A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

MADD honors Westerfield, Heath as “Legislators of the Year” for support of ignition interlock legislation

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has named two Kentucky “2019 Legislators of the Year” for their tireless work to pass a law requiring ignition interlocks for every drunk driver after the first offense. On March 26, Kentucky became the 33rd state in the nation with an all-offender law, thanks to Senate Judiciary Chairman Whitney Westerfield, who authored the lifesaving legislation, and Representative...

Kentucky Department of Insurance Commissioner Nancy Atkins appointed to pivotal federal committee

Kentucky Department of Insurance Commissioner Nancy Atkins was appointed on Aug. 28 by the U.S. Treasury Department to serve on the Federal Advisory Committee on Insurance (FACI), and on Monday attended her first meeting in Washington, D.C. Nancy Atkins FACI, established in 2011, provides state based regulation advice and recommendations to assist the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) in performing...

Public invited to give input on foster care system at regional forum this Thursday in Pikeville

The public is invited to a regional community forum this Thursday in Pikeville to discuss improving outcomes for Kentucky children and families involved in the state foster care system. Citizen Foster Care Review Boards in the region are hosting the forum. The forum will take place from 5:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the Eastern Kentucky Expo Center at 126 Main Street. CFCRBs are hosting seven regional...

Kentucky auditor says more transparency is needed in state’s largest public pension systems

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Changes will be made to legislation passed in 2017 requiring more transparency in investments made by the public pension systems. During a meeting of the Public Pension Oversight Board on Monday afternoon, State Auditor Mike Harmon told panel members that a 12-month special examination of Kentucky’s public pension systems found the Kentucky Retirement Systems and the Kentucky...

Officials announce plan for expedited completion of William Thomason Byway extension in Grayson Co.

State and local elected officials, joined by business and community leaders, have announced plans to begin the right of way phase of the western extension of the existing William Thomason Byway in Leitchfield in early 2020 — shaving at least six months from the original schedule. The fast-tracked progress is the result of significant land and funding contributions from local public and private partners...

General Assembly 2020 to run January 7 to April 15 for the constitutionally allowed 60 days

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The 2020 General Assembly will be from Jan. 7 to April 15. Lawmakers will meet on 60 of those days, which is the maximum allowed under the Kentucky Constitution.

 Lawmakers will not convene on Jan. 20 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day or on Feb. 17 in observance of Presidents’ Day. 

March 2 will be the final day that House bills can be introduced...

DOI celebrating Life Insurance Awareness Month in September to increase Kentuckians’ awareness

The Kentucky Department of Insurance is currently celebrating Life Insurance Awareness Month, an industry-wide campaign to educate Kentuckians about the role of life insurance in a family’s overall financial stability. A 2016 survey by Life Happens and LIMRA indicated that one in three households would struggle to afford basic living expenses without a primary wage earner. The same study found that...

Kentucky unemployment rate rises to 4.4 percent in seasonally adjusted preliminary August 2019 data

Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary August 2019 unemployment rate was 4.4 percent, according to the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS), an agency within the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. The unemployment rate for August 2019 was up from the 4.3 percent reported for July 2019. The preliminary August 2019 jobless rate was unchanged from the 4.4 percent recorded...

Real ID program experiencing real slow rollout as circuit court clerks juggle increased workload

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The on-again, off-again rollout of Kentucky’s new driver’s licenses to meet federal standards of the federal government’s Real ID program is on hold again. An oft-delayed pilot program for the new licenses, known as Voluntary Travel IDs, finally began this summer in Franklin and Woodford counties, following months of delays. But the circuit court clerks responsible...

Bevin launches ‘Hope and Help’ initiative to combat substance use disorder, provide vital resources

Gov. Matt Bevin has announced a new statewide public awareness effort to continue the Commonwealth’s historic momentum in combating the opioid epidemic. The Governor’s Office, in collaboration with the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet’s (JPSC) Office of Drug Control Policy (ODCP), is launching the “Hope and Help” initiative to provide vital resources to individuals...

