A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Legislature passes one-year budget in a coronavirus ‘unusual situation’ and facing uncertain revenues

Staff report Social distancing was being observed by the General Assembly as they met Wednesday to take up the budget bills for the executive, legislative and judicial branches. 
While the Senate spread out in the chamber for their votes, the House took a more unusual approach. They adopted a change to the House rules that allowed them to vote remotely.  Many of the members remained at their offices...

Kentucky Supreme Court suspends in-person services at court facilities through May 1

In anticipation of a surge in COVID-19 cases, the Kentucky Supreme Court issued new amendments today that strengthen the social-distancing order that has been in place in courts statewide since March 16. The order restricts dockets, jury trials and jury service during the pandemic. Administrative Order 2020-16, dated April 1, replaces in its entirety Administrative Order 2020-13, dated March 26. The...

Governor had right to delay election during state of emergency, attorney general’s opinion says

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The Kentucky Attorney General’s office released an opinion on Monday upholding Gov. Andy Beshear’s power to delay an election during a declared state of emergency. Jason Snead, Executive Director of the Washington, DC-based Honest Lections Project, sought the opinion, asking, “Whether, during a declared state of emergency, the Governor may suspend Kentucky’s laws...

Senator Mitch McConnell unveils coronavirus response portal to assist Kyians during pandemic

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced Monday the creation of a Coronavirus Response Portal on his website to help Kentuckians who may have questions related to how the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act will help their families, organizations, small businesses, and communities take advantage of the provisions in the legislation. The portal can be accessed...

City of Lexington government remains open, focuses on basic service to citizens during pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic intensifies, City of Lexington government will stay open to focus on basic services, and to care for citizens and employees, Mayor Linda Gorton said. “Our state is at a tipping point,” Gorton said. “Experts have said that,for Kentucky, the next few weeks are critical in the battle against COVID-19. Since Lexington, Louisville and Northern Kentucky are the largest concentrations...

Governor Beshear vetoes two bills, signed more than 35 this week; here’s the complete list

In the midst of leading Kentucky’s response to a worldwide pandemic that has infected more than 300 Kentuckians, Gov. Andy Beshear signed more than 35 bills this week. Gov. Beshear signed legislation prohibiting selling tobacco, alternative nicotine and vaping products to people under 21, making the transportation cabinet the sole issuer of driving licenses including REAL IDs, and a bill automatically...

This week at the Capitol: State budget, COVID-19 coronavirus matters take center stage in Frankfort

Progress continued this week on two matters considered top priorities by many state lawmakers: the next state budget and relief for workers and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the schedule for the General Assembly’s 2020 session abbreviated in response to COVID-19 precautions, the Senate and House convened one day this week. Lawmakers serving on a budget conference committee also...

Stimulus bill passes House by voice vote, goes to Pres. Trump; no second for Massie’s recorded vote

Staff Report The Washington Post reports that the House of Representatives approved the massive $2 trillion stimulus bill by voice vote. Lawmakers returned to Washington to be present for the vote, after Kentucky’s Rep. Thomas Massie threatened to object to the voice vote, which would have delayed approval. Massie tried to make a motion for a recorded vote, but failed to get a second, and it...

Kentucky attorney general can be proactive in abortion cases under cleared House bill

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today With little discussion, a House bill allowing the Kentucky Attorney General to be proactive in cases involving abortion clinics passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Stan Lee, R-Lexington, explained the measure to the panel. Rep. Stan Lee, R-Lexington, far right, testifies to a Senate committee about a House bill that would allow...

Attorney General warns Kentuckians of new charity, Medicaid scams related to COVID-19 pandemic

Attorney General Daniel Cameron has warned Kentuckians of new charity and Medicaid scams related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and shared best practices to avoid the financial loss associated with these scams. “During this health crisis, we strongly encourage Kentuckians to thoroughly vet any charities that solicit donations for COVID-19 relief work to ensure donations will truly be used to...

