House Floor Leader Rocky Adkins has proposed an amendment that he believes could revive legislation intended to allow Kentucky to quickly license hemp growers if the federal government ever lifts a ban on the plant.
Adkins' proposal would involve the University of Kentucky in hemp research and would revamp the Kentucky Hemp Commission to include the Kentucky State Police commissioner and the UK agriculture dean as co-chairs along with the state agriculture commissioner.
"I would hope that we could keep an open mind over these next few days," Adkins said. "I know there are parts of it that people won't like; there are parts of it they do."
The hemp legislation has been hotly debated this year in Frankfort. House Speaker Greg Stumbo said Adkins' proposal seems to be "a path forward" but that he will have to take a closer look before deciding whether to support it.
Two priorities of Kentucky lawmakers will spill over to the so-called veto period of the 2013 legislative sessions after the issues could not be resolved by the end of Tuesday.
Legislators were unable to compromise on pension reform and the military electronic voting bill before both legislative chambers adjourned until March 25.
Legislative leaders said talks on pension reforms are still progressing and that a conference committee has been set up to find a compromise on the military voting bill. Earlier Tuesday, Gov. Steve Beshear said a special session appeared more likely because the General Assembly appeared to lack agreement on reforms to the state's underfunded pension system.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo, a Democrat, said the talks on pension reform have been encouraging despite the lack of a deal before legislators adjourned Tuesday.
Gov. Steve Beshear is being pressured from both sides of a controversial bill that would strengthen legal protections for religious freedom in Kentucky.
Civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, are urging Beshear to veto the measure. They say the law could allow someone claiming religious freedom to discriminate against gays and lesbians, undermining civil rights protections in cities such as Lexington.
Religious groups, including the Kentucky Baptist Convention, are asking the governor to sign the bill. They say it gives higher legal standing to someone who claims the government infringed on religion. The courts would still rule on the matter.
The General Assembly passed the bill on Friday. Beshear said Tuesday he hasn't looked at it yet.
With no deal and time running out, a special session is becoming more likely for Kentucky lawmakers to reform the underfunded pension programs for state employees, Gov. Steve Beshear said on Tuesday.
It's unlikely that the General Assembly will address pension reform before legislators leave Frankfort after Tuesday for a brief period called the veto break, Beshear said. Legislators have
Two pensions bills aimed at reforming Kentucky's underfunded pension system havebeen locked in a stalemate between both chambers of the state legislature, with both refusing to accept a bill based on procedural technicalities.
While legislative leaders have met routinely since last week on the pension issue, Beshear said they are still far apart—meaning a special session is becoming more likely.
Kentucky lawmakers reached a deal Monday in a conference committee on legislation addressing issues with special taxing districts.
The committee adopted a new proposal that would require special districts to present their annual budgets or any new fee increases to their local fiscal court. But the compromise on House Bill 1 does not allow the fiscal court veto or approval powers of the special district's actions, as Senate Republicans had recently suggested.
Special taxing districts are usually sewer districts, library boards or other quasi-governmental public service entities. In November, the auditor's office released a report that said half of Kentucky's special taxing districts aren't following rules on filing budgets or submitting audits. But those districts, the report said, spend more money than Kentucky spends on Medicaid or infrastructure.
The compromise is supported by Republican state Sen. Damon Thayer and Auditor Adam Edelen, as well as many Democratic lawmakers. Edelen says the change will help transparency of the districts.