Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)


February 11, 2013

Disagreement beginning to show in Frankfort


Feb. 11, 2013 —

On Friday, the House passed House Bill 1, a bill to require special taxing districts to provide financial accountability, on a vote of 99-1. So far, there has appeared no real opposition to the measure in the Senate but there are at least a couple of senators who have expressed some reservation about the impact of the bill on some districts.

The House also passed a bill authorizing public universities to issue bonds for construction projects and pay off those bonds through revenues the universities generate. No direct tax dollars are involved. Six universities will construct 11 facilities — from academic buildings to residence dormitories to upgrades to the University of Kentucky football stadium — totaling $363 million.

The House and Welfare Committee on Thursday approved a bill which in previous years would have been considered dead on arrival — a statewide smoking ban in all indoor workplaces and public accommodations.

Such statewide bans exist in 29 states, but tobacco was once the principal agricultural product for thousands of Kentucky farmers. The bill now must pass the House where Stumbo supports it. But even if it passes the lower chamber, it faces an uncertain fate in the more conservative Senate.

The Senate Judiciary Committee sent to the Senate floor a bill which would allow convicted felons to seek DNA testing of evidence to prove their innocence. Currently in Kentucky, only death row inmates are allowed to pursue such a remedy.

Sponsor Sen. John Schickel told the committee he was shocked to learn others couldn’t try to prove their innocence through DNA testing and called the bill “a matter of justice.”

But a substitute version of the bill, approved by the committee, would exclude those who accepted Alford Pleas (not an admission of guilt but rather concession the evidence is sufficient to convict the defendant) or those who pleaded guilty.

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