August 20, 2014

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Legislative perspective on Kentucky General Assembly

Although the Kentucky House of Representatives considers a wide variety of bills during any given week of a legislative session, there are times when broad themes emerge.  We had three last week, and they affected our universities, our farmers and our legal system.

For our universities, the highlight came on Thursday, when Governor Beshear signed the session’s first bill into law.  It gives many of our four-year public universities the ability to spend $363 million of their own money to build 11 projects, which are expected to support about 5,000 construction jobs.  This will not use any new state tax dollars or cause tuition to rise.

Most of the money will be used by the University of Kentucky, which will now spend $110 million to upgrade Commonwealth Stadium and $100 million for a new science building.  Two-thirds of the cost for that building will come from the school’s athletics department, the first time in Kentucky that athletics revenue has supported academics.

On Tuesday, I was proud to take part in a Capitol Rotunda ceremony that unveiled a new five-year plan for agriculture.  It notes both the successes farming has seen in recent years and the challenges the profession faces down the road.  A copy can be found online at