A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Richard Nelson: Signs of life in the Kentucky legislature as flurry of pro-life bills moves through

A flurry of pro-life bills is moving through the Kentucky legislature as swiftly as a Midwestern snowstorm in February, bringing alarm to those who believe the choice to carry a baby to term should be left to the pregnant mother and her doctor. For pro-lifers, such bills signal that the unjust season of abortion on demand will soon be over.  The Roe v Wade Trigger Bill (HB 148) would protect unborn...

Constance Alexander: Medical exploitation of minorities has a long history in America

She never asked for much, and would likely have been happy to see her kids grow up and do well for themselves. She might have hoped they’d get more education, have more opportunities than she and her husband had had. Maybe, instead of a lifetime of backbreaking work growing tobacco, the future of her children would include jobs with decent pay, doing work that was not restricted to tasks white people...

Mike Harmon: House bill will improve accountability, transparency and bring oversight to judicial branch

Lost in the headlines during this past week’s action of the 2019 Session of Kentucky’s General Assembly was the filing of a bill that, if it becomes law, will increase the transparency and bring more oversight to the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC). Last year, after receiving a request from Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John Minton, my office conducted a historic special examination...

Bill Straub: McConnell will pass on serious climate change discussion, go right to Green New Deal vote

WASHINGTON – Oh, that Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell, such a clever boy. Progressive lawmakers, growing increasingly concerned over the impact of global climate change and the inability to address the catastrophe because of no-nothing legislators who refuse to acknowledge its looming impact, have offered up what has come to be called the Green New Deal. The package, offered by Sen. Ed...

Matt Partymiller: Monopoly utilities trying to force anti-consumer legislation through Senate Bill 100

Once again, monopoly utilities are trying to force anti-consumer and anti-competitive legislation through the General Assembly – this time at breakneck speed. Senate Bill 100 would strengthen an already monopolistic industry and greatly increase bureaucracy and regulations. It would destroy the current net-metering law, which not only gives Kentuckians the freedom to choose, but benefits all consumers...

Constance Alexander: Speech tournaments offer an opportunity for students to find their voice

Clutching a cup of coffee and scowling at the world in general, I wonder why I ever agreed to judge a high school speech tournament on a grim Saturday morning in February. I long for the peace of home, the New York Times, and the solace of my fuzzy slippers, but instead I enter Murray High School and am swept into a throng of kids and adults. The air hums with high anxiety. The teens are tidily dressed,...

Mitch McConnell: Standing together, we will continue making great strides for Kentucky and our nation

In his State of the Union address, President Trump presented his vision for our country’s future. He articulated our national values, our economic potential, and the needs of families throughout the county. I was proud to once again welcome President Trump to the U.S. Capitol for this important speech, and I applaud his leadership. Standing together, we will continue making great strides for Kentucky...

Stuart Sanders: Scott County coach Billy Hicks’ 1000th basketball victory shows importance of sports

On January 24, Scott County boys’ basketball coach Billy Hicks logged his 1,000th win, making him the first Kentucky High School Athletic Association coach in Kentucky history to reach this mark. Billy Hicks Why is it important to celebrate Coach Hicks’ milestone? Moreover, why is sports history important? I recently spoke with Hicks at the unveiling of the latest Kentucky Historical Society HistoryMobile...

Bill Straub: Comity, progress gone, we must protect voting rights to hold on to democratic process

If you’re black or brown or poor, it’s obvious now that Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell couldn’t care less about your sacred right to vote. House Bill 1 in the 116th Congress is titled the For the People Act, and is intended to address many of the glaring deficiencies in the nation’s electoral system. It strengthens campaign finance laws, establishes new...

Michael Fletcher: Pass House Bill 121; get addiction treatment into the hands of those who need it

In 2019, every Kentuckian knows someone struggling with addiction and we are well aware that this epidemic is wreaking havoc on our communities and in our country. As an Addiction Specialist Physician practicing here in the Commonwealth, I look into the eyes of these people every day. My patients are filled with determination to beat an illness that has devastated their career, their family and their...

