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What to Expect from the 2014 Kentucky General Assembly

Jan 7, 2014

As temperatures in Kentucky slowly climb out of the polar abyss, so too will state lawmakers emerge from their districts and trek to Frankfort for the opening day of the 2014 regular session of the Kentucky General Assembly.

The session starts Tuesday.

governor.ky.gov

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear opened a new emergency operations center Monday that has been built to withstand any weather catastrophes that hit the state, including winds of up to 250 mph.

Beshear says the $11.8 million facility in Frankfort will be a lifeline to all of Kentucky's 120 counties in times of trouble.

kam.us.com

Former Kentucky State Senator Greg Higdon, now President and CEO of the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers, seeks policy solutions around the growing workforce needs of manufacturers. These needs include recruiting more students into workforce development programs; developing a curriculum spanning secondary and postsecondary education to produce a more work-ready adult graduating and more. The Fancy Farm native’s career trajectory has put him in Frankfort for work, but Higdon returns to western Kentucky each weekend and he visits Kate on Sounds Good to talk about his latest progress.

townmapusa.com

Kentucky’s capital city has become the fifth in the state to pass a fairness ordinance, protecting individuals from discrimination in housing, public accommodations and employment based on sexual orientation.

Thursday morning's vote by Frankfort’s Board of Commissioners was split 3-2, but some say there was never a question of whether it would pass.

Kentucky LRC

In just over four months lawmakers will be back in Frankfort for a full 60 day session.  This winter, legislators must approve a new two year budget.  While the state finished last year with a budget surplus, Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee Chair Bob Leeper doesn’t anticipate any big increase in state revenue.  So, Leeper says building a budget will remain difficult.

“There’s so many factors that are affecting us, what’s happening in the eastern Kentucky coal fields, loss of jobs there, loss of income for people to go out and buy goods.  There’s any number of issues going on worldwide, nationwide that we can’t control,” said Leeper.

House Budget Committee Chair Rick Rand sounds a similar tone.  He said the growth predicted by state experts is not as “robust” as they had hoped.

Legislative Research Commission

A rally today in Frankfort urged state leaders to spend surplus dollars on programs that provide child care. Since April, no new additions have been made to the list of low-income families eligible for child care or kinship care assistance.  That’s when the governor ordered cuts in both programs.  Without a restoration of funding, Michelle Sanborn with Children’s Alliance predicts more foster parents will be needed.

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Kate Lochte speaks with John Trowbridge, State Command Historian for the Kentucky National Guard, about a fundraising effort to design and construct a Kentucky National Guard Memorial. The memorial will be located at the entrance to Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort. According to their website, the memorial will "create a sacred space for families, friends, and comrades to reflect and remember," as well as provide an educational experience for visitors. 

Fort Campbell photo

The head Kentucky’s Commission on Military Affairs said the Army’s recently announced force reductions represent a good news, bad news scenario for the Commonwealth. 

Colonel David Thompson testified in Frankfort Thursday before the Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee.  He said the good news is that Fort Campbell is relatively unscathed by the cuts.

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Kentucky lawmakers will  return to Frankfort on August 19th for a special session to address legislative and judicial redistricting.  In a press release issued Thursday, Governor  Steve Beshear said he wants lawmakers to have an agreement in place before the start of the session so that it lasts only five days and minimizes the cost to the taxpayers.

A rally against stricter gun control measures at the Kentucky Capitol on Saturday drew hundreds of participants, many of them displaying firearms.

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