2019 General Assembly

Kentucky Governor Signs Concealed Carry Bill

Mar 12, 2019
Flickr/Creative Commons/James Case

Legislation allowing adults to carry a concealed handgun without a permit or training has been signed into law by Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin.

The Republican governor signed Senate Bill 150 Monday. Under the legislation, Kentuckians age 21 and up who are able to lawfully possess a firearm can conceal their weapons without a license. It takes effect in late June.

State lawmakers approved the bill earlier this month. Bevin has said most Kentuckians support it.


There are only four working days left in this year’s legislative session, but a lot can happen in a short period of time in the Kentucky General Assembly.

Lawmakers will meet for three days this week to pass bills before Gov. Matt Bevin considers whether to approve or reject legislation during a 10-day “veto period.”

Then, the legislature resumes for one final day on March 28 to consider overriding any of Bevin’s vetoes or passing any last-minute legislation.

Ryland Barton

Kentucky lawmakers have advanced a bill that would ask the state’s health cabinet to review its response to a deadly hepatitis A outbreak in Kentucky.

The outbreak began in 2017 and has led to more than 4,100 confirmed cases and 43 deaths.

Sen. Morgan McGarvey, a Democrat from Louisville and sponsor of the bill, said that he is not assigning blame for the outbreak “because we don’t have any answers.”

“This is to look at the local health departments, the response that the Cabinet had to say what happened, how did it happen and how can we prevent it from happening in the future,” McGarvey told the Senate Health and Welfare Committee.

Ryland Barton

Amid massive protests from teachers in the state Capitol Thursday, Gov. Matt Bevin spoke at an anti-abortion rally celebrating several bills that would restrict the procedure.

The state legislature is poised to pass several anti-abortion bills, including one that would ban the procedure as early as six weeks — earlier than many people realize they are pregnant.

During Thursday’s rally, Bevin called himself the “most pro-life governor in America” and said restricting abortion protects human life.


A bill that would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana to treat some medical conditions has passed out of a state legislative panel.

Though the legislation has a long way to go to pass out of the legislature, the move amounts to one of the only times that a medical marijuana proposal has advanced in the statehouse.

House Bill 136 would create a state-regulated system that would include growers, processors, dispensers and testers of marijuana.

Liz Schlemmer

Leaders of the Kentucky House and Senate have begun meeting behind closed doors to hammer out a final version of a bill that re-opens the two-year tax bill that passed last year.

A “free conference committee” is created when the two legislative chambers disagree on a final version of a bill. The process gives lawmakers wide latitude to make other additions to legislation.

But opponents of a separate bill that would give tax credits to people who make donations that go to private school scholarships are worried that the larger bill will wind up including the credit language.

Liz Schlemmer

Jefferson County Public Schools is closed on Wednesday, for the second time in a week, as educators rally in Frankfort to protest several pending pieces of legislation.

There are three specific bills drawing concerns: HB 525, which would remake the board that manages teacher pensions; SB 250, which only affects JCPS and would give the district’s superintendent more power, including to appoint principals, without the approval of a district school council; and HB 205, which would allow for scholarship tax credits.

MADD Kentucky Pushes Ignition Interlock Devices for All D.U.I. Offenders

Mar 6, 2019


Kentucky lawmakers have advanced a bill aimed at reducing drunken driving by increasing the use of a device that blocks vehicles from starting if the driver isn't sober.

The bill backed by the state's bourbon industry and the Mothers Against Drunk Driving group had stalled at a recent House Judiciary Committee meeting. The measure came up again on Wednesday, and committee members voted to get the bill moving again.


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State lawmakers are considering a bill to raise Kentucky’s gas tax by 10 cents per gallon, but the measure has a long way to go and time is running out on this year’s legislative session.

Revenue from the gas tax goes into the state’s road construction fund, which has struggled in recent years because of lower fuel prices and more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Kentucky Transportation Secretary Greg Thomas said that raising the tax rate is critical to help the state shore up the road fund and make fixes to crumbling infrastructure.

Ryland Barton

Kentucky’s Democratic candidates for governor mingled with educators who descended on Frankfort Thursday to oppose a bill that would make changes to the board that oversees the teacher pension system.

The state’s two largest school districts and a handful of others closed on Thursday after a large percentage of teachers called in sick.

Attorney General Andy Beshear, Rep. Rocky Adkins and former state auditor Adam Edelen — three of the four Democrats running for Kentucky governor — all mingled with the hundreds of educators and other supporters in Frankfort Thursday morning.

Alix Mattingly

A bill that would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected has almost passed out of the Kentucky legislature.

A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as the sixth week of pregnancy, earlier than some people first realize they are pregnant and far earlier than abortion protections created by the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.

Sen. Matt Castlen, a Republican from Owensboro and sponsor of the measure, invited a pregnant constituent to the Capitol so he could play the sound of the fetal heartbeat within her.

Flickr/Creative Commons/James Case

Kentuckians wouldn’t need a permit to carry concealed firearms under a bill that is nearing final passage in the state legislature. It now only has to pass out of the state House of Representatives and be signed by Gov. Matt Bevin.

Currently, concealed-carry holders have to take an eight-hour training course and have a background check to receive a permit.

Rep. Charles Booker, a Democrat from Louisville, said he was worried that the measure would lead to more gun violence.

Ryland Barton

A legislative panel has unanimously passed a bill to cut in half the salary of the state’s chief information officer, who happens to be a longtime friend of Gov. Matt Bevin.

The move comes after the Louisville Courier Journal reported last summer that Bevin gave Charles Grindle a $160,000 per year raise, making him the highest paid official in state government.

In fact, at $375,000, Grindle is the highest paid chief information officer in any state, according to the Council of State Governments.


Kentucky’s chief justice is sounding the alarm on a proposal to move lawsuits against the state and public officials from a court in Frankfort to a randomly selected judge from elsewhere in the state.

The measure comes after complaints from Republican Gov. Matt Bevin and GOP leaders of the legislature about rulings that came out of the current venue for such lawsuits — Franklin Circuit Court.

Chief Justice John Minton said that Senate Bill 2 would be “ruinous” for Kentucky’s judicial system because it would increase costs and create an unpredictable system.

Ryland Barton

Doctors would be required to tell patients seeking a medically-induced abortion that the procedure can be reversed, under a bill advancing through the Kentucky legislature despite warnings from medical professionals.

The measure was added to a bill that would require doctors to report all medically-induced abortions — one of at least four abortion-related measures moving through the legislature.

Sen. Robby Mills, a Republican from Henderson and sponsor of the bill, said that doctors should be required to tell patients that they can stop a medically-induced abortion if they “only take the first pill and not the second pill.”