|York - County Vote Results||
|March 31, 2009 - 11:31PM ET||(i) = incumbent||= winner||= runoff|
|U.S. House - District 20 - General|
|York - County Vote Results||
|March 31, 2009 - 11:31PM ET||(i) = incumbent||= winner||= runoff|
|U.S. House - District 20 - General|
Coleman legal spokesman Ben Ginsberg all but conceded that the Republican lost the seven-week trial and was prepared to appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court.
"It is pretty much of a longshot with that few ballots being put in play," Ginsberg said, comparing the Republican's odds of winning the trial to someone betting on the winning team in the NCAA basketball tournament. "We are disappointed. But we feel the court is wrong and we will appeal."
Click here for more on this story.
Frankfort – The Kentucky House of Representatives ended today what has widely been called one of the most successful legislative sessions in recent memory.
“This has been a highly productive time for all of Kentucky, from resolving the current budget crisis to enacting a multi-billion dollar road plan and greatly improving school testing,” House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg) said. “We have done our work efficiently, and transparently.”
The House voted today in accordance with its rules to consider only vetoes issued by Governor Steve Beshear and potentially enroll any bills that the Senate may send. Since only one veto was issued and not overturned, and just a handful of bills were enrolled, the House ended the session a day early.
House Majority Caucus Chair Bob Damron (D-Nicholasville) addressed questions about why the House chose not to take last-minute votes on bills that were still outstanding. “Our caucus wanted to avoid the last-minute confusion that has taken place in recent sessions,” said Damron. “After noting how much had been accomplished, we decided that keeping veto days just for vetoes was the right course of action and it follows precedent set generations ago.”
“Our rules are designed to ensure thoughtful, deliberate decision-making in the public eye,” Stumbo added. “Last-minute decisions prohibit full debate and public comment. By drawing the line here, we can be sure that both houses will always conduct the people’s business in an open, timely and responsible manner.”
Speaker Stumbo pointed to several House bills that the Senate could consider. Among those are:
House Bill 229 (Governor Beshear’s incentives; House voted March 10th; Senate, March 13th)
The Senate’s version includes a brand new provision that would bail out homebuilders and chiefly benefit only those making more than $100,000. “This could cost us up to $25 million at a time when our schools and health and human services are in desperate need of money,” Speaker Stumbo said. “We believe the original package we passed helps working families and protects taxpayers.”
House Bill 521 (NASCAR incentives; House voted March 5th; two readings in Senate; Senate included this in their version of HB 229)
The Senate’s version is the same as the House’s except for one key change: It does not tie incentives to hiring Kentucky workers. “We in the House want assurances that tax-payer dollars are going to help Kentucky workers,” Speaker Stumbo said. “We all want NASCAR to come to Kentucky and strongly believe that Kentucky workers should build the track.”
House Bill 102 (Mega projects; House voted March 9th; Senate, March 13th)
Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark (D-Louisville) emphasized that the just-completed road plan includes every dollar needed to move the Louisville bridges project forward during this fiscal year and next. “Because of the funding, the timeline is unaffected by what we do during the veto days,” Clark said. “I would like to see this resolved soon, though, because we need to decide what agency will oversee projects like these. The House believes Kentucky would be better served by creating a new agency that can focus entirely on the mega projects.”
House Bill 433 (Budget modifications; House voted March 10th; Senate, March 13th)
This legislation from the House would give public defenders and prosecutors alike money to complete the fiscal year without adversely affecting their offices. It also would call on the Department of Education to begin replacing five schools in desperate need of new facilities. “These are appropriations that need attention now, and we hope the Senate will act promptly,” House Majority Whip John Will Stacy (D-West Liberty) said, noting that funding public defenders is a Necessary Government Expense that the governor has the authority to fund if the bill does not pass.
House Bill 537 (Governor Beshear’s energy plan; House voted March 2nd; Senate, March 13th)
The Senate has added legislation that would make it possible to bring nuclear plants to Kentucky and that would allow oil and natural gas exploration on state grounds. House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins (D-Sandy Hook) said, “Making it easier for nuclear plants to build in Kentucky needs far more discussion. Our chamber has not discussed this at all, and we believe more public input is needed.”
