Anti-poverty protest gets constrained at Capitol

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For the second week in a row, a group of protesters with the Poor People’s Campaign were denied entry to the State Capitol in large numbers. Only two at a time were allowed to enter the Capitol.

By Charles Bertram

Anti-poverty protest gets constrained at Capitol. State police say why.

By Jack Brammer

Updated June 11, 2018 08:35 PM

FRANKFORT

Crying out this is “our house,” about 100 members of an anti-poverty group were stopped at the front doors of the Kentucky Capitol Monday afternoon for the second time this month and were told by police only two at a time could enter.

Two leaders of The Poor People’s Campaign who did enter the august seat of state government made it to the front door of Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s office but found its entrance cordoned off with a blue rope and a state trooper. After a few minutes, the door was shut.

Pam McMichael of Louisville and Tayna Fogle of Lexington protested the lack of access and left after giving office staff a lengthy petition of grievances involving wages, union rights, public housing and affordable education. “We will be back,” said Fogle.

For five straight Mondays, the Poor People’s Campaign has been at the state Capitol to address what it says is inequality for poor people. Its efforts seem to be growing in intensity as the standoffs with police remain peaceful.

Kentucky State Police Commissioner Richard W. Sanders, in a June 8 reply to Democratic state Reps. George Brown Jr. of Lexington and Attica Scott of Louisville on why the protesters were blocked from entering the Capitol, said the policy was based on “prior unlawful acts” by members of the group and not the group’s message.

Brown said Monday night he has not seen the commissioner’s letter reported by Louisville’s WDRB-TV. Scott could not be reached for comment.

In his letter, Sanders mentioned the group’s blocking the roadway behind the Capitol last month and entering the grounds of the Governor’s Mansion and leaving chalk messages.

McMichael said Monday night that the group has used “several methods to bring attention to our issues.” She acknowledge that some of the group blocked the Capitol street for 45 to 60 minutes and conducted a “die-in” on the Mansion grounds where members lay down and drew chalk lines around the bodies and left messages.

Sanders also said in his letter that some members of the campaign wore white armbands with attorney’s names on them in a quest to be arrested.

Of that, McMichael said, “None of us want to be arrested. The armbands show we are willing to be arrested.”

Sanders also said the group got approval to meet on the porch behind the Capitol but did not ask to meet inside.

He said the limited-access policy “was enacted for such a group that has advertised, planned and trained to compel law-enforcement to arrest them.”

Sanders said this protocol “would not be applicable to guests or other demonstrators who plan to make their voices heard at the Capitol and then leave after following all laws and regulations.”

On June 4, the Rev. William J. Barber II of North Carolina, national co-chairman of the Poor People’s Campaign, spoke to about 400 in front of the statehouse and tried unsuccessfully to lead many of them into the Capitol.

Kentucky State Police spokesman Josh Lawson then said access was limited to the demonstrators because the group did not seek approval to protest inside the building. He also said the policy of two demonstrators at a time into the building stemmed from some protesters who spent the night in the Capitol a few weeks ago.

Asked Monday why the Poor People’s Campaign has not sought approval to protest inside the Capitol, Fogle said that should not be the case and she believed her group was being targeted by the government. She noted that other people were being allowed into the Capitol in groups larger than two.

McMichael said Barber is tentatively scheduled to hold a news conference 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Capitol and the group is considering a possible lawsuit.

Before the group tried to enter the Capitol Monday, it held a rally in front of the Capitol led by the Rev. Megan Huston of Bowling Green’s First Christian Church that featured speeches, songs and signs. In the rally was Bill Londrigan, head of the state AFL-CIO who held a sign that read, “Stop the War on Working Families.”

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, a Democrat who has been mentioned as a possible candidate for governor next year, delivered bottled water to the group and said its members are “always welcome to my office in the Capitol.”

