Susan Westrom http://wkyufm.org en Anti-Smoking Campaign Gears Up for 2015 Push http://wkyufm.org/post/anti-smoking-campaign-gears-2015-push <p>Anti-smoking advocates are gearing up for another push to pass a statewide smoking ban with a statewide tour leading up to August’s Fancy Farm political picnic.</p><p>The Smoke-Free Coalition announced that it will make several stops across Kentucky to rally supporters and engage legislators to help pass a statewide smoking ban during the 2015 General Assembly.</p><p>A previous effort sponsored by Lexington Democrat Rep. Susan Westrom died in the House amid speculation that tobacco lobbying and election year concerns contributed to its demise.</p><p>Kentucky is one of 26 states that lacks a statewide smoking ban, which polls show has a plurality of support in the state.</p><p>The tour begins July 28 in Ashland and features stops in Campbellsville and Bowling Green July 31 and Owensboro Aug. 1.<br /> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 21:55:44 +0000 Jonathan Meador 51301 at http://wkyufm.org Anti-Smoking Campaign Gears Up for 2015 Push 2014 General Assembly Session in Review: Who Won? Who Lost? http://wkyufm.org/post/2014-general-assembly-session-review-who-won-who-lost <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">By law, the only piece of legislation that the 2014&nbsp; Kentucky General Assembly had to pass was a two-year state budget.</span></p><p>All else, as Will Rogers put it, is applesauce.</p><p>And with a session that began with a bang and ended with a whimper, it's what happened in between that House Speaker Greg Stumbo says lawmakers should be "proud" of.</p><p>Specifically, that they passed a compromised version of Gov. Steve Beshear's $20.3 billion state budget. House Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover, however, took to the editorial page of The Courier-Journal to vent about what he dubbed a "lackluster" session.</p><p>But the truth probably lies somewhere between the extremes of "proud" and "lackluster."</p><p>Many political observers noted a reluctance among lawmakers to tackle controversial measures—chief among them tax reform—because of the impending November elections that will prove as a test for House Democrats to retain their slim eight-seat majority.</p><p>Here's a look at the winners, losers and downright lost causes of the 2014 General Assembly.</p><p><strong>WINNERS</strong></p><p>The coal industry—A slate of coal-friendly bills easily cleared the legislature, including one that allows coal-fired power plants in the state to regulate their own carbon emission standards at lower-than-federal-levels. Lawmakers also approved a bill that provides a new round of tax incentives for coal and coal-related industries to subsidize their purchase of new equipment.<br /> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 22:40:55 +0000 Jonathan Meador 46848 at http://wkyufm.org 2014 General Assembly Session in Review: Who Won? Who Lost? More Doubt Cast on Prospects for Statewide Smoking Ban http://wkyufm.org/post/more-doubt-cast-prospects-statewide-smoking-ban <p></p><p>The sponsors of a pair of bills that would ban smoking in public places and some private businesses in Kentucky say their proposed legislation has been stalled in the General Assembly.</p><p>Louisville Republican Julie Denton filed one of the bills in the Senate. And she's been frustrated by what she sees as the inability of both parties to support the issue.</p><p>“There are so many compelling things that I don’t understand why we can’t get this to move forward in either chamber," said Rep. Denton. "So obviously it’s not a partisan issue, it’s both sides. It’s all sides. I’m frustrated.”</p><p>Last week, Democratic Rep. Susan Westrom declared her smoking-ban bill “dead” after House leadership refused to bring the measure to the floor. Wed, 12 Mar 2014 21:35:53 +0000 Jonathan Meador 44998 at http://wkyufm.org More Doubt Cast on Prospects for Statewide Smoking Ban Lawmaker Says Big Spending by Tobacco Company Lobbyists Threatens Smoking Ban Bill http://wkyufm.org/post/lawmaker-says-big-spending-tobacco-company-lobbyists-threatens-smoking-ban-bill <p></p><p>Tobacco companies have spent nearly $70,000 in the first month of the 2014 General Assembly, according to lobbying data from the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission</p><p>And the sponsor of a bill that would ban smoking in public places and some private businesses says that that money is sowing doubt over its chances in the House.</p><p>Rep. Susan Westrom, a Lexington Democrat, is the sponsor of the statewide smoking ban bill, which has languished on the House floor for over three weeks. She says that tobacco lobbyists routinely influence rural legislators and leadership of both parties to avoid tackling the issue.</p><p>“This does not surprise me, because they want to make sure that legislators who have a tobacco farmer in their backyard, they want them to believe that any tobacco farmer will be greatly offended if they support a health issue related to smoke-free.” Sun, 02 Mar 2014 20:05:17 +0000 Jonathan Meador 44523 at http://wkyufm.org Lawmaker Says Big Spending by Tobacco Company Lobbyists Threatens Smoking Ban Bill Statewide Smoking Ban Put Forth by Bipartisan Duo of Kentucky Lawmakers http://wkyufm.org/post/statewide-smoking-ban-put-forth-bipartisan-duo-kentucky-lawmakers <p></p><p>Two Kentucky lawmakers plan to file bills that would create a statewide smoking ban—an idea supported by Governor Steve Beshear.</p><p>The smoking ban measures are being championed by a bipartisan duo: Democratic Representative Susan Westrom of Lexington and Republican Senator Julie Denton of Louisville. The lawmakers point out that January marks the 50<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the first-ever report from the U.S. Surgeon General on smoking and health. That report is credited with helping to change public attitudes on the dangers of smoking.</p><p>Several Kentucky towns have passed ordinances that don’t allow smoking at work or public places. But supporters point out that nearly two-thirds of the commonwealth remains uncovered by such a ban.</p><p>Opponents say individual businesses should be able to determine whether or not they allow smoking on their premises.</p><p>Gov. Beshear voiced his support for a comprehensive ban during his “State of the Commonwealth” address Tuesday. Wed, 08 Jan 2014 19:32:14 +0000 Kevin Willis 42182 at http://wkyufm.org Statewide Smoking Ban Put Forth by Bipartisan Duo of Kentucky Lawmakers