Citizen Foster Care Review Boards in 22 Kentucky counties seeking volunteers to review cases

Citizen Foster Care Review Boards in 22 Kentucky counties are seeking volunteers to make a difference in the lives of local children in foster care and other out-of-home care. The boards need volunteers to review cases of children placed in care because of dependency, neglect or abuse, to ensure they are placed in safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible. The counties in need of volunteers are...

State’s annual worker’s compensation filing rate shows overall decrease for 14th consecutive year

The Kentucky Department of Insurance (DOI) last week announced the approval of the 2019 rate filing used to develop rates for workers’ compensation coverage. For the 14th consecutive year, the filing shows an overall decrease in Kentucky’s loss costs. A loss cost is an average compensation for lost wages based on the level of disability, plus medical benefit payments. The loss cost is a direct...

September is quota hunt application month in Kentucky; options include deer, waterfowl, pheasant

Deer, waterfowl, pheasants and sandhill cranes are among the quota hunts offered by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources this season at state wildlife management areas and other public lands. Hunters can apply for these quota hunts throughout September by going online to fw.ky.gov. Applications are not accepted over the phone; the minimum fee is $3 per application. Kentucky Fish and...

Bevin, KSP announce statewide victims assistance program; trained advocates to provide support

Gov. Matt Bevin on Thursday joined with Kentucky State Police, the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, and the federal Office of Justice Programs, within the Department of Justice, to announce a new initiative that will provide trained advocates at every KSP post to support and assist victims of crime. KSP is among the first state police agencies to implement this program on a statewide basis. The program,...

Ryan Quarles elected vice president of National Association of State Departments of Agriculture

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles was elected vice president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) at its annual meeting. “I am grateful to my counterparts in the other states for electing me to such a prestigious office,” Quarles said. “Policy makers at the federal and state levels will address trade, low commodity prices, the growth of the hemp...

General Fund receipts increase 3.6 percent in August; total revenues for month were $787.2 million

State Budget Director John Chilton reported Tuesday that General Fund receipts increased 3.6 percent in August compared to last year. Total revenues for the month were $787.2 million, compared to $759.9 million during August 2018. For the first two months of this fiscal year (FY20), General Fund receipts have increased 2.7 percent. Chilton noted that the rate of growth of General Fund receipts has...

PSC allows more time for net metering comments from customers; public hearing postponed to Nov. 13

The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) has extended the time for comments on the implementation of a recent law that will change the way in which Kentucky electric utility customers receive credit for electricity they generate from solar panels and other renewable sources. In an order issued last week, the PSC granted a request by Kentuckians for the Commonwealth to allow more time for comments...

Public Service Commission to hold natural gas safety events in five cities across Kentucky during October

The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) is holding events across Kentucky next month to demonstrate how to avoid natural gas lines during excavation and the consequences of failing to do so. Contractors who do excavation, emergency responders, and natural gas system operators are encouraged to attend one of the five “mock line strike” events. Energy Technologies, LLC, or Enertech, will conduct...

Rogers, Bevin announce $34.4 million in grants to spur economic development, jobs in Eastern Ky.

U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers and Gov. Matt Bevin have announced 20 grants totaling $34.4 million to spur economic development and job creation in Eastern Kentucky. Projects impacting 14 counties were selected for grants through the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet’s (EEC) Division of Abandoned Mine Lands, as part of the Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) Pilot program to revitalize the...

Got a tree? Two needed for Lexington’s holiday season celebration; City seeks donated evergreens

Do you have a large evergreen tree that is nicely shaped that you want removed from your property? If so, consider donating it for the city to use for Lexington’s holiday season celebration. Bring holiday magic to Lexington by having your tree chosen as the beacon of cheer and merriment. City officials will evaluate all trees and select the two chosen for the city Christmas trees. If your tree is...