Monday, March 12, 2007

Biting Legislation

Fletcher to lawmakers: Resolve differences or face special session

Gov. Ernie Fletcher said today he is ready to call a special legislative session if lawmakers do not resolve their differences on pension funds and other issues, such as funding for Wolf Creek Dam and the World Equestrian Games.

Governor Fletcher feigns toughness. I am sure the Senators are shaking.

Senate committee strips funding from Boni Bill

A Senate committee stripped funding from a bill designed to improve social worker safety –- narrowing its focus and deleting a provision that would have allowed the state to hire more than 100 social workers and staff. Rep. Tom Burch, D-Louisville, who sponsored the House bill, decried the move. "They made it into a social worker abuse bill," he said. "The Senate has absolutely lost their brains over there."

Social worker abuse bill? How is hiring additional staff abusive?

State pension overhaul stalls

The Senate and House are at a bitter impasse over how to address financial problems of pension funds for state retirees and teachers. The issue has developed into the most contentious in the final days of this year's legislative session. It is not clear whether the differences between the two chambers will derail action on other legislation, particularly on making changes in the state budget -- for example, spending $9 million for runway improvements at Blue Grass Airport. Both House Speaker Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green, and Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, gave floor speeches yesterday, claiming the position of the other's chamber on pension funds was wrong.

Everyone commence working… Governor Fletcher has threatened a special session.

Senate mine safety bill nears passage

A measure intended to take some of the danger out of working in underground coal mines could clear the Senate by Monday, a key lawmaker said Thursday. Tom Jensen, R-London, said he expects the legislation, which was unanimously approved by the House earlier this week, to undergo a few modifications. Jensen, chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, met with coalfield legislators, industry representatives and safety advocates over the past two days and found substantial agreement. The measure was assigned to Jensen's committee. "I think we'll get something out," he said.

The bill passes, the bill is dead… Mine safety is Kentucky’s version of in and out.

Lawmaker tries to level playing field on lobbyist contributions

Rep. David Osborne, a Republican from Oldham County, has proposed a measure that would allow legislators running for office to accept contributions from lobbyists as well as another proposal that would ban all candidates from taking lobbyists' money. Osborne attached the two conflicting measures onto the Senate's campaign finance reform bill that's now pending in the House. "I just think it's a fairness issue," Osborne said.

Another politician fighting corruption. Everyone, climb Mount Everest. That is actually accomplishable.

Senate OKs higher minimum wage

Nearly 200,000 low-income workers moved closer to a major pay raise yesterday as the Republican-controlled Senate overwhelmingly approved a measure that would raise Kentucky's minimum hourly wage from $5.15 to $7.25 over the next two years.

Super markets prepare price guns…

Senate won't approve House-recommended changes to adoption bill

The Senate won't approve changes made by the House to a bill designed to provide more protection to biological parents in danger of having their parental rights terminated. Republican leadership decided during a caucus meeting Friday morning not to approve the changes. The move doesn't mean the issue is dead, said Sen. Julie Denton, R-Louisville. A compromise probably will be agreed to when the two legislative bodies go to conference, she said.

The adoption process is damaged. God forbid we attempt alteration.

Human trafficking bill headed to Fletcher

A bill to ban human trafficking in Kentucky won final legislative passage in the House today, a victory for advocacy groups who have said cases of forced labor or exploitation have begun to surface in Kentucky. The vote was unanimous.

This is Kentucky. How much human trafficking occurs?

Bill passed to hold down delinquent tax bill costs

Kentucky lawmakers have passed legislation aimed at holding down charges by investors who pile on legal fees and other costs when they sell a delinquent tax bill back to the original property owner.

Paging all certified public accountants…

Senate approves higher interstate speed limits; bill goes to governor

Motorists might soon be able to drive 70 mph on Kentucky's interstates and parkways under a measure approved by the state Senate on Friday. The measure now moves to Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher for his signature. In the past, Fletcher has been supportive of measures to raise the speed limit to 70. The Senate approved the higher speed limit last month.

Finally, speeding is legal.

Bill bans bus drivers from using cells while at wheel

Kentucky school bus drivers would be barred from using cell phones while transporting children under a bill approved by a Senate panel on Thursday.

Why is a law necessary?

Bill would ban alcohol-vaporizer devices

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill Thursday that would outlaw sale or ownership of an alcohol-vaporizer device to consume alcohol. "It’s the latest trend. We want to stop it in its tracks," Rep. Susan Westrom, a Lexington Democrat who is the sponsor of House Bill 125, told the committee.”

Drug users newest avenue.

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