News Archives – 2007

THAYER RAISES OVER $157,000 FOR RE-ELECTION EFFORT
Campaign Has Over $130,000 Cash On-Hand

GEORGETOWN, KY….Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) announced today that his campaign fund, Thayer for Senate, has raised $157,256.42 and has $130,314.32 cash on hand for his 2008 re-election effort. Annual finance reports were due yesterday to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.

“I want to thank a loyal list of contributors for their faith in me and support of my re-election effort,” Thayer said. “Together with a strong grass roots support team, the campaign’s financial strength puts us in a great position headed into the 2008 election season.”

After raising approximately $250,000 for the 2004 campaign, the Thayer for Senate campaign fund had less than $5,000 remaining after Senator Thayer was re-elected with 56% of the vote in 2004. Thayer raised $58,351.75 in 2005, $35,575 in 2006 and $63,079.67 so far in 2007.

“We will continue to aggressively raise campaign funds to prepare for 2008,” Thayer said.

Thayer was first elected to the state Senate in a January 28, 2003 special election, also with 56% of the vote. He represents the 17th Senate district, which includes Grant, Owen, Scott and southern Kenton Counties. He currently serves as Northern Kentucky Caucus Chairman and as Chairman of the Senate State and Local Government Committee. He is co-chairman of the Horse Farming Subcommittee, and is a member of the Equine Drug Research Council and the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Advisory Commission. In the Senate, he sits on the following committees: Transportation, Agriculture and Natural Resources and Licensing and Occupations.

Thayer’s annual campaign finance reports from 2005, 2006 and 2007 can be accessed online at www.kref.ky.gov.

 

Senator Thayer Files Bill to Eliminate Treasurer’s Office

Frankfort It’s an office that does very little more than print checks and that’s why State Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) wants it abolished. On Friday, October 12, 2007 Senator Thayer pre-filed a Constitutional Amendment allowing voters to decide if the Office of the Treasurer should be eliminated.

“The Treasurer is a Constitutional Office whose duties do not justify a cost of over three million dollars in the state budget,” said Senator Thayer Chairman of the Senate State and Local Government Committee. “The money can be better spent on education, infrastructure or other services.”

Senator Thayer is also working on legislation placing the responsibilities of the Treasurer’s Office into the Finance Cabinet. If the constitutional amendment is ratified, Senator Thayer will propose that legislation the following year.

“The Finance Cabinet already tells the Treasurer’s employees how to fill out the checks and does the bookkeeping for the unclaimed property fund. It’s common sense to make state government more efficient and save taxpayers millions of dollars,” said Senator Thayer.
Senator Thayer Receives ‘Friend OF Kentucky Cities’ Award

Covington –Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) was among eight state legislators honored with a “Friend of Kentucky Cities” award during the 2007 Kentucky League of Cities Convention & Expo held here October 10-13.

Senator Thayer, Chairman of the Senate State and Local Government Committee, authored and helped pass Senate Bill 60 during the 2007 General Assembly to modify city reporting requirements to the Governor’s Office for Local Development (GOLD). This will save cities valuable time and money and allow for even more information than before to be placed into the hands of legislators. The previous financial reporting form has been simplified greatly, and cities will eventually be able to complete the form online.

“This was not an easy measure to pass, and Senator Thayer’s tireless efforts were instrumental in its success,” said Sylvia L. Lovely, KLC executive director/CEO. “Senator Thayer recognized an obstacle many cities were encountering, and he helped streamline a very arduous and tedious process.”

“I thank the League of Cities for honoring me with this award,” Thayer said. “There are 15 cities in the 17th Senate District, and when I became aware of the cumbersome annual financial reports they are required to file with the state each year, I set out to streamline them to make the forms simpler to complete while still providing the necessary information legislators need to make decisions that affect local government. I also wish to thank my colleagues in the General Assembly for voting for SB 60 and Governor Fletcher for signing it into law.”

Others who received the “Friend of Kentucky Cities” award were Rep. Ron Weston (D-Louisville), Rep. Charlie Hoffman (D-Georgetown), Rep. Robin Webb (D-Grayson), Sen. David Williams (R-Burkesville), Rep. Ron Crimm (R-Louisville), Rep. Steve Riggs (D-Louisville) and Sen. Jack Westwood (R-Crescent Springs).

More than 1,200 city leaders, legislators, exhibitors and other public officials participated in the KLC annual convention at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center.

This year’s convention theme, “Discover the Experience,” focused on the broad range of services Kentucky cities provide citizens and how KLC can help provide assistance to cities of all sizes.

KLC serves a membership of almost 400 cities across the state and provides services ranging from legislative advocacy, information technology, loss prevention education, legal, research, training, finance and loans, and the largest municipal insurance program in Kentucky.

Thayer pre-files campaign finance disclosure bill

State Sen. Damon Thayer pre-filed a campaign finance disclosure bill today that would require candidates to report contributions and expenditures 60 days before each election.

If passed in the 2008 General Assembly, the measure would require campaigns that raise more than $25,000 to file their finance reports electronically.

Currently, campaigns must file information about their contributions and expenses 32 days and 15 days before each election. Many candidates still file hand-written reports that must be keyed into a computer before they are made available to the public.

“Let’s make sure that we’re held accountable and that the information is put out there in a timely and efficient manner for the public to digest,” Thayer, R-Georgetown, said in a news conference with Republican Secretary of State Trey Grayson.

An identical proposal, SB 159, passed the state Senate and a House committee earlier this year, but was never called for a vote on the House floor.

Had the bill passed, candidates for statewide races in the Nov. 6 election would have filed their finance reports with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance today. Instead, voters won’t know who is contributing in the race for governor until Oct. 10.

The Campaign Disclosure Project lowered Kentucky out of the top 10 states with strong disclosure laws in 2005 and gave Kentucky an “F” for its low rate of electronic filing on fund-raising and spending reports.

“We’ve fallen down in the rankings and I think it’s time to change that,” Grayson said.

The bill also makes knowingly exceeding contribution and expenditure limits a Class D felony.

 

Thayer Announces Funding for Georgetown Infrastructure

Frankfort – State Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) announced that the Capital Projects and Bond Oversight Committee (CPBO) approved a Fund B grant of $80,000 to the City of Georgetown, Scott County, for infrastructure to the Bluegrass Community and Technical College Advanced Manufacturing Center in the Lanes Run Business Park

“This funding will be used to construct 1,100 feet of a 8-inch gravity collector sewer to serve the planned Center,” Thayer said. “The grant for this infrastructure demonstrates that the BCTC in Scott County is one step closer to becoming a reality.”

Thayer went on to explain that state law requires that the assistance agreement associated with each Kentucky Infrastructure Authority loan or grant be reported to the CPBO board for review and recommendation. KIA’s Fund B is supported 100% by state funds.

The Capital Projects and Bond Oversight Committee supervises actions such as state spending for capital construction projects, real property leases, and the projects related to bond issuance.

Statistics Shed Light on 17th District

By: Senator Damon Thayer

I have enjoyed serving as your state Senator for the last four and a half years. Through my time as your Senator I have traveled the length and breadth of the 17th district, learning more about the citizens who live here and their hopes for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Throughout the year, I am provided with interesting facts, figures and statistics about the four counties I serve: Grant, Kenton, Owen and Scott. I would like to share some of the information I rely on to effectively represent you in Frankfort.

According to the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) it disbursed $5,505,336 during Fiscal Year 2006 to 3,706 17th Senate District students from its major scholarship and grant programs funded by Kentucky Lottery revenue.

County Number of Grants/Scholarships Amount
Grant 512 $746,548
Kenton 3,985 $5,753,006
Owen 247 $380,971
Scott 994 $1,557,470

GRANT COUNTY

According to the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) those scholarship funds are put to good use by students from Grant County.  The chart below details recent student enrollment in Kentucky’s public undergraduate institutions, as well as the number of alumni living here.

Alumni & Undergraduate Enrollments 

Institution    Alumni Enrollment
Univ. of Kentucky 282 64
Univ. of Louisville  41 19
Eastern Kentucky Univ 345 46
Kentucky State Univ. 4 3
Morehead State Univ. 94 10
Murray State Univ 12 5
Northern Kentucky Univ. 691 255
Western Kentucky Univ. 16 10
Kentucky Comm. &Tech. College System 152 191
Independent Colleges & Universities 330 55
Total from Grant County  1,967 658

Also according to CPE, the type of work that the citizens ofGrantCounty pursue is varied as the chart below shows, along with the statewide figures.

