About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He has covered politics for more than 10 years, including 7 years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Ryan says he enjoys the challenge of interviewing political figures and civic leaders about how they want to improve Kentucky.

House members honor retiring Rep. Dwight Butler for being a consummate gentleman

04/16/2014 10:02 PM

Rep. Dwight Butler, R-Harned, often jokes that he moved his seat in the state House from up toward the front of the chamber to the back so that he can see the bigger picture. His colleagues honored him Tuesday among the other retiring lawmakers as one of the best at thoughtfully considering the big picture when casting his votes. That thoughtfulness and his gentle demeanor has won him respect across the chamber over his 20-year career. “I have never heard... Read more 

Stumbo says a heroin bill could have passed House, says it will be a priority in 2015

04/16/2014 01:21 PM

The heroin bill that failed to pass the House Tuesday night was delayed by difficult negotiations and ultimately killed by opponents who were able to run out the clock, said House Speaker Greg Stumbo. Stumbo, a former attorney general, said he would have supported any version of the bill aimed at increasing the penalties for dealers and making available more treatment. And he said he thought a version could have passed the House. But with only a matter of minutes... Read more 

What passed and what didn't as the clock ran out on the 2014 session

04/16/2014 10:13 AM

The final hour probably was not lawmakers’ finest hour. Earlier Tuesday night — the 60th and final day of the 2014 session — they passed a flurry of bills. But the last hour of the session was marked by procedural votes, finger-pointing and inaction on several key bills. First, what passed on the final night: The Road Bill – Not passing the bill with road and bridge projects or the funding for the transportation cabinet has forced special sessions in... Read more 

Clock runs out on heroin bill, among others, after House GOP group protest of procedures

04/15/2014 11:16 PM

What amounted to a 45-minute rhetorical exercise in the House over a provision requested by the Secretary of State, effectively ran out the clock on the 2014 session — including the bill aimed at combating heroin. The heroin legislation was perhaps the most high-profile bill among several that fell short in the final hour of the 2014 legislative session. The measure would have increased treatment availability and education, provided for wider use of the drug Naloxone to combat the effects... Read more 

General Assembly 2014: Late night wheeling-dealing-horse-trading edition

04/15/2014 07:24 PM

Legislators spent the evening trying to combine, link and leverage bills in a flurry of negotiations. That didn’t always yield smooth results. The House, for instance, passed the state’s transportation operational budget bill, House Bill 236, by a 58-37 vote shortly after 10 p.m. But in the spending bill — a companion bill to the road and bridge project list — was a provision the Senate put in language that weighed in on a dispute over occupational taxes in four communities... Read more 

General Assembly 2014: Final day update -- dinner recess edition

04/15/2014 05:20 PM

The road plan is here. Senators got their copies of the bill will nearly $4 billion in spending for major road and bridge projects. Sen. Ernie Harris, R-Crestwood and the Senate Transportation chairman, said the House and Senate already started with agreement on $2.7 billion worth of projects. The challenge was squeezing $1.7 billion of requests into a little more than $900 million. The result is a road plan that is 25 percent “over programmed,” meaning there are more projects... Read more 

General Assembly 2014: Final day update -- noon edition

04/15/2014 10:57 AM

A day after warning of a possible special session to finish a bill outlining road and bridge projects, House Speaker Greg Stumbo said Tuesday morning that the House and Senate have a single road plan leaders think they can agree to. Stumbo said the list looks like the one that House suggested to the Senate over the weekend. Stumbo said the House Democratic leaders will have to review the bill and is likely to pass it late today. At noon,... Read more 

Attorney in sexual harassment case raises questions about underwear incident involving lawmaker

04/14/2014 07:54 PM

(WITH VIDEO) — The conduct of the lawmaker who on Monday helped halt a resolution supporting legislative staffers who raised sexual harassment claims also should be under scrutiny, the attorney for the two women said. Thomas Clay, who is representing two of the three women who have brought sexual harassment complaints against former Democratic Rep. John Arnold, raised questions about an incident last July involving Rep. Jim Gooch, D-Providence. Gooch was the lawmaker who raised a point of order on... Read more 

24 years, 3 parties and a caucus of one later, Leeper leaves his legislative legacy

04/13/2014 07:06 PM

While the word unique is often carelessly thrown around, it is the perfect adjective to describe state Sen. Bob Leeper and his 24-year tenure in the General Assembly. Leeper was first elected as a Democrat in 1990, then switched to be a Republican in 1999, giving Republicans an extra seat of breathing room as they took control of the state Senate for the first time. Later, amid a disagreement with Republican leadership, Leeper switched his registration to be an independent.... Read more 

In Crenshaw's retirement, legislature is losing a 'bulldog' who fought for Lexington and disadvantaged

04/10/2014 10:31 AM

Rep. Jesse Crenshaw’s colleagues in the House describe him as tenacious when pushing for his priorities. His fellow Lexington Democrats call him a tenacious campaigner. And all them agreed he has been a tenacious advocate for people who don’t always have a voice in Frankfort. See a trend? Crenshaw is retiring at the end of this year after representing the 77th state House District since 1993. Fayette County Democrats honored Crenshaw Tuesday night at the party’s dinner. Bob Layton, the... Read more