Several Louisville officials are in Washington this week for the National League of Cities conference, and at least one member of the city’s delegation is hoping to convince federal officials to rethink a proposed budget cut.

The conference attendees heard today Tuesday from First Lady Michelle Obama. Mrs. Obama promoted her Let’s Move campaign to fight childhood obesity. Louisville Metro Councilman David Tandy says some of the First Lady’s suggestions, such as encouraging healthy eating and exercise, can be implemented locally at no cost. But others take money.

“When you’re talking about the re-striping of streets so that you have dedicated bike lanes or to make the necessary repairs that you’d have on various equipment that’s around the city or, for that matter, making sure community centers are open, that requires funds,” he says.

Tandy says money for those programs, and to bring fresh produce to urban food deserts, can come from the federal government through community development block grants. But those funds could soon be scarce. The U.S. House has proposed cutting the grants by more than 60%.

“That’s a big hit,” says Tandy. “So when you start talking about reducing funding, you’re taking it away from places that have proven positive results,” he says.

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Federal Legislation to Expedite EPA Decisions Mirrors Governor’s Stance

by Gabe Bullard March 8, 2011

Congressman Hal Rogers filed the bill, which is similar to legislation introduced by Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul in their chamber. The lawmakers say the EPA takes too long to approve or deny mining permits, and the delays may be an indirect method of rejecting permits.

Dick Brown with the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet says Rogers, Paul, McConnell and Governor Steve Beshear share a common frustration with the EPA.

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Indiana House GOP Approves Fines for Boycotting Democrats

by Gabe Bullard March 3, 2011

House Speaker Brian Bosma says Democratic leader Patrick Bauer has told him the boycotting members will not return Friday. Bosma says he will hold off on formall censuring them as he had discussed earlier.

The fines will begin Monday. Such charges have been threatened in previous House walkouts, but have been waived when the minority party returns.

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Bill to Expand and Elect Public Service Commission Revised, Now Calls for Study

by Tony McVeigh February 28, 2011

A Senate bill aimed at expanding the Kentucky Public Service Commission to seven members, elected by the people, has been altered in House committee. The bill now calls for creation of a legislative task force to study the issue and make recommendations for next year.

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Crossroads Ads to Target Chandler

by Gabe Bullard February 23, 2011

Kentucky Congressman Ben Chandler is among a dozen Democrats being targeted in a series of radio ads from the conservative-aligned Crossroads GPS organization. The ads criticize the representatives for voting against a Republican-backed bill to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year, largely through major spending cuts.

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Anti-Bullying Bill Passes House Committee

by Gabe Bullard February 22, 2011

Several committee members expressed concern about bullying but indicated current law should address the issue. Sponsor Mary Lou Marzian says the legislation gives school officials power they don’t currently have to better deal with bullies who target gay students.

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School Bus Ad Bill Passes House

by Tony McVeigh February 15, 2011

Mills says several states already allow school bus ads, and Ohio, New Jersey and Utah are considering similar legislation. He says such ads have already raised one million dollars this academic year for the Dallas, Texas, school system. The bill now moves to the Senate.

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House Passes Bill That Requires Contractors To Verify Workers’ Immigration Status

by Tony McVeigh February 8, 2011

The legislation puts the onus on employers to verify the immigration status of their employees. A Senate bill that puts the onus on law enforcement to verify the immigration status of suspected illegal aliens remains in a House committee.

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House Passes Ignition Lock Bill

by Tony McVeigh February 8, 2011

Legislation requiring ignition interlock devices on the vehicles of convicted drunk drivers has won the unanimous support of the Kentucky House. Vehicles equipped with the devices won’t crank for drivers with illegally high blood-alcohol levels.

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Bill Raising Dropout Age Moves To House Floor

by Tony McVeigh February 8, 2011

Last week, the bill won House Education Committee approval. Now, it has the House budget committee’s blessing. Education Commissioner Terry Holliday says any new costs associated with the bill will easily be covered in coming years.

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