A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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...

Bill Straub: Welcome to Tombstone (aka Kentucky) where the right to bear arms is truly unlimited

On March 11, a gentleman named Larry Walters got into an argument, subject unknown, with another patron at Uncle 7’s Bourbon Bar & Grille, an establishment off Clays Mill Road in the southern part of Lexington, leading to a physical altercation. According to police, Walters took exception to the course of the disagreement and felt compelled to draw a firearm. The 69-year-old veteran began firing,...

This Week at the Capitol: With only a few days left in session, activity picking up — here’s an update

While issues of the day command much of the focus during sessions of the Kentucky General Assembly, lawmakers also find opportunities to plan ahead for issues expected to arise in the coming years. That was the case this week as lawmakers furthered preparations for Kentucky’s participation in the 2020 U.S. Census. A resolution that passed the House chamber urges local communities across Kentucky...

Stuart Sanders: Legislature reflects on history, changes, during session in Old State Capitol

The Kentucky General Assembly recently held a session in the Old State Capitol in Frankfort. It was a special occurrence for the legislature, which last met in the historic structure more than a decade ago. State Sen. Robert Stivers, R-Manchester (standing) speaks in a legislative session at the Old State Capitol building in Frankfort (Photo provided). This National Historic Landmark, completed in...

Organizations across the Commonwealth to celebrate Arts Day in Kentucky February 22

The Kentucky Arts Council and arts organizations from across the state will celebrate Arts Day in Kentucky, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Feb. 22 on the Capitol Mezzanine, 700 Capital Ave. in Frankfort. The arts council hosts Arts Day each year during the legislative session to bring awareness to the many roles the arts play in the Commonwealth. Arts leaders, artists, the general public and other supporters of the...

KDA approves more than 42,000 acres of industrial hemp for planting in 2019

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles has announced the Kentucky Department of Agriculture approved 1,035 applications to cultivate up to 42,086 acres of industrial hemp in 2019. The KDA also approved 2.9 million square feet of greenhouse space for hemp cultivation.  “The numbers tell you what you need to know about the excitement about hemp in Kentucky,” Quarles said. “The growth in the number...

Advocates hoping this is the year lawmakers move to throw tobacco and e-cigarettes out of Ky. schools

At a Jan. 22 rally in the state Capitol, students, educators and health advocates asked Kentucky lawmakers to pass a law to make all schools in the state 100 percent free of tobacco and electronic cigarettes. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, said passing such a law should be a “no-brainer” for state elected officials who are committed to kids. “Many issues...

Kentucky lawmakers have 170 bills waiting as General Assembly convenes in Frankfort

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The Kentucky General Assembly convenes Tuesday at noon in their chambers at the State Capitol for a 30-legislative day session. While shoring up the state’s public pension systems, adjustments to last year’s tax reform legislation and school safety are among legislative leaders’ top priorities, around 170 bills have already been prepared for filing when the 2019 session...

PSC Names Karen Wilson as legislative director; veteran of state government to advise commissioners

Karen Wilson, a 22-year employee of Kentucky state government, has joined the staff of the Kentucky Public Service Commission as its legislative liaison and executive advisor to the commissioners. Wilson most recently served a policy advisor in the Department of Energy Policy in the Energy and Environment Cabinet. She previously held several other posts in EEC and also worked in the Governor’s Office...

New deer hunting regulations proposed for 2019 season at Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting

New public land deer hunting regulations highlighted the quarterly meeting of the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission on Dec. 7. The commission recommends all hunting, fishing and boating regulations to the Kentucky General Assembly for approval. The Legislature must approve regulation recommendations before they become law. The commission proposed changes for deer quota hunts on several wildlife...

Department of Agriculture seeks applications for industrial hemp research pilot program

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles announced today that the Kentucky Department of Agriculture has opened the application period for Kentuckians wishing to participate in the state’s industrial hemp research pilot program for the 2019 growing season. “I am proud to report that our program participants grew more than 6,700 acres of hemp this year, the most ever under the industrial hemp research...

New legislation modernizing laws governing Kentucky nonprofit organizations takes effect

House Bill 443, new legislation that makes necessary clarifications and provides statutory flexibility to the laws governing nonprofit organizations in Kentucky, took effect Saturday. The bill, sponsored by Repreuseative Robert Benvenuti of Lexington, passed unanimously in both chambers of the Kentucky General Assembly and was signed into law by Gov. Matt Bevin on April 26. The legislation builds...

Jason Kilmer: Kentuckians deserve a new majority in Frankfort to embrace opportunities for the state

Viewing the dysfunctional proceedings of the recent session of the Kentucky General Assembly, I believe Kentucky deserves better. Kentucky needs to get serious about the relationship between education and state revenues. A University of Kentucky study shows the relationship between educational attainment and increased tax revenue. This study shows even the modest change of increasing Associate’s...

Most new laws approved during legislative session go into effect July 14; here are some of them

Legislative Research Commission Most new laws approved during the Kentucky General Assembly’s 2018 session will go into effect on Saturday, July 14. That means drivers will soon be required to leave at least three feet of space between their vehicles and cyclists they pass. Children under the age of 17 will not be allowed to get married. And penalties will get tougher for those who post sexually...

Sen. Dorsey Ridley says Supreme Court’s decision on online sales tax good for Kentucky

Senator Dorsey Ridley, D-Henderson is hailing the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to allow states to require online retailers to collect tax revenue owed to them. Senator Ridley has been working through the Kentucky General Assembly, its leaders and past governors to get to this stage, which will result in added revenue for the commonwealth. “This is a big deal for Kentucky,” said Senator Ridley....

Lawmakers named to permanent child welfare committee created by passage of HB 1

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Legislative leaders have named most of the members of the permanent Child Welfare and Oversight Advisory Committee created by the passage of House Bill 1, the adoption and foster care reform measure in the 2018 General Assembly. Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, named three Republican members: Sens. Julie Raque Adams of Louisville, Tom Buford of Nicholasville...