A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Bevin appoints Gail Russell as PPC Secretary, David Dickerson as Labor Secretary

Gov. Matt Bevin has announced the appointment of two top administration officials to permanent leadership posts — Gail Russell as Secretary of the Public Protection Cabinet (PPC), and David Dickerson as Secretary of the Labor Cabinet. Both Russell and Dickerson have served their respective cabinets as acting secretaries during the past several months. “The Commonwealth is extremely blessed...

Chief Justice John Minton orders Administrative Office of the Courts to undergo biennial audits

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John D. Minton, Jr., with the concurrence of the other justices, has ordered the Administrative Office of the Courts to undergo an external audit every other year. 
The order, issued on Monday, calls for the biennial audits to begin with the 2020 fiscal year, which starts July 1, and to make the audit findings public. 
The order also...

Kentucky Supreme Court Justices hear arguments on constitutionality of Marsy’s law ballot language

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The Kentucky Supreme Court will decide whether the ballot language for a proposed Constitutional Amendment regarding crime victims’ rights was constitutional after hearing oral arguments on Friday. 
Sixty-three percent of the voters approved the measure last November, but Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate ordered the results not to be certified by the State Board...

Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Bill Cunningham is stepping down on Feb. 1 after 12 years

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Bill Cunningham announced this week that he will step down from the high court Feb. 1. Cunningham has served 12 years on that court, having been elected to represent the First Supreme Court District representing western Kentucky in November of 2006, then was re-elected in 2014. He and Chief Justice John D. Minton, Jr., are the two longest-serving...

Kentucky Supreme Court upholds $80m punitive damages award against Grant Thornton in Yung suit

In a landmark decision, the Kentucky Supreme Court has affirmed a trial court’s award of approximately $80,000,000 in punitive damages to the plaintiffs in a case against Grant Thornton LLP. William Yung The plaintiffs, William J. Yung, Martha A. Yung, and the 1994 William J. Yung Family Trust, participated in a tax shelter marketed by Grant Thornton, that would purportedly allow funds held in the...

Commentary: Consensus emerging behind reforming Kentucky’s troubled criminal justice system

By Dave Adkisson and Jason Bailey Special to KyForward Kentucky’s skyrocketing incarceration trendlines are bringing worry lines to legislators’ faces in Frankfort.  There is, however, a growing consensus and hope among various stakeholder groups, including jailers, the chief justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court, civil rights advocates, prosecutors, think tanks, the business community and other...

KY Supreme Court strikes down state’s pension reform law (‘sewer bill’) passed earlier this year

Staff report The Kentucky Supreme Court unanimously upheld this morning a ruling by Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd striking down the state’s pension reform law passed by the 2018 General Assembly. Teachers protested in Frankfort earlier this year. It was unanimous. It was commonly known as the “sewer bill” because a quick process used by majority Republicans substituted the...

Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Daniel J. Venters announces retirement after 35 years on bench

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A 35-year career in the Kentucky judiciary system is coming to an end when Supreme Court Justice Daniel J. Venters retires in January. Venters was appointed to the high court by then-Governor Steve Beshear in 2008 to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Chief Justice Joseph Lambert, in the 3rd Supreme Court District, which includes 27 counties in southern and southeast...

Supreme Court: Right to Work narrowly upheld; medical review panels unanimously ‘unconstitutional’

In two decisions announced this week, the Kentucky Supreme Court was sharply divided in unholding the Right to Work legislation passed by the 2017 General Assembly and was unanimous in its decision that medical review panels are unconstitutional. Right to Work A sharply divided Kentucky Supreme Court narrowly upheld — 4-3 — Right to Work legislation passed by the 2017 General Assembly....

Constitutional amendment, ‘Marsy’s Law,’ prevails strongly, now awaits decision by KY Supreme Court

Kentucky voters spoke loud and clear on Election Day declaring their strong support for adding Marsy’s Law to the state’s constitution. Voters overwhelmingly agreed that victims should be afforded rights equal to those already provided to the accused and convicted, following a strong, three-year campaign by proponents.    By a clear majority, Kentuckians voted to add a Victims’ Bill of Rights...

