Capitol Watch

State Economists Pessimistic About Outlook

State Economists Pessimistic About OutlookMembers of the Consensus Forecasting Group, seven economists who adopt scenarios for the state's General and Road Funds, worried Friday that national uncertainty made it impossible for them to accurately predict what the state could expect in the coming years.


More Indications from Governor Special Session May Not Include Tax Reform

More Indications from Governor Special Session May Not Include Tax ReformIn a radio interview this week, Governor Bevin said fixing the pension system was his first priority. He said he does not consider tax reform and pension reform as a required pair.


Special Session May Focus Solely on Pension Reform

Special Session May Focus Solely on Pension ReformKentucky Governor Matt Bevin is giving some indication he may call a special session this fall only to vote on pension reform, and hold off on tax reform until a later date.


Kentucky Lawmaker Fights Against Sanctuary Cities

Kentucky Lawmaker Fights Against Sanctuary CitiesKentucky Representative Lynn Bechler (R-Marion) told lawmakers at a Friday Committee hearing he wants the state to pass a law prohibiting sanctuary cities in the state and penalizing those that do so anyway.


Kentucky's Road Fund Ends Fiscal Year with $51 Million More Than Expected

Kentucky's Road Fund Ends Fiscal Year with $51 Million More Than ExpectedThe Transportation Cabinet's Executive Director of Budget and Fiscal Management testified Thursday that the Road Fund performed better than expected in FY 2017. She warned, however, that expectations should not be the same for FY 2018.


Kentucky Representative Says Lawmakers Need to Defend Home Rule

Kentucky Representative Says Lawmakers Need to Defend Home RuleRepresentative Michael Meredith (R-Oakland) says a lot of lawmakers like to say they're for home rule, but many will have to show it when they meet for this year's special session and next year's budget session. Lawmakers could take up several issues that impact cities, including pension and tax reform.


Frustrations Spill Over as Lawmakers Get Update on KentuckyWired Project

Frustrations Spill Over as Lawmakers Get Update on KentuckyWired ProjectThe Executive Director of the Kentucky Communications Network Authority told members of the Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue the KentuckyWired project won't be ready by its 2018 deadline and is way over budget.


Lawmakers Told Local Publication Requirements Costly and Ineffective

Lawmakers Told Local Publication Requirements Costly and IneffectiveMembers of the Interim Joint Committee on Local Government were told it's time Kentucky let local governments publish online. State law requires various documents be published in a local newspaper, but the Kentucky League of Cities and other groups testified that the rule is unnecessarily costly when social media and government websites get more traction.


Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer talks about Kentucky's Pension Problems

Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer talks about Kentucky's Pension ProblemsKentucky Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) says he believes Republican leadership is ready to tackle the state's pension problems. He believes the best way to fix the pension system is to develop a business-friendly environment that leads to more taxpayers.


Kentucky Representative Says Fixing Kentucky's Pension System Will Take Some Tough Choices

Kentucky Representative Says Fixing Kentucky's Pension System Will Take Some Tough ChoicesRepresentative Jerry Miller (R-Louisville) talks about his firm support for separation of the County Employees Retirement System (CERS) from the Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS), what tax reform in Kentucky will need to look like and why he believes expanded gambling may be the ticket to a better financial situation for the state.


Lawmakers React to Delay of Pension Report

Lawmakers React to Delay of Pension ReportA report that was due to be presented to the Public Pension Oversight Board July 31 has been delayed to August. The two lawmakers who co-chair the Board say they're willing to wait.


Ethics Commission Says Beshear Investigating Bevin Could Be A Violation

Ethics Commission Says Beshear Investigating Bevin Could Be A ViolationThe Executive Branch Ethics Commission issued a ruling Monday morning telling Attorney General Andy Beshear any investigation of Governor Matt Bevin could be an ethics violation if Beshear decides to run for governor in 2019.


KLC Speaks Out Against Reorganization of 911 Services Board

KLC Speaks Out Against Reorganization of 911 Services BoardKLC Deputy Executive Director J.D. Chaney told lawmakers on the Interim Joint Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection the removal of local officials from the 911 Services Board was an insult.


KRS Board Ignores Request and Practice of Phasing In Changes To Assumption Rates

KRS Board Ignores Request and Practice of Phasing In Changes To Assumption RatesThe Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Trustees voted for new assumption rates for both CERS plans but did not phase-in the changes as requested. The new rates will have a major impact on cities.


Kentucky Mayors Say Community Development Block Grants Vital to Cities

Kentucky Mayors Say Community Development Block Grants Vital to Cities Debate continues in Washington, DC, over a new budget. President Trump has proposed several cuts, including Community Development Block Grants. Two Kentucky mayors say those grants are, many times, the only way smaller cities can compete.


Northern Kentucky Representative Says Pension Reform Will Take Compromise

Northern Kentucky Representative Says Pension Reform Will Take Compromise Representative Brian Linder says interest groups and stakeholders involved in the state's current pension debate may have to accept the end result may not make everyone happy; but, he says he hopes the final outcome is one everyone can live with.


Pension Debate Takes Center Stage This Month

Pension Debate Takes Center Stage This MonthTwo meetings in July will put the state's pension crisis back in the spotlight. The meetings follow recent testimony to the Public Pension Oversight Board about the need to separate the County Employees Retirement System from the Kentucky Retirement Systems.


