A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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...

Kentucky Supreme Court issues two amended orders related to in-person testimony and evictions

The Kentucky Supreme Court has entered two amended administrative orders related to in-person testimony and evictions. Highlights of those orders are below.   In-Person Testimony Administrative Order 2020-63 amends Administrative Order 2020-55, Health and Safety Requirements. The amendment clarifies that a judge may, in his or her discretion, allow a party, attorney or witness to temporarily remove...

Kentucky Supreme Court sets schedule for hearing on suit against Governor’s executive orders

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The Kentucky Supreme Court issued an order on Friday, setting a briefing schedule and a date for oral arguments, in one of the lawsuits filed against Gov. Andy Beshear’s use of executive orders in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. 
The matter involves separate rulings by circuit judges in Boone and Scott counties, in cases where Attorney General Daniel Cameron joined...

To evict or not evict, that is the question — and the answer is, well, confusing

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today New guidance from the Kentucky Supreme Court on staffing, access to jury trials and evictions has caused some widespread confusion, especially when it comes to the eviction section. 
The Administrative Order, which takes effect on Saturday, allows all evictions for non-payment of rent to resume on that date, except for those subject to the federal CARES Act. 
Leigh Anne...

Opponents say action approved without comment or committee vote could lead to more gambling parlors

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today An administrative regulation sought by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to allow horseracing tracks to build another facility within 60 miles was approved without comment and without a vote by the Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations Committee on Thursday. Opponents say this gives Kentucky tracks the opportunity to expand historical racing, without approval...

KY Supreme Court keeps Beshear’s executive orders in place; Governor reports 531 new cases, 8 deaths

The Kentucky Supreme Court has kept in place all executive orders related to the fight against COVID-19, including the mask order, until the court can hear full arguments from the Beshear administration and the Attorney General’s office and issue a final ruling. “As many of you are aware, the attorney general had filed a motion to try to void every single order that had been put out to fight this...

Beshear, McConnell settlement over Medicaid funding secures $383 million for rural hospitals

Gov. Andy Beshear and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday announced $383 million in state and federal dollars for 54 rural hospitals by settling a 13-year-old dispute regarding Medicaid funding rates. The settlement negotiated by Beshear, with support from McConnell, successfully convinced the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to offer funding in combination...

Kentucky Supreme Court extends suspension of in-person court services through May 31

With the COVID-19 state of emergency still in place in Kentucky and nationwide, the Supreme Court has extended the effective date of the order that governs court operations during the pandemic.  Administrative Order 2020-22, dated April 14, replaces in its entirety Administrative Order 2020-16, dated April 1. John D. Minton Jr. The effective date of the order has been extended from May 1 to May 31. The...

Kentucky Supreme Court suspends in-person services at court facilities through May 1

In anticipation of a surge in COVID-19 cases, the Kentucky Supreme Court issued new amendments today that strengthen the social-distancing order that has been in place in courts statewide since March 16. The order restricts dockets, jury trials and jury service during the pandemic. Administrative Order 2020-16, dated April 1, replaces in its entirety Administrative Order 2020-13, dated March 26. The...

Opinion: Marsy’s Law will give crime victims a much-deserved voice in Kentucky’s justice system

By Dorislee Gilbert and Caroline Ruschell Special to KyForward Sometimes simply having a voice in the process and being treated with respect makes all the difference. That’s something we’ve heard time and again from survivors as they navigate the criminal justice system. It’s also quite often the defining factor in whether they feel justice was rendered or if the very system in place to protect...