Kentucky Politics Distilled: Pension Bill Derails

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The Arkansas Senate on Friday voted to approve an appropriation for the state treasurer's office that was stripped of a controversial provision to extend tax benefits to families that withdraw funds from their state-run 529 college-savings plans for expenses at kindergarten-12th grade private, religious or public schools.

They stood outside Bowen Tire and Auto on Frederica Street in Owensboro for more than an hour Saturday morning. Senate Bill 626 proposes a number of changes generally related to coal mining, including leaving safety plans to the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, instead of to state regulators.

"That's what we heard was going to happen, was 140 was going to be the vehicle to determine how much education gets", Vetter said, "and the budget would be where the money comes from". This is what we have.

The Senate recessed at 9:30 a.m. for a caucus meeting, came back briefly to announce a lunch break, and then reconvened at 1:30 p.m.to announce the decision to refer the bill back to committee.

The Senate's 31-0 vote on House Bill 1122 sent the measure to Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

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Sherry Johnson, who was forced to marry her rapist when she was 11, talks with reporters after the Florida Senate passed a bill she inspired that would ban child marriage in Tallahassee, Fla.

Lawmakers continued to negotiate the terms of opioid legislation, with the Senate standing firm in its position that insurance companies should not put obstacles in the way of medication-assisted therapy.

The legislative session was dominated by a nine days teachers strike, that ended with all state employees getting a five-percent raise. Salary increases for the remainder of public employees is a result of increases to personnel line items for each state agency.

"The reality is this: I'm saving the pension system. They got a pay raise for the teachers", said Del.

"This fight is not over, it is far from over", Jones said. "I'm cautiously optimistic and think we're heading in the right direction".

State lawmakers have taken painful steps to ensure the system is fully funded this year.

Road Plan. House Bill 202 would create a two-year state Road Plan that would authorize over $2.4 billion for bridges, repaving and other road and highway projects statewide through 2020.

Asked about the "walk in" protests, Kentucky's acting House Speaker David Osborne said: "I hope they walk in every day to teach our kids".

A bill that would require government entities to establish formal sexual harassment policies passed the House, but in the Senate, where sexual harassment scandals cost multiple members their jobs previous year, the bill stalled out.

This new law would also give judges the final say in underage marriage, but would require them to review the circumstances and have a private conversation with any 17-year-old intending to marry.

Beckett said protesters are encouraged to wear red to show support for public education and bring signs voicing their opinions. Local Kentucky Education Association union president Kelly Beckett said teachers are some of the "most highly educated voters in our state". When it comes to whether he'll pursue criminal or civil penalties, he said, "We'll have to see what their appetite for that is".

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