A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Bill affecting state’s growing industrial hemp industry is first to pass Kentucky House Tuesday

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Legislation affecting Kentucky’s burgeoning hemp industry is the first to clear the Kentucky House during the 2020 General Assembly. 
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Matthew Koch, R-Paris, told his colleagues it has the endorsement of The Kentucky Hemp Association and Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles. 
“This bill incorporates language and recent guidelines issued...

Beshear says criminal justice reform needed as prison costs, number of incarcerated continue to rise

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Gov. Andy Beshear says criminal justice reform is needed since prison costs and the number of those incarcerated is increasing, while at the same time the prison infrastructure is crumbling. During a Friday afternoon press conference at the Capitol, Beshear said, “Criminal justice reform isn’t just the right thing to do, but we must do it based on our current reality...

Sports wagering bill set to be considered by Kentucky House committee Wednesday

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A sports wagering bill will have its first consideration by a legislative committee this week. The measure, sponsored by Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger, is scheduled to be heard by the House Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations Committee Wednesday morning. Under the measure, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission would be the state body that oversees sports...

Banning sanctuary cities in Ky. remains a hot topic in Frankfort as supporters, opponents speak out

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Supporters of a bill to ban sanctuary cities in Kentucky, sponsored by Sen. Danny Carroll, R-Paducah, came out to defend the legislation against recent complaints on Thursday. The opponents of the bill were vocal, too, among them the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, which calls the bill “dangerous and could have sweeping consequences for all Kentuckians if passed.” According...

Sen. President Robert Stivers says most in state support bills on sanctuary cities, voter IDs

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Senate President Robert Stivers has responded to criticism of two bills that are considered top priorities in his chamber. Senate Bill 1 would ban so-called “Sanctuary Cities”, by prohibiting local governments and other agencies from adopting procedures that would hinder federal immigration laws; while Senate Bill two would require photo IDs to vote, which some say would...

Kentucky’s 2020 General Assembly gets underway in Frankfort with leadership and procedural changes

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The 2020 General Assembly was gaveled in at noon in Frankfort on Tuesday, with lawmakers meeting on 60-days before wrapping up on April 15. There was a new look in House Leadership for both Republicans and Democrats on the opening day. Speaker Pro Tem David Meade, R-Stanford, took over the duties as Majority Leader from Rep. John “Bam” Carney, who has been hospitalized...

State lawmakers convene Tuesday for 60-day session — and two-year budget is at the top of the agenda

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today State lawmakers return to Frankfort on Tuesday, January 7, with a two-year budget topping the agenda for the 60-day session. Both the House and Senate have a Republican supermajority, and the relationship with Republican Gov. Matt Bevin was still contentious at times. With Democrat Andy Beshear now in the Governor’s office, will the current cordial relationship last? Senate...

Kentucky House Democrats make history, name Joni Jenkins to become state’s first female floor leader

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A little bit of history has been made as Kentucky House Democrats have elected the first female floor leader. Rep. Joni Jenkins of Shively was elected Friday by the House Democratic Caucus. She replaces Rocky Adkins, who resigned his post to serve as Senior advisor to Gov. Andy Beshear. Since Jenkins had served as Minority Whip, Rep. Angie Hatton of Whitesburg was then elected...

Eastern Ky. representative Cluster Howard proposes legislation to legalize recreational marijuana

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today An eastern Kentucky lawmaker is proposing legislation for the 2020 session that would legalize recreational marijuana, with much of the revenue to help the state’s ailing public pension systems. 
Rep. Cluster Howard, D-Jackson, says his bill would govern home use and commercial sales, while dedicating a sizable portion of tax and license revenues to the state retirement...

Governor Andy Beshear signs executive order rescinding Matt Bevin’s Medicaid waiver

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Gov. Andy Beshear announced Monday he is rescinding former Gov. Matt Bevin’s executive order on the Medicaid waiver program and will protect the Medicaid expansion instituted by his father, former Gov. Steve Beshear, in 2014. “The last thing our families need is to pay more for their healthcare coverage, or even worser, to lose that coverage entirely,” Beshear told...

