Capitol Bureau

News from the Kentucky Capitol in Frankfort.

Advocates for more wireless and broadband options in Kentucky will once again push a bill reforming the state's telecommunications laws—specifically, removing language that requires old-school land-line service throughout the state.

Citizens for a Digital Future unveiled the legislation today, which is sponsored by state Sen. Paul Hornback, a Republican from Shelbyville.

"Money" by Tax Credits, Flickr Commons, (CC BY 2.0)

A new report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy shows a big gap between Kentucky’s income levels on who pays taxes. The report says Kentucky’s top 1 percent income bracket pays roughly 5 percent of the state’s income, while the bottom 20 percent pays 9 percent.

As the 2013 Kentucky legislative session begins, Tea Party activists are encouraging lawmakers to abandon the implementation of the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare — in the state because of fiscal and health care concerns.

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.

For the second year in a row, a poll shows a majority of Kentucky favor a statewide smoking ban.

Last year the poll, conducted by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, showed a majority favored a ban for the first time.

The fight over the Affordable Care Act in Kentucky will continue in the new year, Tea Party activists say. When Kentucky lawmakers return to start the 2013 legislative session Tuesday, they will be greeted with a rally opposing the health care law.

A drop in coal severance tax revenues has several Kentucky leaders worried. Money from the tax on mined coal is used largely for state, county and city infrastructure projects, specifically in coal mining areas like Eastern Kentucky. House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Governor Steve Beshear say the significant drop in the tax revenue has caught their attention. Beshear says the decline is due to the tough domestic market for Kentucky coal. But he believes exports could cause a rebound. He points out that Kentucky interests recently struck a deal to send coal to India.

To date, the chatter over who'll challenge U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell in 2014 has centered around actress/activist Ashley Judd.

And, if not Judd, then Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Kentucky secretary of state.

A top Kentucky Democrat is saying that McConnell's Democratic challenger will be neither of the women.

Come January, a new woman will be in charge of the Kentucky budget for the Governor’s Office. Since 2007, Mary Lassiter has been Governor Steve Beshear’s budget director. And in 2009, she took a promotion as Secretary of the Cabinet as well, serving both roles. But Beshear has now hired Jane Driskell, a longtime budget director for state and local government, as his new state budget director.

Wikimedia Commons

The debate over Kentucky’s health insurance exchange ended with a walkout by Democratic lawmakers yesterday. Democrats were angered over an attempt by Republicans on the joint Health and Welfare committee to declare Governor Steve Beshear's executive order establishing the exchange illegal.