Employment by Sector Grant County  State
Agriculture, mining, & other natural resources N/A 28,251
Manufacturing & construction 808 346,324
Retail, wholesale, transportation, & utilities 1,410 373,216
Finance, professional, & business services 566 258,647
Health & ed. services 486 215,834
Government & public education 1,131 293,968
Leisure, hospitality, & other services 849 209,629

The CPE also reports that the statewide percentage of people who use the internet at home is 60.1 %. Grant Countymeasures up with 60.2% usage.  I am pleased with the results of Connect Kentucky’s effort to expand internet access.

The Kentucky Department of Tourism reports that tourism has grown 23.8% over the past three years and has added over 6,000 new jobs.  More than 176,900 people are employed inKentucky, thanks to tourism, which is now a $10.1 billion industry. In GrantCounty, tourism grew by 17% from 2003 to 2006, for an estimated annual economic impact of $17,670,497.

I hope you find this information useful and informative.  These are the same statistics that I review when considering public policy changes that may affect Grant County. Combined with your input I am able to use this information to make the best decisions in Frankfort, properly representing our district.

KENTON COUNTY

According to the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) those scholarship funds are put to good use by students from Kenton County.  The chart below details recent student enrollment in Kentucky’s public undergraduate institutions, as well as the number of alumni living here.

Alumni & Undergraduate Enrollments 

Institution    Alumni Enrollment
Univ. of Kentucky 3,029 707
Univ. of Louisville 465 266
Eastern Kentucky Univ 1,847 225
Kentucky State Univ. 30 7
Morehead State Univ. 513 89
Murray State Univ 90 32
Northern Kentucky Univ. 7,712 3,071
Western Kentucky Univ. 154 51
Kentucky Comm. &Tech. College System 981 1,306
Independent Colleges & Universities 3,344 592
Total from Kenton County 18,165 6,346

 

Also according to CPE, the type of work that the citizens ofKenton County pursue is varied as the chart below shows, along with the statewide figures.

Employment by Sector Kenton County  State
Agriculture, mining, & other natural resources 26 28,251
Manufacturing & construction 8,777 346,324
Retail, wholesale, transportation, & utilities 11,012 373,216
Finance, professional, & business services 11,617 258,647
Health & ed. services 9,711 215,834
Government & public education 10,979 293,968
Leisure, hospitality, & other services 9,394 209,629

 

The CPE also reports that the statewide percentage of people who use the internet at home is 60.1 %. KentonCounty exceeds with 64.7% usage.  I am pleased with the results of Connect Kentucky’s effort to expand internet access.

The Kentucky Department of Tourism reports that tourism has grown 23.8% over the past three years and has added over 6,000 new jobs.  More than 176,900 people are employed inKentucky, thanks to tourism, which is now a $10.1 billion industry.In Kenton County, tourism grew by 20.2% from 2003 to 2006, for an estimated $440,671,153 in annual economic impact.

I hope you find this information useful and informative.  These are the same statistics that I review when considering public policy changes that may affect Kenton County. Combined with your input I am able to use this information to make the best decisions in Frankfort, properly representing our district.

OWEN COUNTY

According to the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) those scholarship funds are put to good use by students from Owen County.  The chart below details recent student enrollment in Kentucky’s public undergraduate institutions, as well as the number of alumni living here.

Alumni & Undergraduate Enrollments 

Institution    Alumni Enrollment
Univ. of Kentucky 141 16
Univ. of Louisville 19 13
Eastern Kentucky Univ 123 15
Kentucky State Univ. 67 47
Morehead State Univ. 31 7
Murray State Univ 2 2
Northern Kentucky Univ. 122 34
Western Kentucky Univ. 6 11
Kentucky Comm. &Tech. College System 55 102
Independent Colleges & Universities 230 35
Total from Owen County 796 282

 

Also according to CPE, the type of work that the citizens ofOwen County pursue is varied as the chart below shows, along with the statewide figures.

Employment by Sector Owen County  State
Agriculture, mining, & other natural resources N/A 28,251
Manufacturing & construction N/A 346,324
Retail, wholesale, transportation, & utilities 331 373,216
Finance, professional, & business services N/A 258,647
Health & ed. services 220 215,834
Government & public education 474 293,968
Leisure, hospitality, & other services 169 209,629

 

The Kentucky Department of Tourism reports that tourism has grown 23.8% over the past three years and has added over 6,000 new jobs.  More than 176,900 people are employed inKentucky, thanks to tourism, which is now a $10.1 billion industry.In Owen County, tourism grew by 17.5% from 2003 to 2006, for an estimated annual economic impact of $1,289,946.

I hope you find this information useful and informative.  These are the same statistics that I review when considering public policy changes that may affect Owen County. Combined with your input I am able to use this information to make the best decisions in Frankfort, properly representing our district.

 

SCOTT COUNTY

According to the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) those scholarship funds are put to good use by students from Scott County.  The chart below details recent student enrollment in Kentucky’s public undergraduate institutions, as well as the number of alumni living here.

Alumni & Undergraduate Enrollments 

Institution    Alumni Enrollment
Univ. of Kentucky 2,044 283
Univ. of Louisville 140 30
Eastern Kentucky Univ 1,102 136
Kentucky State Univ. 87 30
Morehead State Univ. 332 23
Murray State Univ 71 14
Northern Kentucky Univ. 125 16
Western Kentucky Univ. 83 45
Kentucky Comm. &Tech. College System 490 588
Independent Colleges & Universities 1,745 257
Total from ScottCounty 6,219 1,422

 

Also according to CPE, the type of work that the citizens of ScottCounty pursue is varied as the chart below shows, along with the statewide figures.

Employment by Sector Scott County  State
Agriculture, mining, & other natural resources 316 28,251
Manufacturing & construction 9,681 346,324
Retail, wholesale, transportation, & utilities 3,274 373,216
Finance, professional, & business services 3,877 258,647
Health & ed. services 1,452 215,834
Government & public education 1,888 293,968
Leisure, hospitality, & other services 2,168 209,629

 

The CPE also reports that the statewide percentage of people who use the internet at home is 60.1%. Scott Countymeasures up with 59.1% usage.   I am pleased with the results of Connect Kentucky’s effort to expand internet access.

The Kentucky Department of Tourism reports that tourism has grown 23.8% over the past three years and has added over 6,000 new jobs.  More than 176,900 people are employed inKentucky, thanks to tourism, which is now a $10.1 billion industry.In Scott County, tourism grew an amazing 17.2% from 2003 to 2006, for an annual estimated economic impact of $98,572,818.

I hope you find this information useful and informative.  These are the same statistics that I review when considering public policy changes that may affect ScottCounty. Combined with your input I am able to use this information to make the best decisions in Frankfort, properly representing our district.

Senator Thayer Discusses Special Session

(FRANKFORT) On Monday, July 9th, the state Senate demonstrated overwhelmingly bipartisan support for the passage of five bills that were on Governor Fletcher’s call for the Special Session. We completed our work in only three days and passed significant legislation that could have an enormous affect on Kentuckians.

Senate Bill 1 included an energy incentive package for a $3 billion coal-to-liquid or coal-to-natural gas plant with potential sites in Eastern and Western Kentucky. The construction of the plant would bring over 2,000 temporary jobs and up to 800 permanent on-site jobs.

Senate Bill 2 was an appropriations bill that will fund dozens of projects. Many are the vetoed projects and some are new projects such as the funds for the Bluegrass Airport runway project and the improvements at the Kentucky Horse Park. Also included in this bill are funds for a survey of construction for primary and secondary schools throughout the state.

Senate Bill 3 provides legislation to exempt all active duty military pay from state income tax This includes all U.S. Armed Forces, Reserves, or National Guard. The bill would be retroactive to January 1, 2007, granting all military families a refund on the tax portion already paid.

Senate Bill 4 established implementation legislation for a pretrial diversion program for those charged with a felony and struggling with drug addiction. This bill creates a voluntary, intensive, secure treatment program that will include over 200 beds for those with more serious addictions.

Senate Bill 5 will define the letter of the law for state agencies and universities in regards to health insurance and other benefits available to anyone other than employees’ immediate families. It will uphold the Constitution which recognizes the sanctimony of marriage to be between one man and one woman. I was a co-sponsor of this bill and am very pleased with its passage.

