Sunday, December 13, 2009

getting back to blogging

As the 2010 session is 23 days away, I am going to get back to blogging on the happenings in Frankfort.

Also, I will be announcing some additional methods of keeping up with what I am up to in Frankfort soon.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I returned last night from a 4 day program called the Center for the Advancement of Leadership Skills. The program is run through the Council of State Governments and was held this year in Morgantown, West Virginia. Will make a few posts soon on what we did.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Parental Involvement in their child's education

I am testifying before the Interim Joint Committee for Education today at NKU at 1:00 to talk about parental involvement in their child's education. Will report in later on how it went.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

my vote on the slots bill

This has been the most difficult decision on a vote I have ever made.

There are very good reasons to be for and against this bill.


We need to help the horse industry. It directly provides about 50,000 jobs in Kentucky. We give incentives to companies for bringing 50 jobs to Kentucky. The horse industry is not looking for a bailout or incentives. It is asking to do more of what currently goes on there. Also, horse racing is the signature industry for this state. I had the opportunity to go to Australia in 2007 and spend 2 weeks learning how they run their government. When I would introduce myself and tell people where I was from, they would always say " racing!". We should do what we can to keep that.

The e-mails and calls I have received from my constituents are running about 90% for.

The bill has a few positive aspects. It eliminates the state income tax for active duty military, gives taxpayers a 50% tax credit on their car tax, and provides sales tax exemptions for the equine industry, such as feed.

There is $2.5 million in the bill for problem gambling prevention.

The bill helps other horse breeds other than thoroughbreds. You would be amazed at the money people spend to move here to raise horses.

If we are ever going to get to a constitutional amendment for full casinos, this may be an interim step we need to take to get there.


This should be on the ballot. After 10 years of hearing "Let the people decide", now we are not. I think that is wrong. I have talked to several attorneys I respect, and I get different answers on its constitutionality. Those opinions seem to coincide with their opinion as to the public policy benefits or detriments. So I really don't know if it is constitutional or not. If this passes, I suppose we will know from the Supreme Court in about 6 to 9 months.

There is much about the details of the bill not to like. There should be more money put toward addiction prevention. There is mandatory unionization of non-supervisory employees at the tracks (boy do I not like that). The buying of votes through schools building projects is unseemly.

The fact that Turfway has the largest initial license fee is really annoying and I think one more slap at northern Kentucky.


I don't think the Senate will pass this version.


I really, really wish this was a bill with full casinos and on the ballot in the form of a constitutional amendment.

The fact that my constituents seem to want me to vote yes overwhelmingly. The ones I talk do not seem to be concerned about having the right to vote. I think the stories of the demise of the horse industry is pushing people to that decision.

I don't want to be the guy that killed the racing industry.

Finally, I keep coming back to a chance encounter I had recently. I went by myself to play golf in Lexington and was paired up with 2 gentlemen. One of the gentlemen moved here from the northeast. He made what I assume was very large amounts of money at some big company (I think it was Comcast). Anyway when he retired, his wife wanted to get into the Thoroughbred business. So they moved here to Kentucky to own and race horses. He told me very flatly that he can't afford to race any of his horses here in Kentucky. He ships them to Indiana and Pennsylvania to race them. He chuckled at the fact that he moved here to Kentucky to be in the horse capital of the world and can't race his horses here.

Now, this gentleman and his wife are the sort of people we need to attract and keep here in Kentucky. He has plenty of money to spend, and he probably does spend it. But he has no roots here. There is nothing keeping him from moving to Indiana or Pennsylvania where his horses do run. We need more people,like this couple, to invest in Kentucky. Therefore we must increase purses and help our tracks become more competitive.

I'd rather see another option like Sen. Damon Thayer's instant racing concept. However, that was not an option. I chose what I believe and hope was the best option. That is why I voted yes.

slots bill

Sounds like there will be a vote on Friday morning. Session starts at 10am. Debate on the bill will probably begin around 10:15. If you want to watch it, it can be seen on KET 4 (or 5, not sure), or The Democratic leadership seems to think they have the votes.

Ever have one of those moments where you mouth fell open in disbelief? I just did. While looking over the amendments for the slots bill, I saw amendment 3. It would eliminate the prevailing wage for school construction for 3 years. The Legislative Research Commission has put down on their web site that the sponsor is Charlie Hoffman. Charlie sits right next to me on the floor and is a HUGE union guy. I suspect there might be a mistake on the web, but it would be great if Charlie actually ran the amendment. It might actually pass if it did.

As for me, I have never been so conflicted about a bill before in my life. I am typically very decisive. Never on the fence. This time is different. Hopefully I will wake up with a final answer.

Check here tomorrow for an explaination of my vote.

