News briefs from around Kentucky at 1:59 a.m. EST

Thursday, March 6, 2014

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Senate proposal would reduce legislative sessions

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - The Kentucky Senate’s top leader Wednesday proposed reducing the number of days lawmakers meet each year, saying it would save millions of dollars each year and entice a broader range of people to run for the General Assembly.

Senate President Robert Stivers took to the Senate floor to promote his bill, which seeks to amend the Kentucky Constitution to revamp the legislative calendar. The measure would go on the November ballot for Kentucky voters to decide if it clears the legislature.

In his Senate speech, Stivers said lawmakers “need to lead by example” at a time when they are considering another round of budget cuts. The Manchester Republican estimated his proposal would save the state about $7 million each year.

“I’ve had many members come up to me saying this is returning back to a true citizen legislature,” he said.

The current schedule discourages some people from running for the General Assembly because they can’t afford to be away from work for sessions that last so long, Stivers said. For example, more educators used to serve as lawmakers, he said.

“Differing people can’t come up here and afford to keep their jobs,” he said.

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Gay-rights bill gets hearing from Ky. House panel

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A former police officer who claims he lost his job because of his sexual orientation joined gay-rights advocates Wednesday in urging Kentucky lawmakers to protect homosexuals and bisexuals from discrimination in the workplace, in public places and housing.

Gay-rights supporters said the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the anti-discrimination bill represented a historic step forward. For more than a decade, similar anti-discrimination measures died without receiving hearings in the General Assembly.

The committee did not vote on the measure Wednesday, and panel members didn’t ask questions after presentations by a series of bill supporters.

“I’m a proud Christian, a Republican, a gun owner and I’m gay,” said Kile Nave, a former police officer in a small urban community in Jefferson County. “And I deserve to be protected from discrimination like everyone else.”

Nave said he lost his job in 2012, more than two decades into his police career. After he filed a complaint, the Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission found probable cause that he was fired because of his sexual orientation, he said.

Louisville is among a half-dozen Kentucky cities with ordinances banning discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations based on sexual orientation. The legislation reviewed Wednesday would ban anti-gay discrimination in those same settings across Kentucky.

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