Kentucky Club for Growth
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February 27, 2012

Legislation -- RS12 Day 35

HB 115
On House Orders
It may be nice to know where your catfish are from, but this legislation is too heavy handed. Instead of imposing an enormous regulatory burden on Kentucky restaurants, requiring them to constantly reprint menus to always denote where their catfish are from, the General Assembly would do well to accept the amendments offered by Rep. Jim DeCesare that will promote Kentucky Proud catfish, and allow restaurants to make the information available upon request. PROBABLE KEY VOTE.

HB 202
On House Orders
This is a ridiculous health care mandate without precedent. Tying chiropractor reimbursement rates to the workers comp schedule is not only wrong because no other reimbursement rate is set in such a ridiculous way, but it is estimated to raise health care costs for insured Kentuckians by more than $43 million each year. That's almost $100 per insured individual. It's a health care mandate we don't need and a KEY VOTE.

HB 240
On House Orders
This legislation to eliminate to elected office of constable would seem to be bill helping to eliminate government. Constables are actually cost-effective for the taxpayer. The office is self supporting by charging fees for the service they provide, namely serving papers. On the other hand, were the office eliminated, this job would fall to the sheriff, whose employees fall under the County Employees Retirement System, an underfunded pension system backed by the taxpayer. Eliminating this office actually means more cost to the taxpayer which is why this bill is a KEY VOTE.

HB 255 and its amendments regarding prevailing wage requirements remain KEY VOTES on House Orders.

HB 326
On House Orders
This bill would create a legal assumption that, if a firefighter has cancer, the firefighter has cancer because he or she is a firefighter. Amendments offered would improve the legislation, but the law should not assume medical diagnosis. POSSIBLE KEY VOTE

Beshear Fails to Grant Casino Monopoly to Horse Tracks

It may be old news today, but there are still a few things worth noticing about this ridiculous failed effort.

The first we'll post about is how Beshear's own party rejected his plan.

Here's the message he had the state Democratic party send out last Wednesday before the Thursday vote:

Kentucky Democratic Party

Dear Friend:

The time has come to Let the People Vote on expanded gaming! I am excited to tell you that after almost two decades of discussion and debate on the issue of expanded gaming, today a State Senate committee passed a constitutional amendment that will finally let the people of Kentucky vote on whether or not they want expanded gaming in Kentucky.

For me, it's simple - Kentuckians are spending hundreds of millions of dollars at casinos in our neighboring states, and I think it's time we keep that money right here in Kentucky for our schools, our children, our roads, and our citizens.

This legislation could be voted by the full Senate as early as tomorrow. If you think it's time that the people of Kentucky decide, please call your senator and tell them to vote Yes on Senate Bill 151, the constitutional amendment that will FINALLY let the people vote on expanded gaming.

You can reach your senator by calling 502-564-8100 or 1-800-372-7181. If you are unsure who your senator is, please click here to find out.

Thank you,

Governor Steve Beshear

Not only did this message lead to a 16-21 defeat, it failed to convince five Democratic Senators to vote for it:
Sen. Julian Carroll,
Sen. Ray Jones,
Sen. Johnny Ray Turner,
Sen. Robyn Webb,
and Sen. Gerald Neal didn't even show up to vote, feeling that his presence at some other state board meeting was more important than the question of a horse track monopoly on casinos in Kentucky.

He was probably right.

February 22, 2012

Rally for Kentucky's Debt Ceiling

The Tea Party truly started ad popular opposition to runaway spending and debt.

Today, the Tea Party took to Frankfort to demand sensible limits on the level of debt the state issues.

From David Adams:

For years we have been talking about limiting government debt and now everyone is listening. We need to come together for a big push to turn the attention into action.

The state Senate has made limiting state debt their highest priority in 2012 in response to your efforts, but keeping them on task won't be quick or easy.

Confirmed speakers include congressional candidates Thomas Massie, Alecia Webb-Edgington, Gary Moore and Andy Barr and many more. I know it looks weird to have federal candidates speaking at an event about a state issue, but they all agree it is just that important.

There is a Facebook page for the event to help you spread the word. Click here to show your support and to help out.

