A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Dorsey Ridley: Memorial Day a time to show respect to the brave Americans who fought for our freedom

Memorial Day is a time to remember those brave Americans who fought for our nation and its freedom. This national day of remembrance is especially close to our hearts this year as our young men and women are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan for a safer America. Today, we should show respect to our servicemen and women and those who have gone before by putting aside our differences in honor of their...

Dorsey Ridley: A perspective on what happened in legislature last week, overturning vetoes and more

Legislators returned to Frankfort on Friday and Saturday for the final two days of session — and we were not alone. Teachers and retirees were back at the Capitol, dressed in their red shirts, rallying for public education. As with all my sessions in Frankfort, I was a strong advocate for our public schools and for all those in education who have dedicated their careers and lives to our students....

Sen. Dorsey Ridley announces more than $3.7 million in Ky Lottery proceeds for District 4 higher education

Senator Dorsey Ridley, D-Henderson, announced this week that higher education in Western Kentucky once again reaped the rewards of the Kentucky Lottery proceeds. During the 2017 fiscal year, there were 2,271 scholarships worth $3,561,533 awarded to students in Senate District 4, which Senator Ridley represents. The 4th District includes Caldwell, Crittenden, Henderson, Livingston, Union and Webster...

Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Dorsey Ridley files for re-election to 4th district

Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Dorsey Ridley, D-Henderson, filed for re-election to his 4th district Senate seat Friday in Frankfort. Senator Ridley, citing a strong record that includes education, economic development and progress in highway infrastructure, represents the 4th Senatorial District that includes Caldwell, Crittenden, Henderson, Livingston, Union and Webster counties. Since winning a...

Dorsey Ridley: Kentucky’s pension system needs to be fixed, but latest draft legislation isn’t the answer

I’ve never seen anything like this. The governor announces earlier this year that he is taking the politically courageous step of tackling Kentucky’s public pension challenges but then lets wild rumors ferment for months by not releasing a plan. When he does release his plan, it’s 505-pages long and on the eleventh hour on a Friday. And along the way, he creates fright and panic among current...

Dorsey Ridley: Bill to save Kentucky’s pensions finally released, but success remains doubtful

A draft of the massive 505-page bill to address Kentucky’s public pension challenges was released in the late hours of Friday. I expect the draft bill reflects what was disclosed a few weeks ago when the governor released an outline of the proposed legislation but further scrutiny may cause additional concerns. The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy analysis of the bill has already found that money...

Dorsey Ridley: With wait now over, it is the time for careful review of governor’s proposed pension plan

The wait is finally over – kind of. After months of closed-door meetings on how to address Kentucky’s pension challenges, the governor and Republican leadership released an outline of a plan. I will be carefully reviewing that outline in the upcoming days, with an eye on the fact that 14 percent of Kentuckians depend on the pension system to retire in dignity. I cannot say this proposal eliminates...

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...

Dorsey Ridley: Bevin’s proposed 17 percent budget cut has nothing to do with fixing the pension crisis

Just when I thought the widespread anxiety caused by those Philadelphia pension consultants couldn’t get worse, the governor asked most state agencies earlier this month to slash their budgets by more than 17 percent to cope with a forecasted $200 million revenue shortage and to beef up the rainy day fund. No wonder people are nervous. The request follows a 9 percent cut that is part of the state’s...

Dorsey Ridley: Kentucky’s public pension faces very real challenges not met by switching to 401k plans

While I appreciate the Governor’s efforts to address Kentucky’s pension challenges, I fear the proposals would only enhance our problems further. Kentucky’s public pensions face very real challenges, but imploding the pension systems that provide benefits promised, and legally protected, to our current and retired public employees — city, county, state, teachers and other school staff —...