A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

This Week at the Capitol: Immigration, public assistance reform highlight busy opening week

There’s always a guessing game among Capitol observers in the early days of a Kentucky General Assembly session over which issues will be designated as Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 1 – honorifics reserved for matters considered to be among top priorities by legislative leaders. Part of that answer was unveiled last week when legislation on immigration was filed in the Senate as Senate Bill 1. The...

Banning sanctuary cities in Ky. remains a hot topic in Frankfort as supporters, opponents speak out

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Supporters of a bill to ban sanctuary cities in Kentucky, sponsored by Sen. Danny Carroll, R-Paducah, came out to defend the legislation against recent complaints on Thursday. The opponents of the bill were vocal, too, among them the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, which calls the bill “dangerous and could have sweeping consequences for all Kentuckians if passed.” According...

Sen. President Robert Stivers says most in state support bills on sanctuary cities, voter IDs

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Senate President Robert Stivers has responded to criticism of two bills that are considered top priorities in his chamber. Senate Bill 1 would ban so-called “Sanctuary Cities”, by prohibiting local governments and other agencies from adopting procedures that would hinder federal immigration laws; while Senate Bill two would require photo IDs to vote, which some say would...

CHFS, Kentucky Department of Education partner on framework to improve student care and wellbeing

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) and the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) are collaborating on a framework to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of Kentucky’s youth, called Kentucky CARES. Kentucky CARES is a grassroots prevention campaign aimed at addressing the risk and protective factors associated with multiple forms of youth violence in schools, homes and...

Kentucky receives approval to provide increased access to Medicaid health services for students

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) has received final approval for a Medicaid state plan amendment that will expand health services in schools. The change to Medicaid will be phased in during the current school year, and approval for direct services reimbursements to school districts is retroactive to Aug. 1. “Approval of this amendment is a game-changer,” said CHFS Secretary Adam...

Wayne Lewis: Explaining how state’s new 5-star accountability system will close achievement gaps

Kentucky’s 5-star school accountability system is scheduled to go live at the end of September, and it will offer parents across the Commonwealth a new and more transparent way to understand how their children’s schools are performing. Using school and student data from the 2018-2019 school year, the new system will provide an overall rating for each Kentucky public school ranging from 1 (the lowest)...

Medicaid changes will allow Kentucky’s local school districts to expand behavioral health services

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Local school districts will soon be able to hire more licensed psychologists, counselors and other behavioral health professionals, thanks to upcoming Medicaid changes that will allow schools to use federal dollars. Kristi Putnam, deputy secretary of the state’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services, says schools will be able to offer more supports to help...

Kentucky chosen to participate in National Governors Association’s multi-state convening in Minnesota

The Commonwealth of Kentucky was chosen to participate in the National Governors Association’s multi-state convening, entitled Child Health, Wellbeing, and Safety in School and Communities, this week in St. Paul, Minnesota. Gov. Matt Bevin selected a cross-agency core team to attend the convening, including members of Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Adam Meier“CHFS...

Kentucky House to consider bill that would add mental health services in all Kentucky schools

Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service The Kentucky House will now consider a bill that passed unanimously in the Senate. Senate Bill 1 focuses on addressing the gap in mental health resources for students. Sponsored by Sen. Max Wise of Campbellsville, the bill calls for providing mental health professionals in every school, one for every 1,500 students. Young people struggling with mental health issues...

Senate President Stivers says pension reform bill has ‘limited, difficult’ path forward; hints special session

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today About a week after assuring he had the votes to pass Senate Bill 1, the controversial pension reform bill, Senate President Robert Stivers now doubts it will happen during the 2018 General Assembly.   “I think it has a very limited and difficult path forward at this point in time,” the Manchester Republican told reporters after the Senate adjourned on Wednesday. 
When...

This week in Frankfort: Pension bill delayed as it’s sent back to committee; other bills in the works

Capitol observers have been tuned in for months to find out what form lawmakers’ public pension reform plans might take and how legislators would cast their first votes on the issue.   They got some answers as Senate Bill 1 advanced through a Senate committee this week.   On Wednesday, the latest version of proposed pension was approved by the Senate State and Local Government Committee on a  7-4...

Commentary: Chambers, including Commerce Lex, support basic provisions of Senate Bill 1 on pensions

With a major pension reform bill moving through the legislative process, we write on behalf of Kentucky’s business community in strong support of the basic provisions of Senate Bill 1 and commend our state leaders for addressing this issue that has long plagued our state. Kentucky has one of the worst funded public employee pension systems in the country. In other words, the state doesn’t have...

Commentary: Senate Bill 1 really about giving more control schools, state and teachers

By Sen. Mike Wilson Special to KyForward Based on consistent messages from Kentucky public school educators, this is not a time to halt or apply the brakes on adopting Senate Bill 1, but a time to step on the accelerator. Since 2009, political posturing, artificial accountability, and bureaucratic burdens have “halted” practitioners long enough. First, SB 1 attempts to reduce political influences...

Commentary: Fast-advancing, onerous education standards act puts the cart before the horse

By Rep. Derrick Graham Special to KyForward I hate to be trite by starting with the expression “cart before the horse,” but it accurately and concisely captures the problems with Senate Bill 1, an onerous piece of legislation that would overhaul education and accountability standards in public schools. As the saying implies, the solutions proposed in SB 1 are contrary to conventional wisdom. Late...

Blueprint for College Readiness gives state 'A-' for getting nine of 10 policies in force

Kentucky is among the top states in the country when it comes to policies that promote college readiness and success among its students, according to a report released Oct. 29 by the Education Commission of the States.   The Blueprint for College Readiness features the first-of-its-kind analysis of the top 10 K-12 and higher education policies in the following areas:   · High school: College...

Next-Generation Science Standards available for public review, comments encouraged

The second draft of the Next-Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is now available for public review. The NGSS may be accessed here.   The second draft of the standards resulted from tens of thousands of comments submitted during the first public review in May 2011 and subsequent state review. This draft also includes guidelines for how NGSS aligns to college and career readiness goals.   The...