Unfortunately, in a very disappointing move, the state House of Representatives left Frankfort without consideration of any of these important pieces of legislation. When asked how to proceed in luring a multi-billion dollar business to Kentucky without the incentives in SB 1, House Leadership responded by saying they would participate in a letter of commitment to Peabody Energy Corp, the company looking at potential sites in Kentucky. In this letter they would “promise” to pass the incentives in the regular session in January.

It is my opinion that the House needs a very large dose of reality. How can they expect a large corporation to select a state and invest millions, on the promise of a signed letter, especially after two failed attempts to get similar legislation passed? Peabody will not act until there is a statute enacted, and have communicated this very point to us. The House can make all the assurances they want and in the meantime Kentuckians will watch the potential economic impact of over 1,000 temporary and permanent jobs float away.

As legislators it is our sworn duty to answer the call presented by the Governor, regardless of our political opinions or even opinions on the issue presented. We may not agree with the Governor, but it is our legislative duty to discuss and debate the issues at hand. The Governor, in accordance with Section 80 of the Constitution, has temporarily adjourned the General Assembly. We will return on July 30th and it is my hope the House will act in a manner consistent with the Constitution, in addressing the issues presented by the Governor.

I will continue to keep you updated on any new development and hopefully the House will use the state Senate as an example in seeing how Republicans and Democrats can work together to reach agreement on critical issues in Kentucky.

Senator Thayer Called to Extraordinary Session

(FRANKFORT) Members of the General Assembly began work in Frankfort, July 7, in response to the Governor’s call for a special session . The Governor has placed several things on the to-do list including an energy incentive package for a coal-to-liquid plant, state income tax exemption for members of the military on active duty, restoration of vetoed projects, a school construction study, and assurance that state universities will follow the letter of the law regarding same-sex partner benefits. I am optimistic that a consensus can be found among all of these topics, if the General Assembly agrees to work together in a bipartisan, diligent, manner.

Kentucky is home to nearly one-third of the nation’s coal mines. We are blessed with significant coal reserves and our utility rates are comparably low as more than 95% is generated from coal. Coal is a great energy source for us and a great economic development opportunity for our region. There are several companies interested in building a coal-to-liquid plant and sites in Eastern and Western Kentucky are considered as potential locations. Tax incentives allow Kentucky to be in the same field as our neighbors in Illinois and West Virginia, who already offer incentives, while demonstrating Kentucky’s commitment to these plants. A plant of this nature, producing up to 30,000 barrels of fuel a day, would create over 800 full-time jobs and create over 2,000 construction jobs. The plant would also provide economic impact through secondary industries associated with a huge economic development project. We put our best foot forward with Toyota, when we granted them similar incentives, and we must do the same for the coal-to-liquid plants.

For the past two sessions, the Senate has passed legislation which would have exempted the state income tax of Kentuckians called to active duty military service. It goes without saying that this is the right thing to do. With deployments lasting longer than anyone could have imagined, there is a financial strain that is placed upon families and communities. This is one way to ease that strain. It is the least we can do for our brave service-people who give their lives to protect ours. Furthermore, Kentucky recruits an average 1,500 new soldiers per year with an economic impact of $16.5 million/year – these men and women need to make Kentucky their home and not Tennessee.

Another aspect of the call, of particular importance to Northern Kentucky, is a survey of the construction needs of primary and secondary schools throughout the state. Since I have been elected, this has been a priority of mine. Many of our schools are plagued with asbestos, mold, and are not handicap accessible. Northern Kentucky is a high-growth area. This study will highlight the schools that need immediate attention and allow us to create a plan for schools that may need further upgrades down the road.

There will be much to discuss in the coming weeks and I will be sure to update you regularly of the progress we have made and any changes that may affect Northern Kentucky.

Your input is very important during this special session. I would like to encourage everyone to call my offices with any questions or concerns, 1-800-372-7181 or on the toll-free TTY (teletypewriter) message line, 1-800-896-0305 or e-mail me at [email protected]

Thayer Pre-Files Legislation to Repeal Runoff Elections

(Frankfort, KY) On the day when Kentucky was expected to hold its first runoff election in seventy-five years, legislation was pre-filed to permanently repeal gubernatorial runoff elections. BR 74 was pre-filed by State Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) for consideration during the 2008 Regular Session. Under current law, another primary election would have been held if no candidate had reached forty percent of the vote in his or her party’s primary.

“Taxpayers were nearly forced to pay for an unnecessary election this month,” said Sen. Thayer, Chairman of the Senate State and Local Government Committee. “It is my intention to post this legislation for action in January at the first meeting of the State and Local Government Committee. The runoff election is bad law and the last remaining provision of taxpayer funding of gubernatorial campaigns to be removed from the law books.”

Joining Thayer in urging the repeal of the runoff law was Secretary of State Trey Grayson, the state’s chief election official. Grayson noted that a runoff is not only an expensive ordeal for county governments and taxpayers, but also rarely meets its desired effects. “Turnout in most runoff elections is abysmal which often leads parties to nominate a candidate with fewer votes than the top vote getter in the original primary,” remarked Grayson. “This legislation is something that most, if not all legislators, agreed was bad public policy during the 2007 session.”

Thayer went on to announce that the Senate Democratic Leader, Senator Ed Worley (D-Richmond) will co-sponsor the legislation.

“Eliminating an unnecessary election saves Kentucky’s tax payers and county governments millions of dollars,” said Senator Ed Worley (D-Richmond). “This legislation has bipartisan support, and I expect it will pass during the 2008 legislative session.”

County election officials are also expressing support for BR 74. “We are relieved to be here supporting the pre-filing of this legislation instead of administering an election that would tax our resources and staff,” said Kentucky County Clerks Association President Guy Zeigler, the Franklin County Clerk. “We are encouraged that so many legislators recognize the importance of the legislation and are optimistic that the legislature will address this bill in an expedient manner.”

The runoff election was estimated to cost counties at least five million dollars with the Commonwealth projected to incur other costs. Several county officials testified during the 2007 Session that counties would need to consider cutting back services in order to find the resources to fund the runoff election.

Secretary Grayson and Chairman Thayer have effectively worked to enact other major election reform legislation. In 2005, they successfully advocated for the repeal of taxpayer funded political campaigns, and for the last two regular sessions of the General Assembly, they pushed for the passage of comprehensive campaign finance reform legislation.

State Budget contains local road funding that will benefit Owen County

Frankfort –The state budget passed last year by the General Assembly contained local road funding that will benefit Owen County. I wanted to review some of these projects with you because they will affect Owen County citizens in many positive ways.Several road resurfacing projects are scheduled that will repair local roads. These projects will not only improve the safety of county roads, but also help increase economic development in Owen County. I will continue working with local officials to determine the best plan for future road resurfacing projects that can increase access and safety for Owen County residents.

The following is the list of routes scheduled for resurfacing in Owen County that have not been completed yet. The resurfacing will start at the mile marking or crossroad listed below.

Main Route Resurfacing Projects for 2007

      1. KY 22 (Gratz Road) from 0.284 Miles east of KY 1982 to US 127 for a distance of 3.470 miles.

Rural Secondary Resurfacing Projects for fiscal year 2007-2008

      1. KY 3095 (Ellis Road) will be resurfaced from US 127 to KY 22 for a distance of 3.777 miles. KY 3096 (Fortner Ridge Road) will be resurfaced from KY 330 to KY 22 for a distance of 4.722 miles.
      2. KY 1287 (Harris Ridge Road) will be resurfaced from US 127 to KY 3095 for a distance of 1.255 miles.

As a member of the Senate Transportation Committee, I will continue to be a strong advocate for state road funds going to as many local routes as possible. These latest road resurfacing plans represent progress in the area of improving local roads throughout Kentucky.

State Budget contains local road funding that will benefit Scott County

Frankfort –The state budget, passed last year by the General Assembly, contained local road funding that will benefit Scott County. I wanted to review some of these projects that will affect Scott County citizens this year, in many positive ways.Several road resurfacing projects are scheduled that will repair local roads. These projects will not only improve the safety of county roads, but also help increase economic development in Scott County. I will continue working with local officials to determine the best plan for future road resurfacing projects that can increase access and safety for Scott County residents.The following is the list of routes scheduled for resurfacing in Scott County that have not been completed yet. The resurfacing will start at the mile marking or crossroad listed below.

