A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Conference Committee of 20 men pour over state budget, to meet Monday; legislature about Tuesday

While most members of the Kentucky General Assembly are enjoying a recess until Tuesday, a group of 20 House and Senate members are trying to hash out an agreement on a state spending plan for the next two years.   The Budget Conference Committee began work shortly after 9 a.m. Friday, going line by line over the budget documents. In the past, the media and public have been kept out of the proceedings,...

Beshear files lawsuit against third opioid distributor for funneling prescription painkillers into state

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear has filed a third lawsuit against one of the nation’s largest opioid distributors he says has funneled massive amounts of prescription painkillers into the state and especially rural eastern Kentucky. The lawsuit, filed in Jefferson County Circuit Court, alleges Ohio-based Cardinal Health has helped fuel Kentucky’s opioid epidemic,...

Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne says ‘Incredibly difficult budget’ taking longer than expected

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today House Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne, R-Prospect, said he expects action on a public pension reform plan “soon,” and vowed to get the budget bill to the Senate faster than usual. “The last I checked with our budget director, the last scoring has not yet come back that we requested,” he said. “I hoped it would have been back by now, but I still haven’t seen it.” House...

Former House Speaker Jeff Hoover seeks new rules governing discipline in wake of resignation

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Jeff Hoover resigned as Speaker of the House on Monday, but he’s far from finished speaking. Hoover on Tuesday asked for a new rule in the House that would make it more difficult for lawmakers to discipline each other. His idea was to require lawmakers who are trying to get him expelled from the House to pay his legal expenses if they fail in the bid. Former House Speaker...

Gov. Bevin predicts short-term pain, long-term gain as he prepares for State of Commonwealth address

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Short-term pain, with long-term gain, is how Gov. Matt Bevin describes Kentucky’s future.   During an interview with Kentucky Today, the governor said 2018 will be comprised of financially related issues, especially pensions, the budget and taxes, which he calls directly or indirectly linked to one another. 
“We’ve got to pass pension reform, because it will very...

Kentucky GOP will not seek immediate replacement for former House speaker Jeff Hoover

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Leadership of the House Republican Caucus said there will not be an election to replace Jeff Hoover as speaker when lawmakers convene either in a special session this month on pension reform, or when the regular session convenes in January. A statement was issued by Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne, R-Prospect; Majority Leader Jonathan Shell, R-Lancaster; Majority Whip Kevin...

Beshear warns of recent scam involving impersonators of Attorney General’s office

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A new scam reported by the Attorney General’s office involves someone trying to impersonate the Attorney General’s office itself. Attorney General Andy Beshear said his office was contacted on Friday after a Louisville resident received what appeared to be a letter from the Office of the Attorney General. It included an official looking seal, a photo of the attorney...

Kentucky Emergency Management officials preparing for ‘viewing opportunity of a lifetime’

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky Emergency Management officials will activate centers in Frankfort and Hopkinsville on Saturday in preparation for Monday’s total solar eclipse and what they are calling “the viewing opportunity of a lifetime.” The State Emergency Operations Center in Frankfort and a Regional Response Coordination Center in Hopkinsville are preparing for the big event. Preparations...

State lawmakers call for removal of Jefferson Davis statue from Capitol rotunda

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A rally in the State Capitol Rotunda on Wednesday saw bi-partisan calls to have the statue of Confederate President and Kentucky native Jefferson Davis removed. The “One People, One Commonwealth” rally included Republican state Treasurer Alison Ball, who called for Kentuckians to unite. “We love our country, we love our Commonwealth, we love all of our people in this...

Survivors of drug abuse herald new Kentucky laws aimed at opioid crisis at Capitol ceremony

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Two examples of lives nearly wrecked by opioid abuse underscored the importance of three new laws aimed at the drug-abuse crisis in Kentucky. 
 Amy Compston of Ashland and Alex Elswick of Lexington shared their stories in a ceremony at the Capitol Tuesday.   One of the laws limits the prescribing of opioids to a three-day supply, with some exceptions, and increases penalties...

