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Kentucky Lawmakers Open 2013 Session with Several Hot Topics on To-Do List

LRC Public Information

Kentucky lawmakers Tuesday began the new legislative session with a lot on their plates. Legislators are expected to take up the state's struggling pension system for government retirees, changes to the state tax code, legislative redistricting, and more.

The House and Senate convened at noon eastern time.

A task force appointed by Gov. Steve Beshear and led by Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson is recommending a series of changes to the state's tax code that could generate an estimated $600 million in additional revenue. A task force made up by lawmakers is suggesting pumping more money into the state's pension system, which is suffering under a $33 billion unfunded liability.

That task force, however, didn't specify where it thinks lawmakers should get the money needed to shore up the pension system.

There are serious questions as to whether lawmakers can tackle these issues, plus everything else that will come up this session, during the 30 days allotted for the 2013 General Assembly.

Gov. Beshear also wants lawmakers to take on two issues he has unsuccessfully pushed before: raising the high school dropout age to 18, and adding casino gambling in the Bluegrass State.

The Governor recently said he's open to the idea of backing a casino gambling bill that excludes Kentucky's horse racetracks--a move that would likely draw intense opposition from the horse industry.

Gov. Beshear also says he'll strongly consider calling a special session for lawmakers to take up important issues that aren't dealt with during the regular session.

Kevin is the News Director at WKU Public Radio. He has been with the station since 1999, and was previously the Assistant News Director, and also served as local host of Morning Edition.
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