Capitol Agenda: Abortion, school authority bills in Senate

9:00 a.m. – House Convenes

9:00 a.m. – Senate Convenes. Orders of the day include:

9:30 – 11:30 a.m. – Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board (KWIB), Northern Kentucky Career Center Tour/Resource Alignment Committee, Northern Kentucky Career Center, 1324 Madison Ave., Covington.

2:00 p.m. – Finance & Administration Cabinet, Small Business Certification Committee, Capitol Annex rm 386. [Agenda]


Jan. 15

10:00 a.m. – Kentucky Board of Certification of Wastewater System Operators, Conference room 111, Department for Environmental Protection, 300 Sower Blvd., Frankfort. [Agenda]

Jan. 18

9:00 – 10:30 a.m. – KWIB, Military and Veterans Resource Committee, 300 Sower Blvd., Room 432, Frankfort.

Jan. 22

1:00 p.m. – Kentucky Department of Labor, Department of Workers’ Claims, Oscar Morgan Conference Room, 657 Chamberlin Ave., Frankfort. [Public Notice] [Previous Meeting Minutes]

  • Public hearing on New Administrative Regulation 803 KAR 025:290, the Continuation of Medical Benefits from the Department of Workers’ Claims. [The proposed regulation]

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Late Capitolism: Abortion Day, Bevin locks out Capitol press, Edu bills fast-tracked

Abortion Day

It happens every year in the Capitol. But this year, with other state’s anti-abortion laws rushing up the judicial ladder, Kentucky lawmakers are taking the “spray and pray” approach, sending several measures out into the legislature in a bid to get at least one passed.

After striking out twice, GOP tries again to ‘effectively’ ban abortionSB9 and HB100 are being pushed with some priority here, as lawmakers look to get a bill in front of the SCOTUS and overturn Roe v. Wade. Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown): “It would be the pinnacle of my career.” [C-J]

Yetter writes up the day’s anti-abortion rights proceedings, during which “…lawmakers outlined several bills they plan to pass this session. They include:

  • Senate Bill 9, which would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually at about six weeks. A similar measure, House Bill 100, has been filed in the House.
  • House Bill 5, to prohibit abortions for reason of sex, race or disability of the fetus.
  • Senate Bill 50, to clarify the law about reporting of abortions induced by medication.
  • And House Bill 148, which would ban abortions in Kentucky outright.”

Bill requiring doctors to report abortions induced by medication advances [C-J]

More abortion bans prepared for Kentucky, including one that takes effect at 6 weeks  [H-L]

The Fight for Women’s Rights [KET]

Capitol Restrictions

After pension protests, new rules restrict visitors to Kentucky Capitol [Messenger]

AG Beshear Reviewing Gov. Bevin’s Emergency Regulation Concerning Public Access to State Buildings [WKYU]

Bevin locks out Capitol press from presser – Gov. Matt Bevin’s well-known hostility toward the Capitol press corps continues. He held an RSVP press round-table in room 110 of the Capitol at 3 p.m., barring some local and Capitol media, while inviting others.

The event was held in one of the Capitol’s largest press conference rooms, and despite being visibly near-empty, the Bevin spox who turned me away said it was “at capacity.”

The spox then said the presser was intended for the state’s local and community media outlets. But that was obviously untrue; the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Scott Wartman was invited in. Wartman got word out that Bevin responded to a question about the lack of Capitol press. The story had changed.

But that couldn’t be true either. The Kentucky Gazette, the state’s oldest newspaper and political publication, was invited into the room. The Gazette is based in Frankfort and its publisher, public affairs reporter Laura Cullen Glasscock, is a respected Capitol regular.

