Kentucky General Assembly

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Kentucky lawmakers busted a myth late last week when they reached agreement on a $19 billion state budget without retreating out of public view.  In the past, negotiators have worked out details of the Commonwealth's budget behind closed doors with shades down, hallways roped off and state troopers standing guard.  Negotiators this year allowed Kentucky Educational Television cameras to run throughout the proceedings.

Public Corruption Risk High in Kentucky

Mar 19, 2012

As is often the case with government reform efforts, the Kentucky General Assembly enacted ethics laws in response to an embarrassing scandal. “BOPTROT” was a federal investigation of the Kentucky legislature in the 1990s, so-named because it involved a powerful legislative committee, Business Organizations and Professions, and horse racing. It exposed 15 state lawmakers who sold their votes, some for as little as $100.

Kentucky’s General Assembly is heading down the stretch in the 2012 legislative session.

Lawmakers have ten legislative days left to pass budget and road plan bills, in addition to any other matter.

Many important topics that were priorities for some lawmakers—like raising the dropout age, fixing the state’s problems with Medicaid Managed Care Organizations and drug abuse legislation—has yet to pass both chambers in the same form. This means for the bills to become law, legislators will have to form conference committees and reach an agreement.

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It’s been another busy week in the Kentucky General Assembly. On the agenda: the budget, drug testing and prescription painkillers. To summarize what happened and why,  Kentucky Public Radio Capitol Bureau Chief Kenny Colston talks politics with Rick Howlett.




Kentucky’s General Assembly session continues in Frankfort, where lawmakers continued talks on regulating pseudoephedrine, raising the high school dropout age and Medicare’s Managed Care Organizations. Kentucky Public Radio Capitol Bureau Chief Kenny Colston speaks with Rick Howlett about latest developments in Kentucky’s State Capitol this week.

The Kentucky House has approved legislation that would raise the school dropout age to 18. House Bill 216 would require all school districts to have the dropout age at 18, unlike a bill that passed the Senate Feb. 8 which let local school boards decide the age. The bill's sponsor, Democrat Jeff Greer says allowing children to drop out of school when they're 16 or 17 is costly to them and the state. They earn less and are more likely to be on public assistance or be incarcerated for crimes. The bill would raise the dropout age to 17 in 2016 and to 18 in 2017.

A bill that would make pseudoephedrine available only by prescription in Kentucky has cleared its first legislative hurdle.

PSE is commonly found in cold medicines and is also used to make meth. The Senate Judiciary Committee heard another hour of testimony on the issue from law enforcement officers and former meth addicts today before passing the bill out of committee.

Before the vote, sponsor Robert Stivers promised to continue pushing the measure regardless of its eventual fate.

A Franklin Circuit Court judge has thrown out new legislative district maps, saying they violate the basic principles of the Kentucky Constitution.

Judge Phillip Shepherd’s ruling is based on the so-called “five percent rule.” It says new districts must be within five percent of their ideal size. Shepherd added that the maps of both the House and Senate districts divided too many counties.

Kentucky lawmakers are protesting a current trade agreement that they say would hurt tobacco.

The U.S. is currently negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, which includes countries like New Zealand, Peru and Vietnam. But the lawmakers say the proposal excludes tobacco protections.

At a news conference in Frankfort today, Democratic and Republican lawmakers urged President Barack Obama to add provisions for tobacco to the agreement.

Republican Agriculture Commissioner James Comer says including the crop will help Kentucky farmers.

The debate over charter schools is one Kentucky educators and legislators have heard and argued over for the last several years. But supporters of the education reform feel one party left out of those discussions is ready to be brought into the fold. A newly formed group called <a href="">Kentuckians Advocating Reforms in Education</a> (KARE) is launching TV ad buys across the commonwealth today to educate the general public about charter schools.