A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Bevin appoints Gail Russell as PPC Secretary, David Dickerson as Labor Secretary

Gov. Matt Bevin has announced the appointment of two top administration officials to permanent leadership posts — Gail Russell as Secretary of the Public Protection Cabinet (PPC), and David Dickerson as Secretary of the Labor Cabinet. Both Russell and Dickerson have served their respective cabinets as acting secretaries during the past several months. “The Commonwealth is extremely blessed...

Chief Justice John Minton orders Administrative Office of the Courts to undergo biennial audits

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John D. Minton, Jr., with the concurrence of the other justices, has ordered the Administrative Office of the Courts to undergo an external audit every other year. 
The order, issued on Monday, calls for the biennial audits to begin with the 2020 fiscal year, which starts July 1, and to make the audit findings public. 
The order also...

Amye Bensenhaver: The sunlight fades in Kentucky; open government takes and needs constant vigilance

In an era when virtually every public official gives lip service to the importance of transparency and accountability, what is it that motivates a legislator to introduce a bill that abridges these twin goals? What, indeed, when our time tested open records law strikes a reasonable balance between the need for public oversight of governmental operations and the competing need for governmental confidentiality. Twice...

New Frankfort state office building awaits name and move-in dates but occupants have been named

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The name for the new state office building nearing completion in Frankfort has not been chosen, but most of the agencies that will occupy it have been revealed. 
A letter sent to Gov. Matt Bevin earlier this month by Finance and Administration Cabinet Secretary William Landrum said while move-in dates have not been announced, the agencies and the number of employees have...

Statewide KentuckyWired broadband project will be ‘tremendous benefit’ for Kentucky’s military veterans

The Commonwealth’s broadband project, KentuckyWired, is currently installing high-speed fiber optic cable in all 120 counties, connecting state government offices, universities, community colleges, state police posts, and many other community facilities. Among these are two of the state’s veterans centers — Eastern Kentucky Veterans Center in Hazard and Western Kentucky Veterans Center in Hanson. The...

Legislation that would limit some powers of the Secretary of State passes Senate committee

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Legislation that would take some of the election powers away from the secretary of state passed a Senate committee on Wednesday. The measure, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, originally would only prevent the access, modification or altering voter registration records by the secretary of state, individual members of the State Board of Elections,...

PSC grants Water Service Corp. of Kentucky rate increase, but 37 percent below the amount sought

The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) has granted Water Service Corp. of Kentucky a rate increase that is 37 percent below the amount sought by the utility. In an order issued Monday, the PSC explained a number of adjustments it had made to the company’s request, including reducing certain allowable expenses and changing calculations for depreciation. As a result, Water Service Kentucky will...

General Fund receipts decline 3.4 percent in January, while Road Fund receipts rise 2.5 percent

State Budget Director John Chilton reported Monday that General Fund receipts fell 3.4 percent in January with revenues of $924.6 million. January’s receipts declined modestly compared to the $956.8 million collected in January 2018. Through the first half of FY19, the General Fund has grown 2.6 percent. The official General Fund revenue estimate for FY19 calls for revenue to grow 3.3 percent compared...

Last Week at the State Capitol: School safety bill, State of Commonwealth, suicide prevention and more

Family members of the two students killed in last year’s shooting at Marshall County High School held hands, shed tears, and spoke bravely about their grief during this week’s Senate Education meeting.   They came to Frankfort on Thursday to call for safety improvements in Kentucky schools and to deliver a simple message directly to state lawmakers: “We’re counting on you.”   “We can’t...

Kentucky Supreme Court Justices hear arguments on constitutionality of Marsy’s law ballot language

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The Kentucky Supreme Court will decide whether the ballot language for a proposed Constitutional Amendment regarding crime victims’ rights was constitutional after hearing oral arguments on Friday. 
Sixty-three percent of the voters approved the measure last November, but Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate ordered the results not to be certified by the State Board...