Thursday update

Yesterday, HB 3 and 4 were voted out of the House. Those were the economic development bill (which I voted for) and the infrastructure bill (which I voted against).

We just got out of session today. No public policy was made today, but the word is that the slots bill will be up for a vote tomorrow.

More on that in my next post.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

tidbits from Frankfort

On the gambling bill:

We are having a Licensing and Occupations Committee Wednesday at 1pm. The committee will hear the bill, but not vote on it. The vote will be done in Appropriations and Revenue Committee. Not sure why the extra meeting. Theoretically it could be voted on Thursday, but I have a feeling it won't be that day. We'll see if I am right.

They don't have the votes yet, given the Governor is meeting with members.

The Governor has produced his gambling bill. I don't think that is the version that will show up in committee.

On other topics, sounds like the economic incentives bill and infrastructure bills will both come up for vote on Wednesday.

Monday, June 15, 2009

back to Frankfort

I will be headed down to Frankfort today for the special session, or as I like to call it, the yearly summer session.

We will be taking up the Governor's budget reduction plan, slots at the tracks, economic development incentive plan, and the Ohio-Indiana bridges plan.

I plan to update the blog regularly through the session.

Rumor is that we will be taking up the slots plan at a Licensing and Occupations committee meeting on Tuesday.

First thing to look for: All 4 bills will probably be introduced today. Will they all be given their first reading today or not? If so, then they could all be passed starting on Wednesday. If not, then the negotiating and posturing has already begun.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tax receipts down on distilled spirits

I am proud that I voted against the bill that increased the tax on alcohol. Check out the article below on what happened the first month.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

session over

As you know by now, the session has ended, in a strange way.

I'm not very excited about the session. Certainly a bad session for taxpayers. I'll be posting in the upcoming days more about my thoughts on this session and give an update on what happened to some of my bills.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Stimulus dollars

Want to see how Kentucky is spending our stimulus money? Click here and see.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Catching up - various tidbits

I've been lax in updating.....sorry.

I git HB 164 through the House last week. That gives me 2 bills awaiting action in the Senate.

We are eagerly anticipating the stimulus road plan. There is a strong move afoot to freeze the gas tax at the current $.211 a gallon. It will automatically go down $.04 on April 1st otherwise.
I have not seen a plan.

In local government committee tomorrow, I will be voting on the first Senate bills of the session.

Voted no on the floor 4 times today on about 15 bills.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

HB 155 passed the House

HB 155 was called up in the House today and passed 98-0. Now it moves on to the Senate, where hopefully we can get it through there.

I would like to take this opportunity to mention a few things. First, I received a great deal of unsolicited support from outside entities, including the state League of Women Voters, and the Kentucky Department of Education. Second, I want to thank the House leadership for calling it up. After getting up to speak against a bill yesterday, and voting against tax increases, I figured that my chances of passing this bill were small. I appreciate the willingness of leadership to hear a good bill, no matter the sponsor. Although all are not treated equal in the House, thus far partisanship has been much less frequent under the new Speaker.

If you like the bill, I encourage you to contact your Senator about it.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

My votes on HB 143 and HB 144

HB 143 and HB 144 were the tax increase bill and budget changes bill. Below is an e-mail I sent to many Boone County Schools employees. I thought I would share it with everyone.

I'd like to address this issue as briefly as possible.

The tax increase was the only option presented to us, but it was not the only option. I support repealing the prevailing wage, allowing grocery stores to sell wine, putting expanded gaming on the ballot. I am having my intern investigate the 400+ boards and commissions trying to determine which ones we can get rid of or merge. The state has a 7 person department to investigate Medicaid fraud. No one there can remember the last time someone was prosecuted for Medicaid fraud. Either there is fraud not being prosecuted (most likely), or there is no fraud (unlikely) and we can get rid of those 7 people. Either way, there are savings to be had.

This is just what I have found in 2+ years. The point is that there is so much that can be cut or saved. It is amazing to me that these items are not addressed.

Also, in the budget agreement, SEEK funding, Medicaid, higher ed loans, and some other items were listed as not being permitted to be cut by the Governor. One of those items was the state parks. So the leadership of both houses that drafted this agreement puts state parks on the same level as SEEK and Medicaid. In fact, high ed can be cut by the Governor. So state parks is more important than higher ed. Absolutely absurd.

That, in essence, why I did not support wither HB 143 or HB 144. I am not against raising taxes, I did it plenty while on Fiscal Court. I am against raising taxes where so many other options of saving money or raising new revenue are not even considered.

So what am I doing to improve education?

I have submitted a bill HB 306, requiring parents to go to at least one parent teacher conference for each child they have in public school. I would love to have it passed, but I figured most likely my best chance was to get a conversation started on the role of parents in their child's education, which has happened. I will keep pushing this issue, as I believe that parents have a responsibility and we need 100% participation if possible.

