A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Franklin County Court Judge Phillip Shepherd rules Kentucky’s death penalty protocol unconstitutional

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service A Franklin County judge has ruled the state’s protocol for carrying out the death penalty is unconstitutional. The ruling by Judge Phillip Shepherd came in response to a case filed by a group of death-row inmates, who argued corrections department regulations don’t protect people with intellectual disabilities. Kentucky spends about $10 million annually...

Sen. Thayer is at Royal Ascot, but remains focused on legalization of sports wagering in Kentucky

By Mark Hansel NKyTribune managing editor Kentucky Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, was enjoying the pageantry of the Royal Ascot horse racing meet in England this week, but his mind (or at least part of it) was on sports wagering in the Commonwealth. Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown (left), talks with the Television Games Network at Royal Ascot Thursday about the prospects for sports wagering in Kentucky....

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...

Bill Straub: True to his character, McConnell changes his stance on potential U.S. Supreme Court vacancy

WASHINGTON – Sometimes it seems Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell is bound and determined to prove to the world that he is a malevolent cad and, in the stated view of one respected historian, the “grave digger of American democracy.’’ McConnell Most successful politicians try to hide their personal flaws to attract public support. McConnell, of Louisville, forges...

Bill Straub: Bevin didn’t get a landslide, but don’t count him out; Beshear faces uphill battle

Landslide Matt Bevin, the incumbent, didn’t exactly set the world on fire in Tuesday’s Republican gubernatorial primary, garnering just 52 percent of the vote against three other jamokes who aren’t even substantial enough to be referred to as nobodies. But don’t kid yourself. When November rolls around, the Commonwealth’s least-liked-in-the-nation governor could very well earn sufficient...

Commentary: Advocates say Kentucky needs a citizen-based defense of sunshine laws

By Amye Bensenhaver 
and Jennifer P. Brown Special to KyForward Sunshine Week is upon us and with it the inevitable meteorological metaphors for open government climate change at the federal, state, and local level. These metaphors carry meaning, especially in 2019. There is no better time than now for all Kentuckians to be aware of potential serious threats to laws that protect the public’s right...

Mitch McConnell: Recent protest, intimidation attempt at Louisville restaurant didn’t ruin my meal

Recently, we’ve seen several examples that when the far left doesn’t get what it wants through the democratic process, it resorts to intimidation and mob tactics. This tendency was on full display during the debate over the nomination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. Republican Senators and their families were targeted by the mob at their homes, at airports, and in their cars....

Bill Straub: Trump lies because he can, but with the numbers stacking up, few seem to care

WASHINGTON – On Wednesday of this week USA Today, which fancies itself a newspaper, published an op-ed piece from the president of the United States of America, one Donald J. Trump, in which he declared, among other things, that he had kept his campaign promises regarding health care, maintaining “that we would protect coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions and create new health care...

Bill Straub: It take a certain talent to spew gibberish on a consistent basis, and McConnell has talent

Looks can, indeed be deceiving. Take Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, for example. McConnell, of Louisville, comes across as your dull, standard issue white-man-in-a-suit with a droning voice who would turn the head of absolutely no one at the neighborhood Piggly-Wiggly. But the fact is ol’ Root-‘n-Branch is one of the most outrageous figures to hit the American scene since Huey Long,...

Sen. Dorsey Ridley says Supreme Court’s decision on online sales tax good for Kentucky

Senator Dorsey Ridley, D-Henderson is hailing the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to allow states to require online retailers to collect tax revenue owed to them. Senator Ridley has been working through the Kentucky General Assembly, its leaders and past governors to get to this stage, which will result in added revenue for the commonwealth. “This is a big deal for Kentucky,” said Senator Ridley....

