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Opinion

  • Legislative sessions tend to be remembered for just a handful of new laws, and this year’s, which ended April 15, is no different.
    The budget was understandably the most prominent, with its chief highlight being the significant amount of new money the General Assembly put toward the unfunded liabilities of our public retirement systems.

  • By Harry VanWhy
    Guest columnist

    It was June 9, 2011. This was the night that my 20-year-old nephew would receive his new lungs. I was there at the Tampa Hospital to be beside my brother, Dave, while he waited for his son, Davey, to receive his life-saving new lungs.

  • It's time to call a spade a spade.
    In last week’s edition, we published a story about a committee that has formed to petition to recall the nickel tax.
    Four of the five Marion Countians on the committee also petitioned to put the nickel tax to a vote in 2007. Randall Lawson, Richie Lee, Robby Shewmaker and Robert Darrell Shewmaker were involved in a similar effort then, and they were successful in their efforts. The nickel tax was put on the ballot in November of 2008, and was recalled. (This time, Joe Livers has joined the committee.)

  • By Brittany S. Greenwell
    Guest columnist

  • For more than a decade now, the most pressing long-term problem in Kentucky has been the growing liabilities of our public retirement systems for teachers and state employees.
    Both systems had far more than they needed a dozen or so years ago, but two recessions since then have swept most of those gains away.
    While the systems are able to pay monthly benefits, they are still having to sell assets, making it tougher for their other investments to compensate. This trend could be catastrophic in a decade or two if we don’t act now.

  • By The Kentucky New Era Editorial Board

    It’s a rare job that would pay someone to work extra days if they failed to meet a deadline that was agreed upon well in advance. But that’s the deal for members of the Kentucky General Assembly if they don’t reach an agreement soon on the state’s 2016-18 budget. They would come back for a special session called by the governor to finish their work — and do it at the expense of taxpayers.

  • By The Kentucky Standard Editorial Board

    It took many years to test the waters of opening juvenile court proceedings with Kentucky legislators, but, finally, many agree that passing Senate Bill 40 is the first step in the right direction.
    While SB40 doesn’t open all juvenile court proceedings in all Kentucky courtrooms, it is allowing, for the first time, a creation of a small number of pilot sites in Kentucky courts that will open child abuse and neglect proceedings.

  • The other side of the story
    First and foremost, I believe that the people of Lebanon are only hearing one side of the story when it comes to the actions that are currently being discussed in the English department at Marion County High School. I believe it’s time to hear from a student. As a Marion County High School graduate and valedictorian of the 2013 class, I am blown away by the backlash towards the English department by some in our community. Every college student is busy, but I believe it is more important for me to address these concerns.

  • This week, the General Assembly returns to the Capitol for a single day to wrap up the 2016 legislative session.
    While this time traditionally has been set aside just to consider whether the House and Senate should override any vetoes a governor might issue, we have begun in recent years to also use this time to vote on other bills that were unresolved before the veto recess. This year, the biggest of those is the state’s two-year budget.

  • By Ken Begley

    Hey, I’m not kidding with the title of this story.
    Just because you live in small town America do not think there aren’t some incredibly talented folks living all around you doing some unbelievable things.  
    I love this job! I get to meet them and hear their stories!
    Anyway, a friend of mine named Mark told me how his next door neighbor had spent the past five years working part-time on building his own robot. 
    What the heck?
    Mark asked me if I’d like to see it.

  • Addressing Kentucky’s underfunded pension systems was the top priority in the Senate’s version of House Bill (HB) 303, the state’s two-year budget, which passed the Kentucky Senate on March 23.

  • At the end of a legislative session, months of preparation and weeks of debate give way to a handful of days where the General Assembly and governor decide what will become law and what will have to wait.
    It’s a predictably busy time, especially when the budget is in the mix during even-numbered years.

  • By Carter Dyson

    The upcoming 2016 Regional Job and Career Fair Expo is an excellent opportunity for job seekers to discover employment opportunities and to speak with local employers in person, and with some preparation, job seekers can reap the most benefit from their attendance.

  • After over two months of anticipation and debate, the Senate finally received the state budget bill from the House midway through the 11th week of the 2016 Kentucky General Assembly. We think the upcoming budget will reflect those needs for the betterment of the Commonwealth.

  • In one sense, Kentucky’s budget doesn’t change much from year to year. A little more than half of every state dollar, for example, goes to our schools, colleges and universities. Another fourth is dedicated to Medicaid and other health services, about a tenth is spent on criminal justice and the final dime goes to everything else.
    While there is relatively little discussion in the General Assembly about those ratios, there is often lively debate on the best way to move each major area forward.

  • Not only did Friday mark the end to another busy week in the Kentucky Senate, it also was day 46 of our 60-day legislative session. We are now in the proverbial “fourth quarter” when the House and the Senate must come together to get a victory for the state of Kentucky by passing a responsible budget. After 10 weeks we are still awaiting a key “assist” from our colleagues in the House in the form of a budget bill that has yet to pass the lower chamber.

  • As Kentucky House leaders were putting the final touches on a proposed two-year state budget last week, legislators received not one but two reports of good economic news.
    On Thursday, state officials said that revenues have grown 4.3 percent so far this current fiscal year, all but guaranteeing a surplus with less than four months to go. The sales tax – one of the state’s major revenue sources and a strong indicator of consumer confidence – has now increased in 24 of the past 26 months.

  • By Harry Toder

    I am a college professor who teaches sociology and criminal justice, so I don't know how I find the time to think about things such as I am about to write about. But, I do, because I like to have the larger perspective on things.