And no, it wasn’t just me:

Some stories from those allowed inside:

  • Bevin: Legislature irresponsible for failure to pass pension reform [BG Daily News]
  • Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin pledges he will run for governor despite rumors to the contrary [Cincinnati Enquirer]
  • Matt Bevin believes he can find a solution with Mike DeWine on Brent Spence Bridge. Tolls will be part of it. [Cincinnati Enquirer]


Bill stripping school councils of power to hire principals clears committee [WDRB]

Bills addressing principal hiring, teacher discipline on fast track [C-J]

Kentucky just got a one-year, $10,620,000 federal grant – The name is a $10 million mouthful: Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Preschool Development Grant – Birth through Five (PDG B-5). Per a release from Bevin’s office: “Kentucky was one of six states to receive the highest funding amount.” [Press Release] 


Credit agency rebuts Gov. Matt Bevin’s warning about pension bill [C-J]

Comer comes after Bevin again: “when you insult everyone at the table and shove it down their throats, you can’t pass meaningful pension reform… I’ll bet you 70 percent of the Republicans in the General Assembly have called or texted me in the last six days to run for governor even if he runs” [C-J]

Chamber dinner coverage, barbs and all: Amid growing pressure, Kentucky governor vows to run in 2019 [AP]

Kentucky in Context

Fed Agency Says Kentucky Had 1 Coal-Mining Death In 2018 [AP]

Gallery: Protesters in Louisville rally against the partial government shutdown [C-J]

Courier-Journal photographers captured the government shutdown protest outside the federal building in Louisville. Get a gander, then subscribe. Photo: C-J

And Everything Else

Did truck carry 18,000 pounds of Kentucky hemp or marijuana? Oklahoma police stop rig. [HL]

Medical Marijuana? Senate President Says Not Without a Study [Pure Politics]

Speaking of potential revenue sources, General Fund receipts are in – Tax receipts were down 0.8% last month compared to last year (mainly due to income tax loss). And, as the C-J’s Tom Loftus said: “Revenue growth for first half of fiscal year is still 3.7% – a bit above expectations.”

  • From the official release: “Individual income taxes fell 8.7 percent in December. Year-to-date collections are down 2.3 percent. Earlier in 2018, the top corporate and individual income tax rates were decreased from 6.0 percent to 5.0 percent.”

Two more 2019 contenders are officially in the running

Former lobbyist James Sullivan received caught nearly 3 years for trying to bribe Longmeyer – Sullivan was also fined $25,000 by U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell. Kentuckiest moment: “Longmeyer testified that he refused (the bribe) because he was already being bribed to keep the contract with another company.” [AP]

  • The Sullivan longread: He bribed Andy Beshear’s top deputy. Now he’s headed to prison for nearly 3 years. [H-L]

Will Drug Companies Be Held Accountable for the Opioid Crisis? [KET]

Did raising Kentucky’s cigarette tax affect smoking? This poll has the answer. [H-L]

Civil rights groups join lawsuit to fight Kentucky’s felon voter ban [C-J]

Sex with animals is no joke, senator says. But it’s legal in Kentucky [C-J]

Animal rights advocates plan rally in February for stricter welfare laws. The rally will take place at the Capitol building in Frankfort on February 6. [WHAS11]

Getcher Nazi trash outta my Cap: Another Cheves Catch: “House Bill 128, by state Rep. Reginald Meeks, would prohibit the sale or display of items related to racist ideology or items produced since World War II denoting swastikas or Nazi-related logos on state property.”


Comer may be GOP’s best bet for governor, Democrats’ worst nightmare [C-J]

Late Capitolism: School safety leads, Cannabis outlook unclear, Bevin bashing legislature again

Wednesday in the Capitol was no slouch. Here’s everything you need to know about what happened:

School Safety

SB1 led the day in the Capitol – So far, no reports of opposition and no gun control language in the bill. WDRB reports there are a couple of ambitious, if unlikely, gun control bills: “Rep. George Brown, D-Lexington, has filed two such bills in the House. One would require gun owners to lock up their firearms when not in use and the other would make sweeping changes to the state’s gun laws, such as barring the sale of bump stocks, requiring background checks for private gun sales and mandating the registration of assault weapons.” Barton’s got the SB1 bill brief, outlining what’s in the 30-page measure:

