A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Commentary: School Safety Act lays groundwork for securing schools, strengthening our students

By Rep. John Carney and Sen. Max Wise Special to KyForward There are very few Kentuckians who do not remember how they felt when they heard of last year’s shooting at Marshall County High School. As parents who share a strong passion for education, this tragedy shook us to the core. As legislators, we realized that our state had to do more to prevent school violence, not only to protect potential...

Amye Bensenhaver: How to succeed in open records by refusing to take ‘no’ for an answer

Al Cross, director of the University of Kentucky’s Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, has succeeded where other open records disputants often fail. He did this by simply refusing to take “no” for an answer. Cross is no stranger to the open records law, and his reputation for tenacity no doubt precedes him. On March 20, Cross submitted a request to the Kentucky Horse Racing...

Al Cross: Gov. Bevin is reckless to disregard the science on chickenpox; public health matters

When Gov. Matt Bevin volunteered to a Southern Kentucky radio audience March 19 that he had exposed his nine children to chickenpox, and questioned the need for vaccinations and laws requiring them, it was more than the latest example of him being reckless with his mouth. It was a new low in public officials’ willful ignorance or disregard of science, an alarming trend that is taking us to new highs...

Bill Straub: What an incredible week it was for Mitch McConnell, setting a record for bollixing things up

So what has Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch” McConnell done over the space of a single week in March to further bollix this long-suffering republic? To borrow from Elizabeth Barrett Browning, let me count the ways. 1. The Louisville lawmaker has joined his fellow Republicans in a massive home run trot over what may – or may not – be the results of Special Counsel Robert...

Austin Griffiths: March is Social Work Month, an annual opportunity to spotlight those helping others

It’s finally March in Kentucky, and we all know what that means. Nope, sorry, we’re not talking about basketball. March is Social Work Month—an annual opportunity to spotlight those who are dedicated to helping others to reach their full potential. The theme in 2019 “Elevate Social Work” is an appropriate way to recognize this honorable profession. Social work is often portrayed inaccurately...

Constance Alexander: What happens when a loved one in need of assistance is refusing help?

Caregiving, like getting old, is not for the faint of heart, which is why those who provide care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s appreciate convenient access to useful information. Via its interactive telemedicine system, University of Kentucky’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging reaches across the commonwealth to act as a resource for caregivers and the hundreds of thousands of people in Kentucky...

Ryan Quarles: ‘Check the box’ for Kentucky’s hungry when you file your state income tax returns

Nearly 1 in 6 Kentuckians – including 1 in 5 Kentucky children – don’t know where their next meal will come from at some point in the year. That’s why I launched the Kentucky Hunger Initiative nearly three years ago: to combat the unfortunate reality that so many of our friends and neighbors are food insecure. With tax season upon us, you can “check the box” to join the fight to reduce...

Bill Straub: Welcome to Tombstone (aka Kentucky) where the right to bear arms is truly unlimited

On March 11, a gentleman named Larry Walters got into an argument, subject unknown, with another patron at Uncle 7’s Bourbon Bar & Grille, an establishment off Clays Mill Road in the southern part of Lexington, leading to a physical altercation. According to police, Walters took exception to the course of the disagreement and felt compelled to draw a firearm. The 69-year-old veteran began firing,...

Jason Bailey: Watch out for attack on pensions on legislative session’s final day, March 28

The General Assembly adjourned for the veto period without providing relief from soon-to-spike pension costs to quasi-governmental organizations like regional universities and community mental health centers. The legislature can still prevent an unaffordable increase on the session’s final day — March 28 — but must reject attempts to attach harmful pension changes that would set Kentucky...

Constance Alexander: Sharing some of my mother’s family secrets in honor of St. Patrick’s Day

My mother, whose maiden name was Kelly, claimed that her family was definitely “lace curtain” Irish. Asked for further clarification, she explained that her Father’s branch of the Kelly family was refined, genteel, and upwardly mobile. That was a good thing. Lace Curtain. The other end of the spectrum, Shanty Irish, was not a good thing. As if she had conducted a sociological study, Mother decreed...

