A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Bevin files another suit against attorney general Andy Beshear in back and forth over pension reform bill

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today There’s a new wrinkle in the lawsuit filed by Attorney General Andy Beshear seeking that the public pension reform bill passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Matt Bevin be thrown out.   An important part of the suit alleged Senate Bill 151 is unconstitutional because it was signed by House Speaker Pro-Tem David Osborne, who Beshear argued is not...

Power in Numbers symposium shines spotlight on opportunity identified in Transfer of Wealth study

By Mark Hansel NKyTribune managing editor The Power in Numbers symposium at the St. Elizabeth Healthcare Training and Education Center in Erlanger Tuesday focused on philanthropy and how a collaborative community effort can capitalize on an emerging opportunity. Joseph Clabes, president of the Kentucky Philanthropy Initiative, explains the opportunity identified in the organization’s Transfer...

KyForward’s Gene Clabes among those named to UK journalism’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni

Staff Report KyForward Executive Editor and co-founder Gene Clabes is among nine journalists who will be inducted into the University of Kentucky School of Journalism’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni Thursday evening. The alumni to be recognized in addition to Clabes include an widely recognized photographer for National Geographic, a popular and beloved Courier- Journal columnist; the editor of...

Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt forced to resign at Tuesday special board meeting

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The Kentucky Board of Education, with new members appointed by Gov. Matt Bevin in place, voted to accept the forced resignation of Education Commissioner Dr. Stephen Pruitt during a special board meeting on Tuesday.   Pruitt has been commissioner since September 2015. Bevin made it clear Tuesday before the board’s vote he was unhappy with the state’s recent...

2018 legislature: Big winners — children in foster care, crime victims; the rest — losers and questions

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The 2018 General Assembly is now history and while there are some obvious winners and losers, there are two other categories to consider: “both” or “too soon to tell.” Children in foster care, or awaiting adoption, is one area that is an obvious winner. A bipartisan working group named on the final day of the 2017 session by then-Speaker Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown,...

Kentucky by Heart: Louisville teenager motivated by helping others, inspires ‘random acts of kindness’

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist When Shareen Dunn used her Advent calendar as a guide to encourage her son, fifth-grader Andrew, to do simple and loving gestures for others, she often provided some sort of tangible reward. Today, 15-year-old Andrew, a freshman student at Louisville’s duPont Manual High School, doesn’t need those items to motivate him. What spurs him today to do kind things...

Rep. Jody Richards, 80, former House Speaker, is among those who are retiring from legislature

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A large number of Kentucky lawmakers are not seeking re-election this year, so barring a special session on tax reform or other issues, Saturday was the last day they convened in their chambers on the third floor of the State Capitol.   Among them was Rep. Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green, a member of the House since 1976, who also served as Speaker from 1995-2008. 
He...

This Week in Frankfort: $22 billion biennial budget to Governor; adoption, foster care, road bills pass

This week, lawmakers fulfilled a main duty the state constitution requires of them as final approval was given to a state budget that will guide more than $22 billion worth of spending over the next two years.   The budget plan does not include all of the program cuts that received much attention when they were unveiled in the governor’s original budget plan. Rather, lawmakers approved a tax measure...

Chef John Foster: Hearts racing, patios open, weather warms; great time to be chef as tool box fills

It’s as if someone turned on the faucet and everything started to flow. In the space of one week, the farmers I deal with have doubled their offerings and opened my menu up to the possibility of transforming the seasons. Mushrooms, spinach, baby kale, green garlic, green onions, fresh herbs all practically non-existent a few weeks ago, now flooding into my kitchen along with the remnants of...

Bevin vetoes rare disease council, end-of-life controlled substances; legislature can override

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky lawmakers, so far, have two vetoes by Gov. Matt Bevin to potentially override when they return from recess on April 13. Senate Bill 7, would establish and fund the Kentucky Rare Disease Advisory Council, to support rare disease research and treatment for 10 years. The bill received unanimous approval in both the Senate and House and delivered to the governor on...

