Governor Beshear

Agriculture
6:41 am
Tue April 2, 2013

Beshear Still Considering Whether to Sign Industrial Hemp Bill

Gov. Steve Beshear has until Saturday to sign or veto a bill that would open the door to industrial hemp farming in Kentucky. So far, he hasn't said what he'll do.

The General Assembly passed the bill last Tuesday in the final minutes of this year's legislative session, giving the governor 10 days excluding Sundays to veto it, according to the Legislative Research Commission.

The bill would allow Kentucky farmers to grow hemp if the federal government lifts its decades-long ban on the plant. Hemp can be used to make products ranging from paper to cosmetics.

It thrived as a crop in Kentucky for generations before it was classified as a controlled substance related to marijuana. Although hemp is similar to marijuana, it has a negligible amount of THC, the psychoactive compound that gives marijuana users a high.

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Politics
12:59 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Beshear Vetoes Religious Freedom Bill; Sponsor Promises Override

Kentucy Governor Steve Beshear has announced he is vetoing a controversial religious freedom bill. Civil rights groups had urged a veto, saying the measure would essentially legalize certain forms of discrimination against gays and lesbians by groups and individuals who could claim they were doing so because of their religious beliefs.

Some church groups from across the state have been urging Beshear to sign the bill, saying it would give stronger legal standing to people who claim their religious rights have been violated.

“Religious freedom is a cornerstone of this great nation, and a right enshrined in both the United States Constitution and the Kentucky Constitution,” Gov. Beshear said in a statement released by his office.  “I value and cherish our rights to religious freedom and I appreciate the good intentions of House Bill 279 and the members of the General Assembly who supported this bill to protect our constitutional rights to practice our religion."

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Politics
5:37 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Beshear Being Pressured on Religious Freedom Bill

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear

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.

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Business
1:33 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Gov. Beshear to Lead Kentucky Trade Mission to Canada

Gov. Steve Beshear will lead an international business trade mission to Canada this summer. The trip will be the first-ever trade mission of the Kentucky Export Initiative, and will be aimed at boosting commerce between the Bluegrass State and America’s northern neighbor.

Canada already serves as Kentucky’s number one export destination, with the commonwealth exporting $7.3 billion in products and services there in 2012. That’s more than four times the total goods and services exported to Kentucky’s number two trading partner, Mexico.

The Kentucky trade mission will take place June 4-7 in Toronto.

Politics
1:51 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Gov. Beshear, Ashley Judd to Meet Soon to Discuss 2014 U.S. Senate Race

Will Ashley Judd run for a Kentucky U.S. Senate seat?

Ashley Judd—the actress and potential Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate—will meet soon to with Gov. Steve Beshear to discuss the 2014 election, Beshear said on Thursday.

Judd has been meeting with potential donors and supporters in the past several weeks, including some in Louisville, the Hill reports.

The Kentucky native has been flirting with a U.S. Senate run for a few months.  Beshear and Judd previously spoke at the Bluegrass Ball during the presidential inauguration, the governor said.

"She's been trying to arrange and will be arranging more conversations here in the next month or so," said Beshear, a Democrat.

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Elections
1:58 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Should Kentucky's Governor Be Chosen in Presidential Election Years? Senate Committee Says Yes.

Kentucky's governor and other statewide constitutional officers would be elected in the same year as presidential elections under a bill approved Wednesday in a state Senate committee.

Without a change, statewide constitutional officers—including the secretary of state, state auditor and others—would be next up for election in 2015.

Under Senate Bill 55, those elections would move to 2016.

Those elected positions  will keep four-year terms, sticking with the presidential cycle. To do this, the bill extend the terms of the current officeholders by one year until the end of 2016.

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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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Politics
9:20 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Citing Bleak Economic Outlook, Beshear Pushes for More Tax Revenue to Fund Education, Pensions

Gov. Steve Beshear

Gov. Steve Beshear is encouraging lawmakers to take bold stances in reforming the state's tax code,  before past budget decisions and cuts and cripple Kentucky.

Beshear made the pleas Wednesday night in his annual State of the Commonwealth address.

(Read the State of the Commonwealth address.)

The speech focused on the state's lack of revenue—and how reforming the tax code would allow enough new money to solve the state's pension problems, plus increase funding for education.

The idea, Beshear said, was for lawmakers to be forward-thinking in their decisions this year.

"Our focus needs to be not just on the present, but on five, 10, even 25 years from now," he says.

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Politics
8:42 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Kentucky Governor Talks Legislative Priorities, Including Tax Reform, Hemp, and Gambling

Gov. Steve Beshear

The 2013 Kentucky General Assembly reconvenes February 5 to take up some major pieces of legislation. Lisa Autry spoke with Governor Steve Beshear about his priorities for the session. The two discussed state pension reform, the prospects of legalizing industrial hemp, Beshear's stance on increasing gambling in the commonwealth, and other topics.

On the subject of casino gambling legislation, Gov. Beshear told WKU Public Radio he isn't optimistic such a bill will pass in this year's General Assembly. The session is only 30 days, leaving little time for the much-discussed issue.

Unlike in the past, however, the Governor says future casino discussions may not focus just on the horse industry. Past legislation called for placing casinos at the state's racetracks, but Beshear says there isn't enough support that idea in the legislature.

He says he's willing to look at having free-standing casinos in the Bluegrass State. Opponents of expanded gaming say the state shouldn't depend on gambling to raise revenue, and some question what they consider overly-optimistic projections of how much money more gaming would really bring to the Bluegrass State.

Economy
2:21 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Beshear Gives Support to Local Option Sales Tax Idea

Proponents of a local option sales tax have gained big ally in their legislative fight: Gov. Steve Beshear.

The local option sales tax would allow cities to levy an additional tax on top of the state’s current six percent sales tax for specific projects, if local voters approved the new tax.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray are the chief advocates pushing the idea, arguing their cities would use the extra revenue for infrastructure projects.

Speaking on Wednesday to the Louisville Chamber of Commerce, Beshear says he’s all for the idea.

“Well you know politicians are famous for being on both sides of an issue so let me say this… I’m for it,” Beshear says.

To go into effect, lawmakers would have to amend the state constitution and then statewide voters would have to approve the amendment.

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