A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Al Cross: McConnell cares most about the state Attorney General race, and things are looking up

For Mitch McConnell, things in Kentucky are looking up. In Washington, not so much. The races are close, but the Senate majority leader’s state appears likelier than not to elect Republicans to the state’s top offices Nov. 5. McConnell and Gov. Matt Bevin, former rivals, have learned how to get along and stay out of each other’s way, and a Bevin victory should increase McConnell’s chances of...

Al Cross: We learned some meaningful things at Fancy Farm; raucous crowd tells us something too

FANCY FARM, Ky. – For all its hoopla, the political speaking at the Fancy Farm Picnic rarely has much effect on statewide elections. But it always provides a unique measurement of the candidates, their campaigns and their prospects, and this year’s version told us some meaningful things about Republican Gov. Matt Bevin and his challenger, Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear. The speaking has...

Filing briefs: Stumbo files for AG, Democrat; Schroder files for AG, Republican; Henry for Sec. of State

Greg Stumbo only democrat for Attorney General Greg Stumbo, a former Kentucky attorney general and House speaker, filed with the secretary of state’s office on Friday seeking to return as attorney general. Greg Stumbo Stumbo said he plans to continue the message he held while in the office before. “We’re going to talk about opioids. We’re going to talk about protecting people’s rights. We’re...

Former House Speaker Greg Stumbo announces he will be a candidate for attorney general

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Former Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo has become the first Democrat to declare himself a candidate for attorney general, a position he previously held before running unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor a decade ago. Stumbo made the announcement on Lexington’s WKYT-TV on Saturday. Greg Stumbo (LRC photo) Stumbo, who lost his re-election bid for state representative...

Court of Appeals allows release of records that could reveal details about marketing of Oxycontin

The state Court of Appeals on Friday upheld a Pike County judge’s ruling to release secret records about the marketing of OxyContin, the branded form of oxycodone that “has been blamed for helping to seed today’s opioid addiction epidemic,” reports Stat, the medicine-and-science publication of The Boston Globe, which fought to get the records. In the court file is a deposition of Richard...

Jeff Hoover captures caucus vote, will become first GOP Speaker of the House since 1921

The new 64 member House Republican super majority met in Frankfort Thursday and unanimously selected Jeff Hoover of Jamestown as Speaker-Elect. Hoover’s selection as Speaker when the House convenes in January was assured due to Republicans holding a super majority. Before Tuesday’s election, the GOP held 47 of the 100 seats. Republicans gained control of the House for the first time since 1921....

Veteran organizations would be exempted from property taxes under proposed legislation

State Rep. Chuck Tackett said Thursday that he is pre-filing a bill that, if passed and ratified, would amend the Kentucky Constitution to include tax exemptions for property owned by posts or organizations of past or present members of the Armed Forces of the United States. “As I looked into this issue, I was bothered by the fact that this fairly ambiguous language was knocking groups like the American...

Beshear says Bevin doesn’t have the authority to order immediate higher education cuts

State Attorney General Andy Beshear said Friday that Gov. Matt Bevin lacks the authority to implement immediate 4.5 percent budget cuts on Kentucky’s public colleges and universities. Bevin issued the order Thursday after House and Senate budget conference committee members announced they had reached an impasse in negotiations over the 2016-18 $21 billion spending plan. Attorney General Andy...

Jeff Hoover: Stumbo’s comments about fellow legislators off base, aimed at creating gridlock

Throughout my tenure as a member of the Kentucky General Assembly, I have often told new members that one of the best parts of the position is the friendships they will develop with fellow legislators, of all political persuasions, as they bond through their genuine desire to see our Commonwealth improve. There, of course, may be occasional political and philosophical differences on how to achieve...

Commentary: Despite progress, battle against drug addiction requires careful next steps

By Greg Stumbo Special to KyForward   When it comes to solving the big issues of the day, President Eisenhower had it right when he said, “If you can’t solve a problem, enlarge it.”   That is exactly what happened earlier this month, when I brought together state and local leaders and drug-treatment specialists in my hometown of Prestonsburg to discuss what more we can do...

