Kentucky General Assembly

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

During a contentious committee hearing late Wednesday night, Republican lawmakers advanced a bill that would limit the powers of the state attorney general’s office.

Attorney General Andy Beshear, a Democrat, called the proposal “silly and unfortunate legislation” and accused lawmakers of trying to give Gov. Matt Bevin more power at the expense of his office.

“This comes at a very high price, simply for a power grab,” Beshear said.

Under the legislation, the attorney general would no longer be able to file an amicus curiae, or “friend of the court,” brief on behalf of the state.

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Women wouldn’t be able to get abortions if they are more than 20 weeks pregnant under a bill proposed in the Kentucky Senate Tuesday.

The legislation has a good chance of passing the full legislature and governor’s desk, which are controlled by Republicans for the first time in state history.

Senate President Robert Stivers said that the bill would protect unborn fetuses because they don’t get to decide whether to go forth with an abortion.

“There is at this point in time two viable beings in this decision,” Stivers said. “One had a choice early on to make a decision to conceive or not conceive. But once conception starts there becomes another life involved. And the legislature has its ability to control how that life may proceed or how it may be terminated.”

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State Representative Jim Glenn of Owensboro is one of 29 Democratic incumbents trying to hang on to his seat as Republicans work to seize control the Kentucky House for the first time since 1921. 

Glenn’s race is one of the more closely watched races since he won each of his last two elections by just over 200 votes. 

"I won.  All you need is one vote more than 50 percent and you've won," Glenn remarked.  "Some people want to focus on that, but that's not something I want to focus on.  The people have elected me and if they don't want me, then they'll vote me out of office."

Glenn is a business professor at Owensboro Community and Technical College.  He was first elected in 2007 and told WKU Public Radio he’s seeking another term because he’s not finished with the work he set out to do.

"My job when I first ran was to improve the lives of the working middle class families in my district and I'm still working on that," commented Glenn.  I'm still looking for better paying jobs for people in my community, educational opportunities, as well as improved infrastructure and economic development."

Glenn has bought television advertising while his challenger Alan Braden has been doing a lot of grassroots campaigning, estimating he’s knocked on 4,000 doors. 

Kentucky lawmakers will be briefed next week on the state’s ailing coal severance tax fund. The office of the state budget director will update the lawmakers of the fund’s future on Wednesday, during a regularly scheduled meeting of the interim committee on natural resources and environment.

Kentucky Republicans are ramping up their campaign to take control of the state house in this year's elections. The GOP has latched on to House Speaker Greg Stumbo's declaration that he will vote for President Barack Obama this fall.

Kentucky lawmakers are trying to figure out how the state can improve digital learning across all classrooms in the commonwealth. The General Assembly has formed a task force to review possible legislative changes that encourage using technology in schools.

A Kentucky Senator is unveiling legislation Thursday that would make medical marijuana legal in the Bluegrass State. Louisville Democrat Perry Clark's bill would make marijuana a schedule two drug, meaning it would be recognized as having legitimate medical purposes, while still being somewhat restricted.

Volunteers at Kentucky schools will probably be forced to pay a ten dollar fee for criminal background checks, if they want to help out in the upcoming school year. The new fee will go into effect on July 1st.

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Governor Steve Beshear and a bi-partisan group of  lawmakers are urging members of the General Assembly to approve the Prescription Drug Abuse Bill known as HB 4.  The measure is sponsored by House Speaker Greg Stumbo, who says the bill was developed with the cooperation of healthcare professionals and law enforcement.  Only one day remains in the legislative session.