Greg Stumbo

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In just over a month, lawmakers are back in Frankfort for a special session on new boundaries for Kentucky’s legislative districts.  But, there are no plans yet to resolve another issue facing the state.

It’s often called real tax reform or comprehensive tax reform. And it’s been on Frankfort’s radar screen for years. Despite numerous proposals, no substantial change in tax policy has come under serious consideration at the statehouse. Gov. Beshear says Kentucky needs a ‘modern tax system’ responsive to a 21st century economy.  But, he admits, politicians would rather avoid the topic.

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As the 2013 legislative session winds down, the top priorities for each chamber are still stuck in the process and not yet law.

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Kentucky's top two legislative leaders say the local option sales tax isn't likely to come up this year. The local option would allow cities and counties to put temporary sales tax increases to a public vote. It would typically be used to pay for infrastructure projects.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray are the major forces behind the option, and a bill amending the state Constitution to allow it has been filed in the Senate. But Senate President Robert Stivers says his chamber doesn't want to put more tax burdens on individuals.

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State Sen. Julie Denton has filed two bills that would put control of implementation of the Affordable Care Act into lawmakers’ hands.

Kentucky lawmakers are at odds on whether to postpone redistricting for a year to avoid gumming up an upcoming legislative session that's already chock-full of hefty issues. Incoming Republican Senate President Robert Stivers says there’s no rushed to redraw legislative boundaries because the next round of elections isn't until 2014. Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo wants the process over as quickly as possible after the session convenes Jan. 8.

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As another legislative session looms, House Speaker Greg Stumbo says he doesn’t expect many recently-discussed reforms to become law. With pension and tax reforms on the table, and gambling and other perennial issues the topic of much conversation, lawmakers' plates will be full.

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After years of defeat, Kentucky lawmakers believe an expanded gambling bill could become law next year. At the Kentucky Chamber’s annual policy day, House Speaker Greg Stumbo and new Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer discussed the prospects of such a bill in the upcoming session. Both leaders suggested the opposing chamber take up the bill first when they get to Frankfort next month. 

Thayer was the sponsor of a Senate gambling bill in this year's session. The measure ultimately failed. But Thayer says the Senate can pass a new bill if the governor pushes hard enough.

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Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo is no longer demanding that any legislation calling for a constitutional amendment to legalize gambling start in the Senate. Stumbo told reporters Thursday, "that line in the sand doesn't have to be drawn any longer." Stumbo and Governor Steve Beshear are hopeful that the departure of Senate President David Williams will improve the chances of getting a bill passed.

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The No. 1 priority for the Kentucky House in 2013 is set: Tackling recommendations from a recent report that found that special tax districts have big budgets and little oversight.

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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.

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