Bridging Kentucky Project set to begin in Leslie County on March 30; expected to open July 1

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 11 Office advises motorists that a bridge construction project in Leslie County will begin March 30 and the bridge is expected to open to traffic on July 1. This project will replace the Williams Branch Road bridge (CR 1207) over Middle Fork of Kentucky River. The bridge is being constructed downstream of the existing bridge. It will include a realignment...

Nominees for circuit judgeship in Green, Marion, Taylor, Washington counties announced

The Judicial Nominating Commission, led by Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr., has announced nominees to fill the Circuit Court judicial vacancy for the 11th Judicial Circuit, Division 2. The circuit is made up of Green, Marion, Taylor and Washington counties. John D. Minton Jr. The three nominees for the Circuit Court judgeship are attorneys Arthur Daniel “Dan” Kelly of Springfield,...

Gov. Beshear orders ‘nonessential retail’ to close as coronavirus count exceeds 100 in Kentucky

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky saw its positive coronavirus cases climb over 100 and Gov. Andy Beshear said nonessential businesses would have to shutter Monday night. 
Beshear said the number of positive cases has reached 103, 16 more than Saturday’s total of 87. 

“We expected this, this is the way this virus works,” he said Sunday afternoon during his regular press conference. 
Beshear...

NACo calls on Congress to make counties eligible for COVID-19 Stabilization Fund, has interactive site

With the U.S. Congress and administration poised to agree on a $1 trillion-plus coronavirus relief package, the National Association of Counties (NACo) called on federal policymakers to ensure America’s 3,069 county governments are eligible for the State Stabilization Fund and other essential supplemental federal aid resources. “Counties are on the front lines of responding to the coronavirus...

Mayor Linda Gorton announces restrictions on walk-in visitors to City buildings, other COVID changes

Mayor Linda Gorton said government buildings will restrict access to walk-in visitors, effective Monday, March 23. Government services, including police, fire, garbage pick-up and recycling, will continue. The restriction will continue until further notice. Mayor Linda Gorton The City has made a number of changes related to the fall-out from COVID-19; * Police Headquarters will not be open for public...

This Week at State Capitol: Senate passes version of budget which goes back to House; dealing with virus

By LRC Public Information Thirteen days passed between the time that the Kentucky House of Representatives approved a proposed state budget on March 6 and the day the state Senate passed its preferred version of the spending plan this week. No one knew how much our lives would change in such a small span of time. The number of positive COVID-19 cases in the state grew from 1 to 47 and claimed the lives...

Attorney General Daniel Cameron provides agency guidance on Open Meetings Act during pandemic

Attorney General Daniel Cameron has issued an Opinion of the Attorney General (OAG) providing guidance to public agencies on whether they must identify a primary physical location for video teleconference meetings per KRS 61.840 during the state of emergency declaration resulting from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Daniel CameronThe opinion, OAG 20-05, finds public agencies are not required...

Attorney General Daniel Cameron announces online form to report price gouging during pandemic

Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced new resources for consumers to report suspected price gouging to his office during the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers can now complete an electronic price gouging complaint form by visiting ag.ky.gov/pricegouging. Previously, there was no electronic means available for consumers to file price gouging complaints. The new form allows the submission of complaints...

Gov. Beshear acts to limit spread of COVID-19; includes guidance for closure of government offices

Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced additional steps to contain and limit the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). “It’s my job to protect my family and friends, but I believe it’s all of our civic duty to protect our communities,” Beshear said. “I will use every resource in this state, every dollar at my disposal, every personnel that we have, to do everything we can to protect everyone’s...

Governor takes more steps to contain, limit virus; primary election rescheduled, limits on contacts

Gov. Andy Beshear announced even more decisive steps he is taking to contain and limit the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). He reminded Kentuckians that throughout this time they must remain calm and be good teammates. Gov. Andy Beshear “We’re going to be dealing with this for some time. I cannot tell you how long, but I need everybody to be a good citizen – to remember that this is...