The speakers included Carlos Santacruz of the national campaign in New York, who urged the crowed to “take back your house” and Hunter Malone, who identified himself as “a proud, gay man” from Berea and pledged, “We will not let them get by with this.” The singers included Charles “Chuck” Neblett of Russellville, a civil rights activist who helped found The Freedom Singers in 1962.

The group tried to enter the Capitol at 3 p.m. and was met by six Capitol security guards. Several state police troopers were in the background. The crowd was told only two could enter at one time and the others could go no farther than two metal detectors a few feet from the front door.

A large crowd stood in front of the machines and eventually knelt in prayer. Fogle told the officers the Poor People’s Campaign knew they didn’t make much money and the group might stay awhile so the police could get overtime.

Several members of the group remained inside the front door of the Capitol into the evening Monday. All of the protesters had had left the Capitol by 8:30 p.m.

A Kentucky State Police sergeant stood guard in the governor's office as Tayna Fogle, middle, and Pam McMichael, right, attempted, unsuccessfully, to gain access to the office to deliver a petition Monday afternoon.

A Kentucky State Police sergeant stood guard in the governor’s office as Tayna Fogle, middle, and Pam McMichael, right, attempted, unsuccessfully, to gain access to the office to deliver a petition Monday afternoon. Charles Bertram cbertram@herald-leader.com

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(KY) Judge Weighs Whether Lawmakers Can Revive Dead Legislation

A Kentucky judge is questioning how the state legislature passed a pension overhaul bill that prompted thousands of teachers to protest.

June 7, 2018, at 4:13 p.m.

By ADAM BEAM, Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP)Kentucky has lots of abandoned private sewer systems causing problems for homeowners. To fix this, a state lawmaker sponsored a bill to let local governments buy these systems, even if they are outside the government’s boundaries.

But when lawmakers gutted the 11-page sewer bill and replaced it with a 291-page overhaul of the state pension system, howls of protest echoed through the Capitol. Because the bill had technically already passed the Senate, lawmakers were able to send it to the governor’s desk in about six hours instead of the minimum five days the state Constitution requires to pass new legislation. The bill was not available for the public to read until the day after lawmakers passed it.

Lawmakers in Kentucky and state Capitols across the country routinely use this process to pass bills in the waning days of a legislative session, arguing it is sometimes the only way to pass complex and contentious legislation within the tight deadlines imposed by their state constitutions. But Thursday, a state judge questioned whether it was legal during a hearing on a lawsuit seeking to block the pension bill.

“We have a Lazarus problem here. How can you raise a bill from the dead without starting over?” Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd said.

Thursday’s hearing in the case to nullify the pension law was the first step in a legal process that will likely end at the state Supreme Court. The question of how lawmakers pass legislation could be the main issue. Shepherd indicated as much Thursday as he spent most of his time asking questions about the process and saying he had concerns about its effects on “open and transparent legislation.”

Lawmakers have been using this process for decades. In 2015, they turned a bill about prison health care into an anti-drug bill that increased penalties for heroin dealers and directed more money toward substance abuse treatment. In 2017, lawmakers turned a bill about dog bites into one that overhauled the University of Louisville’s broad of trustees as it was in a crisis over its accreditation.

David Fleenor, an attorney for Kentucky’s legislative leaders, noted lawmakers did not pull the pension bill out of thin air. The bill had previously been Senate bill 1, which had gone through the legislative process with public hearings but had gotten bogged down in the Senate. When lawmakers finally reached agreement to pass it, they did not have enough time left to do it the usual way.

“This is a citizen legislature that is there for a very finite period of time,” said David Fleenor, an attorney for Senate President Robert Stivers. “You need a mechanism to be able to do that.”

Stephen Pitt, an attorney for Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, warned if the court ruled this process was illegal it would open the door for countless other bills to be challenged. But Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear dismissed that as a “scare tactic.” He noted the same argument was used a few years ago in a lawsuit challenging the legislative practice of stopping the clock on the last day of the session to give lawmakers more time to pass bills. The court ruled that was illegal, and it did not result in a cascade of nullified laws.

