A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Mike Denham: Veteran lawmaker expresses appreciation for support as legislative career ends

To the People of Bracken, Fleming, Mason and Robertson Counties: Thank you so much for the honor and privilege to serve you in the General Assembly the last several years. This has been the opportunity of a lifetime and I humbly and sincerely appreciate your confidence in me. I feel that together we have achieved some worthy goals and projects. I especially appreciate the fact that when I asked for...

Mike Denham: Counting our blessing on the approach of Christmas 2016

During the holidays, most of us probably don’t give much thought to the origin of the traditions common during this time of year. We put up Christmas trees, take our children to see Santa and sing carols because that’s what we’ve done for generations. It wasn’t always that way, of course, but you have to go back centuries to find when many of these traditions began. Christmas carols, for...

Mike Denham: Kids Count report shows state has made substantial progress in several key categories

For more than a quarter-century now, Kentucky Youth Advocates has taken an in-depth look at the well-being of the commonwealth’s children, giving us a valuable year-to-year comparison in such critical areas as health, education and economic security. Compared to where we were in the early 1990s, these reports – known as Kentucky KIDS COUNT – show we have made major, sustainable progress in some...

Mike Denham: Despite passage of time, significance of Pearl Harbor needs to be remembered

This week, one of the most famous dates in our country’s history hits a major milestone. On Wednesday, we will mark the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, a time that, as President Franklin Roosevelt correctly predicted during a speech to Congress, “would live in infamy.” Nearly 2,500 sailors and soldiers were killed and close to 1,300 others were wounded that Sunday morning in 1941....

Mike Denham: Remembering volunteers, first responders during the Thanksgiving season

This week, our families and friends will sit down at the dinner table to celebrate Thanksgiving, the oldest of the American-based holidays. Nearly 400 years have passed since the most famous of these harvest feasts was held by the Pilgrims and Native Americans. It didn’t become the holiday we recognize today, though, until President Washington and then President Lincoln helped solidify its place...

Mike Denham: Situation in Flint reminds us not to take clean and plentiful water for granted

Other than during a rare boil-water advisory, most of us don’t think twice when we turn on the faucet. We just expect clean and plentiful water to be there. For about 95 percent of Kentuckians, that’s exactly what we get each and every day from the 400-plus public and community water systems that serve the commonwealth. These systems meet or exceed health-based standards at an incredible rate...

Mike Denham: As Veterans Day approaches, remember contributions of all those who serve

For nearly a century now, our nation has paused on Nov. 11th to pay tribute to our veterans. From the era of George Washington to now, this select group of men and women has unfailingly protected us here at home while sacrificing so much to promote and preserve freedom abroad. Veterans Day traces its roots to the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, when the fighting stopped during...

Mike Denham: Work to better protect children under way with first meeting of new Child Abuse Task Force

The start of the 2017 legislative session is still a couple of months away, but the groundwork for what hopefully will become one of its most significant laws began last week. It kicked off with the first meeting of the House Task Force on Child Abuse and Exploitation Prevention, which House Speaker Greg Stumbo authorized earlier this fall to see what more we can do to protect children, whether they...

Mike Denham: Kentucky’s abundant forest lands generating $14.6 billion for state’s economy

Over the last 50 years, usually around the time fall colors are in full bloom, state and federal officials have dedicated a week to highlight all of the products our forests provide. Kentucky, of course, has been blessed more than most states. Trees cover nearly half of our 25 million acres, and we are among the nation’s leaders – and first in the South – when it comes to hardwood production. Nearly...

Mike Denham: Domestic Violence Awareness Month provides chance for closer examination of issue

Each September, domestic violence-prevention programs across the country take part in a one-day census to illustrate what they and the victims they serve face at any given moment. The numbers are sobering. In 2015, the most recent year available, 40,000 people nationwide sought shelter during that 24-hour period and another 31,500 received non-residential assistance in such areas as the courts, childcare...