Main Route Resurfacing Projects for 2007

      1. US 25 (Old Cincinnati Pike) from the North Fork Elkhorn Creek Bridge to KY 32 (Champion Way) for a distance of 1.465 miles. US 25 (Old Cincinnati Pike) from KY 32 (Champion Way) to Gemini Trail for a distance of 3.738 miles. US 25 (Old Cincinnati Pike) from KY 32 East (Sadieville Road) to the Grant County line for a distance of 8.535 miles.
      2. KY 32 (Sadieville Road) from US 25 (Old Cincinnati Pike) to Boyles Chapel Road for a distance of 3.050 miles.

Rural Secondary Resurfacing Projects for fiscal year 2007-2008

  1. KY 1689 (Switzer Road) from the Franklin County line to KY 227 for a distance of 2.304 miles.2. KY 1963 (Lyle Road) from the Fayette County line to KY 1962 for a distance of 2.684 miles.

As a member of the Senate Transportation Committee, I will continue to be a strong advocate for state road funds going to as many local routes as possible. These latest road resurfacing plans represent progress in the area of improving local roads throughout Kentucky.

State Budget contains local road funding that will benefit Kenton County

Frankfort –The state budget passed last year by the General Assembly contained local road funding that will benefit Kenton County. I wanted to review some of the projects that will affect Kenton County citizens this year in many positive ways.Several road resurfacing projects are scheduled that will repair local roads. These projects will not only improve the safety of county roads, but also help increase economic development in Kenton County. I will continue working with local officials to determine the best plan for future road resurfacing projects that can increase access and safety for Kenton County residents.The following is the list of routes scheduled for resurfacing in Kenton County that have not been completed yet. The resurfacing will start at the mile marking or crossroad listed below.

Main Route Resurfacing Projects for 2007

    1. KY 8 (River Road) from the Boone County Line (Rich Road) to KY 1072 for a distance of 3.939 miles. KY 16 (Walton-Nicholson) from the Boone County Line to KY 17 for a distance of 3.565 miles. KY 16 (Taylor Mill Road) from KY 177 to KY 17 for a distance of 0.971 miles KY 17 (Madison Pike) from South of KY 536 to KY 3035 for a distance of 2.803 miles. US 25 (Dixie Highway) from the Boone County Line to Hallam Avenue for a distance of 1.330 miles. US 25 (Dixie Highway) from Hallam Avenue to I-275 for a distance of 1.281 miles. US 25 (Dixie Highway) from Buttermilk Pike to the I-75 Overpass for a distance of 1.082 miles. US 25 (Dixie Highway) from Sleepy Hollow Road to I-75 Southbound off the ramp for a distance of 1.713 miles. KY 371 (Amsterdam Road) from Deer Field Road to KY 8 for a distance of 1.018 miles. KY 536 (Visalia Road) from KY 177 to the Campbell County Line for a distance of 0.225 miles. KY 1303 (Turkeyfoot Road) from Bristow Road to Beechgrove Drive for a distance of 0.842 miles. KY 2044 (Marshall Road) from KY 16 to Marshall Road for a distance of 1.279 miles. KY 2044 (Petty Road) from KY 2045 to KY 177 for a distance of 1.218 miles. KY 2045 (Independence Road) from KY 536 to KY 17 for a distance of 1.338 miles. KY 2045 (McCollum/Oliver/Cox Road) from KY 17 to KY 16 for a distance of 2.231 miles. KY 2045 (Pruett Road) from Marshall Road to KY 2044 for a distance of 0.435 miles. KY 2047 (Senour Road) from KY 1486 to KY 16 for a distance of 1.394 miles.
    2. KY 2373 (Anderson Road) from I-75 to KY 371 for a distance of 1.084 miles

Rural Secondary Resurfacing Projects for fiscal year 2006-2007

    1. KY 3083 (Parkers Road) will be resurfaced from KY 2046 to KY 14 for a distance of 1.108 miles. KY 2043 (Green Road) will be resurfaced from Cruises Creek Bridge Road to KY 16 for a distance of 2.518 miles. KY 538 (Staffordsburg Road) will be resurfaced from Visalia Road to KY 18 for a distance of 1.294 miles. KY 1486 (Fowler Creek Road) will be under construction for guardrail installation in three locations.
    2. KY 14 (Rich Road) will be resurfaced from KY 3072 to KY 177 for a distance of 1.972.

As a member of the Senate Transportation Committee, I will continue to be a strong advocate for state road funds going to as many local routes as possible. These latest road resurfacing plans represent progress in the area of improving local roads throughout Kentucky.

State Budget contains local road funding that will benefit Grant County

Frankfort –The state budget passed last year by the General Assembly contained local road funding that will benefit Grant County. I wanted to review some of the upcoming projects with you because they will affect you and your family this year in positive ways.Several road resurfacing projects are scheduled that will repair local roads. These projects will not only improve the safety of county roads, but also help increase economic development in Grant County. I will continue working with local officials to determine the best plan for future road resurfacing projects that can increase access and safety for Grant County residents.The following is the list of routes scheduled for resurfacing in Grant County that have not been completed yet. The resurfacing will start at the mile marking or crossroad listed below.

Main Route Resurfacing Projects for 2007

      1. KY 22 (Falmouth Road) from US 25 to the Pendleton County Line for a distance of 3.799 miles. US 25 (Dixie Highway) from the Scott County Line to KY 2936 for a distance of 2.924 miles.
      2. KY 36 (Cordova Road) from US 25 to the Lick Creek Bridge for a distance of 4.262 miles.

Rural Secondary Resurfacing Projects for fiscal year 2007-2008

      1. KY 491 (Crittenden – Falmouth Road) will be resurfaced from US 25 to the Pendleton County Line for a distance of 4.269 miles. KY 330 (Corinth-Cordova Road) will be resurfaced from US 25 to KY 36 for a distance of 4.476 miles.
      2. KY 489 (Day Road) will be resurfaced from the end of the maintenance roads to KY 467 for a distance of 1.062 miles.

As a member of the Senate Transportation committee, I will continue to be a strong advocate for state road funds going to as many local routes as possible. These latest road resurfacing plans represent progress in the area of improving local roads throughout Kentucky.

Thayer Announces Funding for Scott County School District

Frankfort – State Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) announced that the Capital Projects and Bond Oversight Committee (CPBO) reviewed a $12,270,000 proposal in school bond funding for the Scott County School District.

“This funding will be used to complete renovations to a district middle school in Scott County,” Thayer said. “Education is critical for our children’s success. The review of these funds is a step closer in helping provide a better learning environment for our students.”

Thayer explained that local school district bond issues with 100 percent locally-funded debt service are to be reported to the Committee prior to the issue of the bonds. He noted Committee action is not required.

The Capital Projects and Bond Oversight Committee supervises actions such as state spending for capital construction projects, real property leases, and the projects related to bond issuance.

 

 

Thayer Announces Funding for Williamstown Independent School District

Frankfort – State Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) announced that the Capital Projects and Bond Oversight Committee (CPBO) approved a $3,270,000 school bond issue, with School Facilities Construction Commission (SFCC) debt service participation, for the Williamstown Independent School District.

“This funding will be used to complete improvements to district schools,” Thayer said. “I am pleased the Committee approved these funds. They will move the projects forward and help provide a better learning environment for our young students.”

Thayer explained that school bond issues with state appropriation-supported (SFCC) participation in debt service must be reported to the Committee prior to the issuance of the bonds.

The Capital Projects and Bond Oversight Committee supervises actions such as state spending for capital construction projects, real property leases, and the projects related to bond issuance.

 

 

May 1, 2007

Senator Thayer Honored by Horse Breeders

(Frankfort) –– State Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) was honored by the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association on April 25 for his role in the development of the Breeders Incentive Fund.

Thayer played a significant role in getting key legislation included House Bill 272, which was Governor Ernie Fletcher’s tax modernization plan. The bill contained a provision, authored by Thayer, which created a breeders’ incentive plan in Kentucky that diverts sales tax on stud fees from the general fund and into three breeding incentive funds administered by the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority. The fund is expected to grant over $15 million, in awards to breeders this year.

“I am thrilled to be honored for my work on this bill,” said Thayer. “I view the Breeder’s Incentive Plan as one of my finest legislative accomplishments.”

