Constance Alexander: Cancer no longer a word that must be spoken in a whisper or with shame

When I was in fifth grade, my mother had cancer. The three older children in the family were already out of the house – two in college, and the oldest married with one little girl. Still at home, my sister Jeanne and I were left to tread the tides that churned up daily turmoil and intermittent confusion about what it meant for a family to contend with serious illness. After all these years, it is...

Jim Hill: It’s time for Kentucky to stop the insanity surrounding pension reform, provide peace of mind

They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. Instead of reimagining our state’s failing pension system through a structural overhaul, some interest groups want little or no changes to the way our system has been operating. That is a recipe for failure considering our $64+ billion in unfunded pension liabilities and the exponential...

Deb McGrath: Hidden benefit management practices drive higher prices at the pharmacy for Ky patients

Patients across Kentucky rely on prescription medications to stay healthy. Whether it’s a chronic health condition like epilepsy or a short-term illness, these medications allow Kentuckians to lead more comfortable, productive lives. Most of us are so familiar with the process to fill a prescription that we may not even think much about it. You take your script to the pharmacy, pay your copay or...

Dennis Keene: Governor, Republican leaders should move slowly and cautiously with pension reform

It is becoming more and more apparent that a special session will be called by Governor Matt Bevin later this fall to deal with pension reform. Although we have a nearly four-month regular session of the General Assembly coming up in January, the Governor is determined to spend upwards of $65,000 per day to convene the legislature on state pensions. Will history repeat itself with another round of...

Mitch McConnell: Kentuckians’ generosity eases burden in wake of devastating hurricanes

Several powerful hurricanes have recently devastated the southeastern United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Already, Congress has responded by providing funding to begin the recovery. We also passed legislation authorizing federal agencies that are critical to the relief efforts. Recently, the Trump administration requested a new round of supplemental funding, and the Senate remains...

Dorsey Ridley: Opioid crisis affecting every aspect of life in Kentucky… and more needs to be done

When the clock strikes midnight tonight, four more Kentuckians will have died of a drug overdose.   That’s how the veteran law enforcement official tasked with coordinating the state’s response to the heroin epidemic describes the seriousness of the situation. While the headlines about the crisis have focused on Northern Kentucky, Appalachia and the big cities, don’t be fooled into thinking...

Bill Straub: With Senate unable to get anything done, McConnell is facing opposition from all sides

It’s becoming obvious that Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root ‘n Branch’’ McConnell needs to embrace the advice of the late Warren Zevon and seek lawyers, guns and money to fend off the GOP’s right-wing crazies as they go from nipping at his heels to taking a big chunk out of his calf. He is, as the song goes, a desperate man. A coalition of ultra-conservative outfits, including FreedomWorks,...

Barry Saturday: Public employees, retirees, and taxpayers should welcome pension reform

Kentuckians are wary of the whole pensions conversation, and as they say, lack of understanding breeds fear (it’s a real challenge for us to think when we’re afraid). As a financial advisor and former high school social studies educator (I also have family members who rely on Kentucky pension payments to pay their bills), I can sympathize with all sides on this issue. I also know that most...

Andy Beshear: We must break silence about domestic violence — the victims are depending on us

The rate of domestic related violence in Kentucky is higher than the national average. According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, in the United States, more than 27 percent of women and 11 percent of men have experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner. In Kentucky, more than 37 percent of women and 31 percent of men are affected by...

Constance Alexander: Early cancer detection, affordable health care matter to all women

She stood on the porch of her trailer, hugging herself against the autumn chill. The scarf coiled around her head, turban-like, was splashed with purple, fuchsia, and rivers of green. Her hands fluttered to straighten the scarf and check the swell of its silken knot, as I pulled into the gravel drive. “You found me,” she called. Her directions had listed a few landmarks on a winding country road...

