House Speaker Greg Stumbo says his chamber's priorities for the next two-year budget are not that different from the Senate's. Both chambers have passed their own budget bills for each branch of state government. The two sides must now work out a compromise. Stumbo says he doesn’t have many concerns with the Senate's changes and he expects a conference committee to hatch a compromise quickly.
After hours of closed-door meetings, the Kentucky Senate approved budgets for the three branches of state government Thursday night. The House previously approved its own versions of the budgets. The Senate kept the House's legislative plan intact but modified the executive and judicial budgets. The two chambers must now form a conference committee to work out the differences.
Kentucky lawmakers continue to chastise three of the state’s Medicaid Managed Care organizations for mismanagement. Representatives of Kentucky Spirit, Wellcare of Kentucky and Coventry Cares appeared before the program review committee today. Legislators wanted to know whether they had solved problems brought up by health care providers in a January committee meeting.
The Kentucky House budget committee has approved the next two-year road plan for the commonwealth. The committee easily passed the plan and the Transportation Cabinet’s operating budget Thursday afternoon. The road plan funds many of Governor Steve Beshear’s big initiatives, such as widening both Interstate 65 around Bowling Green and the Mountain Parkway.
Lawmakers in both chambers have passed a bill aimed at reducing the cost of uncontested special legislative elections. Kentucky House lawmakers passed the measure weeks ago, while it passed the Senate Wednesday.
A compromise to help employers avoid high federal unemployment insurance taxes has easily cleared a House committee. The proposal would allow Kentucky to borrow money from a bank or other organization to repay federal loans. Kentucky borrowed nearly one billion dollars from the federal government to pay for unemployment insurance during the recession.
A proposal for a Kentucky statewide smoking ban has cleared its first hurdle. The House Health and Welfare committee passed the bill today. The measure was expected to pass easily, but a few Republicans did vote against the measure because of concern for individual property rights.
After being delayed twice, a House committee is prepared to finally vote on a bill that would establish a statewide smoking ban in Kentucky. The House Health and Welfare committee has been plagued by absences. Without a quorum, it could not vote on the smoking ban bill.
The legislative session is winding down, but budget negotiations are just beginning for Kentucky’s Senate. The House passed their version of budgets for all three branches of state government last week. But Senate Budget Chairman Bob Leeper says that doesn’t mean the Senate will be able to act quickly on the plan.
A change in the way lawmakers draw redistricting lines is likely to end up in front of voters this fall. Senate Bill 18 would give legislators more direction in how to split counties during redistricting, as well as require them to follow federal law. It would throw decades of past state precedent out the window.