Thayer said it was Idle Hour Farm owner David Hager who initially had the idea to create the incentive program. Thayer spent most of the 2005 session garnering support for the program which had major potential to attract new business and sustain existing business in Kentucky’s horse industry.

Thayer expressed satisfaction with the Breeders Incentive Funds and its affect on the horse industry during his speech at the annual KTOB luncheon for Kentucky-bred champions, where he was honored for his role in the legislation.

He also thanked Governor Fletcher for his support in the provision.

“I am grateful to Governor Fletcher for his commitment to Kentucky’s top agricultural industry,” Senator Thayer said. “This incentive for the horse breeders allows Kentucky to retain its position as the Horse Capital of the World.”

March 29, 2007

Senator Thayer’s Week 8 Report from Frankfort

Frankfort – The 30-day 2007 General Assembly Session wrapped up late Tuesday night. Although not of our goals were accomplished, I am pleased with the bipartisan spirit which prevailed in the Senate. We covered a wide breadth of topics and discussed some serious subject matters. Even those bills that were not passed set the stage for what can be accomplished in the future.

The Senate took the lead in passing legislation that will uphold our family values and protect our unborn children. There were two pieces of legislation that were passed by the Senate that sought to strengthen Kentucky’s “informed consent” law. One ensured women receive face to face medical advice before an abortion procedure. The other provided material regarding fetal pain that occurs during an abortion. Both bills passed the Senate with overwhelming approval, but unfortunately were not acted upon by the House of Representatives.

One bill that did pass both houses, with a Senate Committee Substitute, will help counties control skyrocketing jail costs. HB 191 will permit local jails to transfer a prisoner to the Department of Corrections for specialized or long-term medical care. It will require insurance carriers to pay for medical care of an insured prisoner when in a county jail and not a prisoner of the state. It provides up to $1.5 million to the Department of Corrections for specialized or long-term medical care access, if needed, as a necessary governmental expense from existing budgetary expenditures and provides up to $1 million to the Department of Corrections for pharmacy, medical, dental or psychological care access.

The “Boni Bill” was another bill that was recently signed into law by the Governor. Social workers dedicate their lives to service by protecting the innocent and defenseless and at times put their lives at risk in order to help a child. The “Boni Bill,” HB 63, named after Boni Frederick, the social-worker who was brutally murdered during a routine home-visit, was passed by both chambers of the General Assembly. The bill seeks to address to the immediate safety concerns that many social workers face when going into dangerous situations. It will authorize the Health and Family Services Cabinet to spend funds that will address and evaluate any safety matters and it will also ensure that local police officers are hired to accompany social workers on high-risk visits. It is a step in ensuring that improved safety is provided when social workers must intervene in hostile homes.

The final day of session also brought us a visitor who is highly respected among all members of the General Assembly. General Donald Storm, Adjutant General of the Kentucky National Guard, visited the Senate to speak on HB 63, which would have given state tax exemptions for members of active duty military. He expressed his gratitude to the Senate for passing this important piece of legislation, which seeks to lift some the burden off our men and women fighting overseas. He also expressed his disappointment in the House’s decision to not consider this legislation. We were proud to have General Storm speak in our chambers and hope that the tax exemption will eventually be considered and passed by the House.

We continue to hold out hope that the House will be willing to discuss other important issues like increased funding for the Kentucky Horse Park as well as Wolf Creek Dam assistance, both of which were passed by the Senate, but not the House. More importantly, we are hopeful and willing to work with the House on the problems facing Kentucky’s Pension System. Unless changes are made, this system will be bankrupt by 2023, costing Kentucky taxpayers an additional $2 billion a year. It is a problem that needs to be addressed now and I look forward to discussing this in further detail in the future.

Even though the session is concluded, I am still here to serve your needs. If you have any questions or concerns do not hesitate to call me 1-800-372-7181 or on the toll-free TTY (teletypewriter) message line, 1-800-896-0305 or e-mail me at [email protected]

Senator Thayer’s Week 7 Report from Frankfort

Frankfort – The last night of General Assembly Sessions can be both hectic and extremely productive. The 2007 General Assembly Session was no different with several important pieces of legislation being passed out in the final minutes before the start of the 10-day period when the Governor can consider using his veto pen. Although we only had one day of session this week, the Senate passed some significant bills and I would like to take some time to discuss them with you.
Kentucky takes pride in its coal country. With advances in technology and alternative fuel, our Commonwealth stands at the forefront for economic gain in coal production. HB 5 will set the stage for thousands of high-tech jobs in the coalfields. First, it includes the provisions of Senate Bill 1 and 2, which will prepare our kids for future jobs by laying the groundwork through rigorous math/science curricula. It also creates new programs to bring alternative fuel plants to Kentucky to produce ethanol, biodiesel and other fuel from coal. The bill identifies potential areas that would be ideal for new plants and helps companies with construction through financial incentives.
Obviously, with the advances of coal as an alternative source of fuel, there will be even more coal production. It is more important now than ever to ensure that we protect our men and women in the coalmines. I am pleased to announce that HB 207, otherwise known as the mine safety bill, has passed both houses and is awaiting response from the Governor. It is a great step in protecting miners from the dangers that exist in the industry. HB 207 will increase the number of mine safety inspectors to six. It will also provide multi-gas detectors to miners in groups of 2 or more working in close proximity, and anyone working alone, including foreman, and fire bosses. One gas detector will also be placed at the face of the mine, alerting all miners of any dangerous gases. The bill requires electrical work in the mine to be performed by a certified electrician.
HB 207 also provides for several emergency care responses. First the bill will require transportation to the surface for every miner, in the event of an accident, before the mine is sealed. Mine seal construction plans must also be approved by both state and federal officials. Finally, if an accident does occur, every mine will have trained medics on site for emergency care, as well as a family liaison to work with those concerned for their loved ones.

The Senate also passed HB 262 this week with a Senate Committee Substitute that provides funding for statewide projects. The committee substitute will cover basic government functions. Most of the funds made available through HB 262 are either bond funds or appropriated, yet unused, debt service funds. Among some of the projects were $7.5 million for private child care assistance in Health and Family Services Cabinet and bond funds for an indoor arena/outdoor stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park, and money for roads and pedways to prepare the park for the 2010 World Equestrian Games.

Finally, as Chairman of the Northern Kentucky Legislative Caucus I am always mindful of bills that will continue to allow this region to develop economically. HB 536 passed the Senate this week and will add an extra $8 million into Bluegrass State Skills, of which Northern Kentucky uses around 35%. The bill will create incentives that are offered for a job retention project. An approved project will be for new equipment and the construction or modification of buildings to house the new equipment. To be approved, a project must have eligible costs of at least $100 million and proposed project must demonstrate that the retention of jobs in Kentucky is a priority. Northern Kentucky is ideal in qualifying for these projects as its economic growth is one of the highest in the state.

Except for HB 207, the House has not yet acted on the Senate changes to these pieces of legislation. We are hopeful that these bills will win approval when we return to the Capital at the end of the month.

The General Assembly will reconvene on March 26 for two more important days of Session. As always, your input is critical and I encourage you to contact me on the toll-free message line at 1-800-372-7181 or on the toll-free TTY (teletypewriter) message line, 1-800-896-0305 or e-mail me at [email protected]

Senator Thayer’s Week 6 Report from Frankfort

Frankfort – The remaining days of passing legislation during the 2007 General Assembly Session are quickly approaching. The final few days tend to be the most hectic with important pieces of legislation being passed up until the final minutes. I want to take some time to discuss some of the bills that came out of the Senate this week.

During this time of war, the men and women serving overseas are never far from our thoughts. It goes without saying that all of Kentucky, and America, is indebted to the service and sacrifice the military voluntarily provides. I am pleased to announce that HB 63 was passed with an amendment to exempt all military from Kentucky income tax after Jan 1, 2008. The amendment affects Armed Forces of the United States, members of reserve components of the Armed Forces of the United States, and members of the Kentucky National Guard. Our soldiers and their families deserve our respect, our support, and our commitment and this is one way that we can make their lives at least marginally easier during these trying times

Also critical is protecting the men and women who serve us at home. Social workers dedicate their lives to service by protecting the innocent and defenseless. At times they put their lives at risk in order to help a child. The “Boni Bill,” HB 63, named after Boni Frederick, the social-worker who was brutally murdered during a routine home-visit, was passed by the Senate this week. The bill seeks to address to the immediate safety concerns that many social workers face when going into dangerous situations. It will authorize the Health and Family Services Cabinet to spend funds that will address and evaluate any safety matters and it will also ensure that local police officers are hired to accompany social workers on high-risk visits. It is a step in ensuring that an improved amount of safety is provided when social workers must intervene in hostile homes.

