A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Franklin County Circuit Court delays hearing in Passport Health Plan rate case; now set for March 5

A Franklin County Circuit Court judge, at the request of the state’s attorneys, has delayed the initial hearing in a lawsuit Passport Health Plan filed against the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Originally scheduled for Tuesday, the hearing will now take place March 5. Passport filed suit on Feb. 15 after months of discussions with leaders at the Cabinet and its Department for...

Lawmakers question reasons for cancellation of health study on affects of surface coal mining

Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Democratic lawmakers are probing the reasons why a National Academy of Sciences study on the health effects of surface coal mining in Central Appalachia was canceled. The U.S. Interior Department halted the study in 2017, calling it a cost-saving measure. Airborne micro-particles from surface mining are believed to be linked to a variety of health problems (Photo...

Covington Catholic student, parents sue Washington Post for $250m; attorneys say more suits coming

Nicholas Sandmann through his parents Ted Sandmann and Julie Sandmann are suing The Washington Post Company for $250 million for the paper’s reporting on an incident that occurred during a Covington Catholic High School trip to participate in the March for Life in Washington, D.C. The story reported by The Post involved a viral video on a meeting of Sandmann, 16, and Native American activist...

Passport halts construction on West Louisville HQ; nonprofit health plan seeking critical rate relief

Passport Health Plan is delaying construction on its new headquarters building at 18th and Broadway while the organization attempts to resolve a dispute with the Kentucky Cabinet for Health & Family Services. Passport is seeking immediate relief from a reduction in reimbursement rates that disproportionately impacts Medicaid beneficiaries in the Louisville area – where the majority of Passport’s...

Kentucky’s Kelly Knight Craft nominated to be U.S. Ambassador to United Nations by Pres. Trump

President Donald Trump has announced that he will nominate Kentuckian Kelly Craft, currently U.S. Ambassador to Canada, as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. She will have to be confirmed by the Senate. Craft, who is a native of Glasgow, lived in Lexington until her appointment to Canada in October 2017 when she and her husband, Joe, moved to Ottawa. Kelly Knight Craft “The President made an...

U.S. House proposed public lands legislation would create two Civil War monuments in Kentucky

Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service As part of a major package of public lands legislation, the U.S. House is set to vote on permanently reauthorizing a federal program that uses revenue from offshore oil and gas drilling to protect public lands. If passed, there’s new life for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and two new national monuments for Kentucky – Camp Nelson in Jessamine County,...

House leaders Rocky Adkins, David Osborne sign off on bills regarding election recount procedures

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The top House leaders of both parties have signed on to each other’s bills that would have candidates for the General Assembly follow the same recount procedures as nearly all other candidates in close races. House Speaker David Osborne, R-Prospect and Minority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, are the main co-sponsors House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy...

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...