From Frankfort

Koenig lays out his challenge to Hoover for top GOP spot in the House

12/20/2014 10:42 AM

Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger, has only been internally mounting a challenge to House Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, for a little over a week, but he’s “having fun” campaigning — something he says he looks forward to doing against Democrats if given the opportunity by his caucus. Koenig said he’s not worried about possible retribution for challenging Hoover because he “plans to win” and it’s Hoover who perhaps should have something to fear. The 8-year incumbent is... Read more 

Local-option sales tax top priority for House in 2015

12/19/2014 06:48 PM

House leadership says giving voters in local communities the power to vote on temporary tax increases to fund local projects will be their priority piece of legislation for the upcoming 2015 session. House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, House Majority Whip Tommy Thompson, D-Philpot, House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, along with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and Daviess County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly were on hand on Friday for the announcement. The local-option sales-tax, known as LIFT, which stands for... Read more 

Attorney General Jack Conway unveils four key pieces to heroin bill but doesn't back specific proposal

12/18/2014 07:39 PM

FRANKFORT — Rather than backing a specific proposal to curb the state’s growing heroin issue before the 2015 legislative session, Attorney General Jack Conway laid out on Thursday four essential pieces the law enforcement community believes are critical in taming Kentucky’s latest drug problem. Conway, flanked by about a dozen law enforcement professionals, said any bill addressing the heroin epidemic must strengthen penalties against traffickers, allow police and first responders to administer Naloxone during overdoses, create a “limited but workable” Good... Read more 

Kentucky's November unemployment rate hits lowest mark since April 2008

12/18/2014 12:06 PM

Kentucky’s jobless rate hit a six-and-a-half-year low last month, dropping to 6 percent and nearly matching the U.S. unemployment rate of 5.8 percent, the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet announced Thursday. November’s unemployment numbers in the state are the lowest since April 2008 when the jobless rate was 5.9 percent and 2.1 percent lower than last November’s 8.1 percent unemployment, according to a news release from the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet’s Office of Employment and Training. Manoj Shanker, an... Read more 

Statewide smoking ban may get floor vote in House in 2015, but path in Senate less certain

12/17/2014 06:12 PM

FRANKFORT –- Advocates for a statewide smoking ban inside public buildings appealed to lawmakers’ pocketbooks and their awareness of Kentucky’s dismal health rankings Wednesday during an Interim Joint Committee on Health and Welfare meeting. But while the proposal’s prospects seem brighter in the House after Democratic leaders in the chamber declined to bring last year’s bill to a floor vote, familiar concerns of local control versus broad government regulation could stymie progress in the GOP-led Senate. Rep. Susan Westrom, D-Lexington, and Sen.-elect... Read more 

Charter schools again a focus in 2015, Senate Education Committee chair says

12/17/2014 04:17 PM

The push for charter schools will again be before the legislature come 2015, the chairman of the Senate Education Committee said Tuesday. With only 30 days for legislators to complete their work and several of those days reserved for organizational meetings, Sen. Mike Wilson, a Bowling Green Republican and chairman of the Senate Education Committee, said one of the top issues for the committee will be a perennial bill to start five charter schools in the state. As GOP members... Read more 

Philosophical divide over prevailing wage apparent in interim committee meeting on report

12/16/2014 07:48 PM

Kentucky’s prevailing wage laws have increased labor costs for school projects and Financial Cabinet projects over what the labor costs would have been if workers were paid the wage they earned on private projects according to a Legislative Research Commission report. The report titled, “How Kentucky’s Prevailing Wage Laws Affect Public Construction,” presented on Tuesday to the Program Review and Investigations Committee by the Legislative Research Commission, was ultimately not adopted by the committee. Kentucky’s current prevailing wage law specifies that contractors... Read more 

Judge denies LRC's claim for legislative immunity in sexual harassment lawsuit brought by staffers

12/16/2014 02:16 PM

Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate has denied the Legislative Research Commission’s claim of legislative immunity in a lawsuit brought by two female staffers accusing the agency of mishandling their complaints of sexual harassment by a former lawmaker. Wingate, in an order issued Thursday, found that legislative immunity only applied to lawmakers “in speech or debate” in the General Assembly, not the legislative branch agency. What’s more, legislative immunity cannot be invoked in allegations brought under the Kentucky Civil Rights Act, Wingate... Read more 

Northern Kentucky Chamber lists priorities for 2015 including LIFT

12/16/2014 09:10 AM

CRESCENT SPRINGS — The Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce is focusing on eight initiatives in the upcoming 2015 legislative session, including a local option sales tax proposal which is being pushed across the state by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. The local sales tax option requires the General Assembly to provide a Constitutional Amendment to be voted on state-wide. If passed, any sales tax increase would then be put on the ballot. “It’s a tool for local governments who have... Read more 

Co-chairman of oversight board supports opening pension system's books to auditors

12/15/2014 07:55 PM

FRANKFORT — With the largest pension plan for state workers continuing to diminish, a co-chairman of the Public Pension Oversight Board says he’s not opposed to an audit by Auditor Adam Edelen’s office. But Rep. Brent Yonts was quick to point out that the issues plaguing the Kentucky Retirement Systems won’t be resolved without one thing: cash, and a lot of it. KRS Executive Director Bill Thielen presented year-end reports for the pension program before the Public Pension Oversight Board Monday, including... Read more 

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