A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky Senate passes bill revoking many election powers from Secretary of State; now heads to House

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A bill stripping most of the election powers away from the Secretary of State passed the full Senate on Tuesday. 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, or any staff...

Kentucky House to consider bill that would add mental health services in all Kentucky schools

Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service The Kentucky House will now consider a bill that passed unanimously in the Senate. Senate Bill 1 focuses on addressing the gap in mental health resources for students. Sponsored by Sen. Max Wise of Campbellsville, the bill calls for providing mental health professionals in every school, one for every 1,500 students. Young people struggling with mental health issues...

New Frankfort 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...

Judge Bertlesman denies ‘qualified immunity’ to social workers in Holly and David Schulker’s lawsuit

By Judy Clabes KyForward publisher U.S. District Senior Judge William O. Bertelsman issued a rare ruling in a Covington lawsuit when he denied “qualified immunity” for two social workers employed by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. “Qualified immunity” is rarely – if ever – set aside for social workers in Kentucky, growing as it does from “sovereign immunity” of...

Lexington receives record $1.8 million federal homeless assistance grant for permanent housing

Mayor Linda Gorton announced this week that Lexington is the recipient of a $1.8 million federal grant designed to help community organizations reduce and end homelessness. This funding is critical to many permanent housing projects in Lexington. Linda Gorton“Ending homelessness is essential to ensure that all people have the opportunity to live healthy, productive lives,” Gorton said. “This...

Rural Blog: Trump, McConnell urge TVA not to close two of its oldest coal-fired plants, one in Paradise

The Tennessee Valley Authority’s Paradise Fossil Plant in Muhlenberg County. The town of Paradise, which no longer exists, was made famous in 1971 by John Prine’s eponymous anti-strip mining song. (Photo by Kathleen Cole) President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky are trying to convince to the federally owned Tennessee Valley Authority not to close two of its...

ORSANCO expected to vote this week on future of pollution standards impacting Kentucky waterways

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service A long-awaited vote is expected this week on the future of water-quality standards that impact nearly two-thirds of Kentucky’s waterways. The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission is reconsidering its role in setting limits on pollution discharges in the river. The agency has been around for nearly 60 years and is comprised of commissioners from eight...

Tobacco-free schools bill moves to full House; Administrators urge lawmakers to pass legislation

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News A bill to make Kentucky school properties tobacco-free passed unanimously out of the House health committee on Feb. 7 and was posted for passage on the consent calendar in the House this week. House Bill 11, sponsored by Rep. Kim Moser, R-Taylor Mill, would ban the use of tobacco and electronic cigarettes on all school-owned properties, including all school events...

Thomasena Grider makes history as Lexington’s first African-American female police sergeant

“I knew that I wanted to be the police when I rode with the first female that I saw on the department.” A college internship with Lexington Police exposed Thomasena Grider to a variety of units, but a ride-along with Officer Jennifer Lube motivated her to take the plunge and apply. Grider remembers Lube pulling over a semi-truck on busy Man o’ War Boulevard, and was impressed with how the officer...

UnitedHealthcare Dental engaging providers and patients to reduce opioid painkiller prescriptions

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Oral health is a key component in fighting the opioid epidemic, and dental professionals and their patients in Kentucky are encouraged to take a more proactive role in prevention. Dentists and oral surgeons write 12 percent of all opioid prescriptions. While often necessary to combat dental pain, opioids come with a high risk of misuse and addiction. That’s...

Kentucky infrastructure earns overall GPA of ‘C-‘ from Civil Engineers, many areas in the ‘D’ range

The Kentucky Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has released the 2019 Report Card for Kentucky’s Infrastructure, giving 10 categories of infrastructure an overall grade of “C-.” Kentucky civil engineers examined the state’s aviation, bridges, dams, drinking water, energy, hazardous waste, levees, roads, solid waste and wastewater. The report evaluated the 10 categories...

New study shows Kentucky’s Bourbon industry has doubled economic impact in ten years

Kentucky Distillers’ Association Ten years ago, leaders of Kentucky’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry poured whiskey on the Capitol steps to protest the latest tax hike on spirits. Today, they poured Bourbon inside the Capitol to toast the industry’s epic turnaround as the industry reported on its progress. Bourbon barons joined elected officials and key business executives...

Auditor’s report says Kentucky’s debt amounts to more than $12,200 per person

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A report from State Auditor Mike Harmon finds Kentucky’s total debt equates to more than $12,200 for every man, woman and child in the state. 
The report, known as a data bulletin report, determined the debt, as of June 30, 2018, totals $54,615,409,616.  Of that, the vast majority, more than $43 billion, is unfunded public pension and insurance liabilities.  The...

AAA: Gas prices edged upward across much of central U.S. during stretch of frigid weather

While most states saw gas prices trend lower to start off the first week in February, the average gas price of $2.10 for Kentucky is about 2 cents higher than a week ago following a price jump during the stretch of frigid weather. “Three-fourths of the country faced below-freezing temperatures last week. The forecast may have prompted many motorists to fill up early and often, ahead of the severe...

Debra Hembree Lambert sworn in as 3rd Supreme Court District justice, replaces Daniel Venters

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky’s newest Supreme Court Justice took her seat on the bench for the first time on Monday following her formal investiture ceremony. 
Debra Hembree Lambert was elected last November to represent the 3rd Supreme Court District, consisting of 27 counties in southern and southeast Kentucky, succeeding Justice Daniel Venters who retired after 35 years in the judiciary,...

AG’s office warns ‘Sweetheart Scam’ reports total nearly $300,000 in losses for KY victims this year

As Valentine’s Day approaches, Attorney General Andy Beshear is warning Kentuckians to be wary of online dating scams that have already caused four victims in Campbell, Jefferson and Wayne counties to report losses of nearly $300,000 this year. In each case, a “sweetheart scammer” used legitimate online dating websites Match.com and eHarmony to lure victims into a fake online relationship. The...

Nucor Steel Gallatin in Ghent named VPP Star Site for commitment to worker safety

Nucor Steel Gallatin became Kentucky’s 13th Voluntary Protection Partnership (VPP) Star Site.  Nucor Steel Gallatin employees prepare to raise the flag recognizing the plant as Kentucky’s 13th Voluntary Protection Partnership (VPP) Star Site (provided photo). Danny Davis, acting director of the Division of Education and Training in the Labor Cabinet’s Department of Workplace Standards, attended...

Lexington bar ‘overserved’ alcohol to man who later caused deadly I-75 crash, says ABC; pre-hearing set

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A Lexington bar is accused of overserving alcohol to a man who later caused a wrongway crash on I-75 that killed him and five members of a Michigan family, earlier this month. The Lexington Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has issued a show cause order to Horseshoes Kentucky Grill and Saloon, located at 1987 North Broadway, under the state law that bans selling alcoholic...

Delays announced to implementation of parts of Bevin administration’s Medicaid waiver

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Some parts of the Bevin administration’s implementation of the Medicaid waiver that was granted by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, are being delayed.   
The Cabinet for Health and Family Services on Thursday released updated guidance regarding Kentucky HEALTH, which was re-approved in November by CMS. 
Kentucky HEALTH, an acronym for...

IRS certified volunteers now available for free tax-preparation services at 200 sites across Kentucky

Mary Kuhlman Public News Service With tax-filing season officially underway, IRS certified volunteers are standing by to help Kentuckians crunch the numbers. There are nearly 200 free tax preparation sites across the state where low- to moderate-income filers can get assistance, including a mobile site operated by The Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Director of Economic Programming with...