Louisville legislator files measure to eliminate Confederate related state holidays

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A Kentucky lawmaker is filing legislation for the 2018 session aimed at removing Confederate-related holidays from the list in the state’s statute. Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, said it includes Robert E. Lee Day on Jan. 19, along with Confederate Memorial Day and Jefferson Davis Day, both of which are observed June 3. However, it does not include removing statues across...

Jefferson County Board of Assessment Appeals rules Bevin didn’t get special deal on home purchase

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Gov. Matt Bevin paid more for his Anchorage home than it was worth based on findings by the Jefferson County Board of Assessment Appeals. Bevin purchased the home in March for $1.6 million. Three members of the Board of Assessment Appeals declared it and 10 acres of property worth $1.39 million. Gov. Matt Bevin purchased the home in March for $1.6 million. Three members...

Bevin opts out of appearance at Fancy Farm picnic, but attorney general Beshear will be on hand

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Republican Gov. Matt Bevin will not be adding any sizzle to the always fiery speeches that will be delivered in this tiny western Kentucky town next month. Bevin will skip the annual Fancy Farm picnic this year, citing a schedule conflict. But his Democratic nemesis, Attorney General Andy Beshear, will be there. The pair have been embroiled in an ongoing political tussle...

GOP health care opponents call latest Senate plan as a ‘tax cut’ for the rich during rally

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Supporters of a single-payer health care system rallied in Frankfort on Monday calling the GOP’s replacement bill for Obamacare a tax cut for the rich. About 75 people gathered at the Capitol Rotunda for a “Save Our Healthcare” rally, sponsored by Together Frankfort and other groups dissatisfied with the health care plans offered by Republicans in Washington. Dustin...

State officials gearing up for potential heavy rain, flooding due to remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today FRANKFORT – Kentucky Emergency Management officials are gearing up for potential heavy rain and flooding due to the remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy. The Emergency Operations Center in Frankfort has been activated, according to Emergency Management spokesperson Monica French. “We are at Level 4 staffing on a scale of 1-5,” she said. “Right now, we are monitoring...

Louisville lawmaker McGarvey pushes for legalization of marijuana for the terminally ill

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today FRANKFORT – A Kentucky lawmaker, proposing to legalize marijuana for the terminally ill, believes longstanding moral objections are waning in the Bible belt state. State Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, made his case for palliative, or “end of life,” marijuana to the General Assembly’s Interim Joint Committee on Health and Welfare and Family Services on Wednesday. McGarvey...

State’s new adoption czar joins ‘hands on deck,’ rethinking whole adoption, foster care system

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky’s new adoption czar spent his first day on the job Monday in a meeting of the House Working Group on Adoption. Dan Dumas, appointed by Gov. Matt Bevin to lead an overhaul of Kentucky’s adoption and foster care programs, told lawmakers that the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services and the governor’s office will attack problems from all angles. “The...

Growth in coal mining revenue one of few bright spots reflected in state’s General Fund budget

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today FRANKFORT – Growth in coal mining has produced one of the few bright spots in Kentucky’s General Fund budget in May. State Budget Director John Chilton said coal severance tax collections, which are based on the amount of coal mined, showed a turnaround in May, increasing by 4.1 percent after an 18.2 percent decline over the past 11 months. General Fund revenue rose...

Officials advise tourists coming to Kentucky for eclipse to prepare ahead; large crowds expected

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Up to a half million visitors are expected to converge on a largely rural expanse of western Kentucky for optimal viewing of the Aug. 21 solar eclipse. Kentucky Emergency Management Director Michael Dossett said his office has been working with local officials in a 21-county area to prepare for the influx of people. “Before leaving home, plan a specific destination for...

Family court judges tell legislative working group that more social workers would speed up adoptions

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Family court judges told a bipartisan working group that adding more social workers and eliminating redundancies would speed up Kentucky’s adoption process and place more abandoned children in permanent homes.

 The judges spoke at the first meeting of the House Working Group on Adoption on in Frankfort.

 Elise Spainhour, Family Court Judge for Bullitt County,...