A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Girard Miller: We need to get to work on seven state and local fiscal lessons from a year like no other

As 2020 winds down, it’s the time to look back on lessons learned from the unique experience we’ve all had in the COVID-19 era, which has challenged and stressed our systems of public finance in ways not experienced since the Great Depression. For state and local governments, there are some important takeaways that should be remembered for years to come: Progressive taxation has its drawbacks...

Tracy Staley: I won’t be back ‘home for Christmas’ this year, but we are grateful for our our memories

When I think of Christmas back home, I’m five years old at my great-grandmother’s tiny house on Browns Fork. The 10-minute drive from our house in town to hers in the country was just long enough to feel like we were going somewhere. Inside we would join a mess of cousins, grandparents, uncles, and aunts, plied with peanut butter fudge, chicken and dumplings, and laughter. Her tree, never much...

Bill Straub: Paul says money doesn’t grow on trees; so, Mitch, what do you think of El Presidente now?

Parsing the permutations of the COVID-19 relief bill is akin to fiddling with a Rubik’s cube while blindfolded in a darkened room. After months of wrangling, insults, scare tactics, hyperbole and additional nonsense – you know, de rigueur — Congress this week passed a $900 billion aid package attached to a $1.4 trillion omnibus bill intended to fund government operations through the end of...

COVID-19 vaccine rollout shows importance of Kentucky’s transportation and logistics networks

By Jennifer Kirchner Special to KyForward The need to move goods safely and expeditiously across a reliable transportation network has never been greater. The nation’s first shipment of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Louisville on Dec. 13 in what is being hailed a “historic moment” for the United States and Kentucky. Jennifer Kirchner UPS Worldport will handle vaccine distribution to...

Constance Alexander: Santa Claus, the lost house key, and a doll named Suzy Walker

“Walks, flirts, rolls her eyes, turns her head, sits, stands, cries, sleeps. Wash, curl her SARAN hair. 22 inches tall.” The ad sounded perfect to me at seven, the year I wished for a little sister, but decided a Suzy Walker doll would do. I’d made it clear to my mother that Suzy was my dream doll, and she assured me – if my behavior warranted it – that Suzy would nestle beneath the boughs...

Jan Hillard: Realigning presidential elections, a look at coalitions and focusing on biggest challenge

Voting coalitions represent groups of voters from demographic, economic, and social groups. In any Presidential election, specific coalitions come together to support their collective candidate and/or political party. In the United States, the makeup of voting coalitions have varied over time. When there are substantial coalitional shifts, we have what are termed realigning elections. Realigning elections...

Commentary: New legislation seeks to create ‘Recovery Ready’ communities to address addiction

By Adam Bowling and Tim Robinson   Kentucky’s addiction crisis is too substantial and far-reaching for any single legislator, organization or government agency to tackle alone. It’s a sentiment we’ve said and heard time and time again. And now, it’s the foundation for legislation we hope to see passed in 2021 to encourage a comprehensive approach to substance use disorder prevention, treatment...

Keturah Herron: Castle Doctrine and no-knock warrants blatantly contradict each other

If someone pounded on your door and kicked it open in the dark of night, what would you do? When I learned of the Breonna Taylor case, I tried to put myself in the mind of Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend. As police broke through their door in the middle of the night on March 13, 2020, neither knew who was forcibly entering their home. Fearing for their safety, Walker – a licensed gun owner –...

Al Cross: Mischievous Christmas gifts for Kentucky politicians, a tradition continued

Thirty-nine years ago, Ed Ryan, then the Frankfort Bureau chief of The Courier-Journal, wrote a column headlined “Possible gifts for officials, first family.” Ed had great material to work with – Gov. John Y. Brown Jr., his appointees and wife Phyllis George Brown – and he made the column annual. Ed died in 1984, at only 45, but his journalistic legatees have continued the tradition. Since...

Bill Straub: McConnell relents on ‘President-elect Biden; but his Ky. Senate collegeaue may pose problem

Is there a more appropriate cover boy for the modern Republican Party – that toxic conglomeration of fabulists, conspiracy mongers, White nationalists, petulant whiners and cheap chiselers — than Kentucky’s own Sen. Rand Paul? Granted, the competition is fierce. Any party that can produce the likes of Senate Majority Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell, of Louisville, and Rep....

