Politics

Political news

Rick Santorum's campaign has sent mailers to Louisville-area Republicans asking for their time and money. In the three-page letter, Santorum says he has the best grassroots political operation of any GOP candidate, then he asks for a $35 donation.

Kentucky lawmakers continue to chastise three of the state’s Medicaid Managed Care organizations for mismanagement. Representatives of Kentucky Spirit, Wellcare of Kentucky and Coventry Cares appeared before the program review committee today. Legislators wanted to know whether they had solved problems brought up by health care providers in a January committee meeting.

Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Len Peters has named Robert F. Scott to serve as the new director of the Division of Abandoned Mine Lands. Scott comes to the position with an extensive background in engineering, including 26 years with the Division. More recently, he has worked for a Lexington engineering company, creating mine and waterline designs.

Scott's appointment takes effect today. He replaces Steve Hohmann, who was named Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources last month.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo is blasting a report that recommends the University of Pikeville not be moved into the state university system.  Stumbo is a chief supporter of making UPIKE Kentucky’s ninth public university.

The state House of Representatives has passed two-year and four-year financial plans for building Kentucky roads and bridges. The House passed three infrastructure bills Friday morning, 88-4. The bills are full of projects, from sidewalks to building interstate bridges across the Ohio River and widening other highways across the commonwealth.

A bill that would alter the section of the state Constitution dealing with redistricting is moving through the state legislature. The Senate took up the measure Thursday. The bill passed mostly on party lines in the Republican-controlled chamber, 27-11.

The Kentucky House budget committee has approved the next two-year road plan for the commonwealth. The committee easily passed the plan and the Transportation Cabinet’s operating budget Thursday afternoon. The road plan funds many of Governor Steve Beshear’s big initiatives, such as widening both Interstate 65 around Bowling Green and the Mountain Parkway.

Lawmakers in both chambers have passed a bill aimed at reducing the cost of uncontested special legislative elections. Kentucky House lawmakers passed the measure weeks ago, while it passed the Senate Wednesday.

Two US Senators from Kentucky and two from Tennessee are among twelve GOP lawmakers who are questioning whether the Obama Administration is using the Internal Revenue Service to target Tea Party related non-profit organizations.  The twelve members of the US Senate have sent a letter to the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. 

Kentucky’s House of Representatives cleared several big items off their agenda today. The full House passed a bill that changes how law enforcement implements synthetic drug laws. Another measure would create a child fatality review panel. The House also passed a compromise to House Bill 260, which originally would have made the University of Pikeville the ninth state university. 

After being delayed twice, a House committee is prepared to finally vote on a bill that would establish a statewide smoking ban in Kentucky. The House Health and Welfare committee has been plagued by absences. Without a quorum, it could not vote on the smoking ban bill.

The legislative session is winding down, but budget negotiations are just beginning for Kentucky’s Senate. The House passed their version of budgets for all three branches of state government last week. But Senate Budget Chairman Bob Leeper says that doesn’t mean the Senate will be able to act quickly on the plan.

A change in the way lawmakers draw redistricting lines is likely to end up in front of voters this fall. Senate Bill 18 would give legislators more direction in how to split counties during  redistricting, as well as require them to follow federal law. It would throw decades of past state precedent out the window.

A move to amend the provisions of Kentucky’s constitution that deal with redistricting has been introduced in the state Senate. State Senator Robert Stivers’s bill would change the laws around redistricting, and give more direction for how medium-sized counties could be split.

LRC

Two year budgets for all three branches of state government have now passed one chamber of the Kentucky General Assembly. The House spent more than an hour debating the details of the executive, legislative and judicial budgets before easily passing all three. They also passed a bill creating a tax amnesty program that Governor Steve Beshear requested.

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