2014 Kentucky General Assembly

Government
4:03 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

As General Assembly Winds Down, Imes Looks to 2015 for Stalled Legislation

Credit kennyimes.com

As the 2014 Kentucky General Assembly draws to a close, some western Kentucky lawmakers will have to think about which pieces of stalled legislation they will bring to Frankfort again next year.

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Politics
8:07 am
Tue April 1, 2014

House Gives Final Passage to $20.3 Billion State Budget

FRANKFORT—After a marathon negotiation session this weekend, the Kentucky General Assembly gave speedy passage to a slew of budget bills that gave raises to judicial employees and restored funding for K-12 education while also reducing safety inspections for mines and possibly prohibiting the commonwealth from funding local implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo praised the Senate for its willingness to compromise with his chamber, and called the process — including the 14-hour closed-door session of budget talks this weekend — “democracy in its purest form.”

“You saw people of different convictions, different ways to view things," Stumbo said. "It was democracy in its purest form. But it worked. And that’s what made, to me, all these years here worth spending.”

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Government
4:27 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Ky. Felon Voter Restoration 'Unlikely' to Pass

 A bill that would restore voting rights for thousands of Kentucky felons isn’t likely to pass this year.

Lawmakers say they could not reach an agreement over different versions of the proposed legislation.

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Politics
6:32 am
Mon March 31, 2014

ACA, Cancer Screenings, Mine Inspections and Rupp Arena in the Budget

Credit LRC Public Information

Provisions to block state money from being used on Kentucky's implementation of the Affordable Care Act will remain in the budget agreement reached over the weekend by state lawmakers. Sparring between House Democrats and Senate Republicans over the ACA dominated negotiations.

The ACA covers the costs of implementation through 2017, after which the tab will be split with the state.

Now, Senate President Robert Stivers says lawmakers will send the governor a budget that blocks general funds from going toward the state's health insurance exchange, Kynect, and the expansion of Medicaid. Stivers acknowledges that much of the heated debate over the ACA was "political theater."

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Business
7:30 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Senate Acts on Public-Private Partnership Measure

A bill that would permit private corporations to partner with government to finance infrastructure projects is one step closer to becoming law.

House Bill 407 filed by Rep. Leslie Combs passed the chamber by a 27-9 vote, and includes an amendment that would prohibit tolls from being used to fund the controversial Brent Spence bridge in Northern Kentucky.

Democratic Sen. Perry Clark voted against the bill, citing a Brookings Institute study that says public private partnerships, or “P3’s,” aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

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Government
7:23 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Juvenile Justice Reforms Pass House

The Kentucky House has passed the much-debated juvenile justice reform bill.  Proponents say it could lead to state savings of $25 million over a five year period by reducing incarceration for "low level offenders".

House Judiciary Committee Chair John Tilley championed the bill on the floor Thursday. 

"This bill will, contrary to what some have said, put greater emphasis on family involvement and involving families at the k-stage and earlier stages of intervention and we think this will present better outcomes for Kentucky's youth and their families," said Tilley.

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Government
7:07 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Heroin Bill Narrowly Passes Out of Committee

Credit Wikimedia Commons

A bill to raise penalties on heroin traffickers and provide new treatment options for opiate addicts has narrowly cleared a Kentucky House committee.  

The House Judiciary Committee approved Senate Bill 5 with 12 yes votes, and 8 members abstaining due to concerns over the measure’s constitutionality regarding charging drug traffickers with homicides for overdose deaths and the bill’s emphasis on prosecution.

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Government
7:05 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Cannabis Oil Bill Passes in the House

A bill permitting the research and medicinal use of cannabis oil to treat neurological disorders has cleared the Kentucky House.  Families with ailing children gathered into the House chambers to witness the vote on the bill.

“I feel like we’ve won the lottery. I never thought it would happen. I honestly didn’t.”

That’s Rita Wooton, overjoyed at the passage of Senate Bill 124, which will allow her son, Eli, to receive cannabidiol treatment at the University of Kentucky for his chronic seizures.

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Education
7:02 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Kentucky Senate Once Again Tries For Charter Schools

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.

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Politics
8:01 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Senate Budget Defunds ACA Effort in Kentucky

Credit kynect.ky.gov

The Kentucky Senate’s $20 billion budget proposal aims to defund the Affordable Care Act in the commonwealth, but its provisions won’t affect the program. 

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