Kentucky General Assembly

4:57 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Fischer, Gray Lead Call for Lawmakers To Shore Up Pension System

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer
File photo

State and local officials, including Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, came together in Frankfort today to press for action to address rising pension costs. It’s a problem they described as fast approaching unsolvable.

David Draine, a senior researcher with the Pew Center on the States, made his case for adopting some or all of the recommendations made by a state pension task force.

"Without real reform, rising pension costs are going to threaten key public investments and things like education, public safety and infrastructure," Draine said.

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2:53 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Kentucky Senate Designates Electronic Military Voting as Chief Priority

Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division on patrol in Iraq in 2006.
Credit U.S. Army/Public Domain

Giving Kentucky service members and their spouses the ability to cast absentee ballots electronically is the priority of the Kentucky State Senate heading into the 2013 legislative session, Senate President-elect Robert Stivers said on Monday.

Stivers says he’s taking recommendations from Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes to allow electronic voting for overseas military personnel.

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10:56 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Poll Shows Increased Support for Statewide Smoking Ban

Credit Creative Commons

The majority of Kentuckians — 59 percent — support a statewide smoking ban, says a poll conducted by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

Last year, the poll said for the first time that most Kentuckians supported banning smoking in  public establishments. 

This year, fewer than  38 percent of Kentuckians opposed such a ban. The rest had no opinion.

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9:17 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

Legislative Preview; Sugar Bowl Victory; 'Insourcing' at GE: Today on Byline

1:06 - WFPL and KPR's Kenny Colston tells us what we can expect from the upcoming legislative session in Kentucky, and Joseph Lord looks back at this week's Sugar Bowl victory by the University of Louisville.

1:16 - Andrea Seabrook and DecodeDC explore the interplay of politics and the media, and how press coverage can feed into the negative, partisan bickering in Washington. Case in point: The Fiscal Cliff.

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11:19 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Speaker Stumbo Favors Medicaid Expansion in Kentucky

Greg Stumbo
Credit Kentucky Legislative Commission

The Speaker of the Kentucky House says it’s a no-brainer for Kentucky to expand its Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act. 

Under the health care law, states can expanded their Medicaid rolls to 138 percent of the poverty line and for three years, the federal government will pay for the expansion.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has yet to decide on whether Kentucky will expand, saying he will calculating costs after 2017, when the feds pay only 90 percent of expansion.

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10:00 am
Tue December 25, 2012

New Leadership in Senate Doesn't Equal Easier Road for Dropout Bill

Damon Thayer
Credit Kentucky Legislative Commission

Three of the chief opponents to raising the dropout age in Kentucky will not return to Frankfort next year.

That doesn't mean a dropout bill is likely to pass in the 2013 legislative session.

State law allows 16-year-olds to drop out of school with parental permission. But education advocates want the law changed to eliminate all loopholes and require dropouts to be 18 or older.

With a new education chairman and new leadership in the Senate, those advocates are hopeful this will be their year.

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4:10 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Kentucky Secretary of State Forming Advisory Group to Explore Early Voting

Ky. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes
Credit File photo

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes wants to explore the possibility of early voting in the commonwealth.

Across the country, 32 states and the District of Columbia permit a version of early voting that allows residents to cast their ballot prior to Election Day without an excuse.

Kentucky is surrounded by states that do allow early voting such as Indiana and Ohio, and state law only allows absentee voting for specific reasons such as pregnancy, being disable or military service.

Grimes says after the 2012 presidential race her office wants to review the effectiveness of eleciton procedures, adding she is concerned that Kentuckian’s voices aren’t being heard.

"During the period leading up to the general election we had a lot of Kentuckians who questioned what Kentucky’s current laws are regarding absentee voting. And right now here in the state of Kentucky you cannot vote early without an excuse," she says. "And at this time I think it is prudent for us to listen to the voices of the citizens who we work so hard to protect, and to respond to our customers."

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1:05 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Kentucky State Sen. Kathy Stein Plans Apology for 'Nimrod' Comment

A Lexington lawmaker says she will apologize for making a disparaging comment about another legislator that appeared on Facebook.

Democratic state Sen. Kathy Stein told the Lexington Herald-Leader that she made the comment on an old blog and thought it would be private, but the commenting system was powered by Facebook and so her post also appeared on her Facebook account.

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3:00 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Republican State Senators Name New Committee Chairs

The Republican state Senate has completed it's shake-up, after announcing new committee chairs today. 

With multiple chairmen retiring and others promoted into leadership, the caucus had many roles to fill, including that of chairmen for Education, Judiciary, Agriculture and Natural Resources. 

And in another move, the caucus named State Senator David Givens as c0-chair to the budget committee, with Senator Bob Leeper.

Incoming freshman Senator Whitney Westerfield is the new judiciary chairman. The full list of Republican chairs are below, with * by new chairs.

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2:17 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

On Expanded Gambling, Beshear Open to Cleaner Amendment

Gov. Steve Beshear
Credit Kentucky Governor's Office

Gov. Steve Beshear is considering multiple options in the efforts to get the General Assembly to support expanded gambling legislation.

A constitutional amendment failed earlier this year in the state Senate -- and a major complaint from critics was that the amendment did too much to protect thoroughbred racing tracks over other businesses. The bill banned casinos from being within 60 miles of a race track, unless the casino was at the track.

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