Greg Stumbo

Expanded Gambling
1:20 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Stumbo: Expect Bill Creating Instant Racing Taxes During 2014 Session

Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo (left) during the 2014 General Assembly
Credit Kentucky LRC

Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo says lawmakers are drafting legislation that would tax Instant Racing games.

His comments Friday come one day after the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that the state Racing Commission has the authority to regulate the games.

But the court ruled that the pari-mutuel tax cannot be applied to the games.

Stumbo says the lack of legislative action on the issue could allow racetracks that offer the slot-like games to keep all the profits.

The Supreme Court returned the case to a lower court for more arguments on whether Instant Racing qualifies as a horse race or is illegal gambling.

Instant Racing games allow people to bet on the outcome of an old horse race without knowing which contest they are betting on.

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Politics
7:58 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Stumbo Backs Bill Banning Workplace Discrimination for Groups Including LGBT Community

Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo
Credit Kentucky LRC

House Speaker Greg Stumbo has cosponsored a bill that would protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees from workplace discrimination.

Stumbo is one of 18 cosponsors backing the proposed legislation filed by Louisville Rep. Mary Lou Marzian.

The House Speaker says that his support for fairness coincides with his duty to uphold the constitution.

“I’ve never stood by and allowed people’s rights to be trampled in that manner. I don’t believe in it. I believe the constitution is exactly what it is: It requires that everybody be treated the same way regardless of your creed, color, national origin or sexual preference.”

Stumbo says that he thinks there’s increased support in his chamber for the bill compared to previous years.

Politics
8:35 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Stumbo Supports Judge's Opinion on Kentucky and Same-Sex Marriage

Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo (left) spoke to Rep. Jeff Hoover during the 2014 General Assembly.
Credit Kentucky LRC

House Speaker Greg Stumbo says he supports a federal judge's opinion that requires Kentucky to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

The Floyd County Democrat doesn't think it will affect House elections this fall, where Democrats will defend a narrow 8-seat majority over Republicans.

“Whether you like it or not, that’s what the law says. Whether you like it or not, everybody’s rights need to be recognized by the constitution in equal manner. And that’s what the court found and that’s the state of the law," Stumbo said.

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway says he is awaiting a final order in the case before he issues an opinion on the ruling or decides whether to appeal.

Education
5:13 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Kentucky House Passes Coal-counties Scholarship Bill

The Kentucky House has voted to expand a scholarship program for students in the state's coal regions. House members voted 92-0 Monday to send the bill to the Senate.

The measure is aimed at increasing the number of people achieving four-year college degrees in the eastern and western Kentucky coalfields. The scholarships would be awarded to students who, for the most part, attend four-year college campuses in coal counties, in hopes they stay there after getting their degrees.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo says coalfield counties in eastern Kentucky lag behind other parts of the state in the percentage of its residents with four-year college degrees.

The measure seeks to make permanent a pilot project.

The scholarships are funded with coal severance tax money.

Politics
5:15 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Minimum Wage Increase Clears Kentucky House

After more than two-and-a-half hours of debate, the Kentucky House passed a bill Thursday afternoon that would raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10.

The issue drew impassioned speeches from supporting lawmakers. 

The debate’s most incendiary comments came from Rep. Jim Wayne.  The characteristically soft-spoken Louisville lawmaker criticized what he called an economic caste system that makes the rich richer and the poor poorer.

“The free market system will guarantee everyone a quality job. Not so; a big lie," argued Wayne.  "The only way capitalism works if for government to step in and set the rules. Now you don’t wanna hear that, but it’s the truth. And that’s what the New Deal was all about.”

Opponents said the higher wage would force some employers to cut jobs. They said it would add costs for school districts and local governments to pay low-wage employees.

The bill now heads to the Republican-controlled Senate. 

Politics
4:11 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Minimum Wage Increase Passes Kentucky House Committee

Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo (left) is a major advocate for increasing the state's minimum wage.
Credit Kentucky LRC

A bill aimed at raising the minimum wage in Kentucky has cleared a House committee.

The measure is a top priority of House Speaker Greg Stumbo, who says the current minimum wage doesn't provide a living wage. The Prestonsburg Democrat says full-time employees working for the minimum wage make less than the average cost of a used car in the U.S.

The bill was approved by the House Labor and Industry Committee on Thursday.

