A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky Supreme Court to consider cases involving executive powers, including bills passed this year

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Two separate cases involving Gov. Andy Beshear’s powers to issue executive orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic will be heard by the Kentucky Supreme Court. 
One case involves three bills passed by the General Assembly this year, which the governor vetoed and whose veto was overridden. 
House Bill 1 states in part that any business, for-profit or not-for-profit...

KY Supreme Court unanimously agrees with The Kernel that UK violated the state’s Open Records Act

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The Kentucky Supreme Court unanimously upheld a ruling on Thursday finding the University of Kentucky violated the state’s Open Records Act in denying records to the student newspaper, ending a six-year legal battle. In 2015, two UK graduate students complained of sexual assaults by Dr. James Harwood, a professor in the University’s College of Agriculture. The university...

Retired, respected Supreme Court Justice Donald Wintersheimer, 89, dies peacefully at Covington home

Donald C. Wintersheimer who grew up in Northern Kentucky and held a seat on the Kentucky Supreme Court for 24 years, died peacefully at his Covington home February 18. He was 89. Justice Wintersheimer earned a reputation as a gentleman and true scholar who lived a life dedicated to public service. Throughout his life, he was a hard worker, humble and kind and committed to justice for all. Visitation...

This Week at the Capitol: Future of historical horse racing takes center stage during busy three-day week

With the Kentucky Senate and House convening three days, this week was short on workdays but long on action. The mid-point of the Kentucky General Assembly’s 2021 session is fast approaching. Committee agendas are growing longer and an increasing number of bills are arriving in the legislative chambers for consideration. This week’s legislative action culminated in one of the longest debates...

Commentary: Ky. can’t miss the opportunity to bring $100 million to schools, public services this session

By Members of the Kentucky General Assembly Special to KyForward The Kentucky Supreme Court’s recent ruling that historical horse racing (HHR) slot machines do not meet the definition of pari-mutuel wagering puts the responsibility on the General Assembly to act and clarify their legality. We must do so this session, and ensure continued support for our valued horse industry. At the same time,...

Beshear files lawsuit to stop legislators from stripping governor of executive orders on pandemic

Gov. Andy Beshear filed a lawsuit to stop lawmakers from stripping the Governor of his ability to implement lifesaving public health measures during a pandemic that has killed more than 3,700 Kentuckians at a time when the country is experiencing the emergence of new COVID-19 variants and vaccine supplies remain limited. Just over two months ago, the Kentucky Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision,...

Budget, gambling among issues facing lawmakers as General Assembly returns for second part of session

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Lawmakers return to Frankfort on Tuesday, to begin the second part of the 2021 General Assembly with a state budget, gambling, and veto overrides among items to be addressed. There are four budget bills under consideration, for the Executive Branch, Transportation Cabinet, Legislative Branch and Judicial Branch. All four were passed as continuations of the current fiscal...

Sen. Schickel to introduce a bill to rescue historical racing after Supreme Court decision on its illegality

Staff report Kentucky State Senator John Schickel plans to introduce a bill in the legislature on Monday to preserve historical racing in the state. Schickel says he means to keep the gaming alive in Kentucky and that Senate President Robert Stivers will be a co-sponsor. Sen. John Schickel The bill will address the recent Kentucky Supreme Court decision on pari-mutuel wagering and assure that the “historical...

Dale Romans: Historical horse racing is a game-changer that is good for Kentucky

As a second-generation horse trainer and Kentuckian, my entire life has been spent in Thoroughbred racing. I’ve seen Kentucky racing at its finest, and I’ve seen how quickly out-of-state competition can render us increasingly irrelevant. Right now Kentucky is at the top. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. I currently have 50 employees and do business with more than 100 vendors in Kentucky...

Commentary: General Assembly session offers chance to explore new avenues for criminal justice

The year 2020 was a trying time for the Commonwealth. COVID-19 forced us to reconsider what was important and adjust how we conduct our daily affairs. In our justice system, it meant keeping guards and people in incarceration safe by addressing the endemic overcrowding in Kentucky, where we sadly have the dubious distinction of having the seventh highest incarceration rate in the nation. Our executive...