Then again, some have other ideas:

More takes:
School Safety Bill General Assembly Top Priority [Pure Politics]
Kentucky Lawmakers Unveil School-safety Measure [AP]
With deadly shootings on their minds, lawmakers unveil bill to try to make schools safer [H-L]
School safety bill ‘a starting point’ for General Assembly, sponsor says [WDRB]


Kentucky Panel Sets Hearing For One-vote Election Challenge – “The board agreed to hold a hearing at 9 a.m. Jan. 23. Any decision by the board must be approved by the full House.” [AP]

Geoff Youngfirst in the Kentucky Governor’s Raceofficially announces in Capitol rotunda. [WEKU]

Bevin’s back in town – After a Tuesday trip to a Spencer County forum, the governor appeared on KET with Rene Shaw to talk more about the winter’s withering special session. Asked to respond to criticism that the 2-day surprise special session spent $120,000 and produced nothing, Bevin accused the General Assembly, itself, of being a waste of money. Then he insulted the newly-elected legislators:

“And what are they going to do? They’re going to learn how to not pinch each other, how to behave, how not to be rude to one another. They’re going to learn where the bathrooms are, and they’re going to put their names up on their offices and they’re going to take pictures.” [KET]

Bevin also just appointed Roscoe Higginbotham the new Judge executive in Nicholas County. [AP]

When should Kentucky elect a governor? And should we KREF-file electronically? – Senate Republicans want to change elections to even-numbered years, and Thayer’s backing a bill to get electronic filing moving via SB5. [H-L]

Kentucky’s getting sued – If this lawsuit doesn’t go their way, they’ll have to reconsider not just when to vote, but who can:

Cannabis Coverage

Dan Seum: “They gave me that nice bottle of Oxycontin. I threw it in the garbage can and went home and smoked a joint.” – The Republican senator joined the measure’s sponsors at a press conference announcing HB136, the latest effort to legalize medical cannabis in Kentucky. SB80, the Cannabis Control Act, is still in circulation also but would legalize and regulate adult recreational cannabis use. Stivers is still cool to the idea, and called it a “gateway drug.” Seum’s unedited remarks (about three minutes) are here: [WKYT]

More takes:
‘We’re going to trust the doctors.’ Lawmakers push for medical marijuana in Kentucky. [H-L]
Senator who had cancer, smoked pot, backs medical marijuana [AP]
Lawmakers optimistic about passage of bill legalizing medical marijuana [WDRB]
Kentucky Lawmakers Propose Bipartisan Medical Marijuana Bill [KPR]

Notable Bill Filings

State Senator Says He Is Revising Bill Restricting Records Access [WEKU]

Fetal Heartbeat: New Abortion-related Fight In Kentucky [AP]

Rep. Attica Scott wants to end Kentucky’s tampon tax [C-J]

Hey, Rep. How’s the 2019 Legislative Ethics Training coming along?

Bill aims to expand workers’ comp. for first responders, include protections for PTSD [WHAS11]

Rep. Reggie Meeks (D-Louisville) filed a bill to lower age of House eligibility from 30 to 24. [LRC]

Investment/pension transparency or jail – The Herald-Leader’s John Cheves: “State Rep. Lisa Willner files House Bill 126 to require state’s retirement systems to use the usual open and competitive bidding methods for investment managers, and to give attorney general jurisdiction to investigate the systems.”

120Strong priority bill list – The group’s targeted legislation is below.


By the Way…

What’s Ray Jones up to this week?


