Kentucky lawmakers on Tuesday start a legislative session in which they're expected to consider tax reforms and to search for ways to shore up the financially troubled pension system for government retirees.
The House and Senate are scheduled to convene at noon EST.
A special election will be held in southern Kentucky next month to fill the unexpired House term of Sara Beth Gregory who was elected to the state Senate last month.
Governor Beshear set the election for February 12th for the 52nd House District which includes Wayne and McCreary counties and part of Pulaski County. Gregory won a special election to serve the remainder of former Senate President David Williams' term after Williams resigned to accept a circuit judge appointment by the governor.
The House seat left vacant by Gregory, a Monticello Republican, runs through the end of this year. Party officials will choose nominees for the seat.
Giving Kentucky service members and their spouses the ability to cast absentee ballots electronically is the priority of the Kentucky State Senate heading into the 2013 legislative session, Senate President-elect Robert Stivers said on Monday.
Stivers says he’s taking recommendations from Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes to allow electronic voting for overseas military personnel.
The measure will be Senate Bill 1 — the title that usually goes to the chamber’s chief legislative priority every year. And Stivers says that if the legislation can be written in time, the Senate plans to pass it completely by the end of the session’s first week.
“If we can get the final drafts done and proceed, we hope to introduce it this week and if we can introduce it have at least preliminary hearings, if not a total hearing and have it either prepared to pass this week or upon our return,” he says.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul on Monday called for a gradual reduction of American foreign aid, delivering the message in an unlikely venue — since Israel is among the top recipients of American assistance.
Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, told reporters that the U.S. can't afford to keep borrowing money and then handing it out to others, even to allies like Israel.
"It will harder to be a friend of Israel if we are out of money. It will be harder to defend Israel if we destroy our country in the process," he told the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies, an Israeli think tank. "I think there will be significant repercussions to running massive deficits ... you destroy your currency by spending money you don't have."
Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell says he'll oppose efforts by the White House to raise any more tax revenue moving forward, telling ABC News the "tax issue is finished."
The Kentucky Republican's stance on the issue differs from calls by many Democrats--and even some House Republicans--to look at a major reworking of the U.S. tax code, including the closing of some provisions and raising new revenue.
The New York Times reports McConnell is focusing intently on spending cuts, saying President Obama should take the lead on future fiscal plans.