A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Pension bill could force some Kentucky counties to raise taxes in order to receive state assistance

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Under a new pension funding proposal pending before the Kentucky General Assembly, some counties could be asked to increase their public-health taxes to help pay for their health departments’ pension liability. “Because we’ve been giving a free ride to some of these guys, they haven’t had to go to their communities and ask for a tax increase,”...

This week at the Capitol: Lawmakers address issues ranging from voter identification to school safety

As sure as gavel strikes mark the start of a Kentucky General Assembly session, packed hallways in the Capitol Annex are a sign that a session has gone into high gear as people from across Kentucky converge to make their voices heard. That was clearly the case this past week as thousands of Kentuckians came to the Capitol Campus to weigh in on issues ranging from voter identification to school safety....

Ron Daley: Beshear is a listening governor who can revitalize Eastern Kentucky, rural areas

Gov. Andy Beshear’s ability and willingness to listen is just what Eastern Kentucky and the rural areas of the Commonwealth need to in order to advance economically. Not all political leaders have the inclination to listen to the people, but instead desire to speak and pontificate on their own agenda. Over the past four years I have had the opportunity to observe Beshear interact as a listener with...

This Week at the Capitol: Immigration, public assistance reform highlight busy opening week

There’s always a guessing game among Capitol observers in the early days of a Kentucky General Assembly session over which issues will be designated as Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 1 – honorifics reserved for matters considered to be among top priorities by legislative leaders. Part of that answer was unveiled last week when legislation on immigration was filed in the Senate as Senate Bill 1. The...

Bill Straub: Sanctuary Cities — now, is this really the No. 1 problem facing a state like Kentucky?

It’s no secret that Kentucky, sadly, has been a bottom feeder among the states for so long that it swims almost undistinguished from the carp and the flounder. Consider just a few items. The Commonwealth ranks 46th in per capita income, 46th in residents with a high school diploma or higher (48th with a bachelor’s degree for those keeping score at home), 43rd in child poverty, 48th in a measure...

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet completes 100th bridge project through Bridging Kentucky program

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has reached a major milestone, completing its 100th bridge restoration project through the transformational Bridging Kentucky program. KYTC also recently awarded a contract to restore 106 bridges through an innovative design-build project – a move that will efficiently deliver critical bridge projects in 21 Eastern Kentucky counties. Bridging Kentucky is a six-year,...

Kentucky lawmakers seek firsthand accounts of prison experiences, join #VisitAPrison Challenge

Members of the Kentucky General Assembly sought firsthand accounts of prison experiences from inmates, visitors and guards when they visited the Kentucky Correctional Institute for Women Friday. The visit by members of the Kentucky Black Legislative Caucus was part of the #VisitAPrison Challenge, a growing push for policymakers across the nation to personally learn more about the criminal justice system...

Doing business with local county clerks is about to get more expensive as new fees introduced

The cost of doing business at the county clerk’s offices is about to go up. The new fees will take effect at the beginning of the new calendar year. In some cases, the fees will be three or four times what they are now. The Kentucky General Assembly approved the changes earlier this year, and Gov. Matt Bevin signed the legislation into law in March, to take effect in January. While county governments...

Citizen Foster Care Review Boards in 22 Kentucky counties seeking volunteers to review cases

Citizen Foster Care Review Boards in 22 Kentucky counties are seeking volunteers to make a difference in the lives of local children in foster care and other out-of-home care. The boards need volunteers to review cases of children placed in care because of dependency, neglect or abuse, to ensure they are placed in safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible. The counties in need of volunteers are...

Bevin, University of Louisville, KentuckyOne Health strike deal for acquisition of Jewish Hospital

Gov. Matt Bevin and University of Louisville President Dr. Neeli Bendapudi have announced a plan to secure the future of the Jewish Hospital and other KentuckyOne Health properties and their employees. Under the deal, University Medical Center Inc., owned by U of L, would acquire Jewish Hospital and other KentuckyOne Health assets located in the metro Louisville region and then integrate them into...

Financial Empowerment Commission establishes goals; focus on ‘financial livelihood of Kentuckians’

The Kentucky Financial Empowerment Commission, led by Treasurer Allison Ball, established goals for its first year at its inaugural meeting this week. “The Financial Empowerment Commission is off to a great start,” Ball said. “We had a very productive first meeting and are already hard at work to improve the financial empowerment of Kentuckians. I look forward to seeing the impact this Commission...

PSC to take comments on law that changes way customers receive credit for renewable sources

The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) has opened a case to take comments on the implementation of a recent law that will change the way in which Kentucky electric utility customers receive credit for electricity they generate from solar panels and other renewable sources. In an order issued Tuesday, the PSC said it wants to gather information that would be useful in future rate cases that will...

Grimes warns of false information about voter rolls; says partisan activist group’s tweets ‘misleading’

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is warning Kentucky voters of false information being circulated by Judicial Watch, a partisan activist group. Tom Fitton, President of Judicial Watch, tweeted on Sunday: “HUGE: Kentucky set to remove up to 250k inactive voters.” Alison Lundergan Grimes Grimes is warning Kentuckians that this information is false and misleading. The State Board...

House panel chooses Governor Matt Bevin’s pension plan; floor debate set to proceed Monday

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Day two of the special session of the Kentucky General Assembly saw Gov. Matt Bevin’s public pension proposal clear a House committee on Saturday, while two bills sponsored by Democrats were defeated. 
The legislation would affect 118 quasi-governmental agencies, including Kentucky’s regional public universities, local health departments, rape crisis centers and mental...

Three measures introduced as Kentucky General Assembly special session convenes in Frankfort

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The Kentucky General Assembly gaveled in Friday morning on day one of a special session to address changes to the pension plan affecting the state’s regional public universities and quasi-governmental agencies. Three measures were introduced in the House, given their first of the required three readings, and referred to the House State Government Committee that is expected...

Johnson Co. Middle School JuulBreakers display courage as they challenge e-cigarette epidemic

By Ron Daley Special to KyForward Johnson County Middle School students exemplify the grit needed to be the leaders Theodore Roosevelt called for in his “Man in the Arena” speech he delivered on April 23, 1910 at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. This past year the students challenged their peers, schools, parents and the Kentucky General Assembly to tackle the growing epidemic of use of the popular...

Bevin to convene Kentucky General Assembly into special session beginning this Friday

Gov. Matt Bevin has announced that he will convene the Kentucky General Assembly into special session beginning this Friday (July 19) at 8 a.m. Gov. Matt Bevin Since the conclusion of the 2019 Regular Session, Bevin and his team have worked closely with state legislators preparing for a special session to save Kentucky’s quasi-agencies, including regional universities, health departments, domestic...

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...

Bill Straub: Bevin didn’t get a landslide, but don’t count him out; Beshear faces uphill battle

Landslide Matt Bevin, the incumbent, didn’t exactly set the world on fire in Tuesday’s Republican gubernatorial primary, garnering just 52 percent of the vote against three other jamokes who aren’t even substantial enough to be referred to as nobodies. But don’t kid yourself. When November rolls around, the Commonwealth’s least-liked-in-the-nation governor could very well earn sufficient...

Kentucky Teacher: Summary of new legislation passed by General Assembly; most in effect June 27

By Jennifer Fraker
 Kentucky Teacher Local school boards and districts will see changes as a result of legislation passed during the Kentucky General Assembly’s 2019 Regular Session, which came to a close on March 28. The most notable changes includes those in Senate Bill 1, Senate Bill 8, Senate Bill 175 and House Bill 11. Per OAG 19-005, bills go into effect on Thursday, June 27, 2019, which...