"There is a time and place for each of these proposals, all of which in their original form had strong support in the House when they were sent to the Senate,” Speaker Stumbo said. “I trust they will be addressed again in a timely manner when the legislature returns in session.”
FRANKFORT – By any measure, the legislative session we wrapped up last Thursday should be considered the most successful “short (odd-year) session” of the five we have had. We have reformed our end-of-year school exams. We have instituted a bold, comprehensive plan to end the cycle of drug abuse that is ruining our society and wasting tax dollars on prisons. We approved a road plan that will allow us to leverage federal stimulus money into more than $1 billion of transportation infrastructure improvements. We addressed this year’s budget shortfall – and got the budget back in balance.
You have heard about these bills because of the widespread coverage in the media, but since we have concluded the 2009 session of the General Assembly, I want to ensure that you are told about some lesser-known accomplishments.
We took several strong steps to rein in sex offenders. While the state sex offender registry at www.kentuckystatepolice.org tracks names, addresses, photos, and certain other information, we know that sexual predators are not restricted to their local neighborhoods anymore. Thanks to the Internet, they can make contact with children anywhere in the world. House Bill 315 will require sex offenders to register their e-mail addresses, screen names, and other online IDs so we can make sure they cannot target children anywhere from the shadows of their own home. HB 315 also bans registered sex offenders from MySpace, Facebook, and other social networking sites where children can meet them. Sex offenders are the most likely of any felons to slip into their old habits, so we must be vigilant about keeping them away from temptation. It is the safest way to protect everyone involved.
On the subject of protecting children, we also made headway in keeping our student-athletes safer. The death of a Jefferson County football player during practice last fall made national headlines, and we wanted to reduce the risk that any family, school, or community has to face that tragedy again. Under House Bill 383, every high school coach will be required to take a course in student safety, including training in how to prevent student injuries. Beginning with the 2009-2010 school year, one coach who has successfully completed a safety course must be on hand at every game or practice. Coaches currently must complete a CPR course, but injury prevention could help save lives.
Approximately three in 1,000 babies born in the United States are born with permanent hearing loss, making hearing loss one of the most common birth defects in America. House Bill 5, which does the same as Senate Bill 160 that I sponsored in the Senate, addresses audiological assessment by establishing mandatory reporting from audiologists who volunteer to be on an approved list of pediatric audiology sites in Kentucky. Parents would be given the list in the hospital at discharge and and via mail. This legislation would improve follow up reporting, assure babies get a full hearing test before three months of age and will increase the number of children who are referred to early intervention services to help them develop to their highest potential.
We also moved to help adults in need, especially those who need home health and other personal services. Senate Bill 22, for which I was the primary co-sponsor, makes sure that all businesses in that sector conduct background checks on their employees and new hires, and bans anyone with a record of drug violations, sex offenses, or abuse and neglect from serving in that capacity. Our most vulnerable populations deserve only the best care from people with the best intentions.
We put real teeth into the state law that limits payday loan borrowers to $500 total. There is currently no way for payday lenders to know whether a borrower has already reached the limit — they have to rely on their word instead. We have seen from the subprime mortgage crisis what can happen when money is borrowed without documentation. HB 444 creates an electronic database so that payday lenders statewide can make sure their borrowers are eligible.
SB 33 will require local governments, as well as the state, to purchase only U.S. and Kentucky flags made in the United States. HB 480 makes sure that teachers who were promised loan forgiveness for teaching in high-need areas can count on those promises being kept before we start granting new loans. There were many people helped by the legislation we passed this session, but the large media outlets cannot report on all of it. I wanted to make sure you were aware.
Of course, every year there are some good bills that just run out of time. Adequate funding for prosecuting attorneys and public advocates, a wide range of economic development incentives to help boost business in Kentucky, and others will simply have to wait. I hope that in the next session we will be able to address
SB 13 -- Amend KRS 278.600 to require that nuclear power facilities have a plan for the storage of nuclear waste rather than a means for permanent disposal.
