Andy Beshear

J. Tyler Franklin

The Kentucky Office of Unemployment Insurance is reinstating work search requirements for residents seeking unemployment benefits.

The state waived work search requirements at the beginning of the pandemic to make the benefits process easier for out-of-work Kentuckians. Starting May 9, however, claimants will have to prove they are actively seeking employment to receive benefits.

Amy Cubbage, general counsel with the Kentucky unemployment office, said claimants will have to report at least one attempt to find work per week.

“You are allowed a reasonable period of time to find work that is comparable in pay and skill level to your most recent employment,” Cubbage said.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear is challenging a new law that shifts control over the State Fair Board from his office to Republican Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles.

House Bill 518, which became law last month, removes the Democratic governor’s power to appoint the chair of the fair board and gives Quarles power to appoint nine of the 14 voting members on the board.

It’s one of several measures passed by the GOP-led legislature this year shifting the governor’s powers to state offices currently controlled by Republicans.

Beshear argues that the law violates the state constitution by giving appointing authority to Quarles, who he says “does not have the supreme executive powers of the Commonwealth, and does not have the constitutional duty to ensure the laws are faithfully executed.”

Kentucky Supreme Court To Hear Coronavirus-Related Cases

Apr 18, 2021
Stephanie Wolf

Kentucky’s Supreme Court has agreed to take up the Democratic governor’s challenge of Republican-backed laws aimed at limiting his authority to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The GOP-led legislature passed the measures over Gov. Andy Beshear’s vetoes. The governor immediately filed a lawsuit. The new laws curbing his executive powers were temporarily blocked by Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd.

The Supreme Court says it will extend its review to a second pandemic-related case at the same time. Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. says the review will be expedited. The court will hear arguments June 10 in both cases.

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Gov. Andy Beshear said he would lift several capacity restrictions currently in place across the state once 2.5 million Kentuckians get at least a first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine. He said that represents about 70% of Kentucky residents currently eligible to get a vaccine.

As of Sunday, about 1.5 million Kentuckians had gotten at least a first shot. Beshear said it could take four to six weeks to reach the threshold he announced on Monday.

“We’re boosting capacity across the state. There are now clinics in every single community,” Beshear said. “No matter where you live, you can likely get a shot of hope in the next week, all you gotta do is get online or pick up the phone and sign up.”

Beshear Signs Law Limiting No-Knock Warrants

Apr 9, 2021
Governor's Communications Office

Bills limiting no-knock warrants, increasing support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and investing in west Louisville became law in Kentucky on Friday.

Gov. Andy Beshear signed the three bills at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage in Louisville, in front of an audience that included Tamika Palmer. Her daughter, Breonna Taylor, was shot and killed last year by Louisville police who were authorized to raid her apartment by a no-knock warrant.

Palmer wiped tears from her eyes and stood behind Beshear as he signed Senate Bill 4. The measure puts limitations on no-knock warrants, but falls short of the all-out ban on such warrants that protesters and some lawmakers preferred. No-knock warrants were already banned in Louisville last summer as protesters demanded accountability for Taylor’s killing.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

New cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky have plateaued following 12 weeks of declining cases, Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday. 

Infections are on the rise around the country, particularly in parts of the midwest including Michigan and South Dakota, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The seven-day average of new cases in Kentucky also increased slightly last week while test positivity rates, a leading indicator of where infection rates are headed, have remained fairly steady over the last three weeks, Beshear said. 

At the same time, Kentucky is continuing to see a growing number of infections related to a more transmissible variant of the virus known as B.1.1.7, which health experts say is likely to become the dominant version of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Stephanie Wolf

Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear praised the Republican-led legislature for funding broadband, water and school construction projects with Kentucky’s share of the federal coronavirus relief package, saying it would create jobs and boost the state’s economy.

Lawmakers set aside $1.3 billion of stimulus money during this year’s legislative session—nearly half the total amount Kentucky state government will get from the federal package.

Beshear estimated the effort would create about 14,500 jobs and that legislators were off to a “good start.”

“It’s one of the first times we’ve been able to work together that closely, and I think it’s going to be good for everybody,” Beshear said.

Stephanie Wolf

Kentucky lawmakers voted to override most of Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s vetoes on the second-to-last day in this year’s legislative session, securing the passage of several conservative laws and shifting power from the governor to Republican officeholders.

Beshear vetoed all or part of 27 bills during the 10-day veto period that ended last weekend.

