A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Senator Rand Paul reintroduces legislation that would ‘fix’ future government shutdowns

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Wednesday marked Day 26 of the partial government shutdown and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., wants to keep it from happening again. Paul reintroduced the Government Shutdown Prevention Act to incentivize Congress to properly consider and debate spending legislation. He was joined by other Republican senators, Mike Lee of Utah and Joni Ernst of Iowa, in co-sponsoring the bill. Sen....

Members of Pro-Life Caucus hold rally is support of four bills under consideration by General Assembly

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Members of the General Assembly’s Pro-Life Caucus rallied at the State Capitol Rotunda on four bills that have been or will be introduced for consideration by the 2019 General Assembly. Rep. Tim Moore, R-Elizabethtown, who serves as chair of the caucus, said their purpose is simple: “We have dedicated ourselves to coordinating our efforts and to unifying in purpose to...

Proponents of medical marijuana legislation believe there is opportunity to get bill passed

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Persistent pro-marijuana lawmakers are again pushing long-shot legislation to legalize the drug for medical purposes, an issue that has been proposed and defeated repeatedly over the years in Kentucky. Two Republican state representatives, Diane St. Onge of Fort Wright and Jason Nemes of Louisville, introduced what they’ve dubbed the “Trust Your Doctor Bill” on Wednesday,...

Kentucky lawmakers have 170 bills waiting as General Assembly convenes in Frankfort

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The Kentucky General Assembly convenes Tuesday at noon in their chambers at the State Capitol for a 30-legislative day session. While shoring up the state’s public pension systems, adjustments to last year’s tax reform legislation and school safety are among legislative leaders’ top priorities, around 170 bills have already been prepared for filing when the 2019 session...

Pension reform takes center stage as lawmakers prepare to roll up sleeves for legislative session

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today State lawmakers return to work Tuesday with a lot of their plate – foremost being pension reform – during the 30-day session. The Kentucky Supreme Court unanimously struck down public pension reform legislation passed by the 2018 General Assembly, saying lawmakers violated state law in the process used to approve the bill. General Assembly House Speaker Pro Tem Davis...

Potential gubernatorial candidate Rep. Attica Scott announces she does not intend to run

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today While one Democratic gubernatorial slate will officially announce on Monday, another potential candidate announced on Saturday that she will not run. Rep. Attica Scott of Louisville, who recently won re-election to a second term in the House after serving several years on Louisville’s Metro council, made the announcement on her Facebook page. “Thank you to the 1000s...

Former House Speaker Greg Stumbo announces he will be a candidate for attorney general

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Former Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo has become the first Democrat to declare himself a candidate for attorney general, a position he previously held before running unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor a decade ago. Stumbo made the announcement on Lexington’s WKYT-TV on Saturday. Greg Stumbo (LRC photo) Stumbo, who lost his re-election bid for state representative...

Gov. Bevin calls special legislative session to address Kentucky’s pension issue

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Gov. Matt Bevin has called a special session of the General Assembly beginning Monday night in the wake of last week’s Supreme Court decision that unanimously held the process used to pass Senate Bill 151, the wastewater bill turned into pension reform legislation, unconstitutional. During a Capitol press conference announcing the special session, Bevin said, “Our State...

Kentucky attorney general Andy Beshear touts opioid manufacturer lawsuits as part of successful year

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear pointed to his nine lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors, his efforts to combat human trafficking and utility rate hikes as evidence that 2018 has been a good year for his office. During an interview with reporters on Monday, Beshear said his office is the “most aggressive Attorney General’s in terms of suing opioid...

Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Daniel J. Venters announces retirement after 35 years on bench

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A 35-year career in the Kentucky judiciary system is coming to an end when Supreme Court Justice Daniel J. Venters retires in January. Venters was appointed to the high court by then-Governor Steve Beshear in 2008 to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Chief Justice Joseph Lambert, in the 3rd Supreme Court District, which includes 27 counties in southern and southeast...