Spending by lobbyists hit all-time high of $23.1 million last year, surpassing previous high of $20.8 million

Kentucky lobbying spending hit an all-time high of $23.1 million last year, blasting past the previous high of $20.8 million set the year before. The record spending was a ten percent increase over the previous year and was driven by 731 lobbying businesses and organizations, the most ever registered in Kentucky. Top spender In 2018, 590 lobbyists were paid $20.4 million in compensation, which was...

Bevin touts strength, growth, cites ‘Blueprint for Better KY’ in State of Commonwealth address

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today “The State of the Commonwealth is strong, very strong,” Gov. Matt Bevin said during his annual State of the Commonwealth address, delivered to a joint session of the General Assembly Thursday night. 
Bevin described progress from seven items from the “Blueprint for a Better Kentucky” he handed out during his first such address in 2016. 
The first point was enacting...

Senate leader Stivers wants ethics legislation to apply to executive branch lobbyists too

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky’s top Senate leader introduced legislation to require lobby executive branch agencies to have the same reporting requirements as legislative lobbyists. 
During a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday, Sen. Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, talked about bribery convictions over the last two years, particularly involving Tim Longmeyer, the personnel secretary under former...

Court of Appeals Judge Nickell is first to file for Supreme Court seat vacated by Bill Cunningham

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A veteran Kentucky Court of Appeals judge is seeking the Supreme Court seat vacated by the retirement of Justice Bill Cunningham this month. Judge Christopher Shea Nickell filed his papers for the high court’s 1st District, which includes most of western Kentucky, on Monday at the Secretary of State’s office. Nickell files to fill Bill Cunningham’s seat on Supreme...

Rates at some Lexington parking meters to see first increase in 10 years; average increase 25 cents

The Lexington and Fayette County Parking Authority (LFCPA) today announced the first parking meter rate increase in 10 years for the busiest spaces in downtown. The increase from $1 per hour to $1.50 per hour will take effect March 1, 2019, for core downtown parking spaces and some in the UK area. It will cost the average user an additional 25 cents. Existing spaces that only charge 50 cents per hour...

Education & Workforce Development Cabinet launches state’s first interactive workforce dashboard

The Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet (EWDC) has launched the state’s first interactive workforce dashboard in partnership with the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS) and Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board (KWIB). The Local Workforce Development Area (LWDA) Dashboard is an interactive tool designed to display near real-time workforce information for Kentucky’s 10 LWDAs....

PSC sets public meetings in LG&E and KU rate cases; both companies requesting rate increases

The Kentucky Public Service Commission will hold public meetings in Louisville and Lexington to present information and receive comments on the requests for rate increases by the Kentucky Utilities Co. (KU) and the Louisville Gas & Electric Co. (LG&E). “These meetings will allow the public to learn about the PSC’s ratemaking process and to present their views directly to members of the...

PSC denies rate increase to Southern Water District; utility unable to provide accurate financial data

The Kentucky Public Service Commission has denied a request by Southern Water District to increase rates after the Floyd County utility was unable to provide accurate records related to its billing and revenue. In an order issued Thursday, the PSC said “that it cannot reasonably rely on the information” provided by Southern Water and therefore cannot grant the rate increase. Southern Water in July...

Al Cross: AG’s race shapes up as most interesting; Republican side rests on McConnell’s involvement

The filing deadline has passed, so let’s make up the scorecard for this year’s statewide elections, starting with the party labels and the top job on the ballots. Republicans are at real risk of losing the governorship, mainly due to Gov. Matt Bevin’s self-inflicted wounds. Al Cross But the Kentucky Democratic Party, after decades of decline, risks being shut out of statewide office. Its best...

Opioid crisis, human trafficking among top legislative session priorities for Attorney General Andy Beshear

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Attorney General Andy Beshear unveiled his legislative wish list for the 2019 General Assembly on Wednesday. During a Frankfort press conference, Beshear was joined by lawmakers who are sponsoring the bills, which deal with such issues as the opioid crisis, human trafficking and rate hike relief for utility customers. Beshear says his top priority is to gain bipartisan support...