SB 31 - Amend KRS 441.125, relating to the working of county prisoners at community-service-related projects, to delete the requirement that a nonprofit, charitable, or service organization for which the prisoner works be "nonreligious sponsored.
SB 36 – Creates a special license plate for recipients of the Silver Star or the Bronze Star Medal for Valor.
SB 45 - Amend KRS 315.400 to exempt blood banks from the definition of wholesale distribution; amend KRS 315.406 to provide exemptions from the pedigree requirements for prescription drugs.
SB 60 - Amend KRS 39G.010 to attach the Office of Homeland Security to the Department of Military Affairs and require the executive director to carry out his or her duties under the general direction of the adjutant general
SB 61 – Requires Medicaid to provide smoking cessation treatment interventions for pregnant women.
SB 62 - Create new sections of KRS Chapter 121 to reform regulation of campaigns and election finance thereof.
SB 64 - Amend KRS 352.020 to require mine ventilation plans to allow for operation of mine ventilation fans in a manner and to the limit prescribed by the Mine Safety and Health Administration.
SB 73 - Amend KRS 441.045 relating to jails to make technical change; amend KRS 441.053 relating to local jail operations to require jail medical programs to operate at or below the Kentucky Medicaid rate for similar services.
SB 77 - Amend KRS 216B.015 to define "Medical foster home"; amend KRS 216B.020 to exempt medical foster homes from certificate of need requirements.
SB 85 - Amend KRS 367.890 relating to gift cards to remove the requirement that the gift card be issued by a merchant and to provide that gift cards issued with expiration dates are not subject to escheat.
SB 112 - Amend KRS 78.530 to allow agencies who are established by a merger or interlocal agreement consisting or at least one agency who participated in the County. Employees Retirement System (CERS) on or before April 9, 2002, to be exempt from the requirement of signing a contract for employee health insurance with the Personnel Cabinet as a condition of participation in CERS.
SB 125 - Amend KRS 116.200 to establish the necessary information to be provided to the county clerks to maintain a roster of voters who are eligible to vote in city and school board elections.
SB 127 - Adopt modern standards of prudent investment and modernize the responsibilities of fiduciaries in the management of the institutional funds of charitable organizations as contained in the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act.
SB 129 - Create new sections of KRS Chapter 171 to create the Commonwealth of Kentucky Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission
SB 138 - Create new sections of KRS Chapter 56 to authorize the Finance and Administration cabinet to lease mineral rights owned by the state and by public universities.
SB 139 - Create sections of KRS Chapter 171 to create a Kentucky Center for African American Heritage.
SB 149 - Amend KRS 238.545 to allow use of a charity game ticket dispenser during the hours a location is open if the organization owns the facility; require an officer or chairperson to be present during unloading and reloading of the dispenser.
SB 160 – Requires the Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs to establish standards for infant audiological assessment.
SB 161 - Create a new section of KRS 199.892 to 199.896 relating to the protection of children in child-care facilities during emergencies.
SB 162 - Amend KRS 403.211 to define "reasonable in cost; and "cash medical support"; require the court to order the parent to obtain or maintain coverage; change the term noncustodial parent to obligated parent.
SB 164 – Re-organizes various health services department
SB 175 – Upgrades the state’s licensing law for psychologists
Governor Beshear honored me last week by endorsing me for the United States Senate seat currently held by Jim Bunning. The Governor and I have worked closely together over the past year on health care, adventure tourism, and cleaning up the fiscal and ethical mess left behind by the last administration. I am honored to have his support.
Many people doubted that Steve Beshear and I could win a Democratic primary when we began our campaign in early 2007. Against a strong field, we did so without a runoff. Many people doubted that I could, as a relatively unknown State Senator, defeat U.S. Senator Jim Bunning in 2004. Most people thought I would not come close.
Despite challenging Bunning in 2004 when he had strong support from the incumbent Republican Governor, despite taking him on when he was running with President Bush at the height of his popularity, and despite being outspent by a margin of more than 2:1, we came within 1.5% of defeating Senator Bunning in 2004.