We all know that Boone County and Northern Kentucky in general are disadvantaged by the SEEK formula. During the hearing Thursday on HB 158, Speaker Stumbo's bill to grant slots to the tracks, I spoke up for Northern Kentucky. There is money in that bill for K-12. I took that opportunity, in front of all the state press, to state how if we are going to put new money into the system, then it needs to go into a "SEEK Equalization Fund".

I hope this helps explain where I came from on this issue. If there are any specific questions, I'd be happy to answer them.

Adam Koenig
State Representative, 69th District

Saturday, February 14, 2009

3 of my 15 minutes

Did my spot of Fox News this morning. I have tried to download the video or provide a link, and been unable. If you follow this link, as of this moment, click on the story Fined for skipping parent teacher conference, you can see the video. Don't know how long it will be up.

On a side note, not my best TV performance ever. Oh well.

In case you are wondering how this works, I was at the WCET studios in downtown Cincy. Just me, a camera, cameraman, and an earpiece in my ear. No TV to even see what is going on.

If you watch the video, there is nothing going on to the side of me. Apparently I just keep looking over there. First time in this situation. Hopefully I get more opportunities and will get better.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Big News

Tomorrow morning at 7:20 I will be on the Fox News Channel to talk about my HB 306.

Tune in if you can.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

several thoughts

The tax increases passed yesterday 66-34. 60 votes were needed to pass it. Rumor was it was going to be close. It was not. I voted no. Overwhelming reaction from my district was to vote no, especially after the alcohol tax was added to the bill.

Rep. Arnold Simpson of Covington gave perhaps the best speech I have heard since becoming a State Representative on the tax increase bill. He did a tremendous job of illustrating how unfair the alcohol tax is to the urban areas.

The Speakers' slots bill went through committee today. I was the only non yes vote. The bill allows just slots at just the track with no vote of the people. I believe that the people should decide, we should have full blown casinos and they should be at more than just the tracks. Also I pointed out that since this bill adds money to secondary education, we need to consider putting that toward fixing the SEEK formula this disadvantages growing areas, like Northern Kentucky.

Back to work Friday morning, and we are not in session next week. Will catch up then.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

HB 306

First, I am sorry there was no post yesterday. The wireless access in my hotel did not work last night.

Anyway, I was interviewed on my HB 306 last night for Lexington Channel 27 news. You can watch the story here. Also you can go to to read an article on it there.

Will update more soon.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Have a bill in committee tomorrow

Tomorrow morning I have a bill, HB 155, that will be heard in the House Education Committee at 8:00am. It passed last year so I have high hopes. I'll let you know what happens, or you should be able to watch it on

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Today's public hearing

Today was the NKY legislative caucus hearing. It was a very impressive display of concerned citizens expressing their opinions and exercising their rights. The security officers there estimated 1000 people came to be heard today.

Rep. Santoro, the caucus Chairman, did an excellent job of making sure everyone who asked to speak could be heard. They only had 1 minute, but everyone got a chance to speak.

Most were there to ask for no cuts in education. 99% of the people were respectful of each other, the speakers and the time limit. I was very impressed with everyone.

Thanks to NKU for providing the space where so many could meet.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Headed back to Frankfort

Part 2 of the 2009 session begins Tuesday at noon. I will be back in the regular blogging habit (I promise). I may even break some news on here!

Stay tuned for more updates.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Good luck President Obama

As we witness the peaceful transition of power that we take for granted, I would like to wish good luck to President Obama.

Now, I did not vote for President Obama. However, he is entrusted with the future of our country. Therefore, I hope and pray that he makes good decisions that can put the most people back to work as possible, and keeps us safe.

Also, I would like to thank President Bush for his service to our country as our President. However you feel about him, he deserves our thanks for his service to our country.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New session underway

First, sorry about the late post.

The first week of session was last week. On the personal front, I remain on the same 5 committees I finished up on last year. Those are Local Government, Banking and Insurance, Economic Development, Labor and Industry, and Licensing and Occupations. The only change now is that I am a Vice-Chair of the Local Government Committee.

There was plenty change in the rest of the House. We have a new Speaker, Greg Stumbo. With a new Speaker comes new committee chairs. I am generally happy with the new committee chairs. The fact that the new Chairman of Appropriations and Revenue committee is a member of the Northern Kentucky Legislative Caucus can only mean good things for NKY.

The Appropriations and Revenue committee has already begun meeting to discuss the budget issues. It sounds like the Licensing and Occupations Committee will be meeting before we return for session on Feb. 3rd to begin discussions on Speaker Stumbo's bill to install slots at tracks.

I will begin posting more regularly on the various issue we will address in the upcoming session.