Sen. John Schickel: A remarkable public servant — my friendship with Governor Julian Carroll

I have known Julian Carroll for a long time. At the stroke of midnight on December 31, the curtain will drop on one of Kentucky’s most remarkable public service careers spanning over 70 years. The 54th Governor of Kentucky was first elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1962, where he served five terms including as Speaker of the House from 1968 to 1971. He served as Lieutenant Governor...

Constance Alexander: Yes Virginia, that is a Confederate statue in the center of this friendly town

My name is Virginia and I am eight years old. I live in Murray, Ky, the “Friendliest Small Town in America” according to Rand McNally and USA Today. Some of my little friends say Murray is friendly, as long as you ignore the statue of a Confederate soldier on Main Street in downtown Murray, right on county property. There are grownups who say if you don’t like the statue, you should move somewhere...

Thomas Noland: Proposed solutions to the current student loan conundrum raise interesting issues

President-Elect Biden and other Democrats have proposed a number of changes to the student loan program as well as funding for college tuition. Perhaps the most talked about proposal is student loan relief under the guise of reducing the drag on the economy. President-Elect Biden has proposed $10,000 in relief for borrowers with federal student loans and making less than $125,000 per year. Senators...

Billy Reed: Please send me your ideas for who should be Kentucky Sportsperson of the Year

Since its first year of publication in 1954, Sports Illustrated magazine has selected a Sportsman (now Sportsperson) of the Year. The first winner was English runner Roger Bannister, the first man to crack the four-minute barrier in the mile. Since then, the award has gone to individuals, or teams, from every major sport. It has included foreign athletes like Bannister, black and whites, men and women...

Leroy Gessmann: Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act ignores small business backbone of the sport

By the time this op-ed goes to print, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) could very well be headed to the White House to be signed into law. The bill, S. 4547, is being sold as a catch-all fix to the problems of the horse racing industry. The problem is we have not had an industry-wide discussion of how this bill will fix any specific problems. In short, there are many unknowns about this...

Donna Arnett: COVID-19 vaccinations are safe, effective and necessary to protect those around you

Nearly nine months since the word “coronavirus” entered our daily vocabulary, hope may be on the horizon in the form of multiple effective COVID-19 vaccines. It’s too early to declare the global pandemic done – and we must not let up on practicing basic public health measures like mask-wearing, physical distancing, and handwashing. But now is the time for everyone to prepare for the arrival...

Bill Straub: Petty resistance at every turn as President-elect’s team tries to move on inauguration

Kentucky’s gift to the nation and the whole, wide world for that matter, Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell, has now taken a firm stance regarding that centuries old American practice of a smooth, peaceful and celebratory transfer of power. He’s against it. McConnell, of Louisville, is a member of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, which oversees...

Jordan Tong: Beshear’s orders defy human design, hurt Kentucky families, devastate businesses

As numbers of new COVID-19 cases have risen in the state of Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear has once again put the clamps on the Commonwealth. The newest restrictions issued by the governor include no indoor seating at restaurants, reduced capacity of many businesses and public use facilities, and most dramatically, the closure of schools. Such severe measures raise legitimate questions. Do the current...

Constance Alexander: ‘Abundantly enriched’ by the living history depicted at Homeplace 1850

With no dreamy-eyed profile on eHarmony, and not even a come-hither pitch via Tinder, chances are that Homeplace 1850 at Land Between the Lakes will stay single. Without a partner, the living history site that depicts day-to-day activity of a rural farm family in the antebellum South is on life support. Nothing is definite, but word is that the Homeplace might be converted to a museum. There is also...

Allison Ball: Female workforce at 32-year low as moms leave jobs to help with online education

As of October, more than two million women in the U.S. left the workforce, the majority having left to tend to their children’s online education. According to BLS data, 56 percent more women than men dropped out of the labor force between February and October. Another census study shows women ages 25-44 are nearly three times more likely than men to not be working due to COVID-19 childcare issues. This...