A bill that seeks to define how drones could be used by Kentucky law enforcement groups has yet to get a hearing in the General Assembly.
Under the measure, police would have to secure a warrant before using a drone to gather evidence against an individual.
Kentucky ACLU program director Kate Miller says it’s important to note that House Bill 342 does not ban all uses of drones by law enforcement groups.
“There was recently a train derailment in Louisville. If they wanted to take images of that in order to help out with the cleanup, they would be allowed to use a drone for that," Miller told WKU Public Radio. "But if they think I’m a suspicious character and want to check out what I’m doing, they’re going to need a warrant for that.”
Miller says the bill would continue to allow police to use drones to search for missing persons without getting a warrant.
A number of budget bills are moving through the Kentucky legislature, including a modified version of Gov. Steve Beshear’s $20.3 billion biennial budget.
The House Appropriations and Revenue Committee cleared bills that would fund the state’s legislative, executive, judicial branches for the next two years.
Louisville Rep. Jim Wayne was one of the few lawmakers who voted against Beshear's planned budget. He lamented a provision in the bill that would cut funds for indigent health care at the University of Louisville Hospital.
“This is a real concern in our community because the city had to cut back its share also, and just recently there was a case where someone who was burned on 50 percent of their body who was put on the street ended up in the Wayside mission because he had no insurance, even though they tried to register him," the Jefferson County Democrat said. "Somehow bureaucracy got delayed.”
The funds were reduced as a part of savings assumed by the governor through the Affordable Care Act.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo says the House is poised to pass the budget bill Wednesday.
The legislature has until April 15 to pass a new state budget.
Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 1:49 pm
Elections for governor could provide some good news for Democrats this fall, giving them the chance to regain ground in a few states where the party has had good fortune recently.
At this early stage, Republicans are expected to hold control of the House and pick up seats in the Senate — maybe even win a majority in the Senate.
But the GOP has fewer opportunities when it comes to statehouses. Republicans dominated state elections back in 2010, leaving them few openings this year. (Governors serve four-year terms everywhere but Vermont and New Hampshire.)
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.