April 10, 2019 •

Kentucky Governor Signs House Bill 81

Gov. Matt Bevin signed House Bill 81 on April 9. The bill expands and updates the definitions of officer and public servant. House Bill 81 also defines salaried for the purposes of gift restrictions. The bill becomes effective June 28. […]

Gov. Matt Bevin signed House Bill 81 on April 9.

The bill expands and updates the definitions of officer and public servant. House Bill 81 also defines salaried for the purposes of gift restrictions. The bill becomes effective June 28.

Gov. Bevin also vetoed House Bill 358 aimed at providing pension relief for Kentucky’s quasi-governmental entities.

He announced that an extraordinary session will be called prior to July 1.

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March 26, 2019 •

Kentucky Governor Signs Executive Agency Lobbying Bill

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed Senate Bill 6 on March 25. The bill requires executive agency lobbyists to disclose compensation and prohibits compensation contingent on awarding of a government contract or based on a percentage of a government contract awarded. […]

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed Senate Bill 6 on March 25.

The bill requires executive agency lobbyists to disclose compensation and prohibits compensation contingent on awarding of a government contract or based on a percentage of a government contract awarded.

Senate Bill 6 also extends the length of time a public servant must wait to have certain government contracts from six months to one year.

The bill becomes effective 90 days after the General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn sine die on March 30.

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March 15, 2019 •

Kentucky Executive Agency Lobbying Bills Heads to Governor’s Desk

The Kentucky General Assembly unanimously advanced Senate Bill 6 to Gov. Matt Bevin’s desk. The bill requires the disclosure of executive lobbyist compensation and prohibits compensation for executive agency lobbyists contingent on awarding of a government contract or based on […]

The Kentucky General Assembly unanimously advanced Senate Bill 6 to Gov. Matt Bevin’s desk.

The bill requires the disclosure of executive lobbyist compensation and prohibits compensation for executive agency lobbyists contingent on awarding of a government contract or based on a percentage of a government contract awarded.

If signed, the bill will become effective 90 days after the General Assembly adjourns sine die.

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January 8, 2019 •

Kentucky Special Election Announced

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin has called a special election to fill the vacancy in Senate District 31. The seat had been held by Ray Jones since 2001, but it became vacant when he resigned after being elected judge executive. The […]

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin has called a special election to fill the vacancy in Senate District 31.

The seat had been held by Ray Jones since 2001, but it became vacant when he resigned after being elected judge executive.

The district encompasses the counties of Elliott, Martin, Lawrence, Morgan, and Pike.

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December 18, 2018 •

Special Session Called in Kentucky

Governor Bevin called a special session to find a resolution to the public employee pension plan. Two bills were introduced to reform the current plan. The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled last week that a pension law passed last session was […]

Governor Bevin called a special session to find a resolution to the public employee pension plan. Two bills were introduced to reform the current plan.

The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled last week that a pension law passed last session was unconstitutional because it was passed improperly.

The Governor needs only 51 votes to pass a bill in special session compared to the 60 he would need in the regular session convening in two weeks.

The special session must last for at least five days.

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November 7, 2018 •

County Clerk Who Refused to Sign Marriage Licenses for Gay Couples Loses Reelection Bid

In Kentucky, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis lost her bid for reelection Tuesday. Davis, who became nationally known when she refused to sign marriage licenses for gay couples, lost to her Democratic challenger by roughly 700 votes. Davis was initially […]

In Kentucky, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis lost her bid for reelection Tuesday. Davis, who became nationally known when she refused to sign marriage licenses for gay couples, lost to her Democratic challenger by roughly 700 votes.

Davis was initially thrust into the spotlight in 2015, when she was ultimately jailed for five days by U.S. District Judge David Bunning for contempt of court for her continued refusal to grant marriage licenses to gay couples.

She was ultimately released when she promised not to interfere with licenses granted by deputy clerks.

Elwood Caudill Jr., her victorious opponent, is currently the chief deputy property valuation administrator for the county.

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October 23, 2018 •

Kentucky Campaign Finance Revisions Case Debates Restrictions on Speech

On October 18, the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals heard arguments to keep or overturn the permanent injunctions prohibiting certain portions of state campaign finance and ethics law from being enforced. In 2017, U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman ruled […]

On October 18, the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals heard arguments to keep or overturn the permanent injunctions prohibiting certain portions of state campaign finance and ethics law from being enforced.

In 2017, U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman ruled the prohibition on lobbyists providing gifts and campaign contributions to lawmakers was unconstitutional.

The Kentucky Registry of Election Finance and the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission argued the campaign finance revisions are critical and do not eliminate speech but merely channel speech.

The plaintiffs argued the judgement was proper because the Legislature determined restrictions based on who the speaker was.

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April 17, 2018 •

Kentucky Legislature Adjourned Sine Die Over the Weekend

The Kentucky Legislature adjourned sine die April 14. Lawmakers passed House Bill 97 establishing a new filing deadline for elections of city officers. Before it was amended, the bill would have moved the date for filing a supplemental annual report […]

The Kentucky Legislature adjourned sine die April 14.