Beshear argued the practice of gutting and replacing bills shuts out the public because the legislature moves so fast it does not give them a chance to participate.

“You call it a Lazarus situation, this is like a Walking Dead bill,” Beshear said. “You have to kill it twice.”

Teachers and other state workers packed the courtroom for Thursday’s hearing, some wearing red t-shirts that read “a pension is a promise.” Erin Grace, a 37-year-old teacher at Rockcastle County High School, said one way or another, the bill will be overturned.

“If it’s not overturned in court, we’re going to elect people that are going to reverse it as quickly as it was enacted,” she said.

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(KY) SENATOR DAVID GIVENS’ LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

For Immediate Release

April 6, 2018

SENATOR DAVID GIVENS’ LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

After a productive 58th day of the 2018 Legislative Session that saw the passing of several significant bills to benefit the Commonwealth, we have now entered a 10-day “veto recess” where Governor Matt Bevin will have the opportunity to sign and veto bills passed by the Kentucky General Assembly. The most significant measures to pass on Monday, April 2, were a budget and a revenue bill that will dictate how our state collects and appropriates funding for the next two years.

Some of the budget highlights included historical funding levels for state education, including record-high SEEK per-pupil funding, in addition to funding SEEK transportation at historic levels. All the charter school funding language was also removed from the budget. We fully funded the Department of Veterans Affairs and the State Police and shored up our state’s pension systems, including the Teachers’ Retirement System, by fully funding them. This bill also ensures that retired teachers will see no health care premium increases or coverage decreases. Lastly, there are raises for our social workers who are on the front lines of taking care of our state’s most vulnerable.

Kentucky’s ailing pension systems have commanded significant funding increases in recent years and in order to honor our commitment to our retirement systems, we needed to come up with some added revenue to protect other vital government entities from funding reductions. Our approach decreased Kentucky’s tax income rate while broadening the tax base, a shift to a more consumption-based tax system which relies more on spending habits. This allows Kentuckians to keep more of their hard-earned income.

People have expressed concern to me that HB 366, the state’s revenue bill that also includes tax reform, raises the income tax on Kentucky’s most vulnerable. This is simply not the case. This proposal creates a flat income tax of five percent. If you make less than 133 percent of the poverty level (roughly around $18,000 or less) you are exempt from paying income taxes. If you make between $18,000-$75,000, your tax income tax rate will be lowered from 5.8 percent to five percent, keeping more money in the pockets of hard-working Kentuckians.

These are just a few of the biennium budget highlights, but ultimately our focus remained on fully funding education, providing for our public protectors, and ensuring our pension systems are fully funded. In our budget bill, we dedicated approximately $3.3 billion in funding, nearly 14 percent of the total budget, to help fund these ailing pension systems. We made a promise to our state employees, and these two bills help us keep that promise.

In addition to passing the Commonwealth’s budget and revenue bills, we passed a number of other measures this week. House Bill 1 is a comprehensive overhaul of Kentucky’s foster care and adoption system. More than 8,600 Kentucky children are now in foster care and awaiting permanent homes, and the need for such reform has been obvious for a long time. House Bill 1 includes major provisions that would expand the definition of blood relative for child placement.

The legislation would also require more case reviews for each child in foster care, create a “putative father registry” so that a child’s possible (but not verified) biological father can be notified of the child’s prospective adoption, and allow the state to seek termination of parental rights for new mothers who will not seek drug treatment after giving birth to a drug-addicted baby.

Senate changes to HB 1 that made it into the final bill include provisions that would protect a mother from losing her parental rights if she was properly prescribed and using medication that could have caused her newborn’s addiction. The amended bill would also clarify that foster parents and child placement agencies be given a 10-day notice before a foster child is reunited with his or her birth parents or placed in a new home.

