A Warren County lawmaker says he feels good about the chances of a pension reform measure being finalized by the end of the legislative session. Republican Representative Jim DeCesare told WKU Public Radio he doesn’t think there are many differences remaining between the two parties.
“It was my understanding that when we left there both sides weren’t that far apart," said the Rockfield lawmaker. "We just have some details to work out on three or four main issues. And the hope is that they can come to some sort of a conclusion and some kind of result that everybody can live with.”
DeCesare said pension reform is “without a doubt” the single most important issue lawmakers need to hammer out before the session ends. A bill passed by the Republican-led Senate creates 401-K like retirement plan for new government workers, while a House-passed bill would use money raised from the lottery and horse tracks to fund the state’s pension contributions.
Most Kentucky lawmakers are back home for the next week-and-a-half, while some conferees remain at the state capitol trying to work out differences between the House and Senate. All lawmakers will return to Frankfort March 25-26 for the final two days of the regular session.
A Warren County lawmaker says he's not panicking yet about the new redistricting maps passed by a House committee Tuesday. If the maps became a reality, Republican Representative Jim DeCesare would find himself in a new district alongside two other House GOP colleagues--Mike Meredith of Brownsville and C.B Embry of Morgantown.
DeCesare told WKU Public Radio he wasn't shocked by the new maps.
"I'd like to say I'm surprised, but I'm not,” said the Rockfield Republican. “It's kind of what they tried to do last year. Apparantly the House Democratic leadership is trying to eliminate three Republican members in one fail swoop."
Redistricting is often used as a tool by the majority party to protect their own, while modifying or eliminating districts friendly to the minority party. The new maps still have a long way to go before becoming law. They would have to pass the full House and Senate, and then be signed into law by Governor Beshear.
South-Central Kentucky area House members from both sides of the aisle are teaming up to push legislation that could send millions of dollars to the Bowling Green-Warren County Regional Airport over the next five years to expand flights and services.
The Bowling Green Daily News reports the bill's sponsors include Democratic Representatives Jody Richards of Bowling Green and Wilson Stone of Scottsville, and Republican Bowling Green Representative Jim DeCesare of Bowling Green.
Yet to be determined is which airline route, either to Chicago or Atlanta, would best serve the airport's business customers if a commercial service is landed. Also under consideration is a less than daily flight with a leisure carrier.
If approved, the bill would direct $2 million for each of the next five fiscal years to communities that already have federal Small Community Service Grants. Bowling Green has received a $500,000 grant in that category.