House Speaker Greg Stumbo

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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.

It also passed House Bill 416, which takes revenues from the potential expansion and legalization of Instant Racing, from online lottery sales and a new Keno game.

That bill passed with 52 votes, but many Republican members argued that the action was illegal, since revenue bills take a House supermajority of 60 votes to pass in odd-year session.

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Legislation that would institute a statewide smoking ban in restaurants and other public places has been sent to the House Judiciary Committee for further review, making it unlikely to pass this legislative session. 

House Speaker Greg Stumbo says he doesn't expect the measure to make it back to the full House for consideration.  The bill has proven divisive in Kentucky, one of the nation's top tobacco-producing states.

The House budget committee has passed a bill that would help shore up the state's underfunded pension system. House Bill 416 would take revenues from expanding Kentucky lottery sales and online games, as well as from Instant Racing if the state Supreme Court upholds the legality of the game.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo says the bill would generate at least $100 million a year to be put into a trust fund for pensions.  And he says using money from lottery sales won't hurt scholarship funds tied to lottery profits.

"Those are left harmless, they'll still be funded. And they'll be allowed 2 percent growth in this proposal so they'll still continue to grow," Stumbo said.

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House Speaker Greg Stumbo's bill that would transfer late payments claims in Medicaid managed care has cleared its first committee.

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Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo says he doesn't expect a tax reform package vote during the current legislative session. Stumbo says such a package doesn't have the 60 votes necessary to pass in the House.

A special commission appointed by the governor proposed reforms that could generate almost $700 million a year in additional revenue.  

Kentucky House lawmakers are moving forward with redistricting, despite hesitation from the Senate and pleas from the governor to focus on other issues.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo says the regional caucuses are still working on drawing new maps of their districts. And the main holdup is in Eastern Kentucky, where the 2010 Census showed large drops in population. Despite those issues, Stumbo says he wants to finish redistricting this session.

"Our caucus voted to move forward on redistricting and I didn't look at every hand but it looked like it was a pretty unanimous vote so Democrats in the House want to move on this issue," he said.

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

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Pension reform legislation that passed in the Senate last week is undergoing changes in the House. House Speaker Greg Stumbo says he expects some of the proposed changes to be unveiled this week.

The version that cleared the Republican-controlled Senate requires the state to make its full contribution to the pension system but doesn't identify a funding source to do that. Stumbo says the Democratic-led House wants a designated funding source.

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House Speaker Greg Stumbo has filed a bill to move complaints about late payments in Kentucky's Medicaid system from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to the Department of Insurance.

Health care providers—such as hospitals and doctor's offices— have complained about severely late payments since the managed care system started. Currently, the cabinet deals those issues that arise when one of the state's Medicaid operating companies delays payment to a health provider.

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.

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