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.

How different are Bevin and McConnell their approaches to health care?

04/23/2014 10:22 PM

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and his chief Republican challenger, Louisville businessman Matt Bevin, have spent a considerable amount of their public remarks and commercial airtime bashing the Affordable Care Act. Bevin has even tried to contrast himself with McConnell by saying the Senate Republican leader hasn’t done enough to block or repeal the Affordable Care Act. As for the alternative, well, McConnell and Bevin seem to want to prescribe the same fixes to the U.S. health care system. Here’s what... Read more 

In 1st TV ad, Chris Harris slams Rep. W. Keith Hall for using tax dollars 'to line his pockets'

04/22/2014 07:53 PM

In what is shaping up to be one of the most intense legislative primaries of the spring, 93rd House District challenger Chris Harris took to television Tuesday calling on Pike County voters to stop Rep. W. Keith Hall’s tenure of using “tax dollars to line his pockets.” The ad sets up Harris’ campaign theme of sweeping out the incumbent by using a metaphor of his SUV whisking one of Hall’s old campaign sign off a tree as it goes by. The... Read more 

Leaders see need for heroin special session -- but not without agreement first

04/22/2014 07:23 PM

Lawmakers from areas most affected by the infestation of heroin want to return to Frankfort once an agreement can be reached on myriad provisions regarding the prosecution of dealers and the creation of a needle exchange. Democratic Rep. Kevin Sinnette of Ashland said he hopes lawmakers can come together soon to hammer something out because he wants a measure to pass before the next General Assembly begins in January. Heroin has seeped into Sinnette’s region in northeast Kentucky just as... Read more 

One of the most conservative Democratic lawmakers, retiring Rep. Damron also was most prolific lawmaker

04/20/2014 11:36 PM

Perhaps no lawmaker better embodied Kentucky’s brand of conservative Democrats more than Rep. Bob Damron. Damron, of Nicholasville, sponsored numerous NRA-backed gun bills, including Kentucky’s concealed carry law in the 1990s, as well as the 2013 “religious freedom” bill. That legislation broadly forbids government from infringing on a religion’s action. Some feared that could give people license to discriminate using religion as a defense. But Damron also has been the most prolific lawmaker over the last two decades, getting more... Read more 

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