A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Commentary: Kentucky’s incoming governor has a mandate to restore voting rights, should take action

By Eliza Sweren-Becker and Sean Morales-Doyle Brennan Center for Justice   On Election Day, voters in Kentucky made a strong statement in support of expanding democracy and restoring voting rights to people with past felony convictions, building on a years-long trend around the country. Ending Kentucky’s policy of lifetime felony disfranchisement was a prominent part of Andy Beshear’s platform...

Bill Straub: Looks like Bevin managed to step on his own tail, but don’t count Mitch out just yet

It was during the Republican National Convention in Houston in 1992 and renowned columnist Molly Ivins was talking about Clayton Williams, the Republican gubernatorial candidate in Texas who, despite all odds, lost to Democrat Ann Richards as a result of highly erratic behavior and questionable comments, like publicly recounting various adventures in a Mexican cathouse. Ivins allowed that the Williams...

Beshear reflects on time as governor, offers views on how to make government work in new book

By Vicki Prichard Special to KyForward Steve Beshear entered Kentucky politics like a thoroughbred — young and with his eyes on the win. His first victory came in 1973, when at age 29, he was elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives. The capital press corps saw fit to name him Outstanding Freshman Legislator and he went on to win re-election twice. In 1979, voters elected him as state attorney...

Former Gov. Beshear set to give national Democratic response to Trump’s address to Congress Tuesday

Former Gov. Steve Beshear will give his party’s response to President Donald Trump’s speech to Congress Tuesday night, “highlighting the Kentucky Democrat’s efforts to expand health care coverage under the law Republicans are determined to repeal and replace,” The Associated Press reports. The choice of Beshear, who left office almost 15 months ago, was announced by Senate...

Bill Straub: Under a possible Clinton administration, Beshear’s influence on health care could increase

WASHINGTON – Word is that former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, who was in charge when more than a half million previously uncovered Bluegrass residents were able to obtain some form of health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, is being considered for the job of secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services if Democrat Hillary Clinton wins the presidency. Only a handful of Kentuckians...

Bill Straub: Getting a good laugh at the ‘totality of it all,’ but there’s no real joy in all of Bevin-ville

Way back in 1936 the Republican nominee for president, Kansas Gov. Alf Landon, fell to the FDR juggernaut by more than 10 million votes, losing his home state while carrying only Maine and Vermont. Surveying the electoral map while ensconced in his election night headquarters, Landon began to laugh as if he was watching a Marx Brothers movie. “What are you laughing at you old fool?’’ his wife...

Former Governor Beshear will rejoin old law firm of Stites and Harbison in Lexington office

Former Gov. Steve Beshear has rejoined the law offices of Stites & Harbison, the firm announced in a news release Thursday. Beshear first joined Stites & Harbison in 1987 and supervised the Lexington office until beginning his first term as governor in 2007. His second term ended in December. Beshear will be part of the firm’s Lexington, Ky., office but will use his expertise as both an...

Beshear defends Kynect, Medicaid; asks Bevin to consider business standpoint, if not ‘human’ one

By Melissa Patrick Special to KyForward Armed with data and an unusual dose of emotion, outgoing Gov. Steve Beshear urged Gov.-elect Matt Bevin to reconsider his positions and keep the state’s Medicaid expansion and insurance exchange during a news conference at the Capitol. His voice cracking, Beshear said, “For the health of our families, the future of this state, we cannot throw away...

Beshear promises Bevin an ‘orderly transition’ as he hands off the reins of state government

Gov. Steve Beshear released the following statement regarding the gubernatorial election and the transition that follows: “I called Matt Bevin this morning and congratulated him on being elected Kentucky’s next governor. I promised an orderly transition as I hand off the reins of state government to him. My office will work with his administration to answer any questions and provide all information...

