Lawmakers have a deal in the works to shore up the financially troubled pension plan for government retirees.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo said Monday the proposal will be presented privately to lawmakers and then released publicly.
Gov. Steve Beshear is expected to personally present the offer to House Democrats Monday afternoon.
Restoring solvency to the pension system, which has a $33 billion unfunded liability, has been divisive for the Republican-controlled Senate and the Democratic-led House that have been working on the issue since the Legislature convened in January.
The Senate has been insisting on a 401(k)-like retirement plan for new employees - a move the House opposes. And the House has pushed a plan that would use money from the lottery and horse tracks to generate more money for pensions.
Lawmakers return to the Capitol on Monday with two days remaining to pass legislation intended to shore up Kentucky's pension plans for state and local government retirees.
Restoring solvency to the pension system, which has a $33 billion unfunded liability, has been divisive for the Republican-controlled Senate and the Democratic-led House, which have been working on the issue since the Legislature convened in January.
Rep. Tommy Turner, R-Somerset, said he expects lawmakers to meet until midnight both days.
"The last few days have historically been the busiest," Turner said. "I don't know why, but we always seem to wait until the last days, until time is running out, to get things done."
Actress and Kentucky native Ashley Judd made a rare public reference to her possible run for the seat held by Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
WXIX-TV said Judd gave the keynote speech Friday at the American Counseling Association's 2013 conference in Cincinnati.
In speaking about her personal experience with depression, she said when she started in counseling she didn't like to be criticized. She added that was ironic since she was, in her words, "about to get $40 million worth of it."
Judd also said her mother, Naomi Judd, can't wait to turn her garage into a campaign headquarters.
Judd is a former Kentucky resident now living outside of Nashville, Tenn.
She has been largely mum about her intentions. Defeating McConnell would be the Democrats' biggest prize of the 2014 election.
Kentucy Governor Steve Beshear has announced he is vetoing a controversial religious freedom bill. Civil rights groups had urged a veto, saying the measure would essentially legalize certain forms of discrimination against gays and lesbians by groups and individuals who could claim they were doing so because of their religious beliefs.
Some church groups from across the state have been urging Beshear to sign the bill, saying it would give stronger legal standing to people who claim their religious rights have been violated.
“Religious freedom is a cornerstone of this great nation, and a right enshrined in both the United States Constitution and the Kentucky Constitution,” Gov. Beshear said in a statement released by his office. “I value and cherish our rights to religious freedom and I appreciate the good intentions of House Bill 279 and the members of the General Assembly who supported this bill to protect our constitutional rights to practice our religion."
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is scheduled to headline the Iowa Republican party’s Lincoln Day Dinner in May. While members of Congress often take part in speaking engagements in other states, Sen. Paul’s appearance in Iowa is making news because the event always creates buzz about the upcoming presidential race.
The Hawkeye State has been a traditional launching pad for presidential candidates from both parties, given that the Iowa caucuses serve as the country’s first major electoral event in the presidential nominating process.
Paul, a Bowling Green Republican, has admitted he is considering a run for the White House in 2016, and attracted a lot of popular press in conservative circles when he launched a 13-hour filibuster earlier this month against the nomination of John Brennan to be C.I.A. chief.
Earlier this week, Paul told the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce that the country needs to find a way to give legal status to undocumented immigrants working in the U.S. While stopping short of saying there should be a pathway to citizenship for such workers, Paul’s latest statements were much more moderate than his previous positions on immigration.
Kentuckians have 590 days-plus before the 2014 general election, but already the political chatter is centered on potential challengers to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell—chiefly actress Ashley Judd and her potential candidacy's supposed strengths and weaknesses.
But Judd isn't the only possible candidate. Many veteran Kentucky political operatives—not to mention rural Democrats—are pushing a prospective Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes candidacy over Judd's. And some Tea Party groups are pushing Louisville businessman Matthew Bevin as a possible challenger to McConnell in the Republican primary.
With so many stories, quotes and talk flying around on these three candidates, here's a look at the positives and negatives that each could bring to the table in 2014. The list is by no means exhaustive, but's a reflection of what's being said publicly and privately in Kentucky and national political circles.
* Near universal name recognition. Supporters point out that Judd's work as an actress, plus as a prominent University of Kentucky basketball fan, gives her the best name ID of any candidate rumored in the race. And they point out that good name ID leaves more money to use on things other than introductory ads.
High-ranking members of the Democratic Party—including a former President—are reportedly trying to convince a new candidate to challenge Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell next year. Some Democrats are concerned about the potential candidacy of actress Ashley Judd, who has been the subject of intense media speculation lately.
According to a report in Politico, some prominent Democrats are trying to convince Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes to launch a Senate campaign. The 34-year-old Grimes comes from a family with deep connections to Kentucky Democratic Party politics.
The online political journal says former President Bill Clinton met with Grimes for 35 minutes in Owensboro earlier this month, when Clinton was in town for a fundraiser benefitting the Wendell H. Ford Government Education Center. Grimes has also reportedly met with officials from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul says the U.S. needs to “find a place” for undocumented immigrant workers. The Bowling Green Republican addressed the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Tuesday, in what many analysts are seeing as another sign that Paul is preparing for a 2016 presidential run.
While he never used the word “citizenship” in his speech, Paul promised to be what he called “part of the solution” on immigration reform, saying the nation needs to create some form of legal status for undocumented immigrants. Addressing his audience, the Kentucky Senator said "if you wish to work, if you wish to live in America, then we will find a place for you.” Paul says his position is a middle ground between amnesty and deportation, saying conservative members of his party must acknowledge the country can’t deport 12 million illegal immigrants.
The remarks are a major reversal of Paul’s earlier positions, which included calls for a constitutional amendment ending birthright citizenship and a proposal to build an underground electric fence along the length of the southern U.S. border.
A Louisville businessman exploring a Republican primary against U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is setting up meetings with Tea Party groups in Central Kentucky.
David Adams, a tea party activist from central Kentucky, said he's planning to meet with Bevin next week in Lexington with other activists to familiarize themselves with Matt Bevin, the possible Republican Senate candidate and a Louisvillian who runs the Connecticut-based Bevin Brothers Manufacturing.
"We're looking for general agreement on issues and then as time permits, try to get more specific on that agreement or disagreement, judging how viable a candidacy might be," Adams said.
Bevin's supporters reached out to Adams for the meeting.
State leaders are still working to find solutions to the Kentucky's troubled pension system —but he's not promising a deal the time the General Assembly regular session ends next week, Gov. Steve Beshear said on Monday.
Beshear has mediated sessions between House and Senate leadership on reforming the pension systems and how to fund them, after the chambers came to an impasse on the issue.
Those conversations have continued since the General Assembly adjourned last week for the veto period, but Beshear said he can't predict whether legislators will strike a deal before the 2013 session ends.
"One can never predict what will happen in the end, particularly in a legislative session but I feel good about where we are right now," Beshear said.
If lawmakers can't reach a deal, a special session to deal with the issue is likely.