Senate Bill 5 was also given final passage this week. This bill levels the playing field for small-town, locally-owned pharmacies. Senate Bill 5, as amended by the House, would make the Kentucky Department for Medicaid Services in charge of setting the reimbursement rates for a pharmacist. The rate is currently set by pharmacy-benefit managers (PBMs) hired by the state’s Medicaid managed-care organizations (MCOs). Kentucky Medicaid spends $1.7 billion annually on prescriptions and SB 5 would help authorities track that money and determine whether locally-owned pharmacies were being reimbursed fairly.

We also passed House Bill 362, which allows for the phase-in of increased pension costs for local governments. Recently, the Kentucky Retirement Systems Board adjusted their assumptions to require cities, counties, and other quasi-governmental entities to increase their pension contributions. If those increased pension contribution costs were not phased in over time, several of these local governments would be at risk of bankruptcy.

Passage of major pension reform legislation in recent weeks allowed us to justify the decision to allow counties and cities to phase-in these costly pension contributions, which was the language passed in House Bill 362. While this measure represented a win for local governments and quasi-governmental entities, it reiterated the need for raising revenue through tax reform, as we did in House Bill 366.

There are only two days left in the 2018 Regular Session. We will reconvene for those final two days on Friday, April 13, and Saturday, April 14. Kentucky’s constitution requires the General Assembly to be adjourned by April 15, and since April 15 is a Sunday and we cannot constitutionally meet that day, we must finish the state’s business by midnight on April 14. It has been an honor to represent you and our district in Frankfort, and I thank you for engaging in the legislative process.

If you have any questions or comments about these issues or any other public policy issue, please call me toll-free at 1-800-372-7181.  You can also review the Legislature’s work online at www.lrc.ky.gov.

# # #

Note:  Senator David Givens (R-Greensburg) represents the 9th District including Allen, Barren, Green, Metcalfe, Monroe and Simpson Counties.  He serves as a member of the Appropriations and Revenue Committee, the Agriculture Committee, the Education Committee, the Enrollment Committee, and the Health and Welfare Committee. For a high-resolution .jpeg of Senator Givens, please log onto http://www.lrc.ky.gov/pubinfo/portraits/senate09.jpg.

(KY) Bourbon by mail: Bill would make it possible

For Immediate Release

April 2, 2018

Bourbon by mail: Bill would make it possible

FRANKFORT – A measure that would allow direct shipment of alcoholic beverages received final passage today in the state Senate and is on its way to the governor to be signed into law.

The measure, known as House Bill 400, is an economic development and tourism bill, said Sen. John Schickel, R-Union, who presented the measure in the Senate today.

“As our Kentucky bourbon industry experience continues to grow and become more of a Napa Valley-type experience with more than 1.2 million visitors last year alone, the No. 1 question asked by visitors that come to our commonwealth is why can’t they have these items shipped directly home?” he said.

HB 400 would address this by allowing visitors at bourbon distilleries to ship limited amounts of spirits home as well as join bourbon of the month clubs, Schickel said. HB 400 would also permit vineyards to ship specific amounts of wine out of state.

Another provision would allow liquor stores to ship a limited amount of spirits purchased from their shops. In addition, it would also require the shippers of the spirits to verify the delivery is made to someone at least 21 years old living in a “wet” area.

House Bill 400 is another important step on removing artificial barriers to free enterprise,” said Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown. “It is another step in unraveling the overly obtrusive post-Prohibition alcohol laws that have been in place in Kentucky for over a half-century.”

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Chad McCoy, R-Bardstown, passed the Senate on a 33-5 vote.

HB 400 contains an emergency clause, meaning it would become law upon the governor’s signature.

— END –

http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/18RS/HB400.htm

(HB 166) Medical Cannabis Revenue Now Directed Towards Pensions

Medical Cannabis Revenue Now Directed Towards Pensions

Medical Cannabis As New Source of Revenue for KY & Pensions?