Constance Alexander: The best advice for writing a weekly column remains: Just be yourself

If Russell Baker had a fan club, I would be a card-carrying member. I’d been a Baker groupie since high school, when I started reading his weekly essays in the Sunday New York Times. Last week, upon learning that he’d died, I went searching for a letter he wrote to me at the beginning of my career. I’d written to Mr. Baker regarding a column in which he mentioned he was taking a few weeks...

Richard Nelson: Hold the horses, reign in Oak Grove Casino project; it makes community less stable

Ever hear the saying “hold your horses?” Well, it looks like West Kentucky Development Corp. needs to reign theirs’ in. This is the partnership between Churchill Downs and Keeneland spearheading a new Standardbred track with up to 12 days of horse racing and 365 days of video slot machines in Oak Grove. But the project hit a bump in the road as a competing race track filed a lawsuit...

Commentary: Advocates cite ‘milestone year’ for Marsy’s Law, hoping Supreme Court upholds voters

2018 was a milestone year for crime victims’ rights in Kentucky thanks to courageous legislators, determined advocates and hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians. Marsy’s Law was the first bill to pass in the General Assembly and then went to the ballot winning support from 63% of Kentucky voters.   These were the fruits of a three-year campaign to educate Kentuckians about Marsy’s Law and why...

Charles Leis: School choice expands options; Scholarship Tax Credit Program enables them

With National School Choice Week behind us, EdChoice Kentucky is turning our attention to the 2019 General Assembly, which reconvenes next week. In recent days, schools across the Commonwealth and the nation celebrated National School Choice Week and the important role that school choice programs play in expanding options in education. It is not a secret that Kentucky’s education system has oftentimes...

Bill Straub: Thomas ‘Wonderboy’ Massie, darling of far-right fringe, wants to undermine the government

WASHINGTON – It’s fair to say that Rep. Thomas “Wonder Boy” Massie has one of the, well, most unusual voting records in Congress, a claim that even he is unlikely to contradict.  The Republican from SomewhereorotherLewisCounty has been busy since the outset of the 116th Congress engaging in the foolishness that has made him the darling of the nation’s far-right fringe, the Bluegrass’s...

Eric Clark: Child welfare transformation will improve the lives of Kentucky’s children and families

It is a staggering, record-high number in Kentucky: 10,000 kids in foster care. Here is another number: 800. That’s how many adults gathered in early January for the inaugural Transformers of Child Welfare Summit. These were social workers, judges, educators, government officials, faith-based community leaders, parents, relatives and others. They are all committed to improve our child welfare system...

Constance Alexander: Library space is important to any community, the need for more is a no-brainer

Thirty-one years ago, before moving to Murray, I checked out the public library because, to me, it is one of the most important places in any community. Back in 1988, Margaret Trevathan headed up the operation with visionary leadership, a firm hand, and tireless grace. It was clear that she and the staff applied creativity and hard work to make sure community needs were met. The high standards and...

Josef Winkler: We are doing great harm to our planet by using fossil fuels, change is needed, and quickly

The days of plausible deniability are over. We (humans) are doing great harm to our one and only planet by the use of fossil fuels. We need to make major changes, and we need to do it quickly. If you are still a non-believer or do not believe that humans are responsible, I urge you to spend just one hour reading a few recent reports. Type “USGCRP 4th report” into your favorite search engine and...

Dustin Pugel: Kentuckians need more from the economy, so stop blaming the safety net, get to work

As decision-makers go after the very assistance that hundreds of thousands of low-income Kentuckians use to help make ends meet, the harm to families and communities deepens. Erecting barriers to participation in food assistance, Medicaid and other programs ignores what is really holding back Kentuckians: there are not enough quality jobs in the state, especially in rural communities. A prime example...

Constance Alexander: How many more canaries are in the mine when it comes to sexual harassment?

A little more than a year ago, it became public that then-Speaker of the Kentucky House, Jeff Hoover, had secretly settled a sexual harassment claim with a twenty-something female legislative aide. While Hoover denied the charge, he did admit to sending inappropriate text messages, insisting they were “consensual,” according to an Associated Press report by Adam Beam. The secret agreement was signed...