A bill reforming how the state's special districts are categorized and making them more transparent easily passed the state House this morning, 96-1.
State Rep. Lynn Belcher, a Republican from Crittenden County, was the lone "no" vote.
Many local library boards, sewer districts and fire districts are considered special taxing districts separate from other types of government.
House Bill 1 is a partnership between Auditor Adam Edelen and House Speaker Greg Stumbo. It helps create a central registry of special districts as well as reforms how they file their financial information and sets penalties when they fail to do so.
Kentucky legislative leaders say solutions on how to pay for Kentucky’s underfunded pensions won’t likely be addressed in the 2013 legislative session.
Both House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Senate President Robert Stivers say there will likely be a bill to introduce changes to the pension systems. But they also agree that such a bill is unlikely to deal how to fund the changes.
What they disagree on is when to deal with the funding solutions. Stumbo says pension funding should be dealt with in a special session, hand in hand with tax reform.
“There’ll be a bill, I don’t know whether it will be addressed," Stumbo says. "I think that we need, probably, to address the entire issue and that include the funding mechanism."
But Stivers says lawmakers should pass the changes now and deal with fully funding the pension system starting in 2014, when a new budget must be passed.
Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo is joining calls for a nation debate about gun issues in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., elementary school shootings, and also said that violent video games are a cause of such violence.
Stumbo says he’s a lifelong National Rifle Association member and an avid outdoorsman — and he has helped many NRA-friendly bills pass in Kentucky. But he’s joining other rural Democrats in their call for a discussion on gun control.
“But I join Sen. Joe Manchin in saying that it’s time for America to have an adult discussion about what happened and what needs to happen to keep those events from happening in the future,” Stumbo said.
Gov. Steve Beshear expressed similar sentiments after the Newtown shooting, which left 27 people dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School, including the shooter.
Stumbo did not go into details about what proposals he would favor.
Is now the time for the General Assembly to address expanded gambling? (Again.) With just more than a month before the 2013 session begins, observers of the Kentucky legislature are wondering. A few new factors are at play: First is the governor’s continued interest in the topic. Second expanded gambling's chief opponent, David Williams, is gone.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo is no longer demanding that any legislation calling for a constitutional amendment to legalize gambling in Kentucky start in the Senate. "That line in the sand doesn't have to be drawn anymore," Stumbo told reporters during a Capitol press conference on Thursday. "I don't care if it's a House bill or a Senate bill."
The No. 1 priority for the Kentucky House in 2013 is set: Tackling recommendations from a recent report that found that special tax districts have big budgets and little oversight. Auditor Adam Edelen recently finished a report on the districts, detailing billions of dollars in spending with little or no oversight.
A battle may be brewing over the future of Kentucky higher education -- should the state add another state university, this one serving Appalachia? The leader of the Kentucky House said he won't support any extra funding for higher education until the University of Pikeville joins the state university system.
State employees with higher pensions should pay more to help the underfunded systems recover, Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo said in a recent interview. One thing Stumbo doesn't want to see is lawmakers floating bonds to help pay for the state’s underfunded pensions.
The Kentucky House speaker said the commission charged with proposing changes to Kentucky's tax code is "backing away" from controversial issues. House Speaker Greg Stumbo said in a recent interview that the Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform needs to be bolder. He said the appointed commissioners are approaching the tax code issues as if they have political capital to lose, refusing to offer new ideas.