The Kentucky House will vote Tuesday whether to override Gov. Steve Beshear's veto of the "religious freedom" bill. Many House Democrats supported the bill when it first came up for a vote, though the decision to consider the veto was more contentious when taken up in a Democratic caucus meeting Monday. Speaker Greg Stumbo expects the override to go through, but he's not sure how strong the support will be.
With only one day left in this year's legislative session, Kentucky House leaders are hopeful they have a deal to up shore up the state's underfunded pension system. But there may not be time to get it through the legislature. House Democrats' are building support for a proposal that uses technical wrangling of revenue sources to cut some taxes while raising other funds to pay for pension reform. The current proposal would cut the gasoline tax by one cent, resulting in a loss of funds for the state road fund.
The Kentucky Lottery Corporation is moving ahead with a new Keno game and online lottery sales after unanimously approval from its board. The board approved the new games with the hopes they would generate $85 million a year by 2023. State Treasurer Todd Hollenbach spearheaded the effort to expand to Keno and online as a way to help generate more revenue for the state.
Kentucky Representative Bob Damron, D-Nicholasville, is urging fellow Democrats in the state House to override Governor Steve Beshear's veto of the so-called 'religious freedom' bill. The governor blocked the legislation Friday after tremendous pressure to reject the measure, which would allow residents to ignore any laws or regulations that violate tenets of their faith.
Kentucky's industrial hemp supporters lashed out Thursday against a last-minute amendment to the hemp bill that's been under consideration this year in the General Assembly. State Rep. Rocky Adkins, a Sandy Hook Democrat and the majority floor leader, has proposed an amendment turning the Senate-approve hemp bill into a five year study. It also gives the licensing responsibilities to Kentucky State Police, which argues that legalized hemp would harm law enforcement efforts to target hemp's cousin, marijuana.
Lawmakers continue to work toward a resolution on public employee pensions, arguably the top unresolved issue of the 2013 legislative session. House and Senate leaders have been at an impasse on systematic changes to pension plans for future state and municipal workers, legislators and judges, as well as funding methods to pay for pension contributions expected to cost up to $120 million more in fiscal year 2015.
Joining Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., has introduced a bill to allow judges greater flexibility in sentencing federal crimes where a mandatory minimum punishment is considered unnecessary. The bipartisan Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013 will expand the so-called "safety valve", which allows judges to impose a sentence below the mandatory minimum in qualifying drug cases.
Kentuckians have 590 days-plus before the 2014 general election, but already the political chatter is centered on potential challengers to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell—chiefly actress Ashley Judd and her potential candidacy's supposed strengths and weaknesses. But Judd isn't the only possible candidate.