while the industry has been in a steep decline over the past few years, coal still powers almost all of the electricity for the region and the state.

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Investigations
1:00 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

How Politics, Misinformation and Money Fueled a Power Plant in Kentucky's Coal Country

View from site of projected ecoPower plant, with evidence of strip mining in the distance.
Credit Frankie Steele/Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting

HAZARD, Ky.—Up a steep dirt road, atop a former strip-mine, sits a concrete slab roughly 30 feet square. It’s the only visible sign that a wood-burning, electricity-generating plant could someday occupy this remote industrial park.

Supporters say the biomass plant, 11 miles northwest of Hazard, would be an economic godsend for Perry County, creating hundreds of jobs and pumping millions of dollars into the heart of poverty-plagued Appalachian Kentucky.

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Politics
10:13 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Cannabis Oil Bill Heads to Kentucky House

Credit Wikipedia Commons

A House committee has advanced a bill that would permit state university hospitals to research and utilize medicinal cannabis oil to treat certain neurological disorders.

Judging by the reception that Senate Bill 124 has received in its short lifespan in Frankfort, Rita Wooton likely won’t have to risk jail time in order to alleviate her son’s pain.

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