Amye Bensenhaver: A new exception to open records should always raise legislative red flags

Twice last week we were reminded of a common argument used by public agencies to avoid their statutory duties under the open records law. The first reminder came in the form of judicial repudiation of the argument. The second reminder came in the form of legislative acceptance of the argument in a newly enacted, but wholly unvetted, exception to the open records law. The argument is based on the agencies’...

Commentary: Advocates say Kentucky needs a citizen-based defense of sunshine laws

By Amye Bensenhaver 
and Jennifer P. Brown Special to KyForward Sunshine Week is upon us and with it the inevitable meteorological metaphors for open government climate change at the federal, state, and local level. These metaphors carry meaning, especially in 2019. There is no better time than now for all Kentuckians to be aware of potential serious threats to laws that protect the public’s right...

Al Cross: As General Assembly ends, it did not — in most big ways — act in the public interest

FRANKFORT – With almost all its work done, has the current session of the Kentucky General Assembly acted in the public interest? In many small ways, yes. But in most big ways, no. And, of course, it depends on how you define “public interest.” For example, what some see as needed competition for failing public schools, and more opportunity for students, is seen by others as a drain on schools...

Dorothy Rader: What’s behind the quality of your tap water? Be assured that your tap water is safe to drink

There have been a number of stories in the news lately highlighting the shortcomings of water utilities across the country, including some right here in Kentucky. While the struggles for some water utilities to fund necessary upgrades and maintain reliable, quality service are real, I want to reassure Kentucky American Water customers that there is no reason to worry about drinking your tap water. Kentucky...

Bill Straub: Worth it or not, the time is coming for decisions to be made and it has to be right

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi created a bit of a stir in political circles this week when she told The Washington Post that she opposes impeaching President Trump (yech!) because the spectacle of attempting to remove him from office would prove “divisive to the country.” In something of a coda, Pelosi, a California Democrat, further offered that the blackguard currently holding down the nation’s...

Matt Bevin: We will fight with our intellect, our talent, and our heart to defend the innocent

At least now we have clarity on the issue. Now that the hard left has dropped the pretense of “safe, legal and rare” or “a collection of cells is not a fetus,” we can better see beneath their masks. With the passage of a barbaric new law in New York, we now see that the true agenda of pro-abortion advocates across this nation is the mass murder of innocent babies, even after they have been...

Constance Alexander: ‘Poetry Minutes’ look to inspire all would-be poets during National Poetry Month

Although we are not even half-way in, it already feels as if the month of March has been sitting on top us too long. Like a big, wet dog — sloppy, drooling, and shedding fleas – it just won’t go away. But April, National Poetry Month, is just around the corner and WKMS-FM, the National Public Radio affiliate in Murray, is gearing up to celebrate. The Academy of American Poets inaugurated...

Frank Busicchia: Programs like the Investment tax credit do work, just ask my employees

Last week, a Lexington paper published a critical report on the Kentucky Rural Jobs Act (HB 203), and a similar federal economic development tool, the New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) program. Thankfully, as the CEO of Commercial Specialty Truck Holdings, which manufactures E-Z Pack garbage trucks in Cynthiana, I know a little bit about the importance of cleaning things up. Let’s be clear: the Kentucky...

William McCann: Kentucky Crafted Market stage should feature more than just professional musicians

The Kentucky Crafted Market — March 15-17, Kentucky Horse Park, Altech Arena, Lexington — is a wonderful opportunity for the state’s many talented craftspeople — whether dulcimer makers, quilters or woodworkers, etc. — and Kentucky Proud farmers to have the spotlight and make the money and contacts that allow them to succeed. Additionally, this year the Market is going to...

Bill Straub: Hail, hail Fredonia; America is mired in Duck Soup under President Donald J. Trump

Perhaps the time has come to consider changing the name of the United States of America to Freedonia. For the uninitiated, Freedonia, land of the free and brave, is the country ruled by Rufus T. Firefly, as played by Groucho Marx, in the classic 1933 film, Duck Soup. Groucho Marx (courtesy of Wikipedia) The manner in which Firefly operated, it seems, serves as a precursor to the administration of President...