Thomas Noland: There are no good solutions to state’s pension crisis, leaving Gov. Bevin with mess

As the legislature approaches a special session to solve the pension crisis, the first thing to agree on is that no solution will be considered “fair” by everyone. When an additional $800M-$1B a year is needed, no good solutions exist. Non-state employees do not want their taxes raised while individuals who contributed to the funds want their full pension. One of the points often made by state...

Stephen Pruitt: Kentucky’s new accountability system designed to push education forward

After almost two years, more than 20 town hall meetings and thousands of public comments, Kentucky finally has a new accountability system and it is one of which we all should be proud. At a special meeting in late August, the Kentucky Board of Education approved the regulation that will govern the Commonwealth’s new accountability system. We’re not quite done with the system yet, but we’re...

Jeff Rubin: Key to creating jobs, retaining businesses? A stronger connection to the arts

How to create jobs, retain business, and attract new industry are major concerns to many communities, large and small, across the Commonwealth and around our nation. That’s why what the American Planning Association, The American Arts Council, The Kentucky Arts Council, Berea College and similar organizations are doing to address it is worth writing about here. It starts by encouraging a stronger...

Dorsey Ridley: Latest budget adjustments should have minimal impact on state’s road fund

With budget cuts looming for nearly every sector of state government, I thought this would be a good time to give an update on the health of Kentucky’s road fund. The state road fund closed out fiscal year 2017 this summer with revenue of $1.5 billion. That is $51.1 million, or 3.5 percent, more than the official estimates contained in the state’s 24-month road fund budget. The largest revenue...

Bill Straub: In wake of deadly Las Vegas shooting, expect Congress to do absolutely nothing

It was Ethel Lina White in her novel The Wheel Spins who first maintained that “Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for,’’ which naturally brings us around, yet again, to the issue of guns and the nation’s mind-boggling refusal to address the wholesale slaughter they all too often render. Fifty-nine people were killed and more than 500 injured – think about that for a moment, 59...

David Webster: October is Energy Awareness Month and reduced usage helps bottom line of KY schools

As we kick off what has traditionally been Energy Awareness Month, it is important to note the impact lowered energy usage can have on not only the environment, but also on the finances of public entities. Nowhere is the impact clearer than in Kentucky’s schools. The Kentucky School Boards Association has worked with local school districts since 2010 to better manage the energy usage in their buildings....

Constance Alexander: It takes a tragedy to get the rest of us to learn our history about Puerto Rico

On a porch overlooking a landscape of lush, tropical vegetation, she sits in a graceful wrought iron rocking chair. The Kindle on her lap indicates that she may have been reading before the person with the camera called her name. “Marisel,” the voice might have beckoned. “Look here.” The picture is snapped before her smile fully blossoms. She is relaxed, comfortable and happy to be among family...

Brandon Porter: Re-evaluating place sports holds in life; maybe we are paying too much attention

It’s been said that Hollywood is upstream from culture and leads the culture in thought and trend. It’s also been said that politics is downstream from culture and it reflects where the people are. No one ever mentions sports on that stream, but it must be on there somewhere. Recent controversial events in the world of sports are pushing me to put the remote down and reevaluate the place sports...

Allison Ball: Tax reform on federal level is essential to increase economic growth in Kentucky

As Kentucky State Treasurer, I am keenly aware of Kentucky’s economic pulse since my office balances the Commonwealth’s many checkbooks and is in charge of Kentucky’s funds. From this vantage point, I know that we need tax reform to increase Kentucky’s economic growth and for greater middle-class prosperity throughout the Commonwealth. While the leadership in the Commonwealth wrestles with...

Bob Martin: Kentucky’s pension problem stems from addiction to defined retirement benefits system

There are two types of pension systems: the defined benefits program and the defined contributions program. It is telling that private employers totally abandoned defined benefits pensions in the 70’s and 80’s, while almost all public-sector employers still rely on defined benefits pensions. Private sector employers pay for pensions with their own money, while public-sector employers pay for pensions...