From Frankfort

House Minority Caucus Chair Dennis Keene says Democrats will win back House seats in 2018

04/10/2017 05:42 PM

NEWPORT – Rep. Dennis Keene, D-Wilder, says that the 2017 session was tough on Democrats who found themselves in the minority in that chamber for the first time in 95 years, but the House Minority Caucus Chair feels that his party will win many of the seats it lost in the last election during the next cycle. Keene, who has served in the chamber since 2005, admitted that one of the toughest things this session was getting used to the... Read more 

Toyota investing $1.33 billion in Georgetown plant

04/10/2017 10:41 AM

Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. (TMMK) is announcing a $1.33 billion investment in an effort to make the Georgetown, Kentucky plant the first in North America to use Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA). Gov. Matt Bevin and TMMK president Wil James planned to announce the investment in a news conference on Monday morning. “This investment is absolute proof the Kentucky Toyota plant is not only a leader in manufacturing under the Toyota umbrella, but throughout the world,” Bevin said. “It... Read more 

Nettie Depp, education and political pioneer, could be first woman honored with statue under proposal before historic properties panel

04/06/2017 08:52 PM

FRANKFORT — Education pioneer Nettie Depp might share a space with the bust of former Gov. Happy Chandler in the Capitol’s east entrance under a proposal from sculptor Amanda Matthews, who is working on a life-size bronze statue of the Barren County native. It’s a project that’s been in the works since 2014, with Matthews and the nonprofit group she founded hoping to make Depp the first woman commemorated with a statue in the Capitol. The Kentucky Historic Properties Advisory Commission discussed... Read more 

Quarles moderates discussion with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt

04/06/2017 02:35 PM

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner is back in the commonwealth after sitting down with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on Wednesday in Washington D.C. Pruitt and agriculture commissioners from around the country spoke about the Environmental Protection Agency’s role under President Trump during an event for Ag America, which Quarles chairs. “Scott Pruitt, growing up in central Kentucky and as a Georgetown College graduate, talked about commonsense solutions,” Quarles said. “I was glad to have moderated the panel with him, as well as other... Read more 

Special session an opportunity for holistic approach to tax reform, expert says

04/06/2017 12:26 PM

With the regular session in the rearview mirror lawmakers, advocates and others will now focus on the road ahead, which Gov. Matt Bevin has said will include a special session on tax and pension reform. Mark Sommer, an attorney specializing in tax law with Frost Brown Todd in Louisville, recently reviewed areas ripe for reform and where the conversation may lead when it comes to reforming the state’s antiquated tax code. Gov. Bevin and his administration have been working quietly... Read more 

Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Tilley, others talk reentry programs during White House visit

04/05/2017 03:27 PM

Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary John Tilley lauded a meeting with White House officials last week as an indication that business and policy leaders are serious about strengthening felon reentry programs. Last week’s visit came as state lawmakers wrapped up their work in this year’s 30-day legislative session, during which legislators approved a wide-ranging bill that included new felon reentry programs. Tilley was among officials from Alabama, Pennsylvania, Utah and Washington, D.C., who met with President Donald Trump’s Domestic... Read more 

Bluegrass Institute President Jim Waters talks charter school legislation, pension reform

04/04/2017 11:00 PM

Legislation authorizing public charter schools in Kentucky isn’t exactly how Bluegrass Institute President Jim Waters envisioned, but he expects they will improve student achievement in a state where performance has lagged. Waters said he would have liked to see additional charter school authorizers in the final version of House Bill 520 considering some school districts likely won’t approve charter applications. For instance, the Elizabethtown Independent Schools Board of Education passed a resolution in December opposing charter schools, an action that Waters says... Read more 

The Chatter: FBI wants contracting documents from Transportation Cabinet, support for smoke-free law tops 70 percent, McConnell on SCOTUS and more

04/04/2017 11:38 AM

The FBI has launched an antitrust investigation involving state road contracting, subpoenaing records dating back to 2010, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported Monday. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet confirmed the probe, telling the newspaper that officials there received a federal subpoena March 22 regarding contracts it has awarded since 2010. The cabinet posted a March 29 letter from Matthew Henderson, the agency’s deputy executive director of legal services, to Rachel Mills in the Division of Construction Procurement, to its website directing contractors to... Read more 

St. Onge "disappointed" full Senate did not take up drone legislation during session; will pre-file bill for 2018 session

04/03/2017 03:43 PM

FRANKFORT — Expressing her disappointment in the upper chamber this session, Rep. Diane St. Onge, R-Lakeside Park, said she will again file legislation to regulate drone usage in Kentucky. House Bill 291, cleared the House of Representatives on a 99-0 vote this session. The bill hit a speed bump in the Senate’s Judiciary Committee , but after working on the bill with lawmakers and law enforcement the legislation was not called for a full Senate vote in the final days... Read more 

Legislative session provides plenty of political fodder as Republicans look to defend newly won House supermajority in 2018

03/31/2017 06:00 PM

With the 2017 General Assembly in the books, politicos from both parties have undoubtedly pored over vote counts looking for ways to boost their political prospects in the next year’s midterm election cycle. How incumbents vote – or don’t vote – on hot-button issues are crucial topics in legislative races, filling TV and radio air time as well as direct-mail pieces as candidates and parties try to persuade voters that their preferred candidates will make better representatives in Frankfort. Republicans will find... Read more 

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