Since the 2nd week of #KYGA18 HB166 has been the most viewed & monitored bill in Frankfort. The people want and need medical cannabis.

So why is HB166 not moving forward even with having been granted 3 committee hearings, and having the votes to pass out of the Judiciary committee & House?

The answer is House of Representative members do not want to vote or pass something so controversial if the Senate refuses to accept it.

Right now the KY Senate is overwhelmed with the pension & budget issue. We’re being told they will not take on any new bills, period!

That’s where the KY Teachers, Government Retirees and pensioners come in.

We have now added language to HB166 to help generate A NEW SOURCE OF REVENUE to help fund the pension deficit. (*we’ll attach a picture of the bill language below)

Revenue from wholesale excise taxes & canna-business licenses will be used to fund various pensions to 80%.

We need your help to create this new revenue source, and to bring a better quality of life to thousands of patients.

There’s only a few more days of session left.

Call your legislators today BEFORE 6PM EST

(800) 372-7181

Leave a message saying:

“We found a new source of revenue for our pensions, and respectfully ask you to bring HB166 up for a vote on Monday. VOTE YES ON HB166!”

PLEASE SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS

https://www.facebook.com/KY4MM/videos/1617085328326677/?notif_id=1521495882458193&notif_t=live_video_explicit

https://www.facebook.com/KY4MM/

March 7, 2018 Today In Frankfort; Praying for HB 166 !

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As I sat here patiently waiting for the Kentucky Legislature to take a vote on HB 166, I was thinking of a way to say,

“Thank-You”

to ALL of the people who took a stand this year in Kentucky!

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Jaime Montalvo   Justin Lewandoski   Eric Michelle Crawford   Pat Dunegan   Jennifer Dunegan   Dan Seum   Sally Oh   Dan Malano Seum   Tony Ashley   Elihu Shepherd   Tim Simpson   Henry Fox   Gina Daugherty   Chad Wilson    Thomas Tony Vance    Rebecca Collins   Blackii Effing Whyte 

There are many more which have not been listed here! 

Remembering also those that have in past years took up this fight and were the leaders from the beginning!

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Gatewood Galbraith – Wikipedia   Galbraith supported the legalization of recreational marijuana use, arguing that the framers of the US Constitution “did not say we have a Constitutional right to possess alcohol. They said we have a Constitutional right to privacy in our homes, under which fits the possession of an extremely poisonous alcohol. Now this is the law in Kentucky today. In fact, it is these rulings that keep the Kentucky State Police from kicking down the doors of people possessing alcohol in Kentucky’s 77 ‘dry’ counties right now and hauling their butts off to jail. Now Marijuana is a demonstrably less harmful substance than alcohol and presents far less of threat to public welfare. So it also fits in a person’s right to privacy in their home. It’s beyond the police power of the state as long as I don’t sell it and it’s for my own personal use.”[10]

Craig Lee   Tony Adkins  Ron Moore  David Weigand   Angela Gatewood   Erin Grossman Vu  Robin Rider-Osborne   Paula Willett  Cher Ford-mccullough Brian McCullough  Mary Thomas-Spears  Lynne Wilson  Roland A. Duby   Hugh Yonn  Patrick Moore  

Again, I have missed so many names that should be listed here! 

Many people put their own lives on hold to take on Kentucky’s Cannabis battle, whether it be for medicinal, recreational or even palliative care, they all took a stand…and walked all the way to Frankfort to prove it.    Not literally, of course.  I hope they all had a decent ride to get there but surely there were a few old broken down cars in the parking lot as well.  But by the time they all left there yesterday evening it felt as though they had  literally walked those miles.

All different types of people working toward one cause – to get some kind of Cannabis reform into Kentucky!

At the end of the day, the vote for HB 166 was passed over!  A very disappointing outcome for many thousands of Kentuckians who very much needed that Bill to pass! 

