A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

House panel chooses Governor Matt Bevin’s pension plan; floor debate set to proceed Monday

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Day two of the special session of the Kentucky General Assembly saw Gov. Matt Bevin’s public pension proposal clear a House committee on Saturday, while two bills sponsored by Democrats were defeated. 
The legislation would affect 118 quasi-governmental agencies, including Kentucky’s regional public universities, local health departments, rape crisis centers and mental...

Three measures introduced as Kentucky General Assembly special session convenes in Frankfort

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The Kentucky General Assembly gaveled in Friday morning on day one of a special session to address changes to the pension plan affecting the state’s regional public universities and quasi-governmental agencies. Three measures were introduced in the House, given their first of the required three readings, and referred to the House State Government Committee that is expected...

Police taking a closer look at famous missing person case that inspired ‘The Bluegrass Conspiracy’ book

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today One of Kentucky’s most famous missing persons cases, which was featured in a book and newspaper series, has gotten renewed interest and police are asking for the public’s help in ending the mystery. Melanie Flynn, a member of a prominent Lexington family that included a state senator and major league baseball player, was last seen in early 1977. Her disappearance was...

Participation numbers increasing in most Kentucky high school sports, except football, KHSAA says

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The leader of the Kentucky High School Athletics Association says student participation is increasing in most boys and girls sports with football being the exception. KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett testified before the General Assembly’s Interim Joint Education Committee last week. “Last year 57,000 boys were on rosters, along with 48,000 girls,” he told lawmakers....

Gov. Matt Bevin says he has votes to pass pension legislation, trying to find best time for special session

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Gov. Matt Bevin says he has the votes to pass a pension reform plan for Kentucky’s regional universities and other quasi-governmental agencies, but the summer vacation season has kept him from calling a special session. During a Wednesday appearance on WKCT Radio in Bowling Green, the governor said, “It is the responsibility of legislators, even part-time legislators,...

Two vegetable product lines being sold in Kentucky could be contaminated; FDA officials urge caution

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Some vegetable products, including two product lines sold at Trader Joe’s stores in Kentucky, have been recalled due to possible Listeria contamination, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The products originated from a Growers Express production facility in Biddeford, Maine and the voluntary recall was issued as a precaution, as there have been no reported...

United States Court of Appeals denies petition to reconsider abortion ruling on ultrasounds

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday denied a petition for a re-hearing of pro-life legislation passed by the 2017 General Assembly. In April, a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit upheld the constitutionality of the measure requiring an abortion provider to provide mothers with an ultrasound and a description of what it depicts, as well as the opportunity...

U.S. District Judge returns ‘sickout’ lawsuit filed by Beshear, Jefferson Co. teachers to circuit court

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A federal judge has ordered a lawsuit challenging the use of Kentucky labor law to obtain names of teachers who were involved in “sickouts” back to state court. U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves on Thursday returned the case to Franklin Circuit Court. The lawsuit dealt with the subpoena of teacher attendance records during days when teachers called in sick to stage protests...

Governor Matt Bevin among first confirmed to speak at August 3 Fancy Farm Picnic in Western Kentucky

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The first list of confirmed speakers at this summer’s Fancy Farm political stump speaking has been released and Gov. Matt Bevin is among those confirmed to attend. The Fancy Farm Picnic takes place on Saturday, Aug. 3, at St. Jerome’s Church in far western Kentucky, as it has since 1880, serving lots of barbeque as a church fundraiser. It did not begin serving as the...

New proposal presented to Public Pension Oversight Board Monday, but questions still remain

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A new proposal to deal with the public pension for regional universities and quasi-governmental agencies was unveiled on Monday. However, there is still no date for a special session of the General Assembly to deal with the issue, and disagreement about how many votes are needed to pass the bill. The plan was presented to the Public Pension Oversight Board by State Budget...

After record rainfall in 2018, most Kentucky cities nearing new milestones for 2019 precipitation

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Several Kentucky cities had their wettest year ever in 2018 and, according to the latest data from the National Weather Service, rainfall this year in some areas is ahead of last year at the same time. Last year, Louisville, Lexington, Frankfort and Jackson all set records for annual precipitation, while the Huntington/Ashland area had their second-wettest year and Covington...

Kentucky Attorney General warning current, former college students of student loan debt relief scam

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The Kentucky Attorney General’s office has issued a scam alert to current and former college students regarding companies offering student loan debt relief for a fee. Residents of Allen, Breckinridge, Clark, Daviess, Fayette, Jefferson, Kenton, Mason and Warren counties have recently reported receiving strange calls and voicemails from a woman claiming she needs to discuss...

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, Auditor Mike Harmon announce changes to high-level staff

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Two state constitutional officers announced changes to their high-level staffs on Thursday. 
State Auditor Mike Harmon introduced Andrew English as his new General Counsel. English will also serve as the executive director for the Office of Technology and Special Audits, overseeing the division responsible for recent special examinations like the Administrative Office...

Exhange of letters between Bevin, lawmakers fails to end stalemate over pension legislation

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today An exchange of letters this week between Gov. Matt Bevin and state lawmakers has failed to break the impasse in finding a solution to solving the pension problems of the state’s regional universities and 118 quasi-governmental organizations. 
Those agencies face a near doubling of their pension costs July 1 if no action is taken, which could cause some of them to make...

Kentucky Air National Guard members return home after aiding in D-Day celebration in France

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Members of the Kentucky Air National Guard returned to Louisville Tuesday afternoon after participating in events to mark the 75th Anniversary of D-Day in France. The Guardsmen performed seven flyovers and helped airdrop nearly 1,000 U.S. and Allied paratroopers over the hallowed ground, as part of the ceremonies. The 123rd Airlift Wing deployed two C-130 Hercules aircraft...

House Republicans say additional language is still needed in Governor’s proposed pension plan

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Despite a letter Gov. Matt Bevin sent to lawmakers Wednesday evening with changes to his proposed pension bill for the regional public universities, House Republicans said on Thursday more work is needed. House Speaker David Osborne, R-Prospect, says the plan appears to lack the votes needed without a provision that allows Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees, those who have been...

Despite governor’s changes to the legislation, lawmakers still lack votes for pension reform

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today It appears lawmakers still lack the number of votes needed to pass a bill to reform the pension system affecting the regional public universities and 118 quasi-governmental agencies. Gov. Matt Bevin, who has made four changes to his original proposal, has said he wants to call a special session to enact that legislation by July 1, the start of the state’s new fiscal year. Senate...

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals sides with Legislative Ethics Commission on contribution and gift ban

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the constitutionality of the contribution and gift bans in the Kentucky Code of Legislative Ethics. The three-judge panel ruled on Thursday that the measures “enacted to prevent corruption and protect its citizens’ trust in their elected officials, comport with the Constitution,” and reversed a lower court ruling, which...

U.S. Department of Agriculture legal opinion says hemp can be moved across state lines

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The U.S. Department of Agriculture has published a legal opinion stating hemp can be transported across state lines, an action saluted by Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles. “The policy announcement from the United States Department of Agriculture confirms what Kentucky has been saying all along,” Quarles said. “The 2018 Farm Bill made hemp legal nationwide,...

Another of Attorney General Andy Beshear’s opioid lawsuits withstands motion to dismiss

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Another lawsuit filed by Attorney General Andy Beshear against opioid manufacturers and distributors has survived a motion to dismiss. Six of his nine suits have now been cleared to proceed in the state court system, after motions to dismiss have been denied. Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear has sued nine opioid manufacturers and six of this suits have survived orders...