The 2018 General Assembly opened with House Speaker Pro Tempore David Osborne, R-Prospect, presiding over the House instead of Speaker Jeff Hoover. Also, Majority Floor Leader Jonathan Shell leads a moment of silence for Dan Johnson, a Republican lawmaker who committed suicide in December.
Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Secretary John Tilley said the state's juvenile detention centers are using isolation cells less than they once did. But he was disturbed by a recent report that found the state still overuses the small, concrete rooms, sometimes with inadequate monitoring.
U.S. Rep. Andy Barr blamed Democrats for forcing out a the GOP tax reform bill a provision that would have protected Berea College from a new tax on earnings on its billion-dollar endowment. The endowment is used to cover tuition for low-income students who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford college. Democrats blamed Republicans for rushing through the tax plan with the requirement for a tax on endowments.
Rep. Dan Johnson, a Republican state legislator in Kentucky facing sexual assault allegations, has died in an apparent suicide. Johnson was accused of of assaulting a teenage girl in 2013. Police investigated but closed the case and did not file charges.