Andy Beshear

Ryan Van Velzer

Governor Andy Beshear has mandated Kentuckians wear masks in public, as coronavirus infections surge around the state and country.

The executive order Beshear signed Thursday requires Kentuckians to wear a mask in most indoor public places. That includes wearing a mask in retail, grocery stores and restaurants, except while eating. Customers who do not wear masks cannot be served, Beshear said.

“It’s no longer voluntary, it’s mandatory, and I’m willing to take whatever criticism comes with that,” Beshear said. “We have a ‘no shoes no shirt, no service.’ Well we’re in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. It’s now ‘no mask, no service.’”

The order goes into effect on Friday at 5 p.m. and will last for 30 days, after which the administration will review the state’s progress. Local health departments will enforce the requirement, which could include fines for chronic offenders.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear said he’ll issue new “mandatory” requirements on Thursday amid rising cases of coronavirus in Kentucky.

For the second day in a row, Kentucky reported a higher than average number of daily cases. The state reported its second highest one-day increase in new cases Tuesday at 371. Wednesday’s figures added another 402 cases.

To date, more than 130,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and the rate of new cases is rising in 38 states and U.S. Territories.

WFPL news

For many in the Ohio Valley, voting is a choice, a right they are free to exercise if they want to. But for Jackie McGranahan and the more than 175,000 other formerly disenfranchised Kentuckians, this primary election is special. It’s her first chance to vote since 2008. 

She won't be going to a voting booth. Elections are a bit different this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and most voting in Kentucky is happening by mail. But even though she couldn’t go to the polls with her friends or be handed her ‘I Voted’ sticker, that didn’t stop McGranahan from savoring the moment of voting.

“I filled out the absentee ballot. I signed my name and I waited for my postman to come so I could hand it to him directly from my porch to know that my vote will be counted, that I have a voice,” McGranahan said.


J. Tyler Franklin

Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear announced on Wednesday that Kentucky will transition back to a state-based health insurance exchange, known as Kynect.

In 2017, Republican Gov. Matt Bevin dismantled Kynect, and Kentuckians had to start purchasing health coverage on the federal exchange instead. That federal program comes with about a 3% user fee, which Beshear said cost people in Kentucky $9.8 million in 2018.

“In the last four years we moved backwards on health care,” Beshear said. “We’ve been paying more, over the last four years, to get less.”

Credit Flickr/Creative Commons/J. Stephen Conn

A statue of Jefferson Davis, the former president of the Confederacy, will be removed from the Kentucky State Capitol.

The Historic Properties Advisory Commission held a special meeting on Friday, at the request of Gov. Andy Beshear, to determine the monument’s fate. In an 11-1 vote, the commission determined that the statue will be relocated. 

Carol Mitchell, director of historic properties and state curator, recommended removal early on in the meeting. 

Commissioner Cathy Thomas pointed out that “there was no Jefferson Davis statue at our Capitol during his lifetime. The monument was unveiled in 1936, at the height of the Jim Crow era", she said.

“It purpose was clear… to reaffirm a legacy of White Supremacy,” Thomas said during the meeting.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear says he doesn’t regret sending the National Guard to Louisville to assist with the city’s response to protests over racism and police violence.

The National Guard was in Louisville starting on Saturday May 30, and on early Monday morning two National Guardsmen were involved in the shooting death of local barbecue chef David McAtee, who state and police officials say fired first.

The incident has sparked outrage from people across the city, state and country already protesting police violence against Black people.

Kentucky Coronavirus Cases Are Trending Upward

Jun 11, 2020
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A University of Louisville epidemiologist says hospitals are preparing for an increase in patients with COVID-19 following an upward trend in the number of coronavirus cases in Kentucky over the last week or so.

For a little more than a week, the state has seen about a hundred more cases each day than it was seeing a couple of weeks ago, according to Forest Arnold with U of L Hospital.

The seven-day average for new cases in Kentucky stands at 226, according to the WFPL News coronavirus tracker. Meanwhile, covidexitstrategy.com states Kentucky has seen a 51% increase in the 14-day trend of daily coronavirus cases.