Under the bill, the state's minimum wage would gradually increase from the current $7.25 to $10.10 an hour on July 1, 2016. There would be a 95-cent increase this July and another 95-cent boost in July 2015.

Stumbo says Kentucky's minimum wage hasn't been raised since 2009.

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Politics
10:27 am
Sat January 18, 2014

Stumbo: Heroin Bill has "Good" Shot of Passing Kentucky House

Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo (left) speaks with Rep. Jeff Hoover at the state capitol.
Credit Kentucky LRC

The Speaker of the Kentucky House is signaling that a bill designed to fight heroin stands a good chance of passing his chamber this year.

Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo was quoted by the Courier-Journal as saying the odds of the bill passing the House are “pretty good”, given that lawmakers have shown a bipartisan ability to back legislation battling illegal drugs. A bill sponsored by Senate Republican Katie Stine seeks to increase the punishment of those convicted of selling high-volumes of drugs while increasing access to substance abuse treatment centers for addicts.

Stine’s bill passed the full Senate on Thursday and is now being considered by the House.

The northern Kentucky lawmaker says her part of the state has seen its treatment centers and law enforcement agencies swamped by a major surge in heroin abuse.

The Courier-Journal reports defense attorneys are objecting to a part of the bill that would help prosecutors convict some drug dealers of homicide when the sale of illegal drugs results in overdose deaths.

Politics
4:13 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Lawmaker Whose Gun Accidentally Went Off at State Capitol Won't Face Criminal Charges

Rep. Leslie Combs (D-Pikeville)
Credit Kentucky LRC

No charges will be filed after a Kentucky lawmaker accidentally fired her personal handgun in her Capitol office.

Democratic Rep. Leslie Combs released a statement acknowledging that the gun went off indoors Tuesday, hitting a wall and a bookshelf.

Combs says she has had a concealed carry permit for years, and she still believes in protecting Second Amendment rights. The state police have ruled the shot an accident and won't press charges.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo says the incident doesn't mean the laws that allow guns in the capitol should be changed.

“I don’t see anything that needs to be changed," the Floyd County Democrat said. "Somebody’s gonna have to convince me otherwise. I mean, it was an unintentional discharge. I think it’s good policy that people like Leslie who, females, who work here late, have to go to their cars, go to functions, sometimes they’re trying by theirselves [sic], have the right to carry and protect theirselves.”

The story has gained national attention, but Stumbo says he doesn't think it will hurt the state's reputation.

Regional
2:14 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Stumbo Advocates Higher Minimum Wage in Kentucky

House Speaker Greg Stumbo
Credit Kentucky LRC

Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo is sponsoring legislation that would raise the state's minimum wage. House Bill 1 would raise the rate from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour over three years.

Stumbo says the increase is needed to keep wages in line with inflation, and would help struggling working-class families across the Commonwealth.

“There needs to be something done to help level the playing field for people who work for minimum wage,” said Stumbo. “It needs to be raised, it’s not been raised since 2009, it’s been eroded obviously by inflation and cost-of-living, so, you’re gonna hear us talk about issues that deal with real, live, working Kentucky families, and try to make their lives easier and better.”

With a full time job, $7.25 an hour brings in $15,000 a year. Stumbo says that's not enough, and his raise would give full-time minimum wage workers about $21,000 a year.

“There’s been studies that show that small business owners agree that raising the minimum wage stimulates the economy, it makes for a better workplace.”

Republican Senate President Robert Stivers has indicated he would not support the plan.

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Politics
2:03 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Stumbo: Kentucky Revenue Could Fall Nearly $1 Billion Short of What is Needed in 2015

Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo
Credit Kentucky LRC

Kentucky’s budget priorities for 2015 could require nearly $1 billion in revenue that the  state doesn’t have.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo told a group of business leaders earlier this month that the cost of  funding priority issues like education, public employee raises and more could total an estimated $800 million.

“It would probably be more of a number like $700 to $800 million--and some would argue larger than that. It just depends upon how big a bite of the apple you want to take, but I don’t think we can do that.”

Stumbo says the recession is the driving force behind the shortfall, and Kentucky’s economic growth rate will return to pre-recession levels in about two to three years in the absence of tax reform.

Gov. Steve Beshear will submit his budget proposal to the General Assembly next month.

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