(WFPL) A new Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll shows an overwhelming number of Kentuckians favor a constitutional amendment that would allow city residents to vote on whether to raise the state sales tax.
The survey found 72 percent of voters support the proposal, while 19 percent are opposed and another 9 percent are not sure. But legislative leaders from both parties in Frankfort have spoken out against the measure, preferring tax reform or raising other fees for special projects.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer told WFPL the poll shows residents are behind the idea and he will continue to lobby state lawmakers.
"I’ve been talking to legislators in Frankfort along with other mayors and county judges from around the state to show them that there is in fact strong support at the grassroots level and we hope Frankfort will be listening to the people," he says.
Saying the city will benefit from having its Chief Financial Officer holding a voting position, Mayor Greg Fischer today appointed Steve Rowland to the Louisville Arena Authority Board.
The appointment is effective immediately and does not require approval of the Metro Council.
“I am deeply proud of the arena and the revitalizing impact it has had on downtown. There’s no doubt the KFC Yum! Center is a shining star and the envy of other cities,” Fischer said. “At the same time, the city’s financial responsibility to the bondholders is a significant expense in the city budget. Additionally, revenues from the tax-increment financing district supporting the arena have not performed to the original projections. Having Steve Rowland at the table will provide the Arena Authority with a broader view of city operations and related financial projections.”
FRANKFORT – With more than two-thirds of the 2013 Regular Session behind us, lawmakers scrambled this week to move bills closer to the finish line before the Constitutionally imposed 30-working-day limit.
An important priority of the Senate, the Uniform Military and Overseas Voter Act, designated as Senate Bill 1, earned our unanimous approval this week. The bill would simplify the absentee voting process for Kentuckians serving overseas. It is imperative that the men and women sacrificing so much to protect our rights be given every opportunity to express their most precious civic right – the right to vote.
Even with the best efforts of county clerks and military election officials, completing an absentee ballot while deployed abroad is a long, laborious process. According to our Secretary of State, a sadly significant number of these ballots are lost, late or invalid for various reasons.
SB 1 would allow members of the armed forces, their spouses and others serving overseas to register to vote, and to request and receive an absentee ballot, electronically. This would dramatically modernize and streamline the process.
The bill would still require completed written ballots be returned via traditional postal mail or another delivery service. I supported this bill even though the option for electronic voting was removed before it got to the Senate floor. I hope when this bill goes to the House, that Chamber includes the provision to allow our military members overseas to return their ballots electronically. Twenty-four states already permit military and overseas voters to return ballots via e-mail or other electronic transmission system. I think Kentucky needs to be the 25th. This is the least that we can do for our men and women in uniform.
(WFPL) Joining other civil rights group, the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights is urging Governor Steve Beshear to block a bill that would allow people to ignore laws and regulations violating their religious beliefs.
Last week, the Democratic-controlled House overwhelmingly approved HB 279 by an 82-7 vote. It has now moved on the state Senate, where observers predict it is likely to pass in the GOP-controlled chamber.
Supporters say the bill strengthens the rights for people of faith and clarifies religious freedom in state law. But civil rights groups such as the ACLU of Kentucky and Louisville Fairness Campaign argue it will gut protections for women, racial minorities and gay residents.
John Johnson is executive director of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights. He tells WFPL the commission agrees "wholeheartedly" with civil rights proponents, adding there is a potential risk for people to use their faith to discriminate.
"If this bill is adopted people can hide behind religious freedoms and discriminate in anyway they feel. They could say based on my religion I don’t think I should serve people based on interracial marriage. I don’t believe I should serve people because they are of a different religion," he says. "People can hide behind it in anyway, and it just makes it more difficult for the human rights agencies to pursue equality in our state."
Johnson says he understands the need to protect faith inherent in the bill, but is calling on the governor to block the measure.
A Beshear spokesperson told WFPL they are monitoring the bill's progress, "and if it reaches the governor’s desk, (Beshear) will review it thoroughly to weigh its impact and understand any potential unintended consequences."
From our Chairman
I can honestly say that our party and community will grow stronger the more we work together so I am asking every citizen to get involved and to please vote.
If there is anything we can do to facilitate your involvement, please let us know.
Together, let's build a brighter future."
Louisville Metro Democratic Party.