Finally, a bipartisan Senate unveiled a plan this week to revive the deteriorating state retirement system. With many “baby-boomers” retiring, and after several General Assemblies did not adequately fund the pension plans, the Kentucky state retirement system is in a real crisis. It is time for real change that will confront the problem head on. The plan has two components. First, through the sale of bonds, we will be able to restore $538 million to the state employee pension plan and provide $290 million repayment to the pension portion of the teachers retirement plan. Failure to act will cost state an additional $260 million this year alone. Through the bond issue, the retirement fund will gain $2.5 billion from the investment and the state will save $160 million in interest costs.

This will make the retirement system whole, but will not alleviate the structural strain on a program that is on track to be bankrupt in 2024. Plugging the existing money hole in the pension fund is only a short-term fix. The larger problem is our defined-benefit plan itself, and if we want to continue Kentucky’s progress, we have to change the structure of our pension system for future hires. The second part of the plan addresses this concern by creating a different retirement program for all new employees that will continue a portion of the defined-benefit plan while providing funds for investment into a defined-contribution plan. It will NOT affect any current state/county employees or retirees and will NOT affect in anyway the retirement plan of teachers.

Everyone and every group that depends on state dollars will be affected negatively if the state retirement issue is not resolved – it will have an impact on education, roads, water and sewer systems, and social services. The time to act is now, and I want to encourage every constituent to pay close attention to this issue as it receives consideration by the House.

The days are numbered in the 2007 General Assembly session and it is critical that any of my constituents, with any concerns or questions, contact me on the toll-free message line at 1-800-372-7181 or on the toll-free TTY (teletypewriter) message line, 1-800-896-0305 or e-mail me at [email protected]

 

Senator Thayer’s Week 5 Report from Frankfort

Frankfort –It is hard to believe the 2007 session is almost over. As we conclude the second to last week of the session, there is still much to be done. I would like to share with you some goals that were accomplished this week.

The safety of our loved ones is one of my primary concerns. In 2005, 28 percent of all fatal motor-vehicle crashes involved drugs and/or alcohol. I am pleased to announce that SB 67 was passed this week in an effort to lower the number of unnecessary deaths and tighten measures for DUI offenses. The bill has two components. First, it will lower the blood alcohol level required for a DUI, with aggravating circumstances, from 0.18 to 0.15. Next, it will provide a DUI violation when a person operates a motor vehicle and the presence of a controlled substance (such as cocaine, heroin, etc) is detected in his or her blood. There are too many fatal car-crashes that involve preventable circumstances, such as intoxication. It is my hope that this bill will serve as another measure to deter people from driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

The Republican Majority Senate continued to affirm its strong pro-life stance by passing a bill on unborn children’s pain awareness this week. SB 80 will require women to review material about fetal pain before seeking an abortion. Studies have shown that babies as young as 20 weeks gestational age have the physical structure to feel pain and to react to painful stimuli. The bill will ensure the woman is presented the medical information before her abortion. The information will also note that anesthesia is often administered to babies of 20 weeks gestational age for prenatal surgery. As pro life Senator I am optimistic this informed consent measure will work to deter some women from having an abortion.

Education for our children is one of my top priorities in Frankfort. Dual-credit courses allow high school students the chance to participate in college courses and receive credit. This not only gives the students a head start on college, but grants an opportunity to see what an actual college course is like, in hopes of encouraging those who might not consider higher education. SB 46 was passed this week and will allow eligible high school juniors to use a portion of their projected KEES scholarship award to pay for tuition of dual credit courses. This bill will grant students, some who can not afford the cost of a dual credit class, an opportunity to receive award money for up to six dual credit hours.

In a bipartisan fashion, the entire Senate met to discuss matters involving energy and jails. These are topics that affect every member of the Commonwealth. It is important that they are discussed and debated. Through these meetings, we are better briefed on current problems and changes that must be made. It is a great start in getting legislation discussed and passed.

Finally, the House passed its appropriation bill this week. We will begin reviewing HB 1, which would include the reinstatement of the Governor’s vetoed projects next week. As we examine budget issues, it is important that we practice fiscal responsibility during this non-budget year. Only under extraordinary circumstances, such as restoring the vetoed projects or dealing with true emergencies, should the budget be re-opened.

 

There is only one more regular week left in the 2007 General Assembly session. It is critical that any of my constituents, with any concerns or questions, contact me on the toll-free message line at 1-800-372-7181 or on the toll-free TTY (teletypewriter) message line, 1-800-896-0305 or e-mail me at [email protected]

Senator Thayer’s Week 4 Report from Frankfort

Frankfort – The fourth week of the 2007 General Assembly Session proved to be productive in Frankfort. The Senate passed various bills involving women’s health, transportation, and judicial matters, as well as many other issues. I would like to take the opportunity to discuss some of the important legislation we covered.

In any surgery, operation, or invasive procedure, the doctor meets with the patient and reviews the risks and details. SB 179, which the Senate passed this week, will require the same attention for women who are planning on having an abortion. SB 179 will strengthen Kentucky’s informed consent law and help guarantee women seeking abortions are given full and accurate information on the procedure, and the alternatives available to them, at least 24 hours in advance. This bill requires medical consultation be in-person, which is protocol for all other invasive medical procedures. As a pro-life Senator and co-sponsor of SB 179, I am hopeful that face-to-face informed consent meetings between women and their doctors will reduce the likelihood that women will choose to have an abortion.

SB 179 was filed in response to concerns that some abortion clinics were using pre-recorded messages as their medical consultation, and not providing an opportunity for questions to be adequately answered. It is important we recognize that women seeking abortions need face-to-face contact and counseling before they go through with the procedure. A pre-recorded message is not sufficient. I am pleased this piece of legislation was passed, and if passed by the House, a loop hole in Kentucky’s inform consent law will be closed.

Kentucky is diverse in its geography and landscape. From the rolling hills of Lexington to the lakes of Western Kentucky, it is important that travel and commerce be made as easy as possible to improve economic development and strengthen communities’ quality of life . I am pleased to announce that the Senate passed SB 83 this week in a effort to make travel more accommodating. The bill designates which Kentucky interstates can have a maximum speed limit of 70 miles per hour. The speed limit change will not affect urban areas, where the speed limit is 55 mph , and it is limited only to parts of rural interstate and limited-access, four lane parkways. Currently, we are the only state whose drivers cannot drive 70 mph on I-65, and with neighboring states already adopting similar speed limits, SB 83 would make commerce and travel easier, with a more consistent traffic flow.

Finally Senate Bill 75, known as the “venue bill,” was passed this week. Under current state law, any citizen who wants to file a lawsuit against a state agency must do so in Frankfort’s Circuit Court. This is a huge travel inconvenience and financial burden for many across the state. SB 75 was passed this week as a way to address the problem. The bill will require cases against state agencies to be heard in the plaintiff’s home town, saving them time and travel costs. It will also allow for a wider breadth of judges across Kentucky to hear state agency cases, while relieving the Franklin Circuit Court of an undue burden.

There are only two more weeks left in this very important “short” session. As always, I encourage all of my constituents, with any concerns or questions, to contact me on the toll-free message line at 1-800-372-7181 or on the toll-free TTY (teletypewriter) message line, 1-800-896-0305, or e-mail me at [email protected]

 

Senator Thayer’s Report from Frankfort

Frankfort-During the second week of the 2007 General Assembly, the State Senate pushed forward some important pieces of legislation. Education, Healthcare and Election Finance reform are all issues that face our Commonwealth and demand progress in Frankfort. This week the Senate worked to propose solutions to some of these issues.

Education is a top priority every year in Frankfort. With over 50% of our budget going to education, it is important that we make correct decisions. Our children are competing in a global “knowledge economy” much different than the world we adults grew up in. In order for our Commonwealth to grow and prosper, we must make sure that students are prepared in math and science, the building blocks of technology. Senate Bills 1 and 2 were passed on Friday and will accelerate our commitment to math and science education.

