A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Ed Commissioner Lewis says teachers have right to protest but not to disrupt school districts

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis says teachers have a right to protest, but not to call in sick and disrupt school districts when they are not ill. 
He held a press conference on Friday to explain his request issued Thursday evening to 10 districts, who had to cancel because so many teachers used their sick days that not enough substitutes could be found to...

Kentucky Supreme Court to decide case regarding Beshear’s hiring of outside counsel for opioid cases

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The Kentucky Supreme Court will decide over the next couple of months if the attorney general can hire outside legal counsel on a contingency fee basis without approval from the Finance and Administration Cabinet. The issue stems from Attorney General Andy Beshear hiring four law firms to go after opioid manufacturers and distributors, whom he has said directly contributed...

Bill limiting many election powers of the Kentucky Secretary of State fails to advance from committee

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A Senate bill that would remove many election powers from the secretary of state failed to clear a House committee on Monday. The bill was filed by Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, and in its original form would only prevent the access, modification or altering voter registration records by the secretary of state, individual members of the State Board of...

Kentucky House overwhelmingly passes selective abortion ban with 67-25 margin Tuesday

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The Kentucky House passed legislation that would ban an abortion if the woman seeks it because of the unborn child’s sex, race, color, national origin or disability. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Melinda Gibbons Prunty, R-Greenville, would also require the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure to revoke a physician’s license for violating the prohibition. Rep. Melinda Gibbons...

Governor activates Kentucky National Guard to aid victims of flooding from heavy rains across the state

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky National Guard troops have been activated in response to continued flooding conditions resulting from heavy rain throughout Kentucky. Since Feb. 6, the state has experienced prolonged episodes of storms which have produced heavy rain, strong and gusting wind, flooding and flash flooding, landslides and mudslides across the state, according to Kentucky Emergency...

House leaders Rocky Adkins, David Osborne sign off on bills regarding election recount procedures

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The top House leaders of both parties have signed on to each other’s bills that would have candidates for the General Assembly follow the same recount procedures as nearly all other candidates in close races. House Speaker David Osborne, R-Prospect and Minority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, are the main co-sponsors House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy...

Kentucky Senate passes bill revoking many election powers from Secretary of State; now heads to House

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A bill stripping most of the election powers away from the Secretary of State passed the full Senate on Tuesday. The measure, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, originally would only prevent the access, modification or altering voter registration records by the secretary of state, individual members of the State Board of Elections, or any staff...

Chief Justice John Minton orders Administrative Office of the Courts to undergo biennial audits

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John D. Minton, Jr., with the concurrence of the other justices, has ordered the Administrative Office of the Courts to undergo an external audit every other year. 
The order, issued on Monday, calls for the biennial audits to begin with the 2020 fiscal year, which starts July 1, and to make the audit findings public. 
The order also...

New Frankfort office building awaits name and move-in dates but occupants have been named

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The name for the new state office building nearing completion in Frankfort has not been chosen, but most of the agencies that will occupy it have been revealed. 
A letter sent to Gov. Matt Bevin earlier this month by Finance and Administration Cabinet Secretary William Landrum said while move-in dates have not been announced, the agencies and the number of employees have...

Legislation that would limit some powers of the Secretary of State passes Senate committee

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Legislation that would take some of the election powers away from the secretary of state passed a Senate committee on Wednesday. The measure, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, originally would only prevent the access, modification or altering voter registration records by the secretary of state, individual members of the State Board of Elections,...

Delays announced to implementation of parts of Bevin administration’s Medicaid waiver

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Some parts of the Bevin administration’s implementation of the Medicaid waiver that was granted by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, are being delayed.   
The Cabinet for Health and Family Services on Thursday released updated guidance regarding Kentucky HEALTH, which was re-approved in November by CMS. 
Kentucky HEALTH, an acronym for...

Opioid crisis, human trafficking among top legislative session priorities for Attorney General Andy Beshear

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Attorney General Andy Beshear unveiled his legislative wish list for the 2019 General Assembly on Wednesday. During a Frankfort press conference, Beshear was joined by lawmakers who are sponsoring the bills, which deal with such issues as the opioid crisis, human trafficking and rate hike relief for utility customers. Beshear says his top priority is to gain bipartisan support...

After Wednesday meeting, Election Contest Board orders full recount of disputed house seat

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Following an all-day meeting on Wednesday, the Election Contest Board selected to decide the winner of a disputed State House seat voted to order a full recount in the race. Democrat Jim Glenn defeated Republican incumbent D.J. Johnson by one vote on election night for the 13th District House seat in Daviess County last November. A recanvass requested by Johnson showed no...

Former McConnell staffer Daniel Cameron seeking nomination for Kentucky attorney general

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A one-time staffer for U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell is seeking the Republican nomination for Kentucky Attorney General. Daniel Cameron, 33, is a Hardin County native and a graduate of the University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law. Daniel Cameron, a former staffer of U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, files candidacy papers to run for the Republican nomination for Kentucky...

Secretary of State Alison Grimes announces she is no longer considering running for governor

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announced on Monday she will not run for governor. Grimes had long said she was considering a run for the Democratic Gubernatorial nomination in 2019, but a life-changing event changed her mind, according to a statement she released on Monday. “I never could have imagined that this year I would have the job I had always dreamed...

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...