A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

House Democratic Caucus asks state health officials for detail on how, why Medicaid benefits removed

In a letter sent Tuesday to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the House Democratic Caucus called on Secretary Adam Meier to offer a more detailed explanation about recent actions that removed three key health benefits for 460,000 Kentuckians enrolled in Medicaid. (Click to read full letter) The letter, which was signed by all 37 House Democrats, was initiated by state Representatives Joni...

John Schickel: Kentucky’s pension crisis, budget ‘explosion’ remain state’s major issues

Benjamin Franklin is said to have said “when people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of a republic.” I hope and pray that is not where we are as a country, but recent developments in Frankfort this year would tend to indicate we are heading down that path. Next to the pension crisis, the explosion in the budget to cover Medicaid — a jointly funded, Federal-State...

Kentucky by Heart: Some thoughts and musings about Kentucky, the special place we call home

In the course of writing a weekly column called Kentucky by Heart, a book series about everyday heroes in Kentucky, reviewing books of Kentucky’s authors or about the state, and just plain possessing a deep affinity for the place I’ve lived most of my life, you might guess that my Bluegrass mind-set hums continuously. You would be correct. This week, I’ll share some of my thoughts about this...

Bill Straub: Bevin’s actions, while reprehensible, were not surprising and his ‘apology’ didn’t help

But I’m just a soul whose intentions are good Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood. — Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (No, check that. Try Nina Simone) WASHINGTON — A rather famous Kentuckian, a fellow named Lincoln, is credited with saying, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.’’ It is a precept that apparently escaped...

Critics say new Medicaid rules will result in greater loss of coverage than Bevin administration estimates

Changes in the state Medicaid program, to be phased in starting July 1, would lead to many more people losing health coverage than the state has estimated, 43 academic experts say in a friend-of-the-court brief filed in a lawsuit challenging federal officials’ approval of the changes. The experts argue that the changes are “likely to remove at least twice as many beneficiaries in the first...

Gov. Bevin explains veto of budget and tax bill, says Kentucky’s financial future requires tough decisions

For many months, we have been working to resolve the toughest financial crisis Kentucky has ever faced, a crisis that began many years ago and that previous governors and legislators either negligently handled or ignored. It is now snowballing out of control. Nothing about this process has been easy. That does not, however, take away from the present reality that we are facing, or from the difficult...

Constance Alexander: It’s time to dial down the rhetoric and find a real pension reform solution

The most important job I ever had was teaching English and Social Studies in junior high school because every single day offered a long-term opportunity to make a difference in a young person’s life. Short-term, payback was less rosy. Daily challenges included dealing with administrivia, adolescent meltdowns, and parental ennui. Critics carped about summer vacations and seasonal holidays, insisting...

Governor asks for Presidential Disaster Declaration for flood damage in 22 eastern KY counties

Governor Matt Bevin had sent a letter to President Donald Trump requesting a Presidential Disaster Declaration for 22 eastern Kentucky counties that were impacted during a severe flooding event last month. The flooding caused over $18 million in damages to highways, bridges and local infrastructure. “The requested Presidential Disaster Declaration will provide eastern Kentucky counties with federal...

Bevin administration files lawsuit seeking to ensure Kentucky HEALTH complies with federal law

Governor Matt Bevin’s Administration on Monday filed suit in federal district court in Kentucky seeking a ruling that the Commonwealth’s Medicaid waiver, known as Kentucky HEALTH, fully complies with federal law. Interest groups, representing several Kentucky residents, sued the federal government on Jan. 24 about Kentucky HEALTH in Washington, D.C., but did not include the Commonwealth in...

Governor Bevin requests cooperation of attorney general in legal efforts against opioid companies

Governor Matt Bevin on Monday called upon Attorney General Andy Beshear to join forces in the fight against the opioid epidemic by pursuing joint legal action against opioid drug manufacturers and distributors. Gov. Bevin’s General Counsel Steve Pitt underscored the need for cooperation in a letter sent to Deputy Attorney General J. Michael Brown, calling upon all parties “to stand united so that...