How is it possible that legislation so favored by the citizens has not already become law? What is it about this legislation that has Kentucky’s legislators so scared that they are willing to buck the will of the majority of the citizens?
I am of course talking about the legalization of cannabis for medical uses. With 80% favorability and a multitude of benefits arising from the use of cannabis it is confounding to see the Assembly leadership refuse the will of the people and bury all cannabis bills in committee. For what purpose are they doing this?  LINK

When I first started posting to blogs about medical cannabis or “repeal prohibition” it was 2003.  That was 15 years ago.  By the time I became affiliated with the USMjParty it was 2005 and 2010 before I really became involved in any administration of the group.  I always fought for the repeal of prohibition as a whole, but most importantly for Cannabis because yes, I believe Cannabis is a medicine, but first it has to be recognized as a food or ‘herb’ that cannot be controlled by the U.N. or any Government entity!  It is our unalienable right to grow and use the plants that our “Creator” put here on this planet for us! Only commerce can be controlled by our Government, according to the Constitution.  Therefore what we grow on our property or consume in our homes is actually none of the Government’s business!  But they MADE it their business – a long time ago. 

To understand how they accomplished this takeover, you can read the “Elkhorn Manifesto” through this link.  That was the beginning of the downfall of the United States as we see it today.  The U.N. which was formed in 1945 with five founding members including the United States was the beginning of the NWO as we know it today.  The ONDCP and the 1961 Narcotic Convention as well as the 1970 Controlled Substance Act and the DEA instituted by Nixon, as a requirement of the 1970 CSA, as per the U.N., conveniently wrapped up our lives under the control of the NWO.  I wrote about this a couple of years ago and it has a lot of interesting links of information it that article.

The U.N. just issued a statement reminding all signatory Countries to be mindful of their “Treaties” regarding Marijuana.

Be mindful of the fact that it is not just Marijuana that they seek to control.  Control the food and medicine and you will control the people.

We are just now seeing how one world Government will work.  It is reaching into all facets of our lives, some not noticeable yet to the average person, not just whether or not Marijuana is “legal”. 

All of these things together, coupled with the fact that our Legislature has their own agenda for Kentucky influences the outcome of any Cannabis legislation being passed here. 

We still have a couple weeks to see what the outcome will be for the Citizens of Kentucky.  Will the hard work by our dedicated Activists pay off for the Patients who are in such need in our State?  We can only continue to pray and also continue calling

1-800-372-7181

and make sure your voice is heard!

As well, K.C.F.C. and others are gathering in Frankfort to show support.  You can follow them at this LINK.

There is a VERY good article documenting all of the Cannabis Bills in Kentucky this year at Kentucky Free Press.  If you haven’t already done so I encourage you to look at it.

Sally Oh,  who writes for Kentucky Free Press, was LIVE on Facebook on February 25th, explaining Medical Cannabis, States’ Rights & the Civil War  and I encourage you to view that video as well.

Sally Oh KY Free Press

Again, I want to thank everyone that has made an effort of any kind in Kentucky toward the repeal of Cannabis prohibition!  We all basically want the same thing – our patients to be taken care of and the freedom to possess, grow and consume a plant that our Creator blessed us with!

God Bless!

ShereeKrider

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http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article203965849.html?fb_action_ids=1613192325466378&fb_action_types=og.comments

https://www.facebook.com/kcfc2014/

https://www.facebook.com/thomas.t.vance/posts/1613192325466378:0

https://www.facebook.com/152743612103544/photos/gm.414718132314283/154650008579571/?type=3&theater

The House Republican budget plan includes a hike in the cigarette tax and a new tax on dosages of opioid drugs…

Plan would raise Kentucky’s cigarette tax above $1 per pack to pay for education

Tom Loftus, Louisville Courier Journal Published 7:53 p.m. ET Feb. 27, 2018

Plan would raise cigarette taxes above $1 per pack to pay for education

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The House Republican budget plan includes a hike in the cigarette tax and a new tax on dosages of opioid drugs to help restore funding for education, according to two House Democrats.