But Republican legislators easily overrode Beshear’s actions, doubling down on bills weakening open records laws, limiting worker safety rules and barring Beshear from spending federal coronavirus aid.

They also overrode Beshear’s vetoes of the state budget bill: zeroing out funding for the Commission on Women, freezing new mine safety inspector positions and giving Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron, not the governor, final say on lawsuits over the budget.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear issued several line-item vetoes to the budget and revenue bills on Friday, rejecting language that blocks him from spending funds from Kentucky’s share of the recent coronavirus-relief package.

Beshear also vetoed parts of the budget zeroing out funding for the Commission on Women, freezing new mine safety inspector positions and requiring the state treasurer to approve travel on the state aircraft.

The Republican-led legislature will likely override Beshear’s vetoes when lawmakers return for the final two days of this year’s session on Monday and Tuesday.

In his veto message about the executive branch budget bill, Beshear wrote that by requiring legislative approval to spend relief money, lawmakers were hindering the state’s ability to recover from the pandemic.

Ryland Barton

Gov. Andy Beshear signed 29 more bills into law on Thursday, including a measure doing away with Kentucky’s automatic transfer law, which requires minors to be tried in adult court if they are charged with gun-related crimes.

Beshear also vetoed six bills, including a resolution ratifying some of his coronavirus-related executive orders in case laws stripping the Democratic governor’s emergency powers are upheld in court.

There are two more days for Beshear to approve or reject bills before the end of his 10-day veto period. Earlier this week he vetoed bills dealing with private school scholarship tax credits, weakening the state’s open records laws and stripping his power to fill U.S. Senate vacancies.

Stephanie Wolf

Gov. Andy Beshear has vetoed two controversial education bills: One would create a $25 million tax-credit program to fund private school tuition; another would add a less-costly tier to the state’s teacher pension program for new hires. 

During a Wednesday press conference, Beshear said the measures “represent a direct attack on public education.”

The most divisive bill is House Bill 536, the tax-credit scholarship measure, which Beshear called “unconstitutional,” saying it diverts tax dollars to private schools.

“This measure would greatly harm public education in Kentucky by taking money away from public schools and sending it to unaccountable, private organizations with little oversight,” Beshear said.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear signed eight bills on Tuesday, including measures that create tougher penalties for child predators, ban the solitary confinement of pregnant inmates, and ease pension payments for quasi-state agencies like rape crisis centers and health departments.

Beshear also vetoed five bills, including one that would restrict out-of-state open records requests and another taking food assistance away from noncustodial parents who are behind on child support.

Beshear said the bills he rejected aren’t in the “public’s interest or would violate the Constitution.”

Legislators are currently on a 10-day break during the legislative session while Beshear considers vetoing or signing bills that have passed so far this year.

Stephanie Wolf

Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed five bills Monday aimed at stripping away several powers his office has historically held. Beshear, a Democrat, called the Republican bills “purely partisan.”

“These bills were more politically-related, violate our state constitution, [and] chip away at our strong separation of powers simply because of who is sitting in this chair, and who is not,” Beshear said during a Monday afternoon press conference.

Republicans in the General Assembly, who have a veto-proof majority in both chambers, will likely override Beshear’s vetoes.

Governor's Communications Office

Gov. Andy Beshear on Thursday acknowledged more than 600 previously unreported COVID-19 deaths in Kentucky and pledged to open vaccine eligibility to everyone over the age of 16 by April 12. 

Beshear reported the 604 additional deaths following an audit of death certificates recorded during the worst months of the pandemic spanning from November to January. The ongoing audit is similar to those conducted in Ohio and West Virginia.

“What we will do is update when we get the information to make sure everybody’s loss is counted,” Beshear said.

The state added more than 417 audited deaths to Kentucky’s death toll on Thursday and will add the remaining deaths over the next three days.

J. Tyler Franklin

Republican lawmakers advanced another bill that seeks to limit Gov. Andy Beshear’s emergency powers related to the coronavirus pandemic, late during this year’s legislative session. The measure would also try to thwart court rulings that have upheld the governor’s emergency powers.

House Bill 217 would alter the state’s emergency laws, removing all specific examples of disasters that the state’s emergency management program should respond to — ranging from ice storms to nuclear attacks.

Rep. Savannah Maddox, a Republican from Dry Ridge and the bill’s sponsor,  said removing that language would undercut last year’s Kentucky Supreme Court ruling against a challenge to Beshear’s emergency powers.

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