2013 General Assembly

Education
6:52 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Kentucky Lawmakers Target High School Dropout Ages for Both U.S. and Foreign Born Students

Students wouldn't be allowed to drop out of school before their 18th birthday under legislation that's passed the Kentucky House. The House also passed a bill sponsored by Bowling Green Democrat Jody Richards that would allow foreign born students to stay in school until they're 23.

Governor Beshear has been promoting the drop out legislation for years, most recently in his annual State of the Commonwealth speech last month. The proposal would increase the dropout age incrementally from 16 to 17 to 18 over a period of six years, giving both students and school districts time to adjust to the change.

The Democratic-controlled House has approved the measure in past years, but it has never been passed by the Republican majority in the Senate. Critics fear, among other things, that classrooms would be disrupted by students who don't want to be there.

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Business
6:42 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Bill Blocking Groceries from Selling Wine and Liquor Advances to House Floor

A bill that would effectively block grocery stores from selling wine and liquor—and ban wine and liquor sales in new pharmacies—was approved today in a state House committee.

Under the legislation, grocery stores could still sell alcohol from an adjoined structure with a separate entrance. 

Current law does not allow people younger than 21 to enter a place which sells wine and package liquor, which has prevented sales in grocery stores in the past.

Last year, a federal judge overturned the ban against wine and alcohol in grocery stores. U.S. District Court Judge John Heyburn said that it was unfair to ban grocery stores from selling wine and liquor while allowing sales in drug stores.

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Education
4:42 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

University Bonding Projects Bill Steps Away from Becoming Law in Kentucky

A bill authorizing more than $360 million in bonds for university projects is just steps away from becoming a reality.

House Bill 7 allows six of the state's eight public universities to use bonds and other means to fund projects like building renovations, construction and renovations to Commonwealth Stadium. And it passed the Senate budget committee unanimously Thursday.

The measure includes approval of $22 million in bonds for a new international center and Honors College at WKU.

The bill won't use any general fund dollars. University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto said the universities hope to start construction on the projects immediately.

"We think that every one of these projects lead to better outcomes in terms of our student's success, we want construction to begin within the year," he said.

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Health
12:41 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Former Wildcat Derek Anderson, Gov. Steve Beshear Join Rally for Statewide Smoking Ban

Supporters of a statewide smoking ban brought high-profile help from the world of sports while rallying Thursday in the Capitol Rotunda  for their cause.

Urging Kentucky lawmakers to pass a statewide smoking ban, Gov. Steve Beshear and former University of Kentucky basketball player Derek Anderson spoke in favor of House Bill 190 at the rally. Currently more than 20 Kentucky communities have smoke-free laws, spanning across the state. And recent polls said that most Kentuckians support a ban.

Based on those facts, state Rep. Julie Raque Adam says the bill should be passed with bipartisan support.

"This is not a Republican or Democrat issue," said Raque Adams, a Louisville Republican who is sponsoring a House bill. "It's just one that makes sense for public health and Kentucky's economy."

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Justice
6:45 am
Thu February 14, 2013

Kentucky House Passes Bill to Take DNA After Arrests

Twenty-five states currently take DNA tests following felony arrests. Some lawmakers want Kentucky to join that list.

Police in Kentucky would take DNA samples from people arrested on felony charges under a bill approved  by the House Judiciary Committee.

If the measure is passed by the full Legislature, Kentucky would join the federal government and 25 other states that take DNA samples from felony arrestees, according to the Congressional Research Service.

The panel vote was unanimous. The measure will proceed to the full House for consideration.

Jefferson Democrat Mary Lou Marzian, who sponsored the bill, said federal grant money would be available to help cover startup costs, which would be between $1.3 and $1.6 million.

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