Comment on Kentucky: Crunch Time in Frankfort
by John Gregory | 03/31/14 1:40 PM
As Comment on Kentucky aired Friday night, prospects looked dim for completing a state budget before the end of this General Assembly session on April 15. Nick Storm of cn|2 described the early meetings of the Budget Conference Committee as a process of legislators feeling each other out and wearing each other down.
The committee did reach a budget deal early Sunday morning, and the state House and Senate are expected to vote on the compromise later today. Missing from the document is funding for the expansion and renovation of Rupp Arena. John Stamper of the Lexington Herald-Leader said Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester) was reluctant to proceed with the financing plan presented by Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, a proposal Stivers labeled "a comedy of errors."
Other legislative news covered on this week's program included progress on bills to address the heroin epidemic and medicinal use of cannabis oil, as well as a juvenile justice reform measure and a compromise plan on how state schools can deal with snow days.
Laura Cullen Glasscock of The Kentucky Gazette offered an update on the Saving Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) project. Gov. Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers announced a leadership panel for the initiative, comprising prominent business people and educators from eastern Kentucky. Cullen said some have already criticized the group for not having representation from the environmental community.
The panel also discussed Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd's ruling last week that denies Bluegrass Pipeline builders the power of eminent domain; a request from Keeneland and Red Mile to add instant racing gambling machines at their tracks; and how U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell managed to rankle some University of Kentucky basketball fans.