University of Louisville names Neeli Bendapudi as 18th president; she will start May 15

Dr. Neeli Bendapudi, provost at the University of Kansas, has been selected as the 18th president of the University of Louisville. She has extensive academic and business experience. The provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of Kansas was selected after a months-long search that drew more than 50 candidates from across the nation. The UofL Board of Trustees approved her appointment...

Senate Majority Leader McConnell on midterm elections: ‘The wind is going to be in our face’

By Roger Alford Kentucky Today Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was instrumental in marshaling forces to pass the largest tax overhaul in 30 years to spur an economic resurgence. Yet, that doesn’t top McConnell’s list of what he considers his most consequential political accomplishments as the Senate’s top lawmaker. Top of the list for him is the rapid confirmations of conservative judges...

Early results of state’s 2017 Industrial Hemp Pilot Project reveals multi-million dollar economic impact

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday at the annual conference of the Kentucky Hemp Industries Association (KYHIA) that preliminary analysis of the 2017 Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program reveals a multi-million-dollar economic impact for the state. According to early analysis of the 2017 processor production reports, Kentucky licensed processors paid Kentucky growers $7.5 million...

Pew Trusts: Bookmobiles are still a thing, and Kentucky has more of them than any other state

By Jen Fifield Special to KyForward The van comes to a stop just as it reaches the hens. A bleating lamb is the first to greet Sandra Hennessee as she opens the van door and lets in the midday sun. To get here, on an Amish farm in rural western Kentucky, Hennessee headed west from the small town of Mayfield and drove for miles on a two-lane road, passing churches, farms and open fields. With every...

Teachers gather in Frankfort for march on Capitol for voice on state budget as lawmakers convene

Staff report Traffic jams in Frankfort early this morning, long lines of cars at Interstate off-ramps, the Capitol parking garage already filled and crowds already gathered around the Kentucky Education Association building — all signs of a major gathering of teachers for protests as lawmakers address a state budget. A rally and march of the state’s teachers will start at KEA headquarters...

Former Congressman Ron Mazzoli to deliver UK’s Spring 2018 Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Lecture

Former U.S. Rep. Ron Mazzoli, a Democrat of Louisville and co-author of the last major immigration-reform law, will deliver the Spring 2018 Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Lecture on Wednesday, April 11 at the University of Kentucky. Mazzoli, who represented Kentucky’s Third Congressional District from 1971 through 1994, joined with now-retired Republican Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming to develop and...

This Week in Frankfort: Pension bill gets to Gov.; a few others advance, including abortion bill

Efforts to reform the state’s public pension systems have taken a winding road and faced uncertain prospects at times since the issue came to the forefront of public discussion last year. But after making changes based on input received from stakeholders throughout the General Assembly’s 2018 session, public pension legislation reached the end of its legislative journey this week as lawmakers approved...

KEA president speaks out about the pension bill sent to Bevin’s desk; rally set for Monday at Capitol

By Mark Maynard Kentucky Today Stephanie Winkler, president of the Kentucky Education Association, spoke with passion and fire in an emotional press conference concerning Thursday night’s passage of the pension reform bill and delivered a stark and threatening message to legislators who voted in favor of Senate Bill 151.   “Anyone that voted yes for this bill will need to start packing up their...

Kentucky lawmakers push through pension overhaul as hundreds of teacher protest legislation

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today At the end of a long and emotional day, Republican lawmakers used some fancy legislative footwork to push through a pension overhaul that keeps benefits for most workers but still will leave the state with enormous debt.   With hundreds of teachers on the outside protesting loudly, chanting “Shame on you!” and vowing to have their say at the ballot box, the Senate voted...

Chef John Foster: Appreciate the early spring crops, embrace mushrooms (nature’s sponges) of all kinds

Ramps, morels, fiddlehead ferns, if these items aren’t familiar to you, you need to get out more, literally! Nothing says spring quite like a big bunch of crisp, garlicky ramps, tossed in a pasta like broccoli rabe, but with a kick. Morels, those cone shaped sponges that elicit high emotion between mushroom foragers are the very model of a finicky spring vegetable, here today and gone the...