But the sponsor of House Bill 480, House State Government chairman Mike Cherry, D-Princeton, removed from the measure term limits for members on the boards overseeing billions of dollars held by the Kentucky Retirement Systems, the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System and the Judicial Form Retirement System.
He also deleted from the bill a requirement that the state auditor review the retirement systems every five years.
Cherry said he made the deletions because he wants to see what recommendations state Auditor Crit Luallen may have after she is finished with her review of the Kentucky Retirement Systems.
FRANKFORT — A politically-divided Senate approved a proposal Wednesday to cancel a costly benefit that allows state lawmakers to pad their legislative pensions by taking full-time state jobs.
The controversial retirement perk was wielded as a political weapon in recent months by Gov. Steve Beshear as he tried to gain control of the state Senate from Republicans.
Before approving the bill in a 21-17 vote, Democrats and Republican argued vehemently about whether the proposed change has any real effect on current lawmakers.
The bill’s sponsor, newly-elected Republican state Sen. Jimmy Higdon of Lebanon, said the measure affects all lawmakers who retire in the future, but Senate Democrats said the proposal only impacts future lawmakers.
Senate Minority Leader Ed Worley, D-Richmond, called the measure “a feel-good political bill” with no immediate impact.
FRANKFORT — Republican Senator Dan Kelly is one of three lawyers nominated for an open circuit court position, which could pave the way for a special election in Kelly’s senate district.
A seven-member judicial nominating commission on Friday named Kelly and lawyers Bryan Bennett of Campbellsville and Samuel Todd Spalding of Lebanon as nominees for the position in the 11th Judicial District that has been vacant since Jan. 31.
The three names will now go to Gov. Steve Beshear.
Jay Blanton, a spokesman for Beshear, said Beshear will likely take a few days before making an appointment. According to the Constitution, Beshear has up to 60 days to make an appointment after he receives the nominations.
FRANKFORT — Senate Republicans voted Friday to name Sen. Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, as Senate Majority Leader, a key position in the state Senate.
Stivers and Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, were both nominated to take the position recently vacated by Sen. Dan Kelly, R-Springfield. Kelly resigned from the position two weeks ago. Kelly has been in the number two position for the Republicans in the Senate since 1994.
FRANKFORT – Senate Republicans will meet privately Friday to choose a replacement for Senate Majority Leader Dan Kelly, who resigned his leadership position about two weeks ago with no public announcement, Senate GOP Whip Carroll Gibson said Wednesday.
Gibson said two Republican senators — Robert Stivers of Manchester and Ken Winters of Murray –- have expressed interest to him about becoming the party’s floor leader.
Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, also said he is “definitely interested” in the position. Still, Thayer acknowledged that “Sen. Stivers probably has got the votes to win but I think the caucus needs a race for leadership.
Gibson, of Leitchfield, said he would not seek the position.
FRANKFORT — A former Democratic state representative from Bardstown and a current Republican state representative from Lebanon have signaled their intent to run for the seat held by Republican Sen. Dan Kelly in the 2010 election.
According to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance, contractor Jodie Haydon,who retired from the legislature in 2004, filed paperwork on Wednesday allowing him to raise money for a potential Senate race. On the Republican ticket, Rep. Jimmy Higdon and Kelly have also filed paperwork to seek the seat that may become open before the 2010 election.
Kelly, R-Springfield, has not commented on whether he is interested in an open Circuit Court judgeship in the 11th Judicial District. But Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, has said he expects Democrat Gov. Steve Beshear to tap Kelly for the job in an attempt to further thin the ranks of the Republican majority in the Senate.
A judicial nominating commission is supposed to meet before the end of this month to pick three candidates for the job. Beshear will then choose from the three nominees.
If Beshear chooses Kelly, a special election would likely be held for his Senate seat. In a special election, the respective parties nominate candidates for the position. If Higdon and Haydon are the nominees, they could amend their paperwork with the registry to start raising money for the special election.
Haydon could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday. Higdon, a Lebanon businessman, filed his paperwork with the registry on Sept. 14. Senate District 14 includes Marion, Mercer, Nelson, Taylor and Washington counties.
– Beth Musgrave
FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear appointed Kristi Renee Castillo, an associate in the Burkesville law firm of Senate President David Williams, to a district court judgeship.
Castillo is to serve as district judge for the 60th Judicial District made up of Cumberland and Monroe counties until the Nov. 2, 2010, general election. She replaces Steve D. Hurt, who resigned.
FRANKFORT – The state courts system started the process Wednesday to fill a vacant judgeship that has been linked to Democratic efforts to retake control of the state Senate.
The Court of Justice filed on its Web site Wednesday a notice about filling the vacancy created by last January’s resignation of Doughlas M. George as circuit judge in the 11th Judicial Circuit, which covers Green, Marion, Taylor and Washington counties. George resigned to join the senior judges program and is currently serving as a senior judge.
The notice said any person who wants to be nominated or to recommend someone for the vacancy should notify the Judicial Nominating Commission by Sept. 22. Any attorney in the circuit interested in being considered for the vacancy must return a questionnaire to the state courts by Oct. 6.
The nominating commission, tentatively scheduled to meet Oct. 23, must present three names to Gov. Steve Beshear, who will appoint George’s replacement.
FRANKFORT — Senate President David Williams accused Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear of poisoning the bipartisan spirit in the legislature by offering key Republican senators positions in state government.
Williams, the Republican leader of the Senate, said Wednesday after a legislative meeting that Beshear has long said that it didn’t matter if it was a Republican idea or a Democrat idea.
“He has no idea as far as the political atmosphere here — he’s poisoning it,” Williams said.
Williams was referring to the recent election of former state Rep. Robin Webb, D-Grayson, to the state Senate. Webb beat Republican candidate Dr. Jack Ditty. The Aug. 25 special election was called after long-time Republican Senator Charlie Borders resigned after Beshear appointed him to the Public Service Commission.
By Jack Brammer – email@example.com
FRANKFORT — Shortly after a Senate committee last month killed a bill to allow slot machines at Kentucky racetracks, former Democratic Gov. Brereton Jones told more than 900 disappointed advocates gathered at Keeneland that a “revolution” was needed in the Senate.
Jones, a thoroughbred breeder and chairman of the Kentucky Equine Education Project, focused his ire on Senate President David Williams. The only way to topple a dictator, he said, is with a revolution.
Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat who made expanded gambling a major issue in his 2007 campaign, is taking steps to foment such a movement, but it’s loaded with risk.
“I think he’s walking on thin ice,” said Williams, a Burkesville Republican who has presided over the Republican-controlled Senate since 2000.