A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Bill Straub: Looks like Bevin managed to step on his own tail, but don’t count Mitch out just yet

It was during the Republican National Convention in Houston in 1992 and renowned columnist Molly Ivins was talking about Clayton Williams, the Republican gubernatorial candidate in Texas who, despite all odds, lost to Democrat Ann Richards as a result of highly erratic behavior and questionable comments, like publicly recounting various adventures in a Mexican cathouse. Ivins allowed that the Williams...

Analysis: What determines a ‘public record’? The nature, purpose of document, not where it is kept

By Amye Bensenhaver Special to NKyTribune On January 15, Attorney General Andy Beshear moved closer to overruling a heavily criticized 2015 open records decision issued by his predecessor, Jack Conway, on his last day in office. In the 2015 decision, cited by Senator Damon Thayer in 2018 as the basis for his ill-fated proposal to exclude “emails, texts or calls on devices paid for entirely with...

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...

Bill to exempt private electronic devices from open records requests on life support, but not dead yet

By Mark Hansel Northern Kentucky Tribune An amendment to House Bill 302 that would exempt private electronic devices from public records requests may have been slowed down, but it still has life. Sen. Damon Thayer The Kentucky Legislative Research Commission confirmed Monday that HB 302 was pulled from the Consent Calendar last week but remains in the Senate Orders of the Day Tuesday. Click here to...

Buck Ryan: Let’s not squander the lessons learned from Matt Bevin’s dickens of a wakeup call

A Tale of Two Young Voters: It was the left of times, it was the right of times, depending on whether you’re a future journalist or a current Honors student. The historic Kentucky election of 2015 has some people shaking their heads and others sorting their quantitative and qualitative research results. Who was The Biggest Loser on election night: Auditor Adam Edelen, the Bluegrass Poll or traditional-elite...

Bill Straub: What to make of outcome? Democrats blew it, Bevin played culture card, voters slept in

So, what to make of Republican governor-elect Matt Bevin’s smashing victory over Democrat Jack Conway Tuesday night? Bevin, a Louisville businessman, reaped about 52 percent of the vote despite never having held an elected position before. He displayed an alarming unfamiliarity with the truth on a more than occasional basis, consistently refused to release his tax returns to provide voters with...

Bevin wins — and it’s not even close; only two Democrats barely survive a sweep

Staff report Republican Matt Bevin pulled off an impressive victory over Democrat Jack Conway, the state’s attorney general,to become the next governor of Kentucky — and provided coattails that nearly derailed the whole democratic ticket. Only incumbent Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and an upstart with a famous political name, attorney general candidate Andy Beshear, narrowly...

Bill Straub: As incomprehensible as it sounds, Bevin has a halfway decent shot at winning

It was the venerated Sam Rayburn, a Texas Democrat who served as speaker of the House for 17 years in the mid-1900s, who expressed unease over many of the men advising President John F. Kennedy, asserting that “I’d feel a whole lot better if one of them had ever run for sheriff.’’   Kentucky, with a rich if erratic political history, hasn’t always shared Mr. Sam’s preference for...

Scam artists at it again, telling Kentuckians over the phone they owe money to the IRS

Scam artists are at work again calling Kentuckians and identifying themselves as IRS representatives, State Treasurer Todd Hollenbach said today. The scammers are telling folks they owe money to the IRS and threatening legal action if they don’t pay.   “The IRS does not initially contact taxpayers by phone, so if you receive a call or get a voice message from someone claiming to be a representative...

New ad blames health care reform for hospital woes; hospitals say it’s only partly to blame

  By Al Cross Special to KyForward   A new ad in the race for governor says “There’s a crisis in our hospitals” in Kentucky, and blames it entirely on the federal health care reform law. That is not true, according to the hospitals themselves.   The TV commercial is from Americans for Prosperity, a group supported by the Koch brothers, Wichita-based industrialists who...

GOP wants to defund Planned Parenthood, but state officials fear rise in teen pregnancy

By Melissa Patrick Special to KyForward   Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin and the state House GOP caucus are calling for defunding of Planned Parenthood in Kentucky, but Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear and his health secretary say the Republicans don’t understand how federally funded family planning and women’s health services work.   Planned Parenthood has come under...

So far, only Conway, Bevin meet requirements for gubernatorial debate at Centre College

  Centre College has established formal candidate criteria for the 2015 Kentucky gubernatorial debate it will host in October and, so far, only two candidates – Democrat Jack Conway and Republican Matt Bevin – meet the requirements, according to the college’s eNews service.   The debate is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 6, from 7 to 8 p.m. on the stage of Newlin Hall, the...

Kentucky Primaries in Review: Political science professors talk trends, implications

    By John Gregory KET   Now that the dust has finally settled on the 2015 Kentucky primaries, what are some of the bigger-picture trends and implications that have emerged?   A group of political science professors from the state’s universities gathered on KET’s Kentucky Tonight to analyze the election results and what they may mean for the fall campaigns. Here are five...

Legislators hear testimony about prisoner’s death, health care in correctional system

James Embry had just three years left on a nine-year sentence for drug offenses when guards found the 57-year-old man who had been on a hunger strike unresponsive on the toilet in his isolation cell at the Kentucky State Penitentiary.   He died of dehydration, with starvation and several other medical ailments as secondary causes.   Rep. Brent Yonts (LRC Public Information)

Ashland hospital to pay nearly $41M to U.S. government as part of landmark settlement

King’s Daughters Medical Center in Ashland has agreed to pay the U.S. government $40.9 million to resolve civil allegations that it made millions of dollars by falsely billing federal health care programs for heart procedures that were performed on patients who didn’t medically need them.   Attorney General Jack Conway, along with Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of...

Rural Blog: Painkiller Zohydro looks easier
to abuse, some states restricting its use

Special to KyForward   Some states are restricting the use of the new painkiller Zohydro, “setting up a showdown with the federal government over who gets to decide the best way to protect public health,” Michael Ollove reports for Stateline.   (Photo from Kentucky Health News) Though millions of chronic pain sufferers could benefit from the drug, some officials worry that abusers...

State recovers $32 million in settlements to be used to expand drug abuse treatment, centers

Attorney General Jack Conway announced the recovery of $32 million in settlement money from two pharmaceutical companies in a press conference with Gov. Steve Beshear, on left, First Lady Jane Beshear and House Speaker Greg Stumbo. (Photo provided)   More than $32 million recovered in settlements with two pharmaceutical companies will be used throughout Kentucky to expand substance abuse treatment,...

With ‘positive’ talks, efforts to make state
a leader in hemp production move forward

The Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission discussed productive and ongoing communications with both the U.S. attorney general and the Kentucky attorney general regarding the effort to make Kentucky a leader in industrial hemp production. Agriculture Commissioner James Comer met with state Attorney General Jack Conway on Dec. 17, and the latter offered to expedite a response from the U.S. Department...

Conway, others ask FDA to reconsider OK
of painkiller with high potential for abuse

Twenty-nine state attorneys general, including Kentucky’s Jack Conway, have asked the commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reconsider its recent decision to approve the high-dose narcotic painkiller Zohydro ER.   In October, the FDA approved Zohydro ER against the recommendation of its advisory panel, which voted 11-2 in opposition because of the drug’s high...

Kentuckians now have more opportunities
to safely dispose of prescription drugs

  Kentucky now has 149 permanent prescription drug disposal locations in 97 counties, creating more opportunities for residents to safely dispose of unused, unneeded or expired medications, Gov. Steve Beshear announced.   The permanent disposal boxes are monitored and are located in law enforcement buildings. Individuals can deposit their unneeded medications into the boxes with no questions...