A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky Department of Revenue sets maximum 2021-2022 homestead exemption at $40,500

The Kentucky Department of Revenue (DOR) has set the maximum homestead exemption on real estate owned by qualified individuals at $40,500 for the 2021 and 2022 tax periods. By statute, the amount of the homestead exemption is recalculated every two years to adjust for inflation. The 2021-2022 exemption reflects a $1,200 increase over the 2019–2020 exemption of $39,300. To qualify for the homestead...

Secretary of State Adams gets encouragement from county clerk survey to pursue election policy reforms

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Secretary of State Michael Adams has more support in his effort to have some of the changes made to the way elections were conducted this year made permanent by the Kentucky General Assembly next year. In an interview with Kentucky Today shortly after the November general election, Adams, a Republican, said there were four items he hopes lawmakers consider after he and Democratic...

Kentucky Supreme Court amends court operations statewide to address escalating COVID-19 cases

The Supreme Court has issued new mandates to govern court operations as nearly all 120 Kentucky counties are now in the COVID-19 red zone. Citing the news that 250,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and health-care resources are becoming overwhelmed, Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr. said in an email to court personnel on Friday that it is imperative to restrict court activities now...

Kentucky Department of Transportation drones aid inspection damaged Brent Spence Bridge

As the Federal Aviation Administration celebrates Drone Safety Awareness Week, Nov. 16 – 22, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet deployed the use of drones on the Brent Spence Bridge to aid inspectors collect preliminary visual inspection images following the bridge closure on Nov. 11. Drones were brought in to aid inspection efforts before inspectors could access the bridge due to the large amounts...

Kentucky unemployment rate rises 1.8 percent in October; jobless rate now at 7.4 percent

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary October 2020 unemployment rate was 7.4 percent, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency within the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet (EWDC). The preliminary October 2020 jobless rate was up 1.8 percentage points from September 2020 and up 3.1 percentage points from the 4.3 percent recorded for the state one year ago. The...

Attorney General Daniel Cameron announces six Kentucky counties to undergo post-election audits

Attorney General Daniel Cameron on Wednesday announced six randomly selected Kentucky counties to undergo post-general election audits. The Attorney General’s Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI) will conduct inquiries into Fleming, Hickman, Lawrence, Livingston, Anderson, and Boone counties to determine if any irregularities occurred during the 2020 general election. Attorney General Daniel...

Closure of three driver licensing offices — Lexington, Columbia, Florence — extended due to virus

Three Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) driver license offices that were closed last week due to cases of COVID-19 will remain closed longer than had been expected. The offices are KYTC Regional Driver Licensing offices at Lexington and Columbia and a smaller, temporary field office at Florence. Four other offices that were closed at the same time – in Jackson, Catlettsburg, Bowling Green and...

Committee hears complaints from foster parents about treatment by private agencies, social workers

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Several foster parents appeared before the General Assembly’s Child Welfare Oversight and Advisory Committee on Monday to complain about their treatment by both private agencies and social workers with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Among them was Kennedy Robertson of Campbellsville, who fostered four children and said she was even required to have her father...

COVID-19 Relief Funds awarded to service agencies for prevention of abuse, domestic violence

Three partner agencies of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) have been awarded $1.4 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to assist with services that support prevention of abuse and domestic violence. CHFS requested the advocacy organizations receive the funding, which is from Kentucky’s portion of federal CARES Act resources. Targeted programs serve survivors of sexual...

Senator Reginald Thomas proposes legislation to increase Kentucky’s minimum wage to $15 an hour

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Legislation is being prepared for the 2021 Kentucky General Assembly to increase the minimum wage for workers in Kentucky. The proposal, from Sen. Reginald Thomas, D-Lexington, would raise the minimum wage with staggered increases over the next five years, ultimately bringing the minimum wage up to $15 an hour by 2026. Another provision would let individual cities enact...