Mayors Make Case to Lawmakers For More Flexibility With City Taxes

Mayors Make Case to Lawmakers For More Flexibility With City Taxes Owensboro Mayor Tom Watson and Sadieville Mayor Claude Christensen recently spoke to the Interim Joint Committee on Local Government about the state's tax laws. Tax reform is expected to be on the agenda if the governor calls a special session later this year.


Labor Secretary Says Apprenticeships Could Open New Doors For Kentucky Workers

Labor Secretary Says Apprenticeships Could Open New Doors For Kentucky Workers Kentucky Labor Secretary Derrick Ramsey told lawmakers Wednesday there are 150,000 jobs in the state that can't be filled. He believes a statewide apprentice program could be the answer.


Representative says Kentucky's Pension System in Need of "Surgery"

Representative says Kentucky's Pension System in Need of Representative Steven Rudy, who chairs the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee, spoke to the Kentucky League of Cities about tax and pension reform. The Paducah Republican warns fixing the state's pension system can't wait.


KLC Board of Directors Votes on 2018 Agenda

KLC Board of Directors Votes on 2018 AgendaThe Kentucky League of Cities Board of Directors met in Georgetown Thursday afternoon to vote on issues to be included in the 2018 Legislative Agenda.


KLC Board of Directors Names 2017 Friend of Kentucky Cities

KLC Board of Directors Names 2017 Friend of Kentucky Cities The Board voted Thursday, at the summer meeting, to name 14 lawmakers as "Friend of Kentucky Cities." The board selected the winners based on their advocacy for local rule and KLC Legislative Priorities.


More Talk of Changing Assumption Rates for CERS and Other Plans

More Talk of Changing Assumption Rates for CERS and Other PlansDiscussions resumed Tuesday about setting assumption rates for three plans managed by the Kentucky Retirement Systems, including the County Employees Retirement System. The KRS Investment Committee talked about what it will recommend when the Board of Trustees meets in July.


Senator McDaniel Sees Special Session as a Sure Bet

Senator McDaniel Sees Special Session as a Sure Bet Kentucky Senator Chris McDaniel sat down with KLC to talk about pension and tax reform and what he would like to see in a special session this fall.


Board Provides Update on KentuckyWired Project

Board Provides Update on KentuckyWired ProjectTwo years after construction began on the KentuckyWired project, plan administrators say it's still a work in progress.


Kentucky Senator Joe Bowen Talks About Kentucky's Pension Problems

Kentucky Senator Joe Bowen Talks About Kentucky's Pension Problems KLC sat down with Kentucky Senator Joe Bowen to talk about CERS separation, the crisis with KERS & SPRS funding, and what the state will have to consider to fix it.


KLC Leaders Connect with Congressional Delegation in DC

KLC Leaders Connect with Congressional Delegation in DCMembers of the Kentucky League of Cities Federal Relations Committee flew into Washington, D.C., in May to meet with all of Kentucky's Members of Congress and their key staff. The group focused on several legislative priorities including key discretionary programs, preservation of the income tax exemption on municipal bonds, increased infrastructure investment and preservation of local control.


Governor Bevin attributes right-to-work law for investment boom

Governor Bevin attributes right-to-work law for investment boom The governor joined the senate president and secretary of the Cabinet for Economic Development on Friday to announce the state has already seen $5.8 billion in business investment in Kentucky. They attribute the state's new right-to-work law and question a lawsuit, filed Thursday, that aims to stop it.


Group gives lawmakers results of study into state's pension system

Group gives lawmakers results of study into state's pension systemA group presented to the Public Pension Oversight Board Monday the results of its study, ordered by Governor Bevin, that looked into how the state's pension system got into a multibillion-dollar funding shortfall.


New 911 Board does little in first meeting

New 911 Board does little in first meeting Governor Bevin issued an executive order Wednesday that replaced the local officials who served on the Kentucky 911 Services Board with four state officials and a private citizen appointee. Those five held a special meeting Thursday that lasted only minutes.


2017 Legislative Update

2017 Legislative UpdateWith the 2017 legislative session now in the books, we took time to look through the 190 bills passed by the legislature to compile a list of those that impact Kentucky's cities the most.


KLC talks city control to Kenyan leaders

KLC talks city control to Kenyan leaders A group of leaders from the Republic of Kenya is in Frankfort hoping to learn how Kentucky successfully manages so many levels of government, including hundreds of cities. Deputy Executive Director J.D. Chaney told them, it's all about local decision-making.


Company to make $1.3 billion investment in Kentucky

Company to make $1.3 billion investment in KentuckyGovernor Bevin announced Wednesday Braidy Industries will build an aluminum mill in Greenup County that will employee 550 people.


Public Pension Oversight Board talks about separating CERS from KRS

Public Pension Oversight Board talks about separating CERS from KRS Members of the board heard from the Kentucky League of Cities, and others supporting separation of CERS from KRS, during testimony Monday afternoon.


Retirement Board waiting on expected special session

Retirement Board waiting on expected special session The Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Trustees met Thursday morning to discuss ongoing concerns about funding, and a possible special session later this year.


Talks continue in effort to separate retirement systems

Talks continue in effort to separate retirement systems The Kentucky League of Cities Governmental Affairs branch joined other city and county leaders Monday morning to talk about the future of SB 226 with Senator Joe Bowen.