Ryan Van Velzer

Gov. Andy Beshear said businesses that have opened up under reduced capacity during the coronavirus pandemic will be able to have more customers by the end of the month.

Restaurants, retail stores and barber shops have been allowed to operate at 33% of their occupational capacity since last month, but that number will go up to 50% starting one month after they reopened.

Beshear said business owners and customers have gotten used to shopping and eating while following social distancing and sanitary rules.

Ryan Van Velzer

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear says the state will take some concrete steps to remedy some of the racial inequities laid bare by both the coronavirus pandemic and the recent protests of police treatment of Black people in Louisville and across the country.

Beshear says the state will begin an effort to extend health insurance to every Black person in Kentucky.

“My commitment today is we are going to begin an effort to cover 100% of our individuals in our Black and African-American communities. Everybody,” Beshear said. “We’re going to be putting dollars behind it, we’re going to have a multi-faceted campaign to do it. But it’s time, especially during COVID-19 when we see what happens when you don’t have coverage; we’re going to make sure everyone does.”

Beshear Revises Executive Ethics Commission

May 28, 2020
J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear has signed an executive order restoring a broader number of voices to the state’s executive branch ethics commission.

“Today I signed an executive order to make sure that we can restore the type of executive branch ethics commission this state deserves,” Beshear said Wednesday during the regular coronavirus briefing.

In 2016, former Gov. Matt Bevin revised board appointments to the state’s executive branch ethical commission so that the governor can pick all of the people who serve on the board. That is, the board designed to listen to and investigate ethical complaints into the governor’s own office.

J. Tyler Franklin

“You cannot fan the flames and then condemn the fire.”

That was the message Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear delivered to lawmakers during his evening coronavirus briefing following a Memorial Day weekend protest where right-wing militia members hung a noose around an effigy of the governor outside his home.

Beshear condemned the protesters’ actions as “aimed at creating fear and terror,” and called on Republican elected officials who had previously glad-handed with the group to claim responsibility for encouraging their actions. He contrasted the protesters’ message of hate with symbols of hope; the green glow illuminating front porches, the bells rung in support of health care workers and the messages written in chalk on Kentucky sidewalks.

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Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams says that more than 100,000 Kentuckians have requested mail-in absentee ballots for the June 23 primary elections.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all voters in Kentucky are eligible to cast ballots by mail during the primary elections this year, though to do so they need to request a ballot before June 15 on the state elections website, GoVoteKy.com.

The portal, which went live last Friday, requires eligible voters to verify their identity with a date of birth and social security number.

J. Tyler Franklin

A rally at the Kentucky State Capitol on Sunday ended with “several people” hanging an effigy of Gov. Andy Beshear from a tree and then marching to the governor’s mansion, chanting “Come out Andy,” according to tweets from a Courier Journal reporter

The governor lives in the mansion with his wife and two children.

Reporter Sarah Ladd sent out a string of tweets from the rally late Sunday afternoon, including a photo of the effigy with a noose around its neck. 

J. Tyler Franklin

Due to a steep drop in money gleaned from taxes during the coronavirus pandemic, Kentucky is bracing for a $457 million revenue shortfall by the time it closes its financial books on June 30th.

The shortfall will require Gov. Andy Beshear to make cuts to the current year’s state budget, the spending plan for a wide range of state services like education and health care.

Beshear hasn’t said what he will cut yet, but during his daily news conference on Friday he said cabinet secretaries will help decide.

J. Tyler Franklin

A group of women with ties to Kentucky’s Green River Correctional Complex is urging Gov. Andy Beshear to release more inmates amid the pandemic. A dozen women calling themselves “Prison Wives of Green River Correctional Complex” gathered outside the governor’s mansion and the Kentucky Capitol on Saturday afternoon, carrying homemade signs and wearing T-shirts with pictures of their loved ones who are behind bars.

As of May 22, 357 inmates and 50 staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus at Green River, a state prison in Muhlenberg County. Three men have died, although the state says the exact cause of death for one of those men is still pending.

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