Today is a different day. Today there is a strong Democratic Governor in Frankfort, whom I am proud to serve as his Lt. Governor. Today there is a dynamic President in the White House, whom I was proud to be the only statewide elected official to support in his Democratic primary. And today I am even more determined to have the resources necessary to bring Kentucky the representation it so richly deserves in the U.S. Senate.
Tomorrow is the first test of our campaign. There are now just 38 hours left to collect seed funds for our Senate campaign, and I am writing you again this week to implore you to do all you can in these difficult times.
Your contribution of $100, $50, $35, or whatever you can will make a real difference as we put together a first rate campaign and take on Jim Bunning. Our first financial reporting period, our first sign of real strength, closes tomorrow night at midnight. It would mean a lot to me if you could click on www.drdanforkentucky.com and make a contribution today, or send a check to P.O. Box 4023 Frankfort, KY 40604, but please make sure that it is postmarked by March 31st.
The stakes could not be higher. As Governor Beshear said in his endorsement statement, our country faces tremendous challenges. I believe that my serving as the only doctor in the majority party in the United States Senate, and the experience that I have setting up a Kentucky plan to transform healthcare, making Kentucky a model for the nation - a plan that has caught the attention of the Obama Administration, can help make a real difference. But to make sure that we finish what we started in 2004, I will need your help. And today I am humbly asking for all the help you can give in these difficult times. Together we can make a real difference.
Mark Hebert reported that Senator Bunning’s job approval ratings further eroded in the last month. Senator Bunning’s Survey USA/WHAS-TV poll numbers for March were 39% approval and 48% disapproval. In February, his numbers were 41% approval and 44% disapproval.
More disturbing for the Senator was that his disapproval numbers were higher than his approval number for nearly every demographic category. For example, 53% of the sampled men disapproved of the Senator’s job performance while only 39% approved. Senator Bunning cannot win a general election with these numbers.
The three bright spots for the Senator were his numbers for Republican respondents (plus 7%), conservative respondents (plus 6 %), and Western Kentucky residents (plus 4%). With these numbers, he would be hard to beat in a Republican primary.
( Louisville , KY ) (On March 27, 2009) Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) presented ElderServe, Inc. with $225,000 for crime prevention services for Louisville seniors. Congressman Yarmuth secured the funding in FY09 Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill, which President Obama signed into law earlier this month.
ElderServe offers a network that coordinates existing services to help prevent elder abuse and neglect and offer care to seniors who are victims of crime. The organization will use the funding to expand the programs, giving them the ability to provide seven day-a-week preventative services and crisis intervention requests to homebound elderly, as well as a “safe house” for crime victims.
In addition to this funding, last month, the House passed Congressman Yarmuth’s legislation to expand ElderServe’s Emergency Crisis Response Teams program to a national level.
from Stuart Perelmuter of Congressman Yarmuth’s staff
( Washington , DC ) Today, Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) wants Louisvillians to know the federal government will send out $250 economic recovery payments to people who receive Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits beginning in early May 2009 and continuing throughout the month. No action is required to get the payment, which will be sent separately from the person’s regular monthly payment.
“These payments will provide much-needed help for Louisville seniors and disabled individuals to help make ends meet during the recession,” Congressman Yarmuth said. “With $13 billion going to 50 million Americans, these payments will provide a necessary injection of capital into the economy. I commend the Social Security Administration and Commissioner Michael Astrue for coordinating these payments so efficiently.”
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides for a one-time payment of $250 to adult Social Security beneficiaries, and to SSI recipients, except those receiving Medicaid in care facilities. To receive the payment the individual must be eligible for Social Security or SSI during the months of November 2008, December 2008 or January 2009.
The legislation also provides for a one-time payment to Veterans Affairs (VA) and Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) beneficiaries. The VA and RRB will be responsible for paying individuals under their respective programs. However, if someone receives Social Security and SSI, VA or RRB benefits, he or she will receive only one $250 payment. People getting Social Security or SSI should not contact the agency unless a payment is not received by June 4, 2009.
For more detailed information about the $250 one-time economic recovery payments, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/payment.
To learn more about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, go to www.recovery.gov.