- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Kentucky Budget bill goes to governor’s desk

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - The Kentucky General Assembly approved a $20.3 billion biennial spending plan Monday that authorizes $20.3 billion in spending for education, Medicaid, pensions, and other state government services while cutting spending in many state agencies by 5 percent through fiscal 2016.

The budget bill passed Monday by final votes of 89-11 in the House and 37-1 in the Senate and was sent to Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear before both chambers adjourned. They return April 14 for a two-day session to review any vetoes of legislation passed in the recent session.

Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee Chairman Bob Leeper, an Independent from Paducah, said the final budget package approved by lawmakers sets Kentucky on a good stead for the future.

“It makes me feel good about what you all will face in the next biennium,” Leeper said.

Democratic leaders in the House and Republican leaders in the Senate spent most of Monday in closed-door meetings finalizing the plan.

The bill would allow state university budgets a 1.5 percent cut rather than 2.5 percent as proposed by the governor, and restores bond authorizations for university projects.

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Kentucky legislature finishing work for 2014

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - The Kentucky General Assembly on Monday banned electronic cigarette sales to minors and approved the state’s first use of a medicinal marijuana product, among other measures, on the legislature’s last day before the upcoming veto session.

Notable bills that are likely dead include bills banning natural gas companies from seizing private land for a proposed oil pipeline and a bill restoring voting rights to some convicted felons.

Democratic leaders in the House and Republican leaders in the Senate spent most of the day in closed-door caucus meetings finishing work on the state’s $20 billion biennial budget and working out compromises on various pieces of legislation.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, lamented what he called divided government hindering the work of the lawmakers.

“There are only four states like Kentucky where we have divided government. We have deep philosophical differences with (Democratic House) Speaker (Greg) Stumbo and his caucus,” Thayer said. “They have deep philosophical differences with us about the role of government and about debt and about spending. So it’s difficult to work through those.”

Once they finish working Monday, lawmakers will adjourn for two weeks, giving Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear time to either sign or veto legislation.

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