By encouraging schools to offer more advanced placement courses, proposing student incentives to take math and science AP courses, and encouraging our teachers, through incentives, to teach these particular subjects, we can work to close the achievement gap between Kentucky and the rest of the nation.

Senate Bill 1 works to increase the rigor of the high school curricula by increasing both the number of schools offering AP classes and the number of exams taken and passed. Senate Bill 2 focuses on teacher recruitment, especially in hard to staff areas, in the same subjects. I am eager to see positive affects of these important pieces of legislation.

Another important issue among Kentuckians is health care and the coverage it provides to ourselves, and our families. The Senate passed Senate Bill 152 this week, in an attempt to clarify the language in health insurance as pertaining only to employees and their legally married spouses and children. SB 152 provides state employees the opportunity to meet their obligations, as recognized by statute. It is an attempt to prevent unlimited health insurance exposure for the state by defining who the coverage represents.

Finally, as primary sponsor, I was pleased to see Senate Bill 159 pass the Senate floor on Thursday. Senate Bill 159 is an effort to reform Kentucky’s campaign finance law and makes changes based on recommendations of the 2005 Campaign Finance Task Force. It will create more financial disclosure, and require electronic filing, which will lead to more transparency. It is critical that we “open” the process of our elections by holding accountable the people who seek office.

During the rest of this 30 day session, your input is valuable. Please feel free to contact my offices toll-free at 800/372-7181 with any questions or concerns, or e-mail me at [email protected]

 

Top Officials Announce Support for Campaign Finance Legislation

(Frankfort, KY) The California-based Campaign Disclosure Project recently downgraded Kentucky in its annual ranking of states with the best campaign finance laws. Kentucky might vault back into its national leadership standing after the General Assembly considers a bill sponsored by State Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown). Secretary of State Trey Grayson stood with Thayer, Rep. Mike Cherry (D- Princeton), and former Chairman of the Kentucky House Elections, Constitutional Amendments, and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee Adrian Arnold (D-Mt. Sterling) today in announcing support for campaign finance reform legislation during the 2007 session of the General Assembly.

Thayer’s bill, Senate Bill 159, notably calls for a number of recommendations from the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance (KREF) Task Force which issued a report to the General Assembly just over one year ago. Two of the task force’s top priorities, increased reporting and more electronic filing of reports, are major thrusts of the proposed legislation. The Campaign Disclosure Project specifically cited Kentucky’s lack of required electronic filing as a major reason for its downgrade. Kentucky scored an “F” rating for a low rate of electronic filing of fund-raising and spending reports.

“Transparency and access to campaign financial information allow citizens to keep candidates and elected officials accountable for their campaign fundraising,” stated Thayer. “This bill will dramatically increase those aspects of Kentucky Campaign Finance law and return Kentucky to its national leadership status in campaign finance reform.”

The bill calls for increased reports by adding an additional report due sixty days before primary elections for statewide elected officials as well as an additional report due sixty days before general elections for all candidates. It also requires all candidates who raise over $25,000 in one election cycle to file their reports to the KREF electronically.

Rep. Cherry, who worked with Senator Thayer and former Rep. Arnold to vet the KREF Task Force’s findings during the 2006 Interim Session of the General Assembly, stated, “I look forward to being part of a bi-partisan effort to enact meaningful campaign finance and election regulations reform. We delved into the subject in great detail during interim joint committee sessions this summer, and I feel members of both parties were of very similar minds on the issues as presented by the Registry of Election Finance.”

Kentucky’s existing election finance laws have been challenged by observers of and participants in the system as confusing, lengthy, and legally problematic. A recent series of legal challenges invalidated several portions of the existing election finance statutes. The legislation addresses many changes in election laws that resulted from those decisions.

“I am excited to support the most comprehensive and significant proposal in years to improve Kentucky’s election finance laws. I encourage members of the General Assembly to support this bill, and I thank Sen. Thayer, Rep. Cherry, former Rep. Arnold, and the Advisory Taskforce to the Registry for helping craft legislation worthy of the legislature’s expedient action,” remarked Grayson, the Commonwealth’s Chief Election Official. “It is important that we shine a bright light on how campaigns are funded in Kentucky, and this legislation will do much to ensure that citizens have convenient access to campaign finance information.”

The bill has been assigned to the Senate State and Local Government Committee which Thayer chairs. He plans to call the bill before the committee tomorrow for its consideration.

John Rogers, Chair of the Registry of Election Finance, the agency charged with enforcement of Kentucky’s campaign finance laws, applauded Senator Thayer’s efforts to move Kentucky’s campaign finance laws into the 21st century. Noting that many of the changes proposed in the legislation are the result of careful study by legislative committees following a 2005 final report issued by the KREF’s Advisory Task Force under Rogers’s leadership, Rogers predicted the legislation will receive serious attention this session. “Evolving technology opens new ways of collecting and reporting campaign contributions, and our current laws do not address or accommodate such changes; so, it is very important for this kind of review to occur periodically to allow for and encourage positive changes to Kentucky’s campaign finance laws,” said Rogers.

Senator Thayer’s Report from Frankfort

The State Senate hit the ground running this week as the 2007 General Assembly reconvened for our 30-day session. Two important bills were passed out on our first week. So many families are affected by the scourge of drug abuse and our jail system is crowded by people under the influence of drugs. We need a swift and effective response to people caught in the criminal justice system due to addiction. Senate Bill 34 will help treat the problem of addiction in a secure and accountable environment. It calls for the Department of Corrections to establish a 200-bed secure substance recovery program as a form of pretrial diversion for nonviolent drug offenders to receive treatment.

Senate Bill 88 tackles the issue from a complementary angle. It will encourage cooperation and coordination between federal, state, and local agencies by sharing drug and national security intelligence. It will help electronically connect Kentucky’s 12,000 pharmacies to be able to better track the sale of pseudoephedrine- one of the critical components of meth. The bill will also require a face-to-face consultation with a licensed medical professional in order to obtain a prescription. Kentucky is a crossroads for the nation in commerce, and unfortunately, at times, for illegal substances. This legislation promises to have a positive impact on reducing violent crime and the availability of illegal drugs in Kentucky.

Senate committees are hard at work examining many other issues such as education. Senate Bills 1 and 2 are proposals to increase the number of high school students taking rigorous mathematics and science courses and recruit more science and mathematics teachers. I will update you on these two bills as they make their way through the committee process.

Finally, we began the week with the Governor’s State of the Commonwealth Address where the governor discussed the potential budget surplus. As your senator, I am mindful that Kentuckians demand fiscal discipline. This is not a budget year. The General Assembly in a bipartisan vote, approved a two-year budget in 2006. I am open-minded about many of the proposed initiatives, for example, restoring the capital construction projects and implementing an income tax exemption for the military, however, we must look at the fiscal case for each of the proposals as well as maintain our support to our current commitments. Both the Senate and the House will be holding hearings.

In a 30-day “short” session, your input is critical. Please feel free to contact my office toll-free at 800/372-7181 or email at [email protected] with any questions or concerns.

 

February 2, 2007

Thayer Announces Funding for Scott County School District

Frankfort – State Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) announced that the Capital Projects and Bond Oversight Committee (CPBO) gave final approval for $20,100,000 in bond funding for the Scott County School District.

“This funding will be used for renovations to the Scott County elementary, middle and high schools,” Thayer said. “Education is a building block for our children’s successes. The authorization of these funds will move the projects forward and help provide a better learning environment for our students.”

Thayer explained that the committee reviews school district finances before approving bond issues. Approximately $150,800 of average annual debt service will be paid for by the state, while the remaining $1,516,000 will be paid for locally. He noted the bond sum is estimated and may change at sale due to variations in fees and interest rates.

No local tax increase is required to fund these improvements.

The Capital Projects and Bond Oversight Committee supervises actions such as state spending for capital construction projects, real property leases, and the projects related to bond issuance.

 

 

Senator Thayer, Governor Fletcher and Representative Adams present a $5 million check to officials of Owenton and Owen county for a gas line project. Owen County was the only county in Kentucky without the availability of natural gas.

Thayer Recommends Kenton County Resident G. Jeffrey Fisk to Kentucky Horse Park Commission

 

(Frankfort) –– Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) announced that, upon his recommendation, G. Jeffrey (“Jeff”) Fisk of Kenton County has been appointed by Governor Ernie Fletcher to the Kentucky Horse Park Commission. Fisk will be joining the commission immediately.

