Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers says there's a "real possibility" the Senate will pass some form of a minimum wage bill. Stivers said Friday that senators are working on the bill that passed the House a month ago.
The House-passed version would gradually raise the state's minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 per hour in July 2016. The bill is a top priority of House Speaker Greg Stumbo.
Stivers anticipates the Senate will make changes to the bill.
Stumbo signaled a willingness to possibly compromise as long as it brings some relief to minimum-wage workers.
The House-passed measure calls for 95-cent increases in three phases until the minimum wage would reach $10.10. The House amended the bill to exempt businesses with annual gross receipts of under $500,000.
Rand Paul's biggest political decision is approaching: whether to run for president in 2016 or focus solely on re-election to his U.S. Senate seat.
A Republican lawmaker from his home state wants to free him from the potential dilemma by letting him run for both.
State Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer said Thursday he wants to clarify that current Kentucky law, which prevents someone from running for multiple offices, does not apply to federal elections.
A bill he introduced would allow candidates' names to appear twice on the same ballot if one or both offices sought are federal offices.
Thayer says he was approached by Paul's staff about the legislation and later spoke several times with Kentucky's freshman senator about it.
“I think Sen. Paul has a strong legal case, whether or not the General Assembly takes action," said Thayer." I’m interested in supporting his desire to consider the presidency, because I don’t want him to run with one hand tied behind his back.”
Paul has said he won't make a decision about a White House bid until after the midterm elections in November.
The sponsor of a bill that would ban smoking in public places and some private businesses in Kentucky says House Democratic leadership has killed the measure.
Democratic Rep. Susan Westrom of Lexington, says a combination of pressure from lobbying groups and political concerns of colleagues with tobacco farms in their districts were behind the bill's failure.
“Some of our leadership polled here on the floor, they weren’t convinced that we had the votes," Westrom said. "And, quite frankly, I just don’t think they wanted to risk it in case it was an uncomfortable vote for somebody.”
Westrom says some lawmakers were likely “scared” by lobbyists.
Tobacco companies have spent handsomely this year, at $70,000 in lobbying expenditures in the first month of the session.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo denies that leadership killed the bill. He says support for it dwindled as the session continued.
The Kentucky senate has passed a bill to create a quick process for domestic violence victims to obtain temporary concealed weapons permits. The bill would allow abuse victims receiving court-issued protective orders to apply for provisional concealed carry permits lasting 45 days.
Republican senator Jared Carpenter said his bill would help abuse victims better protect themselves. Democratic senator Robin Webb called it a good deterrent, noting protective orders are made of paper. The measure passed the senate 35-0 and now goes to the house which has passed a similar bill.
Under the senate bill temporary permit applications would go to state police. Background checks would be required before the permits would be issued and victims could receive firearms safety training with 45 days to convert short term permits into regular concealed carry licenses.
Kentucky's first official 2015 gubernatorial slate features former Louisville and Lexington council members.
Louisville businessman Hal Heiner has chosen Kentucky GOP Finance Chair K.C. Crosby as his running mate.
Heiner ran an unsuccessful race for Louisville mayor in 2010. Crosby, who sat on Lexington’s council from 2007 to 2012 , was also unsuccessful in her bid for state treasurer three years ago.
Heiner launched his campaign Tuesday at Star Manufacturing in Lexington. He believes the state’s economic model is outdated.
“We continue to exist on this old platform and we’re just not competitive," said Heiner. "I feel it in the business I’m in and I see what’s going on with cranes in states all around, bringing those jobs and very seldom does those jobs land here in Kentucky.”
Heiner told a group of supporters on the factory floor “today begins a 20 month journey.”
Kentucky voters will select their next governor in November of 2015.
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says the state will hire outside attorneys to appeal a judge's decision granting legal recognition to same-sex couples married in other states and countries.
Beshear's announcement on Tuesday came moments after Attorney General Jack Conway said he would not ask a higher court to review the decision. Both are Democrats.
WKU Associate History Professor Dr. Patricia Minter called Gov. Beshear's decision "odd"
“The governor may feel that he’s compelled to defend this in some way in order to get a definitive answer. That’s one possibility," said Dr. Minter. "Of course there are all kinds of political explanations that are possible as well. But, it is unlikely that outside counsel is going to prevail in this case."
A state Republican lawmaker is considering filing a bill that will permit U.S. Senator Rand Paul to run for re-election in Congress, as well as President of the United States.
Senate GOP Floor Leader Damon Thayer is mulling legislation that would clarify a state law that prohibits candidates from holding or running for two offices simultaneously.
Thayer says that Paul discussed the issue with members of the Senate Republican caucus earlier this month. He says that since some states don’t prohibit candidates from seeking two offices, current law would put Paul at a relative disadvantage if he sought the Republican presidential nomination.
“I think Sen. Paul has a strong legal case, whether or not the General Assembly takes action, commented Thayer. "So I’m interested in supporting his desire to consider the presidency, because I don’t want him to run with one hand tied behind his back.”
Paul, who is rumored to be a GOP frontrunner in the 2016 presidential race, has not officially announced his intention to seek higher office.
A prominent Republican says former Louisville councilman Hal Heiner will kick off his campaign for Governor Tuesday in Lexington, joining with another urban Republican for his running mate.
Former state GOP chairman Bob Gable says Heiner will introduce former Lexington-Fayette County Councilwoman KC Crosbie as his running mate. Crosbie ran for state treasurer in 2011, narrowly losing to Democratic incumbent Todd Hollenbach. Gable said Crosbie is an excellent campaigner and said Heiner's selection of her for the ticket is "ingenious."
Gable says he believes Heiner will be the Republican nominee for Governor and that he showed his vote-getting ability in the 2010 mayoral race in Louisville. Heiner lost a hard fought campaign in that 2010 race and also served two terms on the Louisville Metro Council.
Tobacco companies have spent nearly $70,000 in the first month of the 2014 General Assembly, according to lobbying data from the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission
And the sponsor of a bill that would ban smoking in public places and some private businesses says that that money is sowing doubt over its chances in the House.
Rep. Susan Westrom, a Lexington Democrat, is the sponsor of the statewide smoking ban bill, which has languished on the House floor for over three weeks. She says that tobacco lobbyists routinely influence rural legislators and leadership of both parties to avoid tackling the issue.
“This does not surprise me, because they want to make sure that legislators who have a tobacco farmer in their backyard, they want them to believe that any tobacco farmer will be greatly offended if they support a health issue related to smoke-free.”
If Kentucky Republicans are sweating their party's U.S. Senate primary, they didn't show it Saturday night in Bowling Green.
At the 2014 Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner, southern Kentucky Republicans rallied behind U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is facing a primary challenge by Tea Party activist Matt Bevin.
Second District Congressman Brett Guthrie told WKU Public Radio he believes the GOP will be able to unite before the November general election. The Warren County Republican said it’s not the first time a well-known incumbent has faced a primary.
“Hopefully what you can do is that people can come back together," Guthrie said. "And that’s what you hope will happen—people will air out their views. You know, primaries can be tricky, there’s absolutely no doubt about it, because somebody’s going to win, and somebody’s not going to win.”
Senator McConnell took the stage Saturday night and told the audience that he believes he’ll return to Washington next year as Senate Majority Leader. Republicans need to pick up six Senate seats to control the chamber.