General Assembly

Veteran Democratic Lawmaker Will Not Run Again

Jan 8, 2018
Legislative Research Commission

Warren County lawmaker Jody Richards announced Monday he will not run for re-election after more than 40 years in the Kentucky House of Representatives.

Jody Richards is the third veteran Democrat giving up his seat in a chamber now run by Republicans. 

Richards began representing Warren County in the state House in 1976. He served a House Speaker for 14 years—the longest anyone has ever held that position.

Lawmakers transformed the legal landscape of Kentucky during this year’s General Assembly.  The state has new laws restricting abortions and allowing charter schools.  Legislators also passed pro-business measures that forbid mandatory union dues and add a hurdle for people suing doctors and hospitals for malpractice.

Capitol reporter Ryland Barton has this report on what passed the General Assembly and how the new laws might affect Kentuckians.    

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.


The 2017 legislative session concluded Thursday night, and a bevy of bills now await Gov. Matt Bevin’s signature or veto.

The General Assembly adjourned near midnight Thursday after approving a steady stream of legislation during the final hours of this year’s lawmaking session.

Republicans controlled the House, Senate and governor’s office for the first time in state history and succeeded in moving a wide range of conservative policies this year.

The session was House Speaker Jeff Hoover’s first leading the chamber after almost 20 years in the minority party.

Ky Lawmakers Send Common Core Repeal to Gov. Bevin

Mar 29, 2017

Kentucky lawmakers Wednesday wrapped up work on an education bill that would gradually repeal Common Core standards.

As WEKU’s John Hingsbergen reports, it would give school districts more control in how to turn around low-performing schools.   

With time running out on the legislative session, the Republican-led General Assembly approved or advanced several bills on Tuesday. But important measures dealing with charter schools, REAL ID compliance and criminal recidivism haven’t yet moved.

A new version of the charter schools bill, House Bill 520, will be considered in the Senate Education Committee at 8 a.m. on Wednesday morning. The House approved the bill earlier this month, but it hasn’t been taken up in the Senate as negotiations take place behind closed doors.

This week in Kentucky politics, the president of the Senate filed a bill that would strip powers from the attorney general’s office and give them to the governor.

As the legislative session winds down, it’s anybody’s guess as to whether a charter schools bill will pass and if it does, what it will look like. And reports that President Trump would visit Louisville this week were walked back…but Vice President Mike Pence WILL be coming.

Capitol reporter Ryland Barton has this week’s edition of Kentucky Politics Distilled.

Although the Kentucky General Assembly met for only five days in January, lobbyist spending broke a record for the first month of an odd-year session. 

Lobbyists spent $2.1 million in the five days kicking off the session before lawmakers recessed until February.  This year’s total is a 14% increase from the $1.8 million spent in the first month of 2015, the previous odd-year session. 

According to the Legislative Ethics Commission, January 2017 spending almost reached the total spent in January 2016 when lawmakers were in session for the entire month. 

This week, Sen. Mitch McConnell and Congressman Andy Barr came back home to jeering crowds of protesters at town hall-style meetings. Meanwhile the General Assembly advanced legislation including a bill giving more power to Louisville’s Metro Council and another that would create a social studies course about the Bible.

Listen to this week’s edition of Kentucky Politics Distilled in the audio player above.

To read more on the 2017 session of the Kentucky General Assembly, go here.

Twenty-eight years ago, as a Daviess County sheriff’s deputy, David Osbourne went to the home of Darrell Perry to serve an eviction notice.  Perry had never been on the radar of local police, so Osbourne thought serving him with papers would be routine business.

“We didn’t get in an argument inside the house.  He didn’t even raise his voice.  He just said, ‘Why are they doing this to me,'" Osbourne recalled.  "We got back outside by the driveway.  My cruiser was parked behind his car.  I walked to my cruiser.  I didn’t watch him, and the next thing I knew I heard the first shot go off.”

Osbourne was struck four times, including in his back.  The bullet nicked his spinal cord, paralyzing him from the waist down.  The six-foot, 250-pound shooter then jumped on top of Osbourne.

General Assembly Reporters' Roundtable on Eastern Standard

Jan 10, 2017
Marisa Hempel

The Kentucky General Assembly is on a planned break for now.  But last week’s flurry of activity was part of a short legislative session that marks the beginning of Republican control of state government for the first time ever in almost a century..



On this week’s Eastern Standard, a panel of reporters joins us for a roundtable on the General Assembly.

Stu Johnson

In an extremely rare Saturday meeting of the Kentucky General Assembly, legislators took final action on abortion and labor-related bills.  Both the House and Senate voted to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and require an ultrasound prior to any abortion. 

During debate on the ultrasound measure, Lexington Senator Reggie Thomas said some Kentucky children face extreme trauma every day.  “We see children that are unattended.  We see children who will suffer. We see children who are harmed and permanently damaged.”

Much of the attention on day one of the short session focused on the House, where Republicans 

  have control for the first time in almost a century.  Jamestown Representative Jeff Hoover was sworn as the new House Speaker.  “I am humbled and honored to stand here today and accept your election as Speaker of the House of Representatives on this House Floor,” Hoover said.

KSP Troopers Get Higher Pay

Aug 1, 2016

Starting this week, Kentucky State Police troopers are earning higher pay for their service.  Governor Bevin and state lawmakers worked earlier this year to include salary increases in the budget.  State Police Spokesman Michael Webb says this pay hike could help with recruitment efforts.  “With this new pay raise, it is a new tool that has bolstered our efforts and abilities to recruit quality applicants who will be trustworthy and serve their communities in a professional manner,” said Webb.



Work to Reach Agreement on a State Budget Begins

Mar 25, 2016

Kentucky House and Senate conferees are beginning their work trying to reach agreement on a $21 billion budget.  It’s the first budget conference committee for Lexington Representative and Republican Whip Stan Lee.  “I don’t think the differences are as insurmountable as people once thought," Lee said. "I think the biggest movement happened when the House passed its version of the budget."

Lee says a major hurdle was crossed when the House decided not to borrow $3 billion to help remedy the state’s pension problems.  

2016 Ky General Assembly on Eastern Standard

Feb 10, 2016
Sen Chris McDaniel @kychrismcdaniel

This year marks the first legislative session under Governor Matt Bevin, and the first budget year of his administration as well.

A lot of important issues affecting many Kentuckians are making their way into this legislative session. Significant budget cuts, and legislation aimed at addressing issues like abortion, coal, and heroin addiction as well as many other important issues.

This week’s program originates from the State Capitol in Frankfort and with us to discuss some of these issues will be:

Raising Kentucky's Minimum Wage on Eastern Standard

Jan 25, 2015

Last month, the city of Louisville voted to raise the minimum wage to 9 dollars an hour, a move that will be complete by 2017.  As part of the 2015 Kentucky General Assembly, a bill is on the table that could see a similar increase state-wide.   

On this week's Eastern Standard we'll talk the Minimum Wage in Kentucky.

Assessing Pace of 2014 General Assembly

Jan 24, 2014

The Kentucky general assembly is about a third of the way through the 2014 session.  As is the case in most Kentucky legislative sessions, a great deal of the voting comes in the later weeks and days.  For instance, no votes occurred in either house Friday morning and both the House and Senate were in session for less than an hour.

Credit Wikipedia Commons

Governor Steve Beshear says ‘harsh’ budget cuts to some state agencies are needed to move the Commonwealth forward in the areas of education and economic development.  The governor outlined his budget strategy last night during a joint session of the Kentucky General Assembly.