Senate President Robert Stivers

Politics
6:16 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

House Passes Two Pension Bills But Controversy Over Vote Looms

Greg Stumbo
Credit Kentucky Legislative Commission

The House has narrowly passed two bills dealing with the state's underfunded pension system, but not without controversy.

The House passed an amended  version of Senate Bill 2, which keeps the pension systems as a defined benefit and creates a new oversight panel for Kentucky's many pension plans. It passed on party lines 55-45, with Democrats favoring.

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Politics
6:26 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Kentucky Senate Approves Electronic Voting Bill That Requires Snail Mail Returns

Credit Creative Commons

The state Senate has passed a bill that allows Kentucky military personnel to register to vote and receive ballots electronically—but they'll have to use snail mail to send the ballots back.

Senate President Robert Stivers would allow deployed citizens to register to vote and receive their ballots electronically.

Initially, a floor amendment to the bill would have allowed the military members to return the ballots electronically, but the amendment was withdrawn by sponsor Sen. Kathy Stein, a Lexington Democrat.

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Politics
8:30 am
Fri February 22, 2013

United Kentucky Tea Party Accuses Mitch McConnell of Delaying Military Voting Bill

Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., at a Tea Party rally in Frankfort
Credit Kenny Colston / Kentucky Public Radio

United Kentucky Tea Party is blaming Republican U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell for stalling a bill in the General Assembly that would have allowed Kentucky's military service members to vote electronically while overseas.

The legislation was spearheaded by Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and backed by Republican state Senate President Robert Stivers.

In January, Stivers told WFPL Frankfort Bureau Chief Kenny Colston he wanted the bill to pass quickly. But at a committee meeting this week, Stivers urged an amendment that weakened the measure.

 From The Lexington Herald-Leader

After the committee unanimously approved the amended version of Senate Bill 1, Stivers acknowledged that he had consulted with U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell about the measure. McConnell, a Republican, is seeking re-election next year. Many Democrats are urging Grimes to run against him.

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Politics
11:42 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Under Amended Electronic Voting Bill, Kentucky Military Voters Would Have to Snail Mail Ballots

Credit Creative Commons

Kentucky military personnel could get their election ballots electronically—but the ballots would have to be printed and returned to county clerks via snail mail, under changes made to a bill Thursday in a state Senate committee meeting.

The bill—a priority for Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes—originally called for military personnel to be able to get and return ballots electronically.

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Politics
11:32 am
Fri February 15, 2013

House Leaders Considering Instant Racing Legalization to Help Pay for Pensions

Greg Stumbo
Credit Kentucky Legislative Commission

Kentucky House leaders are considering legalizing Instant Racing across Kentucky to help plug the funding gap in the state's pensions.

Instant Racing is a slots-like game currently played at two Kentucky tracks, Ellis Park and Kentucky Downs. The legality of the game is also currently being litigated at the Kentucky Supreme Court.

But if the General Assembly passes a bill authorizing it, the court case would be moot.

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Politics
6:00 am
Sun February 10, 2013

Stumbo, Stivers Oppose Local Option Sales Tax; Fischer Undeterred

Greg Fischer
Credit Louisville Metro Government

Kentucky's top two legislative leaders are throwing cold water on a proposal to create a local option sales tax for city and county governments.

The plan would give local voters the ability to decide whether to fund special projects through a temporary increase to the state sales tax. It would typically be used for infrastructure, supporters say, but could also be applied to long-term investments.

Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo, however, says cities already have alternatives for such projects.

"There's a lot of options that they have, that they haven't used for local option taxes if they want to utilize them. So I don't necessarily favor it," he says.

The measure is heavily supported by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, both Democrats. 

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Politics
2:22 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Spirits Sellers to Legislators: Don't Wait for Appeals Ruling For New Liquor Law

Credit Creative Commons

If a federal judge's ruling goes into effect, businesses that sell liquor in Kentucky may see increased competition — and those businesses are encouraging legislators to act before an appeals  decision comes down.

Judge John Heyburn tossed the laws last year, saying it was unconstitutional to allow places like drug stores to sell some wine and liquor, but not groceries.

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Politics
7:00 am
Sun January 13, 2013

Robert Stivers: Let's Exhaust Legal Appeals Before Reforming Liquor Laws

Credit Gabe Bullard/WFPL

Work on reforming some of Kentucky’s liquor laws may wait until a federal appeals court rules on a current challenge.

A federal circuit judge threw out state laws dealing with where wine and distilled spirits can be sold, calling them unfair. Currently only select stores — such as liquor stores and pharmacies — can sell those beverages, while others — such as groceries — can only sell beer.

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Politics
11:17 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Kentucky Legislative Leaders Undecided On Whether to Delay Redistricting

Kentucky legislative districts approved in 2002.
Credit Legislative Research Commission

Kentucky legislative leaders say they haven't responded yet to Gov. Steve Beshear’s request to delay General Assembly redistricting in the 2013 session.

Senate President Robert Stivers says his leadership team has not yet decided on a response and that many in his chamber are conflicted on when to address redistricting.

“And we all have varying opinions on what needs to be done and when it needs to be done and one thing I don’t think we need to do is a special session,” he says.

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Politics
5:32 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Smoking Ban Advocates Once Again Face Senate Roadblock

Credit Challiyil Eswaramangalath Vipin/Wikimedia Commons

Supporters of a statewide smoking ban in public places are set to try their luck in passing such a law for the third legislative session.

Smoke Free Kentucky has started an advertising campaign to raise support for the smoking ban and a recent poll showed a majority of Kentucky support such a ban.

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