House Democratic Whip Dennis Keene, of Wilder, and Rep. Kelly Flood, of Lexington, said they were among a group of Democrats given an advance briefing late Tuesday afternoon on the budget plan of the majority Republicans.

Keene and Flood said in separate phone interviews that they were told House Republicans will propose to come up with additional money through a 50-cent increase in Kentucky’s 60-cent per pack cigarette tax and a new tax of 25 cents per dosage of opioid drugs.

“The new dollars generated are targeted for education …” Flood said. “The lobbying effort and citizen engagement on the part of teachers, superintendents, principals, parents and students has paid off.”

Keene and Flood said they were told the new revenue would allow the budget to increase funding for the main public school program known as SEEK (Support Education Excellence in Kentucky) as well as restore much, if not all, of the cut that Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed budget would have made in funding to school districts for student transportation.

Background: Here are the 70 programs not funded by Bevin’s proposed budget

More: Some Kentucky schools could fail under Bevin’s proposed budget

Keene said that Rep. Steven Rudy, the Paducah Republican who chairs the House budget committee, and House Republican Leader Jonathan Shell, of Lancaster, briefed Democratic leaders and Democrats on the budget committee.

Keene said, “It’s not all crystal clear. … The briefing lasted about an hour and we weren’t given anything in writing.”

Flood also said the House GOP budget plan will restore some funding that Bevin’s proposal would have cut from state universities and would address the problem of the governor’s failure to fund health insurance for teachers who retired since July 1, 2010, but have not turned 65 and become eligible for Medicaid.

“If I understood that correctly, that issue (retired teacher health insurance) is being addressed, but in another way that may not be in this budget bill,” Flood said.

Earlier Tuesday, Rudy told reporters that his committee planned to meet Wednesday afternoon and release its revised version of the 2018-2020 budget bill. He also said the committee would consider a revenue bill.

But both Rudy and House Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne, R-Prospect, declined to provide any details. Also, each was asked if the revenue bill included any cigarette tax or opioid tax provisions, and they declined to comment.

In January, Bevin proposed an austere budget that would fully fund the state’s huge pension obligations and that he said would put Kentucky’s financial house in order. But to do so, Bevin said he was required to slash spending to most parts of government and eliminate funding for 70 specific smaller state programs.

That proposal was met by a storm of objections — particularly from school districts that would be saddled with additional costs, particularly for student transportation.

Flood said Democrats were told at the meeting that a 50 cent increase in the cigarette tax would raise about $127 million in the first year of the budget, and $110 million the second year.

She said the tax on dosages of opioids would be applied at the wholesale level and generate about $70 million per year.

Flood also said the plan calls for eliminating a $10 per person tax credit on the individual income tax, a move that would generate about $55 million per year.

While encouraged by the move to raise revenue, Flood said she’s disappointed that the plan is based on revenue sources like tobacco that will decline over time. “This is not tax reform, modernization or matching our taxes where consumers are spending more today on services,” she said.

She said she’d have to consider all aspects of the budget and revenue bills before deciding whether to vote for them. “I will vote for increased revenue if I think we’re doing the right thing overall,” she said.

Flood is uncertain whether a budget plan bolstered by small tax increases could pass the Republican House and, later, the Republican Senate. But she noted that the increases proposed for cigarettes and opioids would not be so politically unpopular.

“After all, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce is on record for supporting a $1 increase in the cigarette tax,” she said.

Health advocates have been pushing for legislation that would raise the cigarette tax by $1 a pack — a big increase that they say would significantly reduce teen smoking.

Tom Loftus: tloftus@courierjournal.com; Twitter: @TomLoftus_CJ. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: www.courier-journal.com/toml.

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