Census Report: Kentucky has largest drop in percentage of those without health insurance

    Kentucky led the nation in the largest drop in the percentage of residents without health insuramnce from 2013 to 2014, according to a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau.   The percentage of uninsured Kentuckians dropped to 8.5 percent in 2014 from 14.3 percent in 2013. The drop of 5.8 percentage points was double the national decrease of 2.9 percent. The report says 366,000...

Officials celebrate state broadband project; government facilities among first to benefit

      To celebrate the construction of the statewide KentuckyWired I-Way broadband network, Gov. Steve Beshear, Congressman Hal Rogers, state and local officials, and citizens gathered at Hazard Community and Technical College yesterday to learn more about the project and its future.   The broadband project will begin in Eastern Kentucky and, over the next three years, will spread...

GOP wants to defund Planned Parenthood, but state officials fear rise in teen pregnancy

By Melissa Patrick Special to KyForward   Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin and the state House GOP caucus are calling for defunding of Planned Parenthood in Kentucky, but Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear and his health secretary say the Republicans don’t understand how federally funded family planning and women’s health services work.   Planned Parenthood has come under...

Bolstered by a strong June, state’s General Fund receipts rose for fifth straight year

  When it comes to Kentucky’s economy, there appears to be good news and … well … more good news.   The latest bit of good news came when State Budget Director Jane C. Driskell reported that Kentucky’s General Fund receipts rose for the fifth consecutive year, primarily due to the strength of income and sales taxes.   For the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2015...

POWER initiative targets state’s struggling coal communities, will award up to $38M

State and federal officials gathered in Lexington today to announce the Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization initiative, which will award up to $38 million in grants to coal communities to support economic and workforce development. The POWER initiative is designed to utilize a range of federal economic and workforce development resources to assist communities negatively...

Magazine says Kentucky in a league of its own, awards ‘Cup’ for 2014 industry activity

The nation appears to be taking notice of Kentucky’s economic development efforts. The state placed first nationally in Site Selection magazine’s annual Governor’s Cup rankings for new and expanded industry activity per capita in 2014.   Site Selection editor Mark Arend presented the Governor’s Cup trophy to Gov. Steve Beshear at a ceremony today at the state capitol in Frankfort.   “Kentucky...

Beshear letter urges Kentucky delegation
to act immediately to fund Homeland Security

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear has called on members of the state’s Congressional delegation to take immediate action to approve funding for U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which also supports emergency preparedness.   A bill that would fund DHS through the end of September has hit a snag in Congress over immigration issues. Calling it a “political stunt with potentially dangerous...

Beshear speaks bluntly about state’s health issues, ‘rank politics’ of Medicaid expansion

By Al Cross Kentucky Health News   An interesting thing sometimes happens to governors when they travel to Washington; they speak a little more freely than they do in their states, and that appeared to be the case when Gov. Steve Beshear and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, another Democrat, did an 85-minute interview at the Brookings Institution this past Friday.   “So I had to put...

Beshear declares statewide emergency as heavy snows, bitter cold plague Kentucky

In response to heavy snows and bitter cold across the Commonwealth in the past 12 hours, Gov. Steve Beshear declared a statewide emergency to allow local officials immediate access to state resources to assist in public safety and recovery efforts.   “This storm system is still dumping snow across much of the state and temperatures are forecast to drop further. Some areas may see accumulation...

Kentucky House OKs legislation to gradually raise state’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour

The Kentucky House has voted to pass legislation that would gradually raise Kentucky’s government-mandated minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by July 2017.   House Bill 2, sponsored by House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, passed 56-43. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.   Kentucky’s current minimum wage, which is tied to the federal minimum wage, is now $7.25 an hour. HB 2...

Kentucky exports at all-time high; aerospace industry leads growth with $7.8B shipped

Kentucky-made products are being sold around the world at a record pace. The state exported $27.5 billion in 2014, the fourth straight year the previous year’s mark has been broken.   “Kentucky’s impact on the global economy is significant,” said Gov. Steve Beshear in a press release. “The fact that we’ve shattered export records for four years running shows our initiatives to...