February 16, 2012

Legislation -- RS12 Day 30

Legislation of concern to the taxpayer on the agenda:

HB 83
On agenda House Economic Development
Rep. Adam Koenig just wants to eliminate one agency that was investigated by the FBI in 2003 and then didn't meet for years. This is at least his third attempt. Why is it so hard to kill of even a non-functioning government program? The Club will KEY VOTE a 'yes' on our 2012 Legislative Scorecard.

HB 137
On agenda House Health and Welfare
Yet another new bureaucracy, this one to license and regulate radiation imaging and therapy. Does Kentucky not already have a medical licensing board that can handle specialties?

HB 215
On agenda House Labor & Labor
Here's a massive new state bureaucracy to set up oversight of electricians in every county in the state. The sponsors apparently want to force every local government to create this regulatory bureaucracy regardless of whether the local citizens find it necessary, otherwise the state will regulate it for them. This reads to us like big Kentucky cities forcing their regulatory preferences on the rest of the state. Possible KEY VOTE.

HB 216 regarding the age of compulsory education remains a KEY VOTE on House Orders.

HB 255 and its amendments regarding prevailing wage requirements remain KEY VOTES on House Orders.

HB 364
On agenda House Health and Welfare
The greater scrutiny of child placement that this bill requires is helpful. The COLA included in reimbursement rates will escalate costs at a rate of an additional $2.3 million annually. Such reimbursement rates are unsustainable and should not be considered outside the scope of the budget. KEY VOTE in its current form.

SB 50
On agenda Senate Judiciary
Fresh off their strong stand for incumbents in redistricting, the Stivers-Jensen team renew their efforts to ban helpful decongestants in the name of preventing criminals from buying them in Kentucky for misuse. We won't list all of the reasons this approach is unnecessarily burdensome for dubious effect again, but you can revisit them here. What's new in this version is an exemption "persons temporarily present in the Commonwealth in certain situations," creating a "Sorry gov, just passing through" loophole for transient criminals. Perhaps most interesting is the fact that the five cosponsors of the bill include Kentucky's two Senators who have been convicted of crimes! Our 2012 Scorecard will KEY VOTE this legislation negatively.

SB 77 remains a KEY VOTE on Senate Orders.

February 15, 2012

Legislation -- RS12 Day 29

Legislation of concern to the taxpayer on the agenda:

SB 77
On Senate Orders
This is a pro-growth bill that clarifies the process for dealing with employee misclassification in contracting. The classification rules in Kentucky are jumbled and vary from county to county. This legislation sets up a clear process for responsibility and correction of classification issues. The Club will KEY VOTE a 'yes' on our 2012 Legislative Scorecard.

SB 87
On agenda for discussion in Senate Natural Resources & Energy
This bill creates authority for a new telecommunications tax. Regardless of the merit of the intention of the bill, our phones are already overtaxed and the program should be funded out of existing funds. We oppose this tax increase and it will be a KEY VOTE on our 2012 Scorecard.

HB 88
On House Orders
This legislation seems to create a loophole for litigation in arbitration agreements, the very expensive litigation that arbitration agreements are designed to avoid. This legislation is pro-trial lawyer and anti-business. POSSIBLE KEY VOTE

HB 202
On agenda in House Banking and Insurance
This legislation is health care mandate that could cost Kentuckians over $33 million annually in increased health insurance costs, which breaks down to almost $100 per policyholder annually in Kentucky. The Club will KEY VOTE 'no' on our 2012 Legislative Scorecard.

HB 216
On House Orders
This is Governor Beshear's legislation to raise the dropout age in Kentucky. You can read our previous post about why this approach costs taxpayers money without actually addressing the problem. POSSIBLE KEY VOTE

HB 255 HFA1, HFA2
On House Orders
We are skeptical about the merits of the overall bill. It seems to create a new agency with bonding authority and instructions to lend to the next Solyndra, it will require further analysis and is only a POTENTIAL KEY VOTE.

HFA1 and HFA2, however, are definitely KEY VOTES. If Kentucky wishes to maximize its school construction dollar, then exempting that construction from artificial prevailing wage requirements will save 20%.

HB 282
On agenda in House Banking and Insurance
This legislation creates a giant new bureaucracy in an anti-competitive attempt to regulate certain providers of medical equipment. The new regulation and bureaucracy is also a new expense to state government. It also creates new crimes. POTENTIAL KEY VOTE.