Senator Thayer stated, “Jeff has a wide and in-depth experience in the equine industry. I am sure he will be a positive contributor to the Commission.” He continued, “With the World Equestrian Games coming in 2010, it is important for Northern Kentucky to have a strong presence on the Horse Park Commission.”

“I’m extremely excited; this is an excellent time to be involved in equine activities,” Fisk stated, “I want to thank both Senator Thayer and Governor Fletcher for their confidence in me.”

Fisk, a business-owner, is a breeder, trainer, and exhibitor of both quarter horses and paint horses. In addition, Fisk is a farm manager and thoroughbred consultant for Ellis Farm in Richwood. In his spare time, he enjoys working the thoroughbred sales at Keeneland as a handler, sales agent, and consultant. He is an active member of several organizations including the National Cutting Horse Association, the American Quarter Horse Association, the American Paint Horse Association, and the Kentucky Equine Education Project. He is a graduate of Cumberland College. Fisk lives in Independence with his wife, Sue, and their two children.

The Kentucky Horse Park Commission is made up of 15 gubernatorial appointees. The commission is charged with providing broad management expertise and direction in the operation of the Kentucky Horse Park as well as representing the diverse interests of the Kentucky horse industry.

Senator Damon Thayer represents the 17th District comprised of Scott, Owen, Grant, and Kenton counties. He is chairman of the Senate State and Local Government Committee and serves on the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, Licensing, Occupations, and Administrative Regulations Committee, and the Transportation Committee.

 

 

Senator Thayer to Chair Legislative Committee
Frankfort – Senate President David L. Williams (R-Burkesville) announced that State Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) will again serve as chair of the influential Senate State and Local Government committee. He will also retain his seats on the Agriculture & Natural Resources, Licensing, Occupations & Administrative Regulations, and Transportation committees.

The State and Local Government committee oversees issues such as state personnel and retirement systems; the General Assembly; state and regional planning; administrative regulations; elections and election financing; officers, organization, government and financing of county and city governments; constitutional amendments and certain local infrastructure matters. Thayer first assumed the chairmanship in 2005.
Senator Thayer said, “I’m honored that Senator Williams has again chosen me to chair this important committee, and I understand the responsibilities and challenges that accompany this committee chairmanship during this short session.”

The Transportation Committee, which Thayer was first appointed to in 2005, oversees issues affecting the construction and maintenance of the state highway system and state aid for local roads and streets. It also looks at matters dealing with state police and Federal Highway Safety Law.
“I feel privileged to have been chosen to sit on the Transportation Committee,” Senator Thayer said. “Improving Kentucky’s roads, especially the ones in my district, is a top priority.”
The Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee covers matters associated with crops, livestock, poultry, and their marketing, disease control, and warehousing. It also deals with subjects that would uniquely involve small businesses.

The Licensing and Occupations Committee oversees subjects pertaining to professional licensing not assigned specifically to another committee, the chambers of commerce, business development and racing.
“All of these will better able me to serve my district better,” Senator Thayer said.

Senator Thayer represents the 17th Senate District of Scott, Owen, Grant, and southern Kenton counties. He welcomes your concerns or comments at 800-372-7181 or on the Web at http://www.lrc.ky.gov.

 

Jan. 2, 2007: Thayer Elected Northern Kentucky Caucus Chairman

 

Frankfort – Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) was elected Chairman of the Northern Kentucky Legislative Caucus earlier today. The 16 member caucus consists of five senators and 11 representatives act as regional advocates for Northern Kentucky on a statewide level. His chairmanship is a two-year term that begins immediately. Rep. Arnold Simpson (D-Covington) was elected Vice-Chair.

“I am humbled that my fellow legislators entrusted me with this position of leadership,” Thayer said. “I am looking forward to leading our delegation in improving the quality of life for all the people of Northern Kentucky, and ensure that our region’s priorities are heard in Frankfort.”

In addition to the Caucus working together during the current session of the General Assembly, it also meets in Northern Kentucky to hear from constituents about issues important to the region. It is one of six regional caucuses in the state.

Senator Thayer represents the 17th District which includes Owen, Scott, Grant, and Southern Kenton County. Along with being chairman of the State and Local Government Committee, Senator Thayer sits on the Transportation Committee, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, and Licensing and Occupations Committee. He is Senate Chairman of the Horse Farming Subcommittee and the Task Force on Elections and Constitutional Amendments.

Sen. Thayer can be reached on the toll-free message line at 1-800-372-7181 or on the toll-free TTY message line, 1-800-896-0305. He can also be reached via e-mail at [email protected]

December 28, 2006

2007 Session Preview from Senator Damon Thayer

Frankfort―On January 2nd, the General Assembly will gather for the 2007 Session. Unlike last year’s session, this year, as an odd year, will only see a 30-day session. We have much to cover in a short period of time and I wanted to let you know about some topics I expect the Legislature will study.

This first week is an organizational week where the respective chambers will choose the leadership teams of both parties. Committee chairman will also be appointed. We in the Senate will begin the week with a Commencement Prayer Service in a downtown Frankfort church. Most of January will be spent wrapping up any business in the interim committees; many of these topics will be addressed during session. The actual Session will reconvene on February 6th.

During the last several years, the Senate Majority has focused on such education initiatives as Read-to-Achieve, requiring high school juniors to take the ACT, and lengthening the school year, among other programs. This year, we intend to continue our progress through providing students with incentives to excel in math and the sciences. Besides providing financial incentives for taking Advanced Placement (AP) courses in these areas, we are also looking at boosting KEES funds. We must create a culture of learning and a solid base in elementary school and high school sets the stage for higher achievement.

In the same vein, the General Assembly will be revisiting many of the vetoed projects from last year. There is strong support in the Senate to restore the capital construction projects both in higher education and in general infrastructure. In addition, the Senate will also be looking at improving higher education governance and accountability. We must make sure that our higher education dollars are being well spent.

Even though we will be in a “short” session, your input is invaluable. Please let me know about the issues that are important to you. For further information on pending legislation and the General Assembly, you can visit the Legislative Research Commission Web site at www.lrc.state.ky.us . If you have any questions or concerns, please call me on the toll-free message line at 1-800-372-7181. The TTY message line is also toll-free, 1-800-896-0305 or you can email me at [email protected]

December 21, 2006

 

Governor Fletcher Appoints Senator Damon Thayer to the World Equestrian Games Advisory Board

(Frankfort) –– Governor Ernie Fletcher announced today that, upon his recommendation, State Senator Damon Thayer has been appointed to the World Equestrian Games Advisory Board. Thayer will be joining the board immediately.

“I am honored to be selected by Governor Fletcher to serve on this commission. The Games will have a positive economic and cultural impact on the 17th Senate district as well as the entire Commonwealth,” said Thayer. “I look forward to putting my 20 years of experience in the horse industry to work with my fellow commission members to make Kentucky shine on the international stage and reaffirm our position as Horse Capital of the World.”

“The World Equestrian Games will have an enormous impact on Kentucky and in particular, on the portions of Kentucky represented by Sen. Thayer,” said Governor Fletcher. “Sen. Thayer’s experience in the equine industry and in the state legislature makes him an important component of this commission, and I am confident he will work hard to be a great ambassador for his district and the entire Commonwealth as we prepare for 2010.”

The newly created Commission will serve as Kentucky’s ambassadors for the 2010 World Equestrian Games held in Central Kentucky. The Commission will advise the World Equestrian Games Foundation Board and the CEO of the World Games Foundation.

Members of the Commission come from across the United States and from Ireland, bringing together a strong representation from the business community, horse industry, arts community and government. Many members are internationally recognized and are committed to the horse industry.

Senator Damon Thayer represents the 17th District comprised of Scott, Owen, Grant, and Kenton counties. He is chairman of the Senate State and Local Government Committee and serves on the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, Licensing, Occupations, and Administrative Regulations Committee, and the Transportation Committee.

 

The Kentucky Quarter Horse Association (KQHA) named Sen Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) their 2006 “Champion of Quarter Horses in Kentucky.”  Norm Luba (left), President of the KQHA and Bennie Sargent (right), Past President of KQHA presented the award to Sen Thayer earlier this month for his work on the breeder’s incentive fund.