Kentucky’s public schools would be required to post the national motto of “In God We Trust” inside their buildings under legislation that’s been pre-filed for next legislative session. Hhe bill is being sponsored by a LaRue County evangelist.

Marisa Hempel

The Kentucky General Assembly wrapped up this past week, and not only were there overrides to the Governor’s vetoes, but the new Republican super-majority successfully passed quite a bit of new legislation in what seems to be record time.

On this week’s Eastern Standard, our panel of reporters joins us for a roundtable to discuss all legislative news that occurred in Frankfort this year.



Disabled veterans who own small businesses would be advised of state contracts under legislation before the state Senate. The measure, sponsored by Owensboro Representative DJ Johnson, passed out of the Senate Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection Committee last week.

“When there’s a small purchase contract bid going out, the agencies will be requested, or actually required, to have at least one disabled veteran small business owner bid on that contract, if there’s one available.”


A bill changing the mine inspection requirements emerged from the Senate Natural Resources Committee Wednesday. The measure offers flexibility to the State Division of Mine Safety in carrying out its inspection duties. Charles Snavely, Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary, explained the bill.

“The proposed statute maintains the six required inspections annually, but it allows the division, actually the commissioner, to replace up to three of those inspections with mine safety analyst visits.” 


The Kentucky House voted 77 to 18 in favor of a school calendar bill offering districts an option for when class begin after summer break.


The Kentucky Senate has added emergency first responders to the list of protected groups when it comes to hate crimes with a as 33 to 5 vote after much debate on the Senate floor Tuesday.

Bill Aims To Reduce Deer Damage

Mar 7, 2017

The House is being asked to urge the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife to take steps to help reduce deer-related property or vehicle damage in certain regions of the Commonwealth, after the Senate passed a bill Friday.

After a lengthy debate and rushed legislative process, the state House of Representatives has passed a charter schools bill. The measure passed 56-39.

The legislation now heads to the state Senate, where it’s expected to pass.

Under the bill, private organizations and community members can apply to open up a charter school. Local school districts and the mayors of Lexington and Louisville would be charged with approving or denying the charters, though denials could be appealed to the state board of education.

Hemp Bill Could Triple Kentucky Production

Mar 2, 2017

The Kentucky Senate voted Tuesday to make modifications to the state’s growing industrial hemp research program.

State Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said the aim is to better align Kentucky’s hemp effort with federal research exemptions.  Quarles said that could put Kentucky growers in a solid position if the federal government approves broader hemp production.

Eastern Standard Live From the Kentucky General Assembly

Mar 1, 2017
Robert Weber, LRC

The 2017 Kentucky General Assembly saw a rush of activity during a busy first week, with some major Republican priorities passing both the House and Senate without pushback.

As the legislative session continues, we’ll make our annual visit to the Capitol to talk with Senate Pres. Robert Stivers and House Speaker Jeff Hoover.


Bill Would Deny Shock Probation In Fatal DUI Cases

Feb 27, 2017


The Kentucky House is expected to vote this week on proposed legislation to prohibit shock probation in driving under the influence cases that involve fatalities, after the measure emerged from the House Judiciary Committee last week.



A controversial bill affecting the operation of the state attorney general's office won approval in the Kentucky House today and is expected to get a favorable reception as it moves to a vote in the Senate.

In addition to requiring the attorney general to explain why outside counsel is needed, the bill sets a cap at $20 million dollars that an attorney can recover in any given case. 

Providence Representative Jim Gooch said that can mean more dollars for taxpayers in large civil cases, “The more you have to pay one of these attorneys, the less money you’re going to get.”


Gov. Matt Bevin is calling upon the Kentucky General Assembly to make “bold, hard, decisions” when it comes to tax reform. 

During Wednesday State of the Commonwealth speech, Bevin said tax reform and further steps to reduce the state’s $82 million pension deficit need to be done together in a special session this year.  Bevin said some 300 tax loopholes deserve attention.

 “We exempt more income in Kentucky than we take in.  That’s going to have to change, ” Bevin said.


A senate committee approved changing the peer review process in Kentucky hospitals. 

Bill sponsor Ralph Alvarado said the legislation is focused on patient safety, hospital safety, and improving the review process when there are odd medical outcomes.  The Winchester doctor said 48 other states have similar legislation.  He said anonymity is important to reduce the possibility of one doctor suing another.

Ky. Senate Bill Aims to Stay Ahead of Biological Pharmaceuticals

Mar 3, 2016

    The Kentucky Senate Wednesday overwhelmingly approved legislation in preparation for an expected increase in the use of biologically similar medications.  The bill’s sponsor says these medicines can substantially save on costs when treating certain diseases.

More and more medications for specific ailments are biological products made from living organisms.  Bio-similar drugs, which are much cheaper, are being produced as interchangeable medicines. 

Winchester Senator, Doctor Ralph Alvarado says about 20 to 40 of those medications are in the pipeline.   



A bill that would substantially raise the starting salary for Kentucky’s Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officers has cleared its first hurdle.   The measure faces a tough challenge ahead during a time of considerable budget tightening.

Kentucky General Assembly Considers Auto Cycle Statute

Feb 22, 2016

Kentucky lawmakers are considering a state statute for auto cycles.  An auto cycle is a three wheeled vehicle that typically includes a covered area for the driver and one passenger.  The Kentucky Senate has unanimously passed legislation.  Sponsor C.B. Embry of Morgantown says the law is needed before auto cycles grow in number.  “We needed to identify how these vehicles would be treated by state government, how they’re licensed, how they’re insured, who can sell em,” said Embry.

High School Students Rally For Search Committee Voice

Mar 23, 2015

Several high school students continue to let their voices be heard in Frankfort, but it may not result in the action they seek.  A number of sign carrying students rallied Monday in support of legislation to add student representation on school superintendent search committees.  Students are hoping for a last minute push to get the bill through the Kentucky general assembly.  It’s passage became more questionable after the state senate attached an amendment related to school bathroom regulations and transgender students.  Some members of the House have indicated inclusion of that amendment

Ky Lawmaker: 'Cowboy Day' Designation is About State Heritage

Mar 13, 2015

Kentucky lawmakers are considering legislation that would recognize the cowboy profession.  House approved legislation to designate the fourth Saturday in July as the National Day of the Cowboy is awaiting action in the state Senate.  The bill is sponsored by Cynthiana Representative and farmer Tom McKee.  "It's important that we realize what a heritage we have with cowboys taking care and cowgirls taking care of our herds," said Mckee.  "You know, they don't all ride horses." 

7 Heroin Related Bills Pre-filed for 2015 KY Legislative Session

Dec 29, 2014

One of the most pressing issues before state lawmakers in 2015 relates to heroin addiction.  In the last few years, drug overdose deaths have been a priority concern in many Kentucky cities and increasingly in rural communities.