A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

This Week at the Capitol: Lawmakers address legislation concerning the wellbeing of children

Proposals concerning the wellbeing of children are often high-priority items in the General Assembly. Hundreds of measures aimed at improving the lives of young Kentuckians have come before lawmakers in recent years, including last year’s sweeping school safety legislation designed to make sure children are safe while learning. This year alone, more than 50 bills – roughly 11 percent of all bills...

This Week in Frankfort: A wrap-up of what went on — from governor’s budget to issues moving forward

By Robert Weber Legislative Research Commission The biggest issue of the General Assembly’s 2020 session came to the forefront this week as lawmakers received a state budget proposal from Gov. Andy Beshear. Now that the proposal is in legislators’ hands, members of budget subcommittees are digging into the two-year spending plan to fully understand how it would impact state finances, programs,...

Ron Daley: Helping Kentuckians get their REAL ID for air travel should not have taken so long

Don’t you just hate it when our great Commonwealth is at the bottom of rankings compared to other states? It is especially frustrating when there are easy fixes to address the concerns. This is the case when Kentucky has rushed to get to near bottom for allowing Kentuckians to obtain REAL ID drivers licenses by the federal mandated Oct. 1, 2020, deadline. The REAL ID (Voluntary Travel ID) is necessary...

Whitney Westerfield: Victims of crime are still counting on you, Kentucky; we need Marsy’s Law

In 2018, the General Assembly and Kentucky voters demonstrated their strong support for crime victims when they overwhelmingly adopted the Marsy’s Law constitutional amendment. Their intent was as clear as their message: “you deserve better, we support you, and your voice matters”. Victims were able to breathe a sigh of relief knowing they would finally be afforded the same level of constitutional...

State Rep. Russ Meyer announces he will not seek re-election representing 39th House District

State Rep. Russ Meyer, a former Nicholasville mayor and city commissioner who has been a member of the General Assembly since first being elected in 2014, announced Wednesday that he would not seek another term representing the 39th House District. “This wasn’t an easy decision, but after talking and praying with my family, it was the right one,” Meyer said. “Serving the community I love for...

Kentucky’s 2020 General Assembly gets underway in Frankfort with leadership and procedural changes

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The 2020 General Assembly was gaveled in at noon in Frankfort on Tuesday, with lawmakers meeting on 60-days before wrapping up on April 15. There was a new look in House Leadership for both Republicans and Democrats on the opening day. Speaker Pro Tem David Meade, R-Stanford, took over the duties as Majority Leader from Rep. John “Bam” Carney, who has been hospitalized...

Ronald Vissing: Let’s get politics out of our school system — taxpayers and students deserve better

After all the teeth gnashing and howling at the moon due to Gov. Matt Bevin legally replacing several Kentucky Board of Education members over a two-year period and accusations of politicizing the board’s educational oversight authority, it took newly elected Gov. Andy Beshear exactly 13 hours and 23 minutes to accomplish the same thing. Amazingly, Gov. Bevin took the legal route and replaced board...

Medicaid Services study shows pharmacy carve-out from managed care would save Kentucky millions

The Kentucky Department for Medicaid Services (DMS) has completed an analysis that shows moving outpatient pharmacy services from Medicaid managed care to the Medicaid fee-for-service program would save the state millions of dollars. The study examined figures from 2017 and 2018. The two-year study conducted by Myers and Stauffer shows a Medicaid pharmacy carve-out would generate $237.5 million in...

Cancer-fighting advocates mark Great American Smokeout, call for action to prevent tobacco addiction

Cancer patients and survivors will mark the American Cancer Society’s 44th annual Great American Smokeout today by calling on the General Assembly to protect the health of Kentucky residents by passing strong tobacco control legislation, including increased funding to go toward tobacco control programs. The effort to combat tobacco addiction comes at a critical moment, as Big Tobacco has now succeeded...

Kentucky receives approval to provide increased access to Medicaid health services for students

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) has received final approval for a Medicaid state plan amendment that will expand health services in schools. The change to Medicaid will be phased in during the current school year, and approval for direct services reimbursements to school districts is retroactive to Aug. 1. “Approval of this amendment is a game-changer,” said CHFS Secretary Adam...

Ed Massey: Career and Technical Education working group highlights progress, need for reform

As a former school board member and someone with a lifelong passion for education, I am honored to serve as a member of the Kentucky General Assembly’s Career and Technical Education Task Force. Our working group meets monthly to hear testimony from state officials and educators, as well as to study the best methods for improvement to our system of career and technical education. The need to prioritize...

General Assembly 2020 to run January 7 to April 15 for the constitutionally allowed 60 days

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The 2020 General Assembly will be from Jan. 7 to April 15. Lawmakers will meet on 60 of those days, which is the maximum allowed under the Kentucky Constitution.

 Lawmakers will not convene on Jan. 20 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day or on Feb. 17 in observance of Presidents’ Day. 

March 2 will be the final day that House bills can be introduced...

Health departments, employees making tough choices in wake of passage of Bevin’s pension bill

Kentucky’s health departments and their employees face some difficult decisions in the wake of the pension legislation passed in the recent special session of the General Assembly. The law written and signed by Gov. Matt Bevin freezes the pension costs of health departments for another year, at 49 percent of payroll, avoiding an increase to 83 percent, which would have forced layoffs and program...

Court of Appeals sides with Bevin administration, independent cities in solid waste case

The Kentucky Court of Appeals has reversed a judgment from Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd and unanimously ruled in favor of the Bevin administration and Jefferson County’s 83 independent cities in an important case regarding the decision-making powers of local governments. House Bill 246, a 2017 law championed by Rep. Jerry Miller, restructured the relationship between a county in a...

After three hours of intense debate, Bevin’s pension bill narrowly makes it through house on 52-46 vote

The House approved Gov. Matt Bevin’s pension proposal by a 52-46 vote on Monday. (Photo by Tom Latek, Kentucky Today) By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Gov. Matt Bevin’s public pension bill to provide relief to regional universities, health departments and other quasi-governmental agencies made it over a critical hurdle on Monday when lawmakers of the Kentucky House narrowly approved the measure...

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...