Kentucky military personnel could get their election ballots electronically—but the ballots would have to be printed and returned to county clerks via snail mail, under changes made to a bill Thursday in a state Senate committee meeting.
The bill—a priority for Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes—originally called for military personnel to be able to get and return ballots electronically.
Senate President Robert Stivers, the bill's sponsor, said concerns for the security of completed ballots returned electronically led him to amend it.
The bill, as amended, advanced Thursday through the Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection committee to the senate floor.
Kentucky lawmakers have passed the halfway point in the current legislative session without a deal in sight to shore up the financially troubled pension system for government retirees.
They have only 14 working days remaining before adjourning for the year. However, Gov. Steve Beshear has said he may call lawmakers back into special session if they adjourn without taking action to bolster the pension system, which has a $33 billion unfunded liability.
The Senate passed a measure earlier this month that requires the state to fully fund the pension system but that did not specify where the money would come from.
The House is considering a variety of options to pay the state's contribution, including raising the cigarette to $1 a pack to generate about $100 million a year.
Seeking the passage of three pieces of legislation protecting against discrimination based on sexual orientation, more than 200 people rallied on Wednesday in the Capitol Rotunda with Kentucky's Fairness Campaign.
Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, a Democrat of Louisville, is sponsoring a bill that would prevent employers from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation. The bill, along with Senate Bill 28, would also make it illegal for landlords and real estate agents to discriminate on those grounds.
"I think the realistic hope is that we might get the first ever hearing on the anti-discrimination fairness law in House Judiciary this year," Fairness Campaign director Chris Hartman said. "That's really what we're gunning for. Even if it's an informational only hearing it would be the first time they've ever discussed the bill on the record."
Kentucky judges could order breathalyzers installed into the vehicles of drunk driving offenders under a bill approved Wednesday in the House Judiciary Committee.
Under current law, some DUI offenders qualify for hardship licenses. Those allow the offender to drive to and from specified locations at limited times—such as work and school—even though their regular drivers license has been suspended.
The bill would give judges the option of instead installing an Ignition Interlock Device in the offenders vehicle. Before starting the vehicle, the driver would have to breathe into the device. If the device detects that the driver has a heightened blood alcohol level, the engine won't ignite.
The bill would also require random breath samples from the driver after the engine has been started.