Jan. 9, 2015
5:30 p.m.

This Week at the State Capitol

To catch up on this week's legislative highlights, click here.

 


 

4:30 p.m.

Senate approves informed consent legislation

The state Senate passed an abortion-related measure by a 30-5 vote today.

Senate Bill 4, introduced by Sen. Julie Raque Adams, R-Louisville, calls for a face-to-face meeting between the pregnant woman and a healthcare provider at least 24-hours before an abortion takes place.

Adams said current law states a physician, licensed nurse, physician assistant or social worker must verbally inform the woman of the medical risks and abortion alternatives at least 24-hours before an abortion, but it does not specify that the information be given in a face-to face meeting. She said it is sometimes done via a recorded telephone message.

“The importance of a face-to-face medical consultation prior to consenting to a surgical procedure is a widely accepted medical standard of care – and Kentucky woman deserve no less,” Raque said.

To read more, click here. 


 

2:40 p.m.

Administrative regulations measure advances

The state Senate today passed a bill that its supporters said would curtail overreaching administrative regulation from being enacted while the General Assembly is not in session.

“No matter if the governor is a Republican or Democrat, we don’t need an emperor in Frankfort,” Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr, R-Lexington said in support of the bill. “We need a two-party system with three branches.”

She was among 24 senators who voted for the legislation, designated Senate Bill 2. Eleven senators voted against it.

Bill sponsor Sen. Joe Bowen, R-Owensboro, said the legislation is a proposed constitutional amendment that would ultimately need to be approved by voters before being enacted. SB 1 grants the General Assembly the power to, by statute, delegate the authority to halt regulations found to be deficient, he said.

To read more, click here.


 

Jan. 8, 2015
5: 55 p.m.

‘Right-to-work Act’ passes Senate after lengthy debate

The state Senate today passed a bill – dubbed the Kentucky Right to Work Act – to allow people to work at unionized shops without paying dues to an organized labor group.

State Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, said it isn’t state government’s role to create jobs, adding that was for the private sector.

“But it is the job of government to create an environment where jobs can flourish, where we have current employers wanting to stay in Kentucky and expand their operations and, of course, to attract employers from other states and countries to come here to Kentucky,” he said. “There is no question in my mind that the passage of SB 1 is the absolute best step this General Assembly and governor can take to create a better environment for the creation and retention of jobs here in the commonwealth."

Thayer said nine of the top 10 states experiencing job growth and economic expansion at a greater rate than Kentucky are right-to-work states.

The legislation, designated Senate Bill 1, passed on a 24-12 vote.

Sen. Reginald Thomas, D-Lexington, spoke out against the legislation during the debate. He said the states with the highest quality of life are not right-to-work states and states with the lowest quality of life are right-to-work states.

“My biggest fear is if we pass this legislation, are we again encouraging a race to the bottom by Kentucky – that we want people to be paid less, earn less, have less money to spend on their families, spend for education, spend for healthcare,” said Thomas. “Isn’t that what we are doing by passing this legislation?”

Senate President Robert Stivers II, R-Manchester, said many of the states listed as having a high quality of life have the distinction of also having some of the highest cost-of-living prices in the nation. He cited a 560-square-foot flat in New York that recently sold $325,000 as an example of out-of-control cost-of-living prices.

“One thing I can tell you … is that when you look at where the jobs are being created … one of the main factors is whether you are a right-to-work state. That’s not an assumption. That is a reality.”

The bill will now go to the state House for consideration.


 

5:05 p.m.

Anti-heroin bill passes state Senate

Saying they’ve heard the call to fix Kentucky’s exploding heroin epidemic, state Senate members passed a bill without opposition Thursday that would provide more treatment for abusers while increasing penalties for dealers.

“It is no secret to the members of this body, those in the audience or the people of the commonwealth that heroin use has reached epidemic levels here in Kentucky,” said Sen. Christian McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, who introduced the legislation known as Senate Bill 5. “Its use and distribution has become a major issue for our citizens, our employers and our families. We frequently cite the fact that heroin-related overdoses have more than tripled in the past three years. What we don’t is the unspoken path of additional destruction.

“We don’t talk about the careers that are ruined, parents and spouses who are left hopeless and bankrupt trying to help their loved ones. And we don’t talk about the hundreds of children without one, and in some cases, both parents.”

To read more, click here.

 


 

Jan. 7, 2015
2:05 p.m.

Legislative leaders to offer reaction to governor’s speech

 

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, and House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, will be available in Room 327 of the State Capitol to answer reporters’ questions following Gov. Steve Beshear’s State of the Commonwealth address this evening.

 

The governor’s speech is scheduled to begin in the House chamber at 7 p.m..

 


 

Jan. 6, 2015
2:05 p.m.

General Assembly’s 2015 session under way

 

With gavel strikes in the Senate and House chambers, the Kentucky General Assembly convened a session today scheduled to last 30 working days.

 

Kentuckians have numerous ways to follow legislative action throughout the session, including seeing legislative action in person in the State Capitol’s legislative chambers and committee meeting rooms, which are open to the public.

 

People throughout the state can stay connected to the work of the General Assembly through the Kentucky Legislature Home Page, which is updated daily to provide the latest legislative information. Web surfers can view the issues before lawmakers by browsing through bill summaries, amendments, and resolutions. The website is regularly updated to indicate each bill’s status in the legislative process, as well as the next day’s committee-meeting schedule and agendas.

 

In addition to general information about the legislative process, the website also provides information on each of Kentucky’s senators and representatives, including their phone numbers, addresses, and legislative committee assignments.

 

The Kentucky General Assembly also maintains toll-free phone lines to help citizens follow legislative action and offer their input.

 

People who want to give lawmakers feedback on issues under consideration can call the Legislative Message Line at (800) 372-7181. Those who prefer to offer their feedback in Spanish can call the General Assembly's Spanish Line at (866) 840-6574. Citizens with hearing impairments can use the TTY Message Line at (800) 896-0305.

 

A taped message containing information on the daily schedule for legislative committee meetings is available by calling the Legislative Calendar Line at (800) 633-9650.

 

Citizens can write to any legislator by sending a letter with a lawmaker's name on it to: Legislative Offices, 702 Capitol Ave., Frankfort, KY 40601.

 

 


 

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