KYTC temporarily closes seven driver licensing offices around state due to COVID-19 cases

Three regional driver licensing offices and four smaller field offices operated by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) have been closed temporarily due to COVID-19 cases. Each office will be thoroughly sanitized in keeping with KYTC Heathy at Work guidelines, and all are expected to be reopened next week. The affected KYTC Regional Driver Licensing Offices are in Lexington, Jackson and Columbia....

In unanimous decision, Kentucky Supreme Court rules Beshear’s COVID-19 executive orders are legal

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today In a unanimous decision, the Kentucky Supreme Court on Thursday upheld Gov. Andy Beshear’s power to issue executive orders during the coronavirus pandemic, reversing a lower court ruling. A lawsuit was filed in June at Boone Circuit Court by three northern Kentucky businesses: Florence Speedway, Bean’s Café and Bakery and Little Links to Learning, a daycare center....

State expands crisis services for Kentuckians at risk of suicide; Pathways CMHC gains accreditation

The Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental, and Intellectual Disabilities (DBHDID) has announced an additional Community Mental Health Center (CMHC) has been added to the list of accredited agencies serving as National Suicide Prevention Lifeline call centers within the state. Gov. Andy Beshear Pathways, Inc., a CMHC which serves Bath, Boyd, Carter, Elliott, Greenup, Lawrence, Menifee,...

State Budget Director: October General Fund receipts in Kentucky rise 3.0 percent in past year

State Budget Director John Hicks reported Tuesday that October’s General Fund receipts rose 3.0 percent, or $27.7 million, over last year’s total. Almost half of the increase was due to early payments of tangible property tax. Revenues for the month were $948.4 million compared to $920.7 million collected in October 2020. Receipts have increased 5.1 percent for the first four months of the fiscal...

Kentucky Attorney General joins Republican AGs in legal action over Pennsylvania mail-in ballots

By Mark Maynard Kentucky Today Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron has joined the Republican Attorneys General Association to bring legal action against the process of counting mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania. He is one of 10 Republican attorneys general who signed onto an amicus brief supporting a Republican lawsuit arguing absentee ballots received after Nov. 3 should not be counted in Pennsylvania...

Expect Kentucky State Police, participating in Operation C.A.R.E., to be out in force this week

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today You can expect to see a heightened law enforcement presence on U.S. highways and interstates during the upcoming week as part of a nationwide safety campaign. 
Kentucky State Police will be participating in Operation C.A.R.E., for Crash Awareness Reduction Effort. From November 9-16, during specific high crash periods, KSP troopers and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement officers...

Multiple false comments about election by President Trump dismissed by many lawmakers

By Sydney Boles Ohio Valley Resource Polls had barely closed in the U.S. when President Donald Trump falsely alleged voter fraud and claimed prematurely to have won the election, saying “We will win this, and as far as I’m concerned, we already have won it.” The results of the election had not yet been called, and the counting of legally cast ballots will continue for quite some time, as is typical....

Kentucky Republican leaders tout stronger supermajority during news conference in Frankfort

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Three of Kentucky’s top Republican leaders spoke to reporters Friday about the huge gains the GOP has made in the state over the past 36 years. During a press conference at the Kentucky History Center in Frankfort, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was joined by Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, and House Speaker David Osborne, R-Prospect. They pointed...

Snow and ice will come eventually, and the state Transportation Cabinet road crews are ready

Chilly early November temperatures signal the fast-approaching winter months – primetime for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s (KYTC) snow and ice removal efforts. Nearly 2,000 frontline crews charged with maintaining safe travel on state routes will face the first snow and ice season during a health pandemic and Gov. Andy Beshear calls upon TEAM Kentucky to keep fellow Kentuckians safe on...

Kentucky voters say ‘yes’ to crime victims rights, ‘no’ to longer terms for judges; final count due Friday

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today There were two proposed Constitutional amendments on the ballot during the general election, and although not all the votes have been counted, one is passing easily, while the other is heading to defeat. It was a successful second time around for a victims’ rights amendment, commonly called Marsy’s Law, which is named after a California murder victim whose mother was...