HB 324
On agenda in House Local Government
Creating an automatic spending increase will inevitably go unchecked and get out of hand. While it has been ten years since this statute was created, if the rates need revision, they should be revised through the legislative process, not put on automatic pilot. POSSIBLE KEY VOTE.

February 6, 2012

Who Will Help Thayer?

So much has transpired since our morning post.

Earlier we wondered why would any of the Senate negotiators agree to a map that would make the Congressional Districts simply protect incumbents.

It seems we were right and wrong about the process though.

Although a negotiating committee had been named including Senators Robert Stivers, Tom Jensen and Damon Thayer, only Stivers has admitted to creating the map. Here, from MyCN2, he offers several explanations as to why he feels the need to capitulate on the Sixth District.

No one is asking for a "handpicked district", only a competitive one that is not gerrymandered to protect the incumbent. Instead of Mr. Stiver's strawman, let's look at the facts: is indefensible to remove any part of the Lexington suburb that is Jessamine County from Lexington's District. It is a gerrymander pure and simple that even the Lexington Herald-Leader editorial board acknowledged in November.

Don't sever Jessamine County from the 6th Congressional District. We understand the district anchored by Lexington must lose territory because of population gains. Moving Republican-leaning Jessamine would help Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler in his expected rematch with Republican Andy Barr next year. We've endorsed Chandler in all his political races. But Fayette and Jessamine counties are economic and social partners, their futures are linked and splitting them would weaken their voice in Congress.

While Ryan Alessi writes that this is not a "Stumbo map":

The compromise version, however, is not the plan of House Speaker Greg Stumbo. Republican senators, including Stivers, and representatives from Republican 5th District Congressman Hal Rogers have been negotiating over the map.

That denial does not square with his reporting from Thursday that noted these proposed changes were contained in a map that Stumbo said was satisfactory to US Reps. Hal Rogers and Ben Chandler.

Stumbo told reporters that representatives for Congressman Hal Rogers said he is happy with the map. The House speaker said he personally spoke with Democratic Congressman Ben Chandler of the 6th District who said he "is satisfied" with the latest version.

We were wrong to suggest conference committee negotiator Sen. Damon Thayer might be involved, however.

Whether Stumbo and Rogers agreed as Alessi reported on Thursday, or Stivers and Rogers agreed as Aslessi reported on Monday, Senator Thayer has made it clear that he was not a party to the negotiations, and he opposes the map.

Thayer and a few conservative Senators are making an effort to stop this Stumbo-Stivers-Rogers-Whoever agreement.

Call the Senate again today at 1-800- 372-7181, and tell them to stop this incumbent-protection gerrymander and help Sen. Thayer put forward a more sensible proposal.

URGENT: Calls Needed Monday Morning!!

First thing Monday morning we need you to call and email your Senator and tell them to REJECT the Stumbo proposal to gerrymander our Congressional Districts and protect incumbents! Call 1-800- 372-7181 and tell the Senate to reject the Stumbo "deal".

A deal has been reached to entrench our Congressional Delegation for a Decade

...according to House Speaker Greg Stumbo. If the plan Ryan Alessi describes in this article is enacted, it will weaken chances for conservatives in the First, Third, Fifth and Sixth Congressional Districts by gerrymandering strong conservative areas into the Second and Fourth Districts.

The Stumbo plan is particularly bad for the 6th District, conservatives and anyone who would like to challenge the incumbent Representative. According to Alessi, the plan would take Boyle, Mercer, Garrard, Lincoln, and Jessamine counties out of the 6th District, and replace them with Nicholas, Bath, Menifee and Rowan.

US Rep. Ben Chandler, who owns a pathetic lifetime score of 18% for protecting the taxpayer, would be protected for the next decade of his career.

How in the world could such a plan have the bipartisan agreement that Speaker Stumbo claims? We are a conservative, non-partisan organization, but we are continually bewildered at the efforts of some in positions of leadership in the Republican Party to betray the efforts of the party itself.

Surely Republican negotiators Sens. Robert Stivers, Tom Jensen and Damon Thayer would not agree to this horrible proposal?

If they did, It would represent the ultimate betrayal of conservatives by party insiders and reemphasize the need for new, conservative legislative leadership in Frankfort.

It is unbelievable, and seems so unlikely to be true.

