A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Pension legislation the only item on agenda as Bevin makes formal call for special session Thursday

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Gov. Matt Bevin issued his formal call Thursday afternoon for a special session of the General Assembly starting Friday at 8 a.m., with pension legislation the only item on the agenda. The governor’s proposal would only affect the state’s regional public universities, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System and other quasi-governmental agencies such as local...

Kentucky chosen to participate in National Governors Association’s multi-state convening in Minnesota

The Commonwealth of Kentucky was chosen to participate in the National Governors Association’s multi-state convening, entitled Child Health, Wellbeing, and Safety in School and Communities, this week in St. Paul, Minnesota. Gov. Matt Bevin selected a cross-agency core team to attend the convening, including members of Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Adam Meier“CHFS...

Commentary: Attempts to deceive community about FCPS include distorted reality, invalid comparisons

By Fayette County Public Schools Special to KyForward Once again, Dan Rose and Ron Vissing are attempting to deceive our community by quoting statistics out of context and presenting hyperbolic bluster as truth. While their charts use flawed data visualization practices to present a distorted reality, their conclusions are based on invalid comparisons that reflect a lack of understanding of public...

John Schaaf: Court of Appeals upholds Kentucky ethics law, sends strong signal across nation

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently put its stamp of approval on Kentucky’s legislative ethics law, sending a clear signal for strong public ethics laws across the nation. Kentucky’s ethics law was challenged in a lawsuit filed by John Schickel, a state senator from Boone County. In his lawsuit, Schickel claimed he has a right under the U.S. Constitution to accept lobbyist-funded...

KYTC releases list of statewide transportation projects to guide decisions on 2020 Highway Plan

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has released a data-driven list of projects that are candidates for state transportation funding, using initial results from the State Highway Investment Formula for Tomorrow (SHIFT). The results will be a key component in developing the upcoming 2020 Highway Plan. The statewide list includes 49 high-ranking projects under consideration for funding – interstates...

Ky. Supreme Court affirms decision striking down constitutional amendment known as Marsy’s Law

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The Kentucky Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously affirmed a lower court opinion that invalidated the language of a Constitutional Amendment known as Marsy’s Law, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters last year. Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Crofton, introduced Senate Bill 3 on the first day of the 2018 General Assembly, the title of which was, “AN ACT proposing...

Ryan Quarles: Hemp History Week — take a moment to reflect on where we’ve been with this versatile crop

George Washington. Thomas Jefferson. Henry Clay. These great Americans grew hemp in the United States long before it became illegal over much of the 20th century. This year, Kentucky has around 1,000 licensed hemp growers and more than 130 licensed hemp processors who are joining the ranks of the great Americans who have grown hemp. This Hemp History Week, it’s important to remember where our state...

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals sides with Legislative Ethics Commission on contribution and gift ban

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the constitutionality of the contribution and gift bans in the Kentucky Code of Legislative Ethics. The three-judge panel ruled on Thursday that the measures “enacted to prevent corruption and protect its citizens’ trust in their elected officials, comport with the Constitution,” and reversed a lower court ruling, which...

Kentucky lawmakers name Jay Hartz as next Director of Legislative Research Commission

Legislative leaders have named Jay Hartz as the next Director of the Legislative Research Commission. Hartz, the Deputy Chief of Staff in the Senate President’s Office, is a familiar figure to many in the State Capitol, where he’s known for his extensive knowledge on legislative operations and policymaking. He’s also known for his good humor and the colorful bowties he frequently favors. When...

Commentary: Sky-high jump in retirement costs an issue that cannot be ignored by Kentucky’s leaders

By Rocky Adkins, Derrick Graham and Joni Jenkins Special to KyForward Sometime before the end of June, Gov. Matt Bevin is expected to call the General Assembly to the Capitol to address an issue that cannot be ignored: a sky-high jump in retirement costs for nearly 120 human-service agencies and our regional universities. Time is truly of the essence, because few if any can afford that increase, which...

As special session looms, Ky. House Democrats are still not sold on Governor’s pension proposal

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today There’s still no word on when Gov. Matt Bevin will call a special session of the General Assembly to address a public pension bill because he doesn’t appear to have enough votes to pass his proposal. The governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff Bryan Sunderland, Budget Director John Chilton and Kentucky Retirement Systems Executive Director David Eger spent more than two hours...

General Assembly wrap-up: bills that became law, bills that didn’t, bills awaiting Governor’s signature

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The General Assembly wrapped up on March 28 sending 10 bills to Gov. Matt Bevin, who still has about a week to decide if he will sign, veto or allow them to become law without his signature. 
Among the bills already signed into law are four pro-life measures. 
- Senate Bill 50 mandates that any time an abortion-inducing drug is dispensed, a report must be made to the...

New bear hunting regulations proposed by Fish and Wildlife; proposal involves zone changes

The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission proposed several new bear hunting regulations at its March quarterly meeting. The commission recommends all hunting, fishing and boating regulations for approval by the General Assembly. Legislators must approve all recommendations before they become law. In bear-related business, the commission recommended adjusting bear hunting zones and seasons: -Break Zone...

A list of health-related bills in the General Assembly as legislators plan to return for last day March 28

When the General Assembly returns Thursday, March 28, for the final day of its session, it could pass any number of bills, including several related to health: to make schools tobacco-free, to set up a hotline for students to report “vaping” of electronic cigarettes; to give health departments a reprieve from increased pension payments; to require children under 12 to wear helmets when...

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...

This Week at the State Capitol: Bills arrive on Bevin’s desk, including school safety; others advance

The Kentucky General Assembly’s 2019 session passed a major milestone this week as bills passed by both the Senate and House began arriving on the governor’s desk to be signed into law. The first bill of the year delivered to Gov. Matt Bevin’s office was Senate Bill 4, a measure that would require candidates for public office in Kentucky to electronically file their campaign finance reports starting...

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...

Last Week at the State Capitol: School safety bill, State of Commonwealth, suicide prevention and more

Family members of the two students killed in last year’s shooting at Marshall County High School held hands, shed tears, and spoke bravely about their grief during this week’s Senate Education meeting.   They came to Frankfort on Thursday to call for safety improvements in Kentucky schools and to deliver a simple message directly to state lawmakers: “We’re counting on you.”   “We can’t...

This week in the state Capitol: Leadership sworn in, some bills advance, recess until February 5

The excitement of the opening day of a Kentucky General Assembly session was evident amid the packed crowds, broad smiles, and welcoming handshakes throughout the State Capitol.   But the spirit of the first day might have been most clearly revealed in the trembling voices of some new lawmakers the first time they offered public comments in legislative chambers. The mix of nerves, emotion, and deep...

Wayne Lewis: 2019 legislative agenda prioritizes student success and parent empowerment

At its Dec. 5 meeting, the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) voted to approve a list of legislative priorities for the 2019 session of the General Assembly that places student success and preparedness and family empowerment at the center of our legislative efforts during the upcoming session. Admittedly, our agenda is ambitious, but I believe the legislative changes we are seeking are central to taking...