Is Capitol the ‘people’s house’ or King Matt’s castle? Here’s why they want you out.[H-L]

Editorial roundup [AP]

Late Capitolism: Closed Records Bill, Goforth goes off, New AG contender

Updated: Major effort to restrict access to Kentucky open records proposed – Kentucky Press Association attorney Jon Fleischaker: “This is an effort to destroy the open records law… It is a disaster for the public. It is a disaster for the citizens of Kentucky.” Yetter’s got the run-down on Sen. Danny Carroll’s (R-Paducah) Closed Records Bill. [C-J]

Bevin limits public’s ability to roam freely in Kentucky Capitol complex – Following up on his Jan. 4 statement, Bevin’s cracking down: no using the tunnel without a badge, can’t stand there, can’t sit here, more police, no recording from the House gallery, and so forth. Have a look at these pictures of Capitol police blocking entry to the House stairwell: [H-L]

In what must surely be totally unrelated news – The Poor People’s Campaign came back to the Capitol today for a silent march. [WEKU]

Longmeyer impact plays out in Senate with exec ethics bill – Stivers: “The requirements for reporting your fees as you lobby the executive branch are virtually non-existent and nowhere as stringent as that which we require for lobbying us… By having total transparency on the process that is called requests for proposals, placement, contracts, and bids. To know who those individuals are that are lobbying, what their fees are, and that there should never, ever be a contingency fee on getting a contract.” Stu’s got the audio: [WEKU]

Ongoing Glenn/Johnson dispute in the House resulted in a panel of House members’ names getting stuffed into film canisters and drawn from a bucket. Panel elected Elkton GOP Rep. Jason Petrie for its chair (who, as Barton notes, is also the new Judiciary Committee chair). Panel to meet again today following House adjournment. [Pure Politics]

Screenshot: WHAS11 gets up close and personal as House members’ names are drawn from a bucket to populate the Glenn/Johnson panel

Can we get a bipartisan women’s caucus? – “In the House there are now 27 women serving, 18 of those are Democrats and nine are Republican. The Senate has four women, two Democrats and two Republicans.” [WHAS11]

OK then can we at least keep our teeth? – Kentucky lawmakers want to end mandatory fluoride in tap water. Dentists disagree. Cheves has the write-up on how Sen. Steve West and state Rep. Mark Hart, both Republican, are concerned fluoride consumption leads to health problems. Money quote from Hart: “We both campaigned on less government and stuff, and this goes along with that… I see this as an unfunded mandate for local governments. Let the people drinking the water decide what goes into their water.” [H-L]

Beshear reporting $1.16 million – Beshear the Younger says he’s got $850,000 on hand, self-funding $20,000, plus $24,000 in-kind.  [AP]

But Adkins reports $621,567 in under two months – Lindstrom got the second quarter reports, which show Beshear stacked up just $470,828 for the quarter compared to House Minority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins. [Pure Politics]

New AG contender in the ring – Daniel Jay Cameron–former lawyer for U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and current Frost Brown Toddy–filed with KREF to run for Kentucky attorney general. [AP]

“I’m not a New England transplant using the people of Kentucky to feed my ego” – Goforth comes out swinging against Bevin. Another zinger: “Our people are tired of being talked down to and maligned by someone who thinks he is better than us.” Barton’s got the audio: [KPR]

We need a governor who leads more than he lambastes. Our Commonwealth needs a Chief Executive who is not molded not by New England and Wall Street.” More Goforth burns captured by Lindstrom. Video: [Pure Politics]

Government Contract Review clears Reach Louisville for $500K – Student suicide/opioid prevention group gets the green light for a federal block grant. I caught a few details at the committee for you: [KY120]
Kentucky teachers fare better under current pension plan than proposed 401(k) hybrid, according to: [National Institute on Retirement Security]

And finally


Capitol Agenda: HD31 election panel, Pot presser, Admin Regs to look at Higher Ed

9:00 am, Annex Room 154
Mandatory Legislative Ethics Training (for General Assembly Members)

11:00 am, Annex Room 149

12:00 Noon, House Convenes

2:00 pm, Senate Convenes

On House adjournment: House panel overseeing the District 31 election to meet

On Senate adjournment: Capitol Rm. 327, Sen. Dan Seum to hold a press conference on Cannabis Control Act, SB80