Kentucky Political News Headlines

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Filing Deadline Passes, Lineups are Set

Today was the filing deadline to file to run for one of Kentucky's Constitutional Offices that will be elected in November. The Governor's Race is the main event and Governor Steve Beshear did not get a Democrat opponent for the May Primary. On the the Republican side, three candidates will battle for the GOP nomination in May to challenge Beshear in November: Senate President David Williams, businessman Phil Moffett, and Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw.

The article below does a good job of outlining the various races and we will have more analysis as these races develop.

After filing deadline, lineups are set for May 17 Kentucky primary election: "By Beth Musgrave

FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear will not have an opponent in the May Democratic primary for governor, but Republican frontrunner and state Senate President David Williams will have two opponents.

Tuesday was the filing deadline to run for the state constitutional offices on the May 17 ballot.

In the Republican primary race, Williams and running mate Agricultural Commissioner Richie Farmer will face Jefferson County Clerk Barbara “Bobbie” Holsclaw and retired Navy officer and Jefferson County teacher Bill Vermillion Jr. Also on the Republican ticket is Phil Moffett, a Louisville businessman, who is running with state Rep. Mike Harmon of Danville.

Williams is the front-runner in both name recognition and fundraising. Williams and Farmer, a former University of Kentucky basketball player, have reportedly raised more than $753,196. Moffett has reported raising $53,000."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Task Force Recommendations Accepted - Corrections

The Interim Joint Committee on Judiciary accepted recommendations to change the penal code and drug law. This is a very important issue that the General Assembly has been working on for two years. It is likely that this will be one of the major issues to come out of the 2011 session. The LRC press release is below:

For Immediate Release
January 19, 2011

Committee accepts recommended changes to penal code and drug law

FRANKFORT – A state legislative committee today moved a step closer to reducing the state's $500 million annual correctional system costs by accepting task-force recommended changes to Kentucky's prison system.

Recommendations that would strengthen the state's probation and parole system, improve how drug users are handled by the courts, give more support to crime victims and improve government performance in public safety and corrections spending were explained by officials from the Pew Center on the States before they were accepted today by the Judiciary Committee. The Center worked with the state Task Force on the Penal Code and Controlled Substances Act to craft the several pages of recommendations, which will be used to draft legislation overhauling criminal penalties and drug laws for consideration during the 2011 Regular Session.

Committee Co-Chairman Rep. John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville, said legislation including the recommendations will be filed the first week of the second part of the session, which begins Feb. 1.

Some of the recommendations shared by the Pew Center's Richard Jerome  include codifying existing risk and needs assessment tools used on inmates by the prison system, allowing certain inmates to serve the last nine months of their prison sentence on release with mandatory supervision, allowing GPS to be used for pretrial, probation and post-incarceration, earned credits for parolees and those on probation, creating a "presumed sentence" such as probation and treatment for simple drug possession.

"Dealing with users (who have not engaged in) other criminal activity, there are often better ways than incarceration," Jerome said.

Other key recommendations would create a tracking system for victim restitution payment, and require fiscal statements on corrections spending to include the source of money that is spent.

Lawmakers began considering changes to the state's Corrections system in recent years after national studies showed Kentucky had the fastest growing prison population nationally through 2007. Pew Center officials said Kentucky's prison population rose 45 percent over the past decade—compared to a 13 percent increase nationally—although the state's population has dipped slightly in recent years.


Why Are Gas Prices Rising?

Good post from API on Gas Prices...

Why Are Gas Prices Rising?: "No matter where you live, the cost of filling up your car with gasoline has increased in recent months, which has some consumers asking: 'What's causing this spike in gas prices?'
A number of factors help dictate the price of gasoline, but the cost of crude oil on the global marketplace is the main component, and crude oil prices have been steadily rising. With current economic conditions improving worldwide, global demand for oil is rising, leading to the higher prices we're seeing today.

Gasoline prices are also affected by other factors, including weather events, inventories, refining and distribution costs, marketing and taxes. For example, every time U.S. motorists pull up to the pump, they pay an average of 48 cents in state and federal taxes per gallon of gasoline.
One way to address the issue of higher prices is with more supply. Increased production of America's oil can put downward pressure on crude oil prices and therefore, the cost of producing gasoline. Yet despite this, project delays, drilling moratoria and lease sale changes have created an environment of uncertainty for U.S. companies, impeding our ability to produce U.S. oil and natural gas resources.
As our economy recovers from the recession, policies that support domestic oil and natural gas development will help ensure we have the safe, reliable and affordable energy, jobs, and revenue our nation needs now and in the future."

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2011 KY GA Leadership Elections

The General Assembly has completed its elections for Legislative Leadership. Here are the 2011-2012 leaders, changes are highlighted in yellow:

House Democrats
Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo
Speaker Pro-Tem Larry Clark (Defeated challenger Jody Richards)
Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins
Majority Whip Tommy Thompson (Defeated current Whip, John Will Stacy)
Majority Caucus Chairman Bob Damron

House Republicans
Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover
Minority Whip Danny Ford (Defeated Brad Montell after current Whip, David Floyd dropped out)
Minority Caucus Chairman Bob DeWeese (Defeated challenger Jim Decesare)

Senate Republicans
President of the Senate David Williams
President Pro-Tem Katie Stine
Majority Floor Leader Robert Stivers
Majority Whip Carroll Gibson
Majority Caucus Chairman Dan Seum

Senate Democrats
Minority Floor Leader RJ Palmer (Newly elected to replace retiring Sen. Ed Worley as Leader)
Minority Whip Jerry Rhodes (Fended off a challenge from Joey Pendleton)
Minority Caucus Chairman Johnny Ray Turner

We will have more details once available on Committee Chairs and Committee assignments.