Petition filed with state House asks for impeachment of Gov. Beshear for actions related to pandemic

Staff report Four “citizens of the Commonwealth” have filed a petition with the Kentucky House of Representatives asking for the impeachment of Governor Andy Beshear over the handling of his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The House has set up a committee to consider the petition, as required by law. Gov. Andy Beshear K.R.S. § 63.030 provides: (1) Any person may, by written petition...

Constance Alexander: Speaking out more important than ever as country grapples with radical ideals

My mother always taught us to speak out when there was a reason to do so, but she coached us to be polite in the process. She suggested beginning with the phrase, “I don’t mean to be rude…” to temper hostility or waylay physical attack. So today, with a plethora of situations that warrant speaking out, I try to apply mom’s advice. First, consider the official list of Kentucky public holidays,...

Robert B. Conley to be sworn in as Supreme Court Justice ‘virtually’ today; succeeds Samuel Wright

Justice-Elect Robert B. Conley will become the newest member of the Supreme Court of Kentucky when he is sworn into office today at 1 p.m. ET. Due to COVID-19 precautions, the ceremony will take place on Zoom with Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr. administering the oath of office. The public and media are invited to watch the investiture on the Kentucky Court of Justice YouTube channel....

Kentucky electoral college members gather at state Capitol to cast votes for Donald Trump, Mike Pence

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Just like every other state in America, Kentucky’s members of the electoral college met to cast their votes for President and Vice-President on Monday. Kentucky had eight electoral votes in the November General Election, one for the two U.S. Senators and one for each of the six Congressional seats in the state, as set forth in the U.S. Constitution. Kentucky’s members...

Kentucky Supreme Court amends court operations statewide to address escalating COVID-19 cases

The Supreme Court has issued new mandates to govern court operations as nearly all 120 Kentucky counties are now in the COVID-19 red zone. Citing the news that 250,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and health-care resources are becoming overwhelmed, Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr. said in an email to court personnel on Friday that it is imperative to restrict court activities now...

In unanimous decision, Kentucky Supreme Court rules Beshear’s COVID-19 executive orders are legal

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today In a unanimous decision, the Kentucky Supreme Court on Thursday upheld Gov. Andy Beshear’s power to issue executive orders during the coronavirus pandemic, reversing a lower court ruling. A lawsuit was filed in June at Boone Circuit Court by three northern Kentucky businesses: Florence Speedway, Bean’s Café and Bakery and Little Links to Learning, a daycare center....

Amye Bensenhaver: In UK vs. Kernel, just ask: Whose privacy is being protected?

“Kentucky Kernel editor-in-chief and reporter William Wright appeals the University of Kentucky’s denial of his request ‘to obtain copies of all records detailing the investigation by the University of Kentucky or the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity of a tenured professor and any allegations of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or any other misconduct by [the professor].’ “The...

Ky. Supreme Court rules historical horse racing isn’t pari-mutuel wagering, illegal under current law

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The Kentucky Supreme Court issued an opinion Thursday where they unanimously agreed that historical horse racing is not pari-mutuel wagering and is therefore illegal under state law, concluding a decade long battle. This is the second time the case has come before the justices, and this ruling followed oral arguments that were held in August. Kentucky’s Supreme Court...

Kentucky Supreme Court hears suit brought by three businesses related to Beshear’s executive orders

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The Kentucky Supreme Court heard oral arguments Thursday on whether Gov. Andy Beshear exceeded his Constitutional authority on executive orders related to the coronavirus pandemic. 
A lawsuit was filed in June by three Northern Kentucky businesses: Florence Speedway, Bean’s Café and Bakery, and Little Links to Learning, a daycare center. The suit was not filed due to...

Gov. Beshear reports 4th-highest number of cases — 825; roundup of COVID-related news

Gov. Andy Beshear on Saturday reported the fourth-highest number of COVID cases since March — 825 new cases and three deaths. This brings the state’s totals to 45,577 cases and 921 deaths. There were 145 new cases of children 18 and under and of those 15 were 5 and under. Two were just eight months old. There were 52 new cases in Fayette County. “Unfortunately, today, I’m reporting...