Bipartisan panel formed to craft Kentucky’s sports wagering legislation in wake of Supreme Court ruling

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A bipartisan House and Senate panel has been formed to craft legislation to allow sports wagering in Kentucky. A decision last month by the U.S. Supreme Court to allow states to decide their own fate of sports betting means, for the first time since 1992, wagering on sports will not be limited to only Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon. Lawmakers are forming a panel to...

Richard Nelson: Supreme Court ruling in case of Colorado baker restores dignity to people of faith

The U.S. Supreme Court delivered a religious freedom victory to a Colorado baker who’s been through the legal wringer ever since he declined to bake a cake for a gay wedding in 2012. SCOTUS deftly sifted through the narrative that Jack Phillips’ bigotry led to unjust discrimination against a protected class. As the facts emerged, so did a distinct aftertaste of religious discrimination...

Gov. Bevin joins in filing amicus brief with U.S. Supreme Court in key religious liberty case

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin is joining with West Virginia and 20 other states in filing an amicus brief in support of North Carolina’s writ of certiorari asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review Rowan County v. Lund. The Bevin Administration along with the states of West Virginia, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada,...

Newest member of U.S. Supreme Court Gorsuch set for Distinguished Speaker Series at U of L

The newest member of the U.S. Supreme Court will visit the University of Louisville’s McConnell Center Thursday, Sept. 21. As part of the center’s Distinguished Speakers Series, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch will talk and answer questions at a public event. He is also expected to meet privately with McConnell Scholar students. Justice Neil M. Gorsuch “We’re honored that Justice Gorsuch has agreed...

Andy Beshear: Kentucky must act after U.S. Supreme Court ruling in North Carolina sex offender case

Last month’s ruling by the United States Supreme Court in a North Carolina case creates a serious problem for Kentucky law enforcement who seek to protect children from sexual predators. On June 19, 2017, the nation’s highest court rendered a unanimous opinion in Packingham v. North Carolina. The Court’s ruling found a particular North Carolina statute unconstitutional as an infringement upon...

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts first speaker at UK’s Heyburn Initiative series

University of Kentucky College of Law students as well as judges, lawyers and clerks from across Kentucky were provided an extraordinary opportunity Wednesday as the Hon. John G. Roberts Jr., Chief Justice of the United States, visited the UK campus. Chief Justice Roberts was here as the first speaker for the newly established John G. Heyburn II Initiative for Excellence in the Federal Judiciary. “It...

Attorney General joins in effort to secure state $3 million in unclaimed money from transfer company

Attorney General Andy Beshear has joined a group of states in filing a complaint that could secure nearly $3 million for Kentucky. The dispute seeks Kentucky’s right to receive unclaimed “official checks” that were issued by MoneyGram, a money transfer services company that operates in all 50 states and internationally, and sold in Kentucky. Beshear joined Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge...

Bill Straub: Hard to argue the fact that McConnell’s actions are harming the courts and the nation

WASHINGTON – Sen. Mitch McConnell, who is handling his duties as majority leader of the upper chamber with all the munificence of a barracks guard at Camp 14 in South Pyongan Province, has made it clear that regardless of hell, high water or any other natural disaster Prospero might conjure up, he is not going to sanction a hearing for President Obama’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick...

Supreme Court rejects Sixth Circuit test
for standing in Lexmark v. Static Control

In its opinion today, the Supreme Court of the United States has rejected the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal’s test for standing under the Lanham Act in the case of Lexmark International, Inc. v. Static Control Components, Inc. and has adopted a different test. Under that test, the Supreme Court found that Static Control has standing to sue under the Lanham Act but made no determination on the merits...

Lexington’s Steven Loy wins legal lottery, takes Supreme Court stage for Lexmark

By Judy Clabes KyForward editor   While most eyes might glaze over at the thought of deep immersion into something like “Lexmark International vs. Static Control Components Inc.,”  Steven Loy’s actually light up. The Lexington attorney is in fact animated by this “watching-paint-dry” legal case that landed him squarely in U.S. Supreme Court chambers facing a grilling by the country’s...