The Chatter: Shaughnessy stepping down; Medical marijuana bill to be re-filed; and more

06/29/2012 02:57 PM

Sen. Tim Shaughnessy, D- Louisville, stepped down from the Senate on Friday, seven months before his term representing the 19th Senate district expires. Shaughnessy, who already wasn’t running for a seventh term, listed several reasons for his decision to resign before his term is over at the end of the year including:

  • there are no plans for a special session before the end of the year.
  • and no imperative issues are on the interim agenda in committees to which he has been assigned.

Morgan McGarvey, who beat several Democrats in the 19th state Senate district primary last month,is unopposed in the November General Election. Shaughnessy said in a statement his resignation will reinforce McGarvey’s position as District 19 Senator Elect, and enhance McGarvey’s efforts in establishing himself within the Senate.

“I will always be grateful for the opportunity I have been given to serve in the Kentucky State Senate by the voters of Jefferson County and I am thankful for their patience and support during my time of service,” Shaughnessy said in a release.

Senate Minority Floor leader R.J. Palmer expressed his sorrow over losing a friend in the Senate saying Shaugnessy’s “leadership and friendship will be sorely missed.”

“Above all, he always tried to do the right thing regardless of whether it was easy or popular. His many contributions to landmark legislation have impacted the lives of all Kentuckians,” Palmer said as he looked ahead to working with Morgan McGarvey.

“Even though Tim will be missed in the hallways of the capitol, I look forward to working with Morgan McGarvey.”

Round two for medical marijuana reform in Kentucky

State Senator Perry Clark, D- Louisville, announced plans on Friday to reintroduce legislation to allow medical marijuana in Kentucky.

The Gatewood Galbraith Memorial Medical Marijuana Act, which Clark also filed last year, will be introduced at press conference on Thursday. Sen. Clark will be joined by Galbraith’s daughter, Molly Galbraith, and other supporters of medical marijuana according to the press release.

Galbraith, the former gubernatorial candidate who died in January, advocated for the state to legalize marijuana but regulate and tax it.

Low interest rates extended for students

Congress finally agreed on a measure to keep federal student loan rates at 3.4 percent before they were set to double on Sunday. The Senate gave final approval to the measure, which includes efforts to reauthorize transportation and the Flood Insurance Program, by a 74-19 vote Friday afternoon and sent it to the president.

Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell voted for the measure and Sen. Rand Paul, voted against the bill.

In the House, all of the Kentucky representatives, Democrat and Republican, voted for the passage of the bill.

Democratic U.S. Representative John Yarmuth of Louisville explained in a statement that the passage of the bill means an average savings of $1,000 in interest payments for more that 124,000 Kentucky students.

“After months of unnecessary delays and obstruction by Republican leadership, Congress approved legislation today that prevents student loan interest rates from doubling,” Yarmuth said. “For future students, it underscores our commitment to broadening access to education for all Americans. Education is the best investment we can make in the future of our country, and with the passage of this legislation we are helping ensure that we maintain the highest-skilled workforce in the world.”

Correction: An earlier draft of this post incorrectly stated how Sen. Mitch McConnell voted on the highway, student loan and flood insurance bill. He voted for it.


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