But it is not without precedent. Just last year when David Williams stood up for responsible, conservative spending cuts, House Republican Leader Jeff Hoover instantly sided with Stumbo and Beshear. By undercutting Williams' proposal, the problem was ignored and today Kentucky faces a $190 million budget shortfall, just as we did before the Hoover-Stumbo-Beshear "fix".

Have Kentucky's Senators learned what happens when you're on the side of Greg Stumbo?

History has shown that we can't assume they will act in our best interests. CALL 1-800- 372-7181 MONDAY MORNING AND TELL THEM NO!

February 1, 2012

UPDATED So Who's Out?

UPDATE 2/1 - Rep. John Tilley did file.

UPDATE 11:59 - Rep. David Floyd is actually running for Senate. So the 50th District is an open seat

ORIGINAL POST - Pending court action, the filing deadline for the state legislature is today at 4PM.

We'll get to the challengers eventually. But for the Tuesday deadline, here's a list of incumbents who have not yet filed, and what we know about their intentions.

House of Representatives

Name (Party) District Notes
Fred Nesler (D) 2 Retired
Brent Housman (R) 3 Retired
Mike Cherry (D) 4 Retired
Melvin Henley (D) 5 Retired
John Tilley (D) 8 We would assume the House Judiciary Chair will file
Ben Waide (R) 10 Waide isn't really out. He will primary Rep. Myron Dossett in the 9th District.
Martha Jane King (D) 16 King will face Rep. Jim DeCesare for the 27th Senate District
Michael Mededith (R) 19 Meredith, like Waide, will primary an incumbent Republican in a new district. He will face Rep. C.B. Embry in the 17th
Jim DeCesare (R) 21 DeCesare will face Rep. Martha Jane King for the 27th Senate District
Tim Moore (R) 26 Moore has filed in the 19th District
Julie Raque Adams (R) 32 Adams will run for the 19th Senate seat
Lonnie Napier (R) 36 UPDATE: Napier has announced his retirement
David Floyd (R) 50 Floyd will seek the 15th Senate seat
James Comer (R) 53 Comer vacated this seat when he was elected Commissioner of Agriculture
Alicia Webb-Edgington (R) 63 Webb-Edgington is running for the US Congress in Kentucky's 4th District
Danny Ford (R) 80 Retired
Jill York (R) 96 Placed into the 99th District

Senate

Name (Party) District Notes
Ken Winters (R) 1 Retired
Vernie McGaha (R) 15 Retired
Tim Shaughnessy (D) 19 Retired
Jack Westwood (R) 23 Retired
Walter Blevins (D) 27 Retired
Perry Clark (D) 37 Redistricted to the 35th, retired

Quality Sites

Cato Institute
National Club for Growth

Blogs

AFP Blog
Alarming News
American Spectator
Ankle Biting Pundits
Betsy's Page
Boudreaux's Blog
Business & Media Institute
Cafe Hayek
Callaxy.net
Cato @ Liberty
CNBC's Squawk Blog
Constrained Vision, A
Coyote Blog
Dean's World
Federalist
Flash Report
Grassroots PA
Kudlow's Money Politics
Manufacturers' Blog
Marginal Revolution
NTU's Government Bytes
Newmark's Door
One Man's Trash
PoliPundit
Politics1.com
Politics of Money
Poor and Stupid
Porkopolis
Professor Bainbridge
Raising Farrahzona
RedState.com
Rossputin.com
Sibby Online
South Dakota Politics
Sports Economist, The
Tax Guru

Kentucky Blogs

Bluegrass Policy Blog
Blue Grass, Red State
ConservaChick
Conservative Edge
Conservative Musings
CyberHillbilly
Elendil's Blog
Jefferson Review
Jim Clark's Muckraker
Kentucky Pachyderm 2
Kentucky Progress
KY Wordsmith
On the Right!
Osi Speaks!
Page One Kentucky
The Pure Investor
Vere Loqui

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The KY Club for Growth seeks principled candidates who are committed to the following:

* Free market principles
* Lowering taxes
* Reducing spending
* Decreasing the size of government
* Judicial reform
* Protecting property rights
* Expanding school choice
* Reducing needless regulation

We will hold endorsed candidates accountable for these principles by monitoring each candidate on a vote-by-vote basis. As a Club member, you will receive candidate monitoring updates and scorecards on a regular basis. Join us today.