Kentucky Senate Republicans set to plan 2019 strategy during two-day retreat this week

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Senate Republicans will map out their strategy for the 30-day session that begins in January with a two-day retreat Thursday and Friday at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park. 
Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, explained to reporters what will transpire. 
“We’re going to try and discern what we want to make our priorities, what the governor is going to...

Lawmakers call Andy Beshear’s renewed push for expanded gaming in Kentucky ‘disappointing’

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Attorney General and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andy Beshear is banging the gambling drum again in Kentucky. He sent a two-page letter to lawmakers on Monday with a repeated call for expanded gaming as a way to fund the state’s ailing pension system. Beshear, who made a similar plea in July when he announced his run for governor, faces an uphill battle in the General...

School safety bill, job creation top priorities for Ky. Senate Republicans during 2019 General Assembly

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today State lawmakers return to work in January for the 2019 General Assembly and Senate Republicans, buoyed by their expanded supermajority from the General Election, are working on priorities for the 30-day legislative session. The Senate Republican Caucus holds its annual retreat at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park next week and Majority Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown,...

GOP maintains control of Kentucky House, but many new faces, mostly women, will fill seats in January

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Democrats were unable to flip the Kentucky House or even reduce the GOP supermajority, but there will be a lot of new faces – many of them women – in the chamber when lawmakers convene in January. Two Jefferson County Republicans, Phil Moffett and Ken Fleming, were defeated by Democratic women, Lisa Bojanowski and Maria Sorolis, respectively. A pair of House seats...

Kentucky Secretary of State predicts a voter turnout of 46 percent in Tuesday’s General Election

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is predicting less than 46 percent or more voters will turn out on Election Day next week. She told reporters during a press conference in her office on Tuesday that absentee vote totals slightly ahead of 2014, the last mid-term election. “My projection Is that the 2018 General Election will be consistent with prior mid-terms,...

Representatives Jason Nemes, Jerry Miller propose new legislation to strengthen state’s hate crime law

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Two Republican lawmakers from Jefferson County are proposing legislation for the 2019 General Assembly that would strengthen Kentucky’s hate crime law. The measure, sponsored by Reps. Jason Nemes and Jerry Miller, both from Louisville, would include criminal homicide and fetal homicide as hate crimes in Kentucky. State Reps. Jason Nemes, left, and Jerry Miller are sponsoring...

Report indicates Kentucky one of 19 states whose voter information being sold on the dark web

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky is one of 19 states whose voter information is being sold on the Dark Web, according to a report by a website that covers news for IT professionals and decision-makers. 
ZDNet reported Monday afternoon voter information for approximately 35 million U.S. citizens is being peddled on a popular hacking forum. A screenshot from ZDNet of the hacker’s post that is...

Western District of Kentucky add five federal prosecutors boosting ability to target violent crime

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Five new federal prosecutors have been added in the Western District of Kentucky, boosting their ability to tackle violent crimes through the Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative and to combat fraud against taxpayers. U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman announced the hirings on Wednesday, part of what he calls a promise to crack down on violent crime in his 53 counties. U.S....

Governor Bevin announces first-ever fish house contract to combat Asian carp in Western Kentucky

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today New initiatives to solve the Asian carp situation in western Kentucky were unveiled Tuesday by Gov. Matt Bevin at a press conference. Bevin announced the award of the state’s first-ever fish house contract. Kentucky Fish Center, LLC of Wickliffe, Ky., will establish the fish house, which will expand the market for Kentucky-caught Asian carp. Angie Yu, operator of Two...

Teachers, public employees rally at State Capitol with U Hauls; dominant theme: ‘Remember in November’

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today “Remember in November” was the dominant theme during a rally by teachers and other public employees, along with labor officials, at the State Capitol Saturday. 
The purpose of the rally, according to the Kentucky Public Pension Coalition, which was one of the sponsors, “was to show legislators that we haven’t forgotten about their votes against public pensions.” One...