A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky Supreme Court unanimously sides with Lexington graphic artist over LGBT rights ordinance

The Kentucky Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously ruled in favor of a Lexington graphic artist who declined to print T-shirts for a gay pride event. The court ruled that Lexington’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Ordinance (SOGI) was improperly applied since the plaintiff — Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO) — lacked standing. Richard Nelson“The court upheld First...

Richard Nelson: Remembering our nation’s 243rd birthday and the soul-stirring 56 words that define us

Just a few days ago I was in Washington D.C. where I visited the National Archives and saw the Declaration of Independence. It was featured alongside the U.S. Constitution and other historical documents in the dimly lit rotunda. It was amazing to see our founding documents in person. Yet I had trouble deciphering the words. Centuries had taken their toll on the parchment and the ink was fading. I couldn’t...

Richard Nelson: Tomorrow is primary election day in Kentucky; can we defy the low turnout prediction

Kentucky’s primary election is Tuesday and if voter participation in 2015 is any indication, the turnout will be in the neighborhood of a dismal 12 percent. Low turnout is partly because Kentucky is one of a handful of states that elects its governor and constitutional officers in odd-numbered years.  Fewer races mean less campaign advertising. Less advertising means less buzz around the workplace...

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...

Commonwealth Policy Center calls for legislature to hold hearings on instant racing, questions legality

The Commonwealth Policy Center called on the state legislature this week to hold hearings on the legality of instant racing machines and asked for public input on expanded gambling. The move comes on the heels of Attorney General Andy Beshear’s public urging of state legislators to legalize casinos and sports betting. It also stems from the announcement by Churchill Downs and Keeneland to open...

Seeking the truth, Campbellsville University to host ‘Fake News Forum’ on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m.

By Matthew M. Billiot Campbellsville University The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. That’s what Stan McKinney believes all journalists should seek and report to the best of their abilities. “The idea of ‘fake news’ actually sickens me,” said McKinney, an associate professor of journalism at Campbellsville University who was a reporter and editor for more than 25 years and...

Richard Nelson: Declaration of Independence worth celebrating, but what are we fighting for today?

It was 242 years ago when America’s colonial leaders declared their independence from a tyrant who trampled their rights and usurped their self-rule. They outlined 27 specific violations citing a “long train of abuses” reaching back a decade to the Stamp Act and decided the relationship was irretrievably broken. So on July 4, 1776, the Founders formally separated from Great Britain...

Brandon Porter: Lack of respect for others has consequences; contributes to societal problems

We tend to compartmentalize our lives. Our heads ache, yet we don’t consider the small amount of sleep we’ve had this week. We feel sluggish, but have forgotten about the donuts we finished off a few hours ago. A spouse or friend seems distant, and we have no memory of the harsh words we spoke to them yesterday. Life has more connecting points than we realize. Porter We can also find connecting...

Brandon Porter: Re-evaluating place sports holds in life; maybe we are paying too much attention

It’s been said that Hollywood is upstream from culture and leads the culture in thought and trend. It’s also been said that politics is downstream from culture and it reflects where the people are. No one ever mentions sports on that stream, but it must be on there somewhere. Recent controversial events in the world of sports are pushing me to put the remote down and reevaluate the place sports...

Richard Nelson: Instant racing expansion will be a bust — pie-in-the-sky promises, economic bad bet

Churchill Downs and Keeneland announced a partnership to expand gambling into eastern and western Kentucky and promised they’ll “create hundreds of new jobs, stimulate economic growth and generate funds to increase purses and breeder incentives.” But if the deal ends up like so many communities lured by casino interests’ pie in the sky promises, the economic gains are a bad...

Richard Nelson: Fixing the foster care system critical to improving the lives of Kentucky children

By Richard Nelson Special to KyForward If Hurricane Harvey’s record rainfall doused the fiery political climate, then the images of rescue workers saving children have softened embittered hearts in our politically divisive age. One evocative photo depicts a disaster relief worker slogging through muddied Houston waters carrying an Asian woman who is cradling her infant. Yet as Harvey leaves...

Commentary: Tweeting is no way to communicate policy; discussion needed about gender issues

By Richard Nelson Special to KyForward President Trump’s tweet barring transgendered persons from serving in the military caught everyone off guard, including policy makers who are still trying to figure out exactly what it means. As we navigate the minefields of this highly charged issue there’s middle ground that nearly everyone can agree on: policy by tweet is no way to run a government....

Commentary: Coverage of Bevin’s real estate deal results in another case of unbalanced journalism

By Richard Nelson Special to KyForward The Executive Branch Ethics Commission (EBEC) recently cleared Gov. Bevin of any wrongdoing involving a deal on a home by a campaign donor, but considering the way the Louisville Courier-Journal trotted out the story since it broke earlier this year, its uncertain they’ll accept the unanimous ruling in Bevin’s favor. A week before the EBEC issued...

Commentary: Civility is missing in public discourse — we need to find a way to bring it back

By Richard Nelson Special to KyForward Civility is on life support. But the body politic was sick long before James T. Hodgkinson assaulted GOP Congressmen at a baseball practice, critically wounding Rep. Steve Scalise and wounding five others after asking whether the men on the field were Republicans or Democrats. Kentucky witnessed a similar event eight weeks ago when a machete-wielding Transylvania...

Commentary: Constitutional protection for conscience should also extend to the judiciary

By Richard Nelson Special to KyForward Does a judge have a right to his conscience? That’s the question many are asking since a Glasgow Family Court Judge recused himself in cases regarding the placement of children into the custody of homosexual parents. Judge Mitchell Nance said that “as a matter of conscience” he believes that “under no circumstance” would “the best interest of the...

Commentary: Living in a post-truth world — from ‘alternative facts’ to a state of confusion

By Richard Nelson Special to KyForward Wheaties was a staple breakfast food in my childhood and between spoonfuls of the stuff that was supposed to make me strong I remember staring at the box donned with Olympic Gold Medalist Bruce Jenner ready to spring the javelin. It was the breakfast of champions and of course what eight-year boy old didn’t aspire to be a world champion athlete? Jenner now...

Commentary: Churches are not second class — state should treat all organizations equally

By Richard Nelson Special to KyForward Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in an important case regarding religious freedom and whether the government can treat religious institutions as second class. The case at hand involves a Missouri church that applied for a grant to receive recycled scrap tire material for its playground. The state rejected the application on the grounds that...

Commentary: Cognitive dissonance in Georgetown over proposed gender identity ordinance

By Richard Nelson Special to KyForward Have you ever had two conflicting feelings happen at the same time? Ever felt both happy and sad? Or angry yet compassionate? If so, you’ve experienced something that amounts to a $10 word psychologists call cognitive dissonance. Such confusion filled my being the other day while attending a Georgetown City Council meeting where the public weighed in on...

Commentary: The fear within the debate on fairness affects those on both sides of the issue

By Richard Nelson Special to KyForward Participating in a city council meeting can be intimidating. And the intimidation factor is magnified when a controversial issue is on the agenda. Such was the case in Bowling Green last Tuesday when the city commission had a special working session to discuss the proposed sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) nondiscrimination ordinance. I was one of...

Commentary: Trust in institutional media is at an all-time low — why and what’s the solution?

By Richard Nelson Special to KyForward Kentuckians’ trust in institutional media may be at an all-time low. According to Secretary of State Alison Grime’s Kentucky Civic Health Index released in January, less than half of Kentuckians trust the media. Even more surprising is an Emerson College Poll that found more Americans believe the Trump administration is more trustworthy than the...