Rep. Mike Denham: Tireless dedication of our local law enforcement results in safer Kentucky for all

One of the best things about Kentucky is that it remains one of the safest places in which to live. According to the website 24/7 Wall St., we have the sixth-lowest violent-crime rate among the states, while several south of us rank among the top 10 highest. Tennessee’s rate, for example, is nearly three times the size of ours. There are several reasons behind this disparity, but some of the more...

Rep. Mike Denham: Report cards are out and our schools are heading in the right direction

Not long after the start of each school year, Kentucky begins getting report cards on the overall progress our students are making. These annual updates give the public the chance to learn if we are still heading in the right direction academically. The good news is that, in several critical areas, we are seeing the kind of sustained progress our students need to make to thrive in today’s economy....

Mike Denham: Labor Day holds much more significance than simply marking end of summer

FRANKFORT – At their core, the major American holidays are bound by a common thread: They remind us of who we are and what we stand for, each and every year. While the Fourth of July celebrates our founding and freedom, Memorial Day and Veterans Day call on us never to forget the high price paid for those enduring gifts. Thanksgiving gives us a moment among loved ones to appreciate the many good...

Mike Denham: As population ages, it’s important to make sure our older citizens are protected

It’s still a while down the road, but the year 2033 will be a pivotal one for our country, because that’s when U.S. Census Bureau projects there will be more citizens over the age of 65 than under the age of 18. It’s not a surprising trend, of course, given the gains we have made in medicine, technology and a greater focus on eating right and exercising. From a historical perspective, however,...

Mike Denham: When it comes to tourism industry in Kentucky, all the news is good

Last week, state tourism leaders unveiled the latest annual study on the positive impact this industry has in Kentucky. In a word, the news was good. Overall, tourism generated nearly $14 billion in direct and indirect sales in 2015, a five percent increase over 2014’s total. It supported 186,000 jobs and provided nearly $1.5 billion in state and local tax revenue. There is a lot of hard work behind...

Custom framing e-commerce startup Framebridge opens 175-job, $1.9 million facility in Richmond

Gov. Matt Bevin announced Framebridge, an e-commerce startup delivering custom framing, opened a state-of-the-art production facility Thursday in Richmond, creating 175 full-time jobs and investing nearly $1.9 million. “Once again, Kentucky’s significant logistical advantages have contributed to bringing new business to our state,” said Bevin. “Our location, with quick access to the South and...

Mike Denham: House budget proposal protects education from most severe cuts

In one sense, Kentucky’s budget doesn’t change much from year to year. A little more than half of every state dollar, for example, goes to our schools, colleges and universities. Another fourth is dedicated to Medicaid and other health services, about a tenth is spent on criminal justice and the final dime goes to everything else. While there is relatively little discussion in the General Assembly...

Mike Denham: With new budget proposal on the horizon, two economic indicators provide good news

As Kentucky House leaders were putting the final touches on a proposed two-year state budget last week, legislators received not one but two reports of good economic news. On Thursday, state officials said that revenues have grown 4.3 percent so far this current fiscal year, all but guaranteeing a surplus with less than four months to go. The sales tax – one of the state’s major revenue sources...

Hypodermic needle disposal education measure picks up amendment, surprising sponsor Denham

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News A House bill to educate the public about how to safely dispose of hypodermic needles easily passed, but was hit with a surprise amendment that would require a one-for-one needle exchange at exchange programs. The amended bill, which passed at the Wednesday Senate Health and Welfare Committee meeting and now goes to the Senate floor, didn’t set well with...

Mike Denham: Consumer protection grabs center spotlight during last week’s legislative session

When it comes to the public’s safety and well-being, consumer protection may not always grab the headlines, but that doesn’t diminish its importance. It was the key theme last week in the Kentucky House, which moved forward not one but four bills touching on this issue. On Tuesday, for example, the House overwhelmingly approved a bill that would regulate ziplines. These aerial rides and tours...