Kentucky General Assembly

12:54 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

Democratic Super PAC Plans to Influence State House Races

A Democratic super PAC that was active in last year’s governor’s race is taking part in legislative races this fall.  The Kentucky Family Values super PAC was started to help Governor Steve Beshear win re-election. The group has now re-formed under new leadership to influence state House races. 

“I hope we’re going to be successful and that is, elect enough family values oriented Democrats in the state House for the Democrats to retain control,” PAC chairman and retired Louisville lawyer Kevin Hable told Kentucky Public Radio in a phone interview.

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1:50 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Retirement Official Says Pensions Systems Haven't Used Controversial Placement Agents Recently

After being heavily criticized for their use, Kentucky’s major pension program says it hasn't used a placement agent for three years.

Placement agents are investing middle men that direct pension funds to investment opportunities. Kentucky has not had a good track record with placement agents, who have been accused of mismanaging millions for the pension funds according to a 2011 audit.

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11:10 am
Wed September 12, 2012

Republican Legislative Challengers Announce Plans to Change Lawmakers' Pensions

After years of lawmakers attempting to find solutions to the state’s underfunded pension problems, a group of Republican legislative candidates are hoping to institute a plan of their own.

At a news conference today at the Capitol, the majority of Republican challengers in House and Senate races endorsed a plan to put new lawmakers into a 401k style pension system.

The challengers say if elected their plan would be the first bill they jointly introduce. And they would include themselves in the new 401k plan.

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3:27 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

David and Robyn Williams Announce Divorce Plans

WFPL File Photo

Kentucky Senate President David Williams and his wife are divorcing after nine years of marriage.

The announcement came today in a release from Williams' spokeswoman in Frankfort.

In a statement, Robyn Williams says the "rough-and-tumble pressures" of politics put "unique and incessant pressure" on their relationship. David Williams was the Republican nominee for governor last year but lost to Democratic incumbent Steve Beshear.

Robyn Williams has been mentioned as a possible candidate for state attorney general in 2015.

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1:00 pm
Wed September 5, 2012

Lawmaker Seeks to End Legislators' Pensions

A Kentucky Republican lawmaker is attempting to end the pension program for legislators.

State Representative David Floyd says Kentucky’s part-time lawmakers shouldn't get pensions. But currently they do, and some lawmakers are able to fatten their pensions by taking higher-paying jobs elsewhere in government, then collecting a pension for the higher salary after they retire.

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2:00 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Lawmaker’s Potential Gain From Kentucky-India Coal Deal Raises Concern

The involvement of a state representative in a major coal deal in Kentucky is raising some eyebrows. Under the terms of a new $7 billion contract, Kentucky coal producers will ship nine million tons of coal a year to India for the next twenty-five years. Representative Keith Hall was instrumental in brokering the deal—and he represents both the people of Kentucky and his own private coal interests.

Hall's district covers part of coal-rich Pike County. He’s the chair of a special energy subcommittee, and the vice chair on the House Natural Resources and Environment Committee.

He also owns several coal-related businesses in the area—including mines—and sits on the board of FJS Energy. FJS is the New Jersey-based company that signed the deal with India.

“I’m not just a friend of coal,” Hall said. “I’m coal’s best friend.”

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10:28 am
Tue August 14, 2012

Seum Shows Support For Felon Voting Rights, Medical Marijuana

Republican Kentucky state Senator Dan Seum of Louisville expressed some support for the idea of non-violent convicted felons receiving their voting rights back along with legalizing medical marijuana.

Under the state constitution, former felons must petition the governor to regain their right to vote.

Kentucky is one of three states that do not restore the right to vote for ex-convicts automatically, which has left seven percent of residents disenfranchised. A study conducted by The Sentencing Project found the law also leaves one in five African Americans without voting rights.

Seum says it is important to get former felons back into society and he will lobby fellow Republicans in the GOP-controlled Senate while acknowledging the political barriers.

"The fear here is that you would be perceived to be easy on criminals, that’s the political fear," Seum told Pure Politics's Ryan Alessi. "And that's something of course, any opponent would use that against you."

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2:11 pm
Thu August 9, 2012

Kentucky Republicans Campaign Around Stumbo's Support for President Obama

Kentucky Republicans are ramping up their campaign to take control of the state house in this year's elections. 

The GOP has latched on to House Speaker Greg Stumbo's declaration that he will vote for President Barack Obama this fall.

Republicans are circulating video of the comments and asking for donations, but money isn't the main goal.

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4:10 pm
Tue July 31, 2012

Outspoken Community Activist Challenges Neal for State Senate Seat

Norris Shelton
American Slaves Inc.

Louisville businessman and community activist Norris Shelton is vying for the state Senate against Democratic incumbent Gerald Neal in this year's general election.

The 75-year-old west Louisville business owner is the founder and president of American Slaves Inc., a non-profit group that is most notable for eschewing the use of the term "African-American" to describe black Americans. Running under the Descendants of American Slaves Party, this is Shelton's first bid for public office despite being an outspoken critic of local leaders for a number of years.

Shelton says the decision to run was made by the group and isn't a personal slap against Neal, but he argues the longtime lawmaker hasn't done enough for the district.

"I don’t know of anything he’s done except collect his salary and ignore his people. If there’s something good that he’s done I’d like to know it," he says.

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8:00 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Statewide Smoking Ban Advocates Launch Fancy Farm Road Tour to Pump Up Support

Advocates of a statewide smoking ban are taking their issue on a five day tour before Fancy Farm to drum up support.

 The Smoke Free Kentucky Coalition has pushed a statewide smoking ban law in the General Assembly for the last two years. And they are making next year’s legislative session a key moment in their fight.

 Coalition coordinator Betsy Janes says with Fancy Farm’s big role as a political event, a road tour and outreach at the picnic seemed logical for the group.

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