Lawmakers passed House Bill 97 establishing a new filing deadline for elections of city officers.

Before it was amended, the bill would have moved the date for filing a supplemental annual report from December 1 to December 31.

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January 9, 2018 •

Kentucky House Speaker Resigns

House Speaker Jeff Hoover resigned Monday following pressure from members of both parties. He had privately settled a sexual harassment claim with a staff member with whom he had exchanged explicit messages after her colleague told her doing so would […]

House Speaker Jeff Hoover resigned Monday following pressure from members of both parties.

He had privately settled a sexual harassment claim with a staff member with whom he had exchanged explicit messages after her colleague told her doing so would advance her career.

A writ for special election must be filed by the presiding officer of the House of Representatives to fill the vacancy.

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December 8, 2017 •

Federal Judge Issues Injunction for Kentucky Campaign Finance and Ethics Laws Ruled Unconstitutional

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky has issued a permanent injunction, prohibiting certain portions of state campaign finance and ethics law from being enforced. Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman ruled the prohibition on […]

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky has issued a permanent injunction, prohibiting certain portions of state campaign finance and ethics law from being enforced.

Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman ruled the prohibition on lobbyists providing gifts and campaign contributions to lawmakers unconstitutional. The judge also found the definition of caucus campaign committee unconstitutional because it only refers to Republican or Democratic caucuses.

Pending appeal, the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance and the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission continued enforcing these statutory provisions. Now, KREF and KLEC are permanently enjoined from doing so.

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June 21, 2017 •

Kentucky Ethics Commission Votes to Appeal Ruling Allowing Lobbyist Gifts

The Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission unanimously voted to appeal a recent ruling striking down state ethics laws. District Court Judge William O. Bertelsman, in a ruling earlier this month, stated the prohibitions on gifts and campaign contributions from lobbyists to […]

The Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission unanimously voted to appeal a recent ruling striking down state ethics laws.

District Court Judge William O. Bertelsman, in a ruling earlier this month, stated the prohibitions on gifts and campaign contributions from lobbyists to lawmakers are unconstitutional.

The Kentucky Registry of Election Finance continues to mull its options before the Monday deadline to appeal. Many groups, including the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, urged the agencies to appeal in order to maintain the state’s current ethics system.

The appeal will be filed with the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.

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June 8, 2017 •

Federal Judge Strikes Down Kentucky Ethics Laws

In a 35-page order, a federal judge dismantled some of the toughest ethics laws in the country. U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman struck down Kentucky’s prohibitions on lawmakers accepting gifts from lobbyists and lobbyists making contributions to candidates for the […]

In a 35-page order, a federal judge dismantled some of the toughest ethics laws in the country. U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman struck down Kentucky’s prohibitions on lawmakers accepting gifts from lobbyists and lobbyists making contributions to candidates for the state legislature.

Judge Bertelsman ruled the gift prohibition’s “anything of value” standard is too vague for an ordinary person to know what conduct is prohibited. Furthermore, the judge stated lobbying is a vital part of the political process and restricting what lobbyists can do in their interactions with a legislator is a violation of their freedom of association.

Republican state Sen. John Schickel, who filed the lawsuit, called the ruling a victory for freedom of speech.

The judge also took aim at caucus campaign committees, ruling the statutory definition restricting the committees to Republican or Democratic is unconstitutional. Former Libertarian House candidate David Watson challenged the law, saying third party candidates cannot compete with the amount of money generated by caucus campaign committees.

The Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission and the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance are still reviewing the order and are considering an appeal.

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May 10, 2017 •

Kentucky Creates Permanent Fee Adjustment for Executive Agency Lobbyists

After last year’s budget bill temporarily increased the executive agency lobbyist registration fee, lawmakers have made the change permanent. House Bill 80 of the 2016 legislative session increased the fee to $500, effective July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2018, […]

After last year’s budget bill temporarily increased the executive agency lobbyist registration fee, lawmakers have made the change permanent.

House Bill 80 of the 2016 legislative session increased the fee to $500, effective July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2018, despite the state statute only mandating a fee of $125.

House Bill 387, signed during this year’s legislative session, amends the statute to match the budget bill’s increase. This change is effective July 1, 2017.

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March 31, 2017 •

Kentucky Legislature Adjourns 2017 Regular Session

The Kentucky General Assembly adjourned the 2017 regular session sine die on March 30, 2017. Working late into the evening, lawmakers approved several bills to send to Gov. Matt Bevin’s desk. The Republican-controlled legislature passed right-to-work and anti-abortion bills, as […]

Kentucky State CapitolThe Kentucky General Assembly adjourned the 2017 regular session sine die on March 30, 2017. Working late into the evening, lawmakers approved several bills to send to Gov. Matt Bevin’s desk.

The Republican-controlled legislature passed right-to-work and anti-abortion bills, as well as a repeal of a prevailing wage law.

Stronger controls over prescription pain medication and penalties for trafficking synthetic opioids were also approved.

The next legislative session begins in January, 2018.

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