March 22, 2024 7:00am

Poll members oppose taking short-term rental regulation away from cities, resuming executions and an open records loophole.

They also didn't think the Wildcats won't make it to the NCAA Final Four — and they were right.

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Lexington, KY Correspondent
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A large majority of Power Poll Lexington members are against proposed state legislation that would prevent Kentucky communities from regulating the number and density of short-term rental properties in their neighborhoods.

A similar majority opposes efforts by the new state attorney general to reinstate capital punishment in Kentucky. An even larger majority is against proposed legislation that would provide a loophole for government officials to keep secret public business they conduct through email and text on their personal accounts.

And finally this month: Would the University of Kentucky’s men’s basketball team make it to the NCAA Final Four this year? Poll members predicted they wouldn't — and, sadly, they were correct.

The popularity of short-term rentals such as Airbnbs, especially in parts of the state that attract a lot of tourists, has prompted several communities to consider regulation. Louisville and Lexington have passed local laws that require licensing and provide neighborhoods protection against rowdy renters.

Those city laws also seek to limit the number and density of short-term rentals. Residents of some areas have complained that so many homes and apartments are being converted into profitable short-term rentals that it is changing the character of their neighborhoods and raising home prices and rents.

Republican state Sen. Steve West, a real estate agent, attorney and farmer from Paris, has proposed Senate Bill 234 that would restrict local government authority over short-term rentals. While it sets some regulations for licensing and dealing with rowdy renters, it prevents local governments from restricting what properties can be converted from full-time residences to short-term rentals.

Power Poll Lexington members oppose that legislation by a margin of 74 percent (146 members) to 20 percent (39 members). Seven percent (13 members) had no opinion.

West also was the sponsor of new legislation that overturned Lexington and Louisville laws that banned landlords from discriminating against renters based on the source of their income, such as government-issued housing vouchers. Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, vetoed that bill, but the General Assembly’s Republican super majority overrode the veto. In last month’s Power Poll, large majorities of members said they supported Lexington’s law and didn’t think state legislators should be interfering in that local decision.

Russell Coleman, who was elected state attorney general last November, has proposed resuming capital punishment in Kentucky. No executions have been carried out since 2015, when a court ruled that the state needed to update its regulations to conform with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling against executing mentally ill or disabled convicts. Coleman’s recent predecessors — Beshear and Republican Daniel Cameron — made no move to update those regulations and resume executions.

Should capital punishment return to Kentucky? Power Poll Lexington members say no, by a margin of 73 percent (145 people), to 18 percent (36 people). Nine percent (17 people) had no opinion.

The state House of Representatives has passed House Bill 509 that government transparency advocates say would provide a loophole that would allow government officials to hide official business they do in emails and texts on their private accounts. Currently, those communications are subject to the state’s Open Records Law. The Senate has yet to act on the bill.

Power Poll members overwhelmingly opposed allowing this loophole, by a margin of 87 percent (172 people) to 8 percent (16 people). Five percent (10 members) had no opinion.

State government is important, but so is basketball. This is Kentucky, after all.

Our last question sought your prediction about whether the Wildcats would make it to the NCAA Final Four this year — something they haven’t done since 2015. Power Poll members were hopeful, but … 53 percent (105) members predicted the Cats won’t make it to the Final Four, while 37 percent (73 people) thought they would. Ten percent (20 people) had no opinion.

That question was answered quickly last night, as UK fell 80-76 in a first-round game against a Michigan school called Oakland (who? where?). Another one-and-done.

Unfortunately, no members left comments this month, so I couldn’t include any of their quotes in the story. Each month I try to ask about important local and state issues in the news. Often, these issues are complex and hard to summarize in a single question with a yes-or-no answer. So your comments help add context and contribute to public discussion.

Power Poll Members: Do you have a friend or colleague who should be on Power Poll? Please invite them to join!

About Power Poll: Power Poll asks questions of the most powerful, influential people in U.S. cities. It is not a scientific survey. But because the people responding to the surveys comprise the leadership structure of their cities, the results afford a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of those in a position to make change. Power Poll is distinctly nonpartisan.

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