HUD Sec. Ben Carson joins Gov. Bevin, Andy Barr for tours of Lexington’s transitional housing facilities

Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson, along with U.S. Representative Andy Barr, Governor Matt Bevin and non-profit organization leaders held a roundtable discussion on transitional housing and homelessness prevention in Lexington Thursday. “We have made great progress towards ending homelessness in Lexington and across Kentucky,” said Sec. Carson. “To end homelessness, we...

William McCann: Bevin’s budget is more of the same, legislators must look beyond traditional solutions

Governor Bevin — in his budget address to the Kentucky General Assembly — has called for budget tightening so severe it is going to mean the death of 70 programs and an across-the-board spending cuts of 6.25%. He is saving the principle funding program for K-12 education, SEEK, but asking school districts to pay the majority of the cost of pupil transportation. We’ve seen this movie play...

Jim Wayne: Governor Bevin’s proposed budget hurts Kentucky; voters must raise the bar on legislators

One of my favorite spots in Kentucky is on top of a steep knob overlooking the Rolling Fork River valley in Marion County. The reward of a strenuous hike to this peak is sitting on a limestone outcropping on a clear winter day seeing the log home of my great great grandparents, the wide river valley pasture below, spotted with Angus cows and, beyond the river, the forests and fields of Casey County....

Terry Brooks: Lessons from Governor — services for children define our future, seize opportunities

The real takeaway from the address from Governor Matt Bevin is a question: What kind of commonwealth do we want to be? Is it one in which needed protections for kids are absent and a rising tide of poverty is pervasive? A place where families struggle to stay together and early investments for kids fall to the wayside? Or will we as a commonwealth move towards an environment in which current challenges...

Governor’s Awards for the Arts presentation to be live streamed for the first time February 2

Presentation of the Governor’s Awards in the Arts will be live-streamed this year for the first time. The ceremony will be held Feb. 2 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Executive Mansion. A link to view the live stream of the awards’ presentation will be available on Governor Bevin’s official Facebook page on Feb. 2. The Governor’s Awards in the Arts ceremony, coordinated by the Kentucky Arts...

KDNR head Allen Luttrell announces resignation; John D. Small named acting commissioner

Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Charles Snavely today announced the resignation of Kentucky Department for Natural Resources Commissioner Allen Luttrell. Allen Luttrell Luttrell, of Lawrenceburg, was appointed two years ago to the position by Governor Matt Bevin and provided strong leadership during his tenure that saw the department wage a highly successful campaign during the 2016...

First day of General Assembly off to bumpy start, facing big issues; Hoover’s role in House uncertain

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The 2018 General Assembly got off to a bumpy start on Tuesday with some lawmakers unhappy that House Speaker Jeff Hoover has resigned and others upset that he hasn’t. 
Hoover, R-Jamestown, had announced he would give up his leadership post in November after admitting he entered into a settlement with a former House staffer to resolve a sexual harassment claim, but...

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...

Frankfort judge strikes down law requiring medical review of malpractice lawsuits; Bevin to appeal

A judge has ruled that a new law aimed at decreasing frivolous lawsuits and lowering malpractice insurance costs was unconstitutional, and he prohibited the state from enforcing it. Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd The Oct. 30 ruling by Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd said the 2017 law is unconstitutional because it restricts the right of people to plead their cases in court by requiring...

First Lady Glenna Bevin hosts “Pjammin’ Party” for children affected by pediatric cancer

First Lady Glenna Bevin recently invited more than 80 children and family members from across Kentucky directly affected by pediatric cancer to the Governor’s Mansion for a pajama party. The children and their families were treated to dinner, crafts, music and a movie. Additionally, the American Childhood Cancer Organization provided books for each child, sibling and parent with information on...