Monday, March 19, 2007

Biting Legislation

House, Senate agree on minimum-wage; bill goes to governor

Thousands of low-income workers moved closer to a pay raise Monday, as the House approved the Senate's changes to a measure increasing the minimum wage. If signed into law by Gov. Ernie Fletcher, the measure would raise Kentucky's minimum hourly wage from $5.15 to $7.25 over the next two years. Fletcher's office has not said whether he will approve the measure.

Raising the minimum wage is en vogue. Thousands move closer to a pay raise? Thousands move closer to losing their job.

Kentucky legislature approves Ford incentives

A bill that would make $200 million in incentives available to Ford Motor Co. to upgrade its two Jefferson County plants is on its way to Gov. Ernie Fletcher today. By a vote of 98-0, the House gave final legislative approval to House Bill 536, which is intended to help save more than 8,000 jobs at the two plants.

Cursing concerning Ford success is muted.

Education bill ties incentive pay, alternative fuels

In a dramatic move, the state Senate approved an amended bill Monday night that ties together advanced mathematics and science in the schools, incentive pay for math and science teachers and a massive economic development plan to produce alternative fuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel.

Alterative fuel and education have what commonality? Oh yes, desperate politicians.

Legislature approves revised mine-safety bill

The Kentucky General Assembly today approved a revised mine-safety bill and sent it to Gov. Ernie Fletcher. The Senate acted first, approving the bill by a vote of 36-0, before the House voted 96-0 to accept changes made by the Senate. The House sponsor, Rep. Brent Yonts, D-Greenville, said he was satisfied with the compromise on House Bill 207.

The bill is approved. The bills is dead. The bill is…

Bills to raise dropout age stall

Two House bills calling to increase the minimum age to drop out of high school - to 17 or 18 - are quietly dying on the legislative vine. Opponents of the measures, House Bills 221 and 279, argued that a better approach would be strengthening partnerships with vocational colleges and businesses, and intervening with failing students long before they reach dropout age. Otherwise, says State Sen. Jack Westwood, "I'm thinking, you are just putting a Band-Aid on the problem."

Raising the dropout rate? The dropout rate should be abolished. Dropping out should be abolished.

Adoption reform bill likely dead for session

The Senate sent a bill involving adoption reform back to committee Monday night, most likely killing the measure. Asked if the proposal was dead, Senate Health and Welfare Chairman Julie Denton, R-Louisville, said, "It appears to be."

Politicians say dead… Assume bill is alive.

Senate approves Horse Park projects

The Senate voted 37-0 today for a bill that provides $28 million for building improvements at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington for the 2010 World Equestrian Games. The funding includes $24 million for a new outdoor stadium and $4 million for an indoor arena. There also is $10.3 million for road and pedway projects at the park. "We're holding the biggest party Kentucky has ever had," said Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr, R-Lexington, in sponsoring the funding. "I'd hate it if Kentucky is not prepared."

Apparently, Governor Fletcher enjoys tourists.

Museum Plaza gets state aid

The Museum Plaza project for downtown Louisville cleared a major hurdle today when the General Assembly passed legislation authorizing the use of $130.million in state and local tax revenue for road, floodwall and other improvements in connection with the $465.million project. "Museum Plaza will be built," said Craig Greenberg, a member of the project’s development team, which was waiting for approval of the legislation as the last piece of the economic puzzle for the 62-story riverfront structure at Seventh Street and River Road in Louisville. "We will definitely have shovels in the ground later this year."

Congratulations Louisville… Another addition.

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