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Legislation that would allow registered independents to vote in party primaries in Kentucky is unlikely to pass this year.

The Senate has passed the bill, but it does not have enough support to clear a House committee.

The measure would let the nearly 200,000 independents in Kentucky choose a primary to vote in for each election. Senator Jimmy Higdon sponsored the measure and he says he will try to pass it again next year.

Opponents of the bill say primaries should be meant for the party faithful to choose candidates.

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The Associated Press is reporting that lawmakers in Kentucky are threatening to declare the commonwealth a “Sanctuary state,” placing it out of the reach of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Republican Senator Brandon Smith, who chairs the Energy and Environment Committee, says environmental regulation is hurting Kentucky, and he’s proposed legislation that would block the EPA from enforcing regulations in Kentucky.

But the bill is unenforceable, and Smith says it’s meant to send a message to President Barack Obama.

by Graham Shelby

The mayors of Louisville and Lexington spoke together in Frankfort on Wednesday and called for Kentucky’s leaders in business and government to think big and think creatively about the future of the Commonwealth.

(via CN2)

Addressing the Local Government Committee of the Kentucky House, Fisher followed up on his State of the City speech and said he takes inspiration from North Carolina’s Research Triangle of Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh.

“Regional partnerships are important. We’re living in a world right now that’s rapidly urbanizing….when we look out twenty years from now…unless Louisville, Lexington, E-town – our geographic cluster is seen as a three or four million (person) population cluster, investments from Washington D.C., international investments will not be as quick to come to our state,” he said.

Fisher said the region already has significant number of businesses in industries like aging care, logistics and automotive manufacturing among others.

Gray said he agreed with Fisher on the principles that should guide Kentucky in the 21st century. “Innovation and imagination and invention – focusing on job creation….We need all the help we can get.”

About 300 people gathered in Frankfort Tuesday to protest an Arizona-style immigration bill making its way through the General Assembly.

The legislation gives local and state police broad authority to check the immigration status of people they suspect to be in the country illegally. The bill passed the GOP-controlled Senate, but faces an uncertain future in the Democratically-led House.

Senator Perry Clark of Louisville is one of the bill’s leading opponents. He says the legislation is unnecessary and expensive. The Legislative Research Commission estimated the bill would cost the commonwealth $89 million a year, primarily due to increased incarceration.

We reported on the general concept, possible necessity and relative likelyhood of tax code changes for Kentucky earlier this week. Now Representative Jim Wayne has introduced legislation on the issue.

Secretary of State Trey Grayson has started his new job at Harvard. He talked about his decision and his possible return to electoral politics on WFPL.

He also wrote a goodbye letter to his former constituents.

And he talked to CN2 about his departure, too.

Senate President David Williams and House Appropriations Chair Rick Rand spoke at the Louisville forum Wednesday.

Here is the WFPL story, in which Rep. Rand says the Arizona-style immigration bill and the neighborhood schools bill are unlikely to go further than the State Senate. JCTA President Brent McKim also comments.

Here is the full audio of the forum (mp3).

State Representative Rick Nelson has pre-filed legislation that would require…someone to disclose (upon request) the names of people who post anonymously online.

I say “…someone” because it’s unclear in the legislation who that would be. The bill would “require providers of these services [sites, blogs, message boards] to conspicuously identify the parties who post entries; require providers of these services to disclose, upon request, the names, addresses, and e-mail addresses of parties posting entries”

But who is the provider? Is it the ISP or the host? It’s also unlikely this could pass a legal challenge or apply to out of state residents, hosts and ISPs.

Page One has more, and it seems that Jake is no fan of Rep. Nelson.

Kentucky’s General Fund receipts are up 4.6% over July of last year:

  • Individual income taxes up 3.3%
  • Sales taxes up 8.1%
  • Corporate income tax up 25.2%
  • Cigarette taxes down 5.6%
  • Property taxes down 9.8%
  • Coal severance taxes up 0.5%
  • Lottery up 3.6%

So what exactly will happen if the General Assembly doesn’t pass a budget before adjourning?

John Cheeves has the answers:

Q: What is the governor authorized to do without a budget?

A: He’ll have to shut down much of the state government, but nobody is sure about many important details.

After the legislature failed to pass budgets in 2002 and 2004, governors Paul Patton and Ernie Fletcher kept the state running through their own informal spending plans.

But the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that governors can’t spend money without a budget unless it’s for one of the few items required to be funded by the Kentucky Constitution or statutes, such as elementary and secondary schools, prisons, a militia and “the safekeeping of public arms, military records, relics and banners.” By law, salaries must be paid to legislators and the governor and other statewide constitutional officers.

[edit]

Q: What happens to essential services not mentioned in the Constitution, like the Kentucky State Police?

A: This is where it gets murky because the state has yet to experience a shutdown under the court’s ruling.

The court clearly envisioned a bare-bones operation without a budget. But it did not specify which services — such as universities, mental health treatment, parks and highway construction — must end. Nor did it explain if entitlement programs like Medicaid, which is a federal-state partnership, should be considered a federal mandate that could continue.

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