‘We will honor Cameron’: Lawmakers join trooper’s father to call for increased safety

  Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo talks to Joe Ponder, father of slain Kentucky State Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder, during a press conference in which they joined others in calling for increased safety measures for officers. (LRC Public Information photo)   Joe Ponder, the father of slain Kentucky State Police Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder, joined House Speaker Greg Stumbo and other state...

Beshear says no to special session on same-sex marriage; everyone ‘take a deep breath’

  There is no need to call a special session on issues surrounding same-sex marriage, Gov. Steve Beshear said in a statement released Tuesday night.   Further, he said, “It’s time for everyone to take a deep breath.”   Beshear’s statement comes on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 26 decision legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states. Earlier...

Beshear creates work group to recommend ways to stabilize teachers’ retirement system

  By executive order, Gov. Steve Beshear has created a 23-member work group to develop recommendations to strengthen the solvency of the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System.   Gov. Steve Beshear The group is made up of policy and education leaders, according to a press release from the governor’s office, and is charged with developing recommendations to resolve a funding shortfall...

Commentary: 'Right to work' should be called 'right to work for less'; it's wrong for Kentucky

By Greg Stumbo Special to KyForward   Over the last four months, there has unfortunately been a renewed effort to breathe life into a proposal that most economists declared dead long ago. Supporters call it “right to work”; the rest of us, with the facts on our side, call it “right to work for less.”   Those backing the concept claim it will cure everything but the common cold. ...

Capitol Notes: KTRS bond bill, early childhood bill pass House, head to Senate

Rep. Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort, debates a bill up for consideration in the Kentucky House of Representatives. (Photo from LRC public Information)   KTRS bond bill clears House   A House proposal to authorize $3.3 billion in bonds to reduce the unfunded liability of the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System’s pension fund is heading to the Senate.   House Bill 4, sponsored by House...

Sponsor of opt-out amendment says smoking ban bill needs it to pass; some don’t care for it

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News   FRANKFORT – Rep. Steve Riggs of Louisville has proposed an amendment to the statewide smoking ban bill that would allow cities and counties to opt out of the ban every two years, saying he wants to improve the bill’s chances of becoming law.   “This amendment would negate a lot of concern about taking away local rights,” Riggs, a Democrat...

Kentucky House OKs legislation to gradually raise state’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour

The Kentucky House has voted to pass legislation that would gradually raise Kentucky’s government-mandated minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by July 2017.   House Bill 2, sponsored by House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, passed 56-43. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.   Kentucky’s current minimum wage, which is tied to the federal minimum wage, is now $7.25 an hour. HB 2...

Capitol Notes: Bills aimed at dogfighting, high stroke rates, medical malpractice advance

From left, Rep. Denver Butler, D-Louisville, House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, and Rep. Dean Schamore, D-Hardinsburg, confer in the Kentucky House of Representatives. (Photo from LRC Public Information)   Bill to curb dogfighting   A bill that would make Kentucky the last state in the nation to outlaw the possession, training, breeding and selling of dogs for the purpose of dog fighting...

Red Zone Culture: Long-awaited LRC
report lays bare research agency’s problems

By Rae Hodge KyForward Frankfort reporter   The Kentucky Legislative Research Commission might not be a household name around dinner tables in the Commonwealth. But the unsung organization is the state government’s official lawmaking tool chest: It draft bills, conducts studies, distributes legislative news, keeps records and researches crucial policy questions.   This quietude is by design....

Rae Hodge: 2015 KyForward Reader’s Guide to the Central Kentucky Legislative Caucus

Counties represented in the Central Kentucky Legislative Caucus   Representing an agglomeration of 31 counties in the heart of the state, the Central Kentucky Legislative Caucus is the label for the 32-legislator Bluegrass Area battalion composed of eight state senators and 24 state representatives. The range of interests and political stances among these lawmakers are too varied to enumerate...