2018 General Assembly

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Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposal for how Kentucky should spend public money over the next two years would eliminate the state’s share of funding for health insurance used by retired teachers.

Bevin’s budget would also do away with subsidies that about 3,500 employees use to pay for health insurance of dependents.

During a meeting of the Public Pension Oversight Board, budget director John Chilton said the state can’t afford the programs.

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The state House of Representatives has passed a bill that would expand Kentucky’s rape and sodomy laws, making it illegal for 16- and 17-year-olds to have sex with people age 28 or older.

Current Kentucky law allows for 16- or 17-year-olds to have consensual sex.

Rep. Jason Petrie, a Republican from Elkton, said the legislation would provide more protections for young Kentuckians.

Ryland Barton

The former Kentucky House speaker who stepped down after signing a secret sexual harassment settlement is running for re-election.

The Secretary of State's website shows that Jeff Hoover filed paperwork Thursday to seek re-election. Hoover resigned as speaker earlier this month after acknowledging he and three other GOP lawmakers signed a secret sexual harassment settlement involving a woman who once worked for the House Republican caucus. Hoover did not resign his seat in the legislature.

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A coalition of economic, education, health and advocacy groups is criticizing Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed budget cuts — and instead, is pushing for “revenue raising tax reform.”

Bevin unveiled a two-year plan earlier this week that would cut most state spending by 6.25 percent and eliminate 70 programs mostly involving education, outreach and arts initiatives.

In a news release, Kentucky Together said budget cuts are not a practical solution to the state’s money issues.

Daviess Co. Public Schools

Superintendents across the state are reacting to governor Matt Bevin’s proposed cuts to transportation spending for school districts. The proposal would require local districts to cover 75 percent of those costs--much more than the 42 percent they pay now.

Pulaski County Superintendent Steve Butcher, is concerned that the proposed cuts would make it difficult to get kids to school.


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Governor Matt Bevin’s budget bill would keep per-pupil funding for Kentucky’s public education students at its current level. But the plan would still chip away at support programs and requires local school districts to pay a larger share of student transportation costs.

Administration officials say budget pressures created by the pension crisis has made it “harder to protect” public education from cuts.

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Governor Matt Bevin’s proposed budget is drawing mixed reaction from the Kentucky School Boards Association. While the KSBA is glad the governor is promising to maintain per-pupil spending, the group has other concerns.

In his state of the commonwealth address Tuesday night, Bevin suggested schools consider dipping into their reserve funds to make up for any spending cuts they could see in the next year. Director of Governmental Relations for KSBA, Eric Kennedy, said not every school district would be able to follow the governor’s suggestion.

WKU

The president of Western Kentucky University says the school will work in the coming weeks and months to improve its outcome in the next two-year state budget.

In a statement to media Wednesday, Timothy Caboni said the budget outlined Tuesday night by Governor Bevin would amount to a $4.6 million funding reduction for WKU.

The spending plan also eliminates $750,000 that is used to fund the Kentucky Mesonet at WKU.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Matt Bevin proposed cutting most state spending by 6.25 percent over the next two years and eliminating 70 programs across state government during his budget address Tuesday evening.

The new proposal comes after Bevin signed a two-year budget that cut most state spending by nine percent in 2016.

Bevin said the reductions would allow the state to set aside more money than it ever has for the ailing pension systems — about $3.3 billion, or 15 percent of state spending.

J. Tyler Franklin

Ahead of Tuesday’s State of the Commonwealth and budget address, Gov. Matt Bevin has hinted at major spending cuts and eliminating entire sections of state government to set aside more money for the public pension systems.

Administration officials say Kentucky needs an additional $700 million for the pension systems — about 20 percent of all state spending.

Bevin hasn’t said what specific programs would be targeted or spared from budget cuts. But during an interview on KET last week, the governor promised to preserve funding for education, infrastructure, law enforcement and services for the most vulnerable in the budget.

Ryland Barton

This week, the state legislature continued to preoccupy itself with a sexual harassment scandal in the House of Representatives. After saying he would resign, and then he wouldn’t, Rep. Jeff Hoover formally resigned his post as Speaker of the House.

Meanwhile, a new pension bill still hasn’t emerged. But on Friday, Gov. Matt Bevin got some good news in the form of federal approval for his proposal to overhaul the state’s Medicaid system.

Kentucky Public Radio’s Ryland Barton has this week’s edition of Kentucky Politics Distilled.


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A state Senator from Owensboro who serves as co-chairman of Kentucky’s Public Pension Oversight Board won’t seek another term in office later this year.

Joe Bowen is a Republican who has represented Kentucky’s 8th Senate District since 2011, and who also served for two years in the state House. Bowen said he wanted to announce his retirement now so that candidates interested in the seat can make plans.

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A month ago, Republican leaders of the state legislature said they hoped to pass major changes to the state’s pension systems within the first two weeks of the legislative session.

The first two weeks are now in the books and a new pension bill isn’t in sight ahead of Gov. Matt Bevin’s State of the Commonwealth and Budget address on Tuesday evening.

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Kentuckians with certain medical conditions would be able to get a prescription for cannabis under a bill filed by two Democratic lawmakers and promoted by Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

The 65-page bill would make it legal to smoke, ingest or grow cannabis — the scientific name for marijuana — with a prescription and would be regulated by the state agency that deals with alcohol production and sales.

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

So far, nine Democratic members of the Kentucky House of Representatives have announced they won’t seek re-election to the Republican-dominated chamber this November.

Some of the lawmakers are pursuing local elected offices, others are just retiring. And Democrats maintain that the exodus is not due to the frustrations of being the minority party in a state that has a Republican legislature and governor for the first time in history.


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