Politics

Political news

With budgets passed and lawmakers in recess, the focus in Frankfort is now on Governor Steve Beshear and his veto pen. A host of bills are on Beshear’s desk. The most important are budget bills for all three branches of government.

Monday is the deadline for independent candidates in Kentucky to file in order to be placed on the November ballot.  Pursuant to existing statutes in Kentucky, individuals who want to run as independent, political organization or political group candidates in the state must file  Statement of Candidacy forms by 4:00 pm, Eastern time.

The Kentucky Senate has approved a two year, $19 billion state budget that includes sharp cuts to most goverment programs and agencies. The plan was approved this afternoon, by a vote of 36 to 1 and will now go the the House of Representatives for consideration.

The Kentucky Senate has passed an amended bill that would help the state repay interest on a federal unemployment insurance loan. And despite concerns that the Senate amendments would derail the proposal, the bill’s original House sponsor has agreed to the changes.

Kentucky lawmakers seem to have reached an agreement on a bill to restart a tax amnesty program. The program allows Kentuckians with delinquent taxes to apply for reduced payments. Governor Steve Beshear proposed the program to help raise revenue.

Tennessee lawmakers are looking at legislation that would prevent state universities from extending non-discrimination policies to campus religious groups.  A Tennessee Senate committee has unanimously approved a bill what would forbid the University of Tennessee and the Tennessee Board of Regents Systems from applying non-discrimination rules to faith-based campus organizations.

After a night of discussions, Kentucky lawmakers have finally reached a budget agreement. Negotiations on a budget compromise began Monday. By Tuesday, talks had stalled. Lawmakers were unable to work out differences over funding school construction, paying for indigent care at University Hospital in Louisville and reducing bonded debt. House and Senate leaders resolved their differences shortly before 3 am today.

Budget talks in Frankfort appear to have stalled.  Lawmakers have met for three straight days, usually twice a day, to resolve differences between budget proposals passed by the House and Senate.   However, there are firm disagreements over school construction, cuts to the governor’s office and coal severance projects.  House Speaker Greg Stumbo says the Senate isn’t compromising on those issues, so the potential to deliver a budget on time is in danger.

“If they continue to hold to their position that it’s my way or the highway, here we go down that highway again,” he says.

LRC

The Kentucky Senate Transportation Committee has amended the state road plan a second time. The committee met Wednesday morning to update and pass a two-year and a six-year road plan.

Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth says it’s time to end all federal subsidies to oil companies.  The Louisville Democrat has introduced legislation to return the savings to consumers. 

Kentucky lawmakers continue to work on a budget compromise. Both chambers of the General Assembly have approved budget bills and a conference committee has been meeting since Monday to work out the differences. One major point of disagreement is funding for school construction.

Money to repaint Owensboro’s Glover H. Cary bridge is still included in the state’s two-year road plan. The $3.5 billion  plan passed the Senate Transportation Committee this week and is expected to clear the full Senate by Friday.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

The Kentucky Senate is proposing a change in funding for the Ohio River Bridges Project. Governor Steve Beshear's road budget calls for $50 million in spending on new bridges and reconfigured highway interchanges in Louisville. Both the House and Beshear favor using a mix of bonds and federal highway maintenance funds to do so.

Kentucky lawmakers will spend much of the last full week of the legislative session trying to hatch a compromise on budget bills. So far, lawmakers have looked line by line at differences between the House and Senate budget plans. They're looking for changes one side or the other is willing to accept without debate.

Negotiators for the Senate and House have started talks to work out disagreements on spending priorities for a new state budget in Kentucky. A group of Representatives and Senators held their initial meeting this morning on the two year, 19.5 billion dollar budget.

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