Bevin’s legal team files briefs on pension reform bill ahead of September Supreme Court hearing

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Gov. Matt Bevin’s legal team filed briefs Monday ahead of the Kentucky Supreme Court hearing next month on their appeal of a Franklin Circuit Court ruling that declared the public pension reform bill passed by the 2018 General Assembly unconstitutional and began their paperwork with a quote from a character from the old Popeye cartoons. “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday...

Supreme Court this week: To hear pension bill in Sept.; reverses L’ville election; hears right to work

Kentucky Today The Kentucky Supreme Court acted quickly Friday to accept the direct appeal of a Franklin Circuit Court ruling on the public pension reform bill passed by the 2018 General Assembly and scheduled the case to be heard in September. 
Earlier in the day, Gov. Matt Bevin’s general counsel filed a notice of appeal of a ruling by Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd that declared the...

Kentucky Supreme Court probes state’s medical review panels, legislation on malpractice lawsuits

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The Kentucky Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday on legislation passed by the 2017 General Assembly that established rules on how to file malpractice lawsuits. Senate Bill 4, sponsored by Sen. Ralph Alvarado, R-Winchester, who himself is a physician, required any lawsuit against doctors, other healthcare providers, hospitals and nursing homes would have to be reviewed...

State association urges nonprofits to get up to speed on new law requiring charities to charge sales tax

Kentucky Nonprofit Network (KNN), the Commonwealth’s association of nonprofits, is providing resources and hosting a webinar on June 28 to help nonprofits learn how to comply with a new Kentucky law. Effective July 1 the law will require organizations to collect sales tax from supporters of special events and some programs. At the same time, KNN will be pursuing a legislative solution with the General...

Bill Straub: Kentucky is the Jack Benny of the states; tries to run the government on the cheap

Kentucky is forever trying to get by on the cheap, making it the Jack Benny of the 50 states. You can bet that the only time the state will spend money to provide the sort of services necessary for the 21st Century is when it’s absolutely forced into a corner. Even then, like Benny when a robber threatened him with “Your money or your life,’’ it will offer a long, pregnant pause before responding,...

Bevin submits amicus brief to Kentucky Supreme Court supporting business ordered to print t-shirts

Governor Matt Bevin has submitted an amicus brief to the Kentucky Supreme Court in the landmark case of Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission vs. Hands-On Originals. Governor Matt Bevin Gov. Bevin’s amicus brief supports Hands-On Originals, a small t-shirt printing business in Lexington. In 2014, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission determined that Hands-On...

Grimes reports record number of women to run for Kentucky’s General Assembly in May primary

The window for candidates who must run in a Primary Election to file candidacy paperwork with the Office of Secretary of State and county clerks officially closed Tuesday. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes accepted paperwork from numerous candidates until just seconds before the deadline Tuesday. More than 550 candidates filed with the Secretary of State for various offices on the May 22,...

Secretary of State launches new online candidate filing portal for 2018 election cycle

The candidate filing period for the 2018 election cycle has opened and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is encouraging potential candidates to use a new online filing portal on the Secretary of State’s website. “The 2018 election cycle is what’s known in Kentucky as a county election year, so it will feature thousands of candidates,” said Grimes, Kentucky’s...

Chief Justice Minton provides update of state’s courts during 2017 State of Judiciary Address

Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr. gave the legislature an update today on how the Judicial Branch is handling the complex issues facing the court system. “As we meet today, the challenges before us are many,” he said. “We’re grappling to keep up with rapid technological and social developments. The opioid epidemic has expanded court caseloads and altered Drug Court treatment in ways...

Kentucky Supreme Court dismisses Beshear’s lawsuit challenging Bevin’s action on U of L board

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The Kentucky Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit claiming Republican Gov. Matt Bevin acted inappropriately by abolishing and replacing the University of Louisville Board of Trustees. Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear had filed suit against Bevin, claiming the governor had acted illegally in revamping the board. Gov. Matt Bevin Justices dismissed the case on Thursday...