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Columns

  • Last minute pension action is another step in wrong direction

    When the General Assembly returned to the Capitol on Thursday to complete this year’s legislative session, one unresolved issue towered over the rest. Regrettably, the solution now set to become law is not the one we need, and the very way it was approved – late at night, before the bill could even be read – was a near-repeat of last year’s controversial and ultimately unconstitutional public-pension bill.

  • Lawmakers approved bills in four key areas, return for veto session

    No matter what happens when the General Assembly returns to the Capitol on Thursday, the first 29 days of this year’s 30-day legislative session have certainly been memorable. While I wish we could have done more in some areas – and much less in others – here’s a brief look at what is poised to become law, barring a veto by the governor.

    Most bills that clear the House and Senate fall into five broad categories: education; health and well-being; criminal justice; economic development; and tweaks to the way government is run.

  • Superintendent asks for support for teachers through opposition of HB205

    I can’t believe how fast this school year has flown by. It seems like only yesterday that I began the year as superintendent of the Carroll County School District.

    When I look back on this school year, I am so proud of the work that our staff has accomplished. Every day, our teachers and support staff are doing their best to make life better for all of the children in Carroll County.

    Those of us who have the privilege of working in public schools have a clear mission: to serve all children, no matter what.

  • Fix on sales tax rule for non-profits on track to be changed

    For Kentucky’s nonprofits, the last year has not been an easy one. A ruling by the Kentucky Supreme Court last March – and a rushed overhaul of the state tax code less than a month later – left these critical organizations facing the last thing anyone wants: a much-larger tax bill.

    Our religious and civic organizations found themselves in this predicament through no fault of their own, and the cost hasn’t been small, either – about $30 million annually.

  • Education bills await action in final days of legislative session

    It just takes two words to sum up this year’s legislative session through the end of last week: “Stay tuned.”

    I say that because, with only four working days remaining, the General Assembly has a long list of bills still awaiting a final decision.

    I am no fan of this approach, because it makes it much more difficult for legislators, and especially the public, to keep track of and offer meaningful input on laws that would have an impact on Kentucky for years to come. We must re-commit ourselves to finding a better way.

  • Senate takes up tax overhaul bill, sends it to conference committee

    The pace of activity inside the Capitol is picking up as we rapidly approach the end of the 153rd Regular Session. With only a few days left to pass bills, the Kentucky General Assembly has been working in overdrive to develop the best legislative policy for the Commonwealth.

    Many big issues have been addressed in this 30-day short session. This was one of our busiest weeks yet, as bills concerning abortion, medical marijuana and education had Frankfort buzzing with visitors who attended rallies and committee meetings.

  • Scholarship tax credits education opportunities

    During the next few weeks, our General Assembly has a remarkable opportunity to give thousands of Kentucky children a new path to success by voting in favor of two bills that will help create a scholarship tax credit program. House Bill 205 and Senate Bill 118 will go a long way towards helping children in the Common-wealth reach their dreams.

    Families like the Hendersons in South Louisville know all too well the power this scholarship tax program would have in transforming the futures of Kentucky’s children.

  • Teachers protest unneccessary pension bill

    We may be in the final third of the 2019 legislative session, but the arrival of hundreds of teachers at the Capitol last Thursday made it feel like 2018 all over again.

    They came to Frankfort to oppose yet another unfair and unnecessary bill directly affecting the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System. Last year’s rallies were focused on current and future benefits, while this year’s is about the very governance of KTRS itself.

  • School safety bill heads to governor’s desk

    As we approach the latter days of the 2019 Regular Session, the Capitol remains as busy as ever. Countless visitors from across Kentucky advocated important issues in a week that had no shortage of legislative activity.

  • Senate bills address voter registration, drunk driving, grain insurance fund

    We are halfway through the 2019 Regular Session, and the Senate is eager to continue making progress in these final weeks.

    The General Assembly did not convene on Monday in observation of Presidents Day. Before resuming legislative business on Tuesday, both the House and the Senate reconvened at the historic Old State Capitol in downtown Frankfort.