A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

This Week in Frankfort: A summary of the General Assembly’s actions as they recessed until Feb. 2

This year, for the first time since the Kentucky General Assembly began holding annual sessions in 2001, lawmakers continued their work into a second week of an odd-numbered year session before starting a recess that will last until early February. Legislative leaders said working the extra days gave them a chance to move priority bills through the process. It also allowed them to jumpstart budget...

Budget bills for state’s three branches of government continue to advance in Senate committee Tuesday

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Budget bills for the three branches of Government in Kentucky continue to advance in the General Assembly, winning Senate committee approval on Tuesday. The Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee approved the measures covering the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches. Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue Co-chair Sen. Christian McDaniel, R-Taylor...

This week at the Capitol: State budget, COVID-19 coronavirus matters take center stage in Frankfort

Progress continued this week on two matters considered top priorities by many state lawmakers: the next state budget and relief for workers and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the schedule for the General Assembly’s 2020 session abbreviated in response to COVID-19 precautions, the Senate and House convened one day this week. Lawmakers serving on a budget conference committee also...

Governor’s daily message about coronavirus, cites new cases (including a child); upset with budget plan

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky now has 47 positive coronavirus cases, a second death and a second child tested positive for COVID-19, said Gov. Andy Beshear on Thursday. 
Announcing the death during a Capitol press conference, the governor struck a somber tone. “This is an event that family never wants to face. A 64-year-old male from Jefferson County actually passed away on March 13, but...

Stan MacDonald: Kentucky’s scholarly press is essential to telling our state’s story

The University Press of Kentucky is housed in a no-frills building with small offices on the periphery of a university campus. The understated appearance gives no hint at what this relatively small publisher of scholarly and general interest books has accomplished. The Press has gained a national reputation for its awarding-winning works of fiction and histories about Kentucky, Appalachia, the Civil...

State budget figures show 4.3 percent increase in revenue in first two months of fiscal year

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today There was more good news for state revenues in the first two months of the 2019 fiscal year. Figures released by State Budget Director John Chilton on Monday show General Fund receipts increased 4.3 percent in August compared to last year. Total revenues for the month were $759.9 million, compared to $728.3 million during August 2017. So far in the fiscal year, General...

General Fund receipts show slight increase in August compared to last year’s figures, Chilton says

State Budget Director John Chilton has reported that General Fund receipts increased 1.0 percent in August compared to last year. Total revenues for the month were $728.3 million, compared to $721.4 million during August 2016. So far this fiscal year (FY18), General Fund receipts have increased 2.0 percent. Chilton noted that even though growth through the first two months of the fiscal year has...

Commentary: Four additional concerns regarding Kentucky’s fiscal outlook in coming years

By Pam Thomas Special to KyForward The fact Kentucky has a severely underfunded pension system and that Gov. Matt Bevin plans to call a special session on the issue has been widely publicized. So has the round after round of state budget cuts in recent years. On top of those challenges are added fiscal problems, made even clearer recently, that present a daunting picture for the Commonwealth in 2018...

Mike Denham: Final budget addresses public pension crisis while maintaining momentum in education

We succeeded last week in passing a two-year, $22 billion biennial budget for the Commonwealth that restores funding for some of our most effective programs in K-12 education, lessens the blow of deep cuts the governor proposed for our public colleges and universities and at the same time takes major strides toward addressing the pension crisis. Throughout the negotiation process, the House fought...

Legislative Briefs: Senate approves version of state budget plan; DUI offenders bill returns to Senate

The Senate passed a state budget proposal on Wednesday that restores many of the governor’s priorities for the next two years, including a “permanent fund” for future pension spending, cuts to secondary education funding and performance-based appropriations for college and universities. All in all, the Senate budget bill includes many of the cuts featured in the Gov. Matt Bevin’s January budget...

House passes budget restoring education cuts proposed by Bevin, pays down pension liabilities

Looking to protect all of education from Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed cuts while fully meeting the state’s commitment to its public retirement systems, the Kentucky House of Representatives voted 53-0 Wednesday night for House Bill 303, the state’s two-year budget. “This is a budget that puts education front and center, from preschool to postsecondary education,” said House Speaker Greg Stumbo...

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...