Beshear set to become Kentucky’s 63rd governor; full slate of public inauguration day activities planned

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A full day of activities is in store today as Andy Beshear assumes his duties to become the 63rd governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Beshear will follow in the footsteps of his father Steve, who was a two-term governor from 2007-2015. They are the first father-son to be governors in Kentucky. Andy Beshear Activities are free and open to the public, but some extra layers...

Mitch McConnell, Hal Rogers leading effort to rebrand Eastern, Southern Kentucky National Heritage Area

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The two senior members of Kentucky’s Congressional delegation are teaming up to advocate for progress in eastern and southern Kentucky to deem it a National Heritage Area. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Louisville, and Fifth District Congressman Hal Rogers, R-Somerset, filed companion bills on Thursday in the Senate and House, respectively, to begin the...

Attorney General Daniel Cameron announces appointment of Amy Burke as newest deputy

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Attorney General-elect Daniel Cameron on Wednesday announced the appointment of Amy Burke as assistant deputy attorney general to oversee all criminal justice matters. Burke currently serves as the Chief Prosecutor for the Kenton County Attorney’s Office, where she specializes in prosecuting cases involving serious injuries to children, dependency abuse and neglect, domestic...

Kentucky Court of Appeals rules with Secretary of State in legal battle over seizure of computer

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The Kentucky Court of Appeals has handed a victory to Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes in her legal battle over the seizure of a computer from her office by an independent counsel looking into allegations of misconduct against her. A three-judge panel on Wednesday denied a petition for a writ of prohibition sought by Garrard County Attorney Mark Metcalf, who was...

Governor-elect Andy Beshear names high-level members of incoming administration

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Governor-elect Andy Beshear on Wednesday named four high-level members of his incoming administration, all of whom are coming with him from the attorney general’s office. Beshear said none of those named should surprise anyone. “Time and time again, the four individuals have proven their ability, dedication, and work ethic. In fact, each of the four individuals has had...

Second phase of Mountain Parkway expansion is now complete, say state transportation officials

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today State transportation officials on Wednesday announced completion of the second phase of a project to widen and lengthen the Mountain Parkway in eastern Kentucky. After three years of construction, the new four-lane segment of the Mountain Parkway Expansion running through Salyersville’s Restaurant Row is now fully open to traffic. Kentucky Today photoThe Restaurant Row...

Lawmakers propose setting up regional offices across state to implement federal Real ID program

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today State lawmakers heard an update on Kentucky’s effort to implement the federal Real ID law Monday afternoon, including the proposal of setting up a dozen regional offices. The program has had numerous fits and starts since a pilot project began at the Franklin County Circuit Clerk’s office earlier this year. That included the length of time needed to process the applications,...

Matt Bevin concedes Kentucky governor’s race after Thursday’s recanvass produces no changes

Governor-elect Andy Beshear speaks to reporters after Matt Bevin conceded the race Thursday. (Photo by Tom Latek, Kentucky Today) By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A statewide recanvass of voters in Kentucky’s gubernatorial race showed no change in the totals, giving Democrat Andy Beshear a 5,136-vote margin over Republican incumbent Matt Bevin in the Nov. 5 general election, and leading Bevin to concede...

Beshear’s transition team going full steam and by book, despite Bevin’s election recanvass request

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today While the voting results in the November General Election for Governor await the outcome of a recanvass request made by incumbent Republican Matt Bevin and certification by the State Board of Elections, work of the transition team for presumptive Democratic Governor-Elect Andy Beshear continues at the State Capitol. On Wednesday, Beshear, currently Kentucky’s attorney...

Kentuckians left in election fog as Secretary of State prepares for Nov. 14 recanvass of gubernatorial vote

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Preparations continue for the recanvass of the votes in Kentucky’s gubernatorial race, where unofficial results show Attorney General Andy Beshear, a Democrat, captured a razor-thin win over incumbent Republican Matt Bevin. Those results showed Beshear had a margin of 5,189 out of 1.4 million votes cast, although the GOP candidates handily swept the rest of the constitutional...