Kentucky General Assembly

Federal Court Hears Kentucky Abortion Procedure Law Appeal

Jan 29, 2020
Mary Meehan

Kentucky officials are asking a federal appeals court to restore a state law that bans a common second trimester abortion procedure.

The law passed in 2018 was struck down last year by a federal judge. But a lawyer from the Kentucky Attorney General's office told the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday that the law simply changes how the abortion must be performed by requiring an alternative procedure.

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky’s Muslim community will gather in Frankfort next month for the inaugural Muslim Day at the state capitol. 

Muslims from all over the state will tour the building on January 22, meet with legislators, pray in the Rotunda, and receive training on how to advocate for issues affecting the Muslim community.

Waheeda Muhammad, chair of the Kentucky chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, said one of the goals of the event is to clear up misconceptions about the Islamic faith.

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Kentucky’s ailing pension funds might finally start getting healthier, according to estimates provided to lawmakers on Monday.

The pot of money used to send out retirement checks to most of Kentucky’s public workers — KERS non-hazardous — is currently among the worst-funded in the nation at 12.9 percent.

But Rich Robben, Executive Director of the Office of Investments for Kentucky Retirement Systems, says that after massive infusions of cash into the pension system by the legislature in recent years, that funding level might go up by 2 percentage points next year.


Ryland Barton

Kentucky’s Republican-dominated legislature has convened to consider Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposal to help regional universities and “quasi” state agencies deal with a massive spike in pension costs.

Bevin summoned lawmakers to Frankfort for the special legislative session, where only a bill that meets a 12-point list of requirements outlined by the governor in his call for the session will be allowed to pass.

Bevin has been rallying support for his proposal for months and Republican leaders of the legislature say they have enough votes to pass it.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Matt Bevin and leaders of Kentucky’s legislature are going back and forth over who’s in charge of rallying support for a new pension bill.

Bevin vetoed an earlier version of the legislation, which seeks to provide relief to regional universities and “quasi” state agencies like health departments that are facing a massive increase in pension costs starting next month.

Ryland Barton

When the woman who would become known as Jane Doe started working for the Kentucky House Republican caucus in 2015, she remembers a senior staffer saying her responsibility was “to keep Jeff Hoover happy.”

At the time, the woman was 21. Ky. Representative Jeff Hoover of Jamestown was the leader of the Republican minority in the state House of Representatives. Within two years, Hoover would become the first Republican speaker of the House in nearly a century.


Ryland Barton

Kentucky is hoping to keep more kids at home with their families whenever possible — even when previously they might have been removed because of abuse or neglect. This year, the state has access to new state and federal funds to help support struggling parents, due to legislation passed in 2018 by both Congress and the Kentucky General Assembly. The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is holding a summit Jan. 16 to plan for the reforms coming in 2019.

Currently in Kentucky and most other states, if child abuse is reported a state worker will investigate. Often the default response is to take the child out of the home and place him or her in foster care. But with the new reforms, Cabinet Deputy Secretary Kristi Putnam said that system is going to change.

J. Tyler Franklin

A little less than 48 hours after Gov. Matt Bevin summoned lawmakers to Frankfort to make changes to the state’s pension systems, the legislature voted to end the special session.

The development is a blow to the governor, who called the special session days after the state Supreme Court struck down a new pension law that Bevin signed earlier this year.

Bevin defended his decision to call the session despite the $65,000-per day cost.

Ryland Barton

After Gov. Matt Bevin called a surprise legislative session on Monday afternoon, state lawmakers traveled to Frankfort and began working on a new attempt to overhaul the state’s pension systems.

Following hours of closed-door discussion, Republican leaders of the legislature filed two different versions of a new pension bill. One is similar to legislation struck down by the Kentucky Supreme Court and the other is a new proposal brought by Gov. Matt Bevin.

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Republican leaders of the Kentucky legislature say they will consider passing another bill dealing with state workers’ retirement benefits if the state Supreme Court strikes down the controversial pension bill that drew thousands of protesters to Frankfort earlier this year.

A lower court blocked the pension bill from going into effect over the summer and a Supreme Court decision over an appeal of the case could come as soon as next week.

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The head of Kentucky’s Justice and Public Safety Cabinet and two Republican state lawmakers say the legislature needs to make changes to the state’s criminal code to address the state’s surging prison population.

The number of people in Kentucky’s prison system surpassed 25,000 for the first time ever this year. Officials have warned that without reforms, the state will run out of space to house prisoners sometime next year.

During a panel at a Kentucky Chamber of Commerce convention, Justice Secretary John Tilley advocated for reducing penalties for some drug possession charges and eliminating the state’s cash bail system.

LRC Public Information

A Democratic state representative has filed legislation that would create an explicit ban on sexual harassment in the statehouse and a process to handle complaints.

The legislature’s ethics rules don’t currently ban sexual harassment, though in recent years lawmakers have been punished for harassing employees under a rule that bans misuse of their official positions.

Rep. Kelly Flood, a Democrat from Lexington, says that after recent instances of harassment in the statehouse, the legislature is facing a “critical moment.”

Ryland Barton

A federal court in Louisville has begun hearing arguments over a new set of abortion restrictions that passed out of the Republican-led Kentucky legislature earlier this year.

The only abortion provider in the state is suing Gov. Matt Bevin over the measure, which requires doctors to induce fetal death before performing “dilation and evacuation” abortions — the most common procedure for women seeking to end their pregnancies in the second trimester.

Ryland Barton

Former House Speaker Jeff Hoover and two other Republican state lawmakers are trying to prevent the public release of parts of a deposition taken from a former staffer who accused them of sexually harassing her. The deposition is part of a whistleblower lawsuit filed by another staffer who says she was retaliated against for reporting harassment.

The three men — as well as one other representative who has not asked to intervene in the case — admitted to paying Jane Doe $110,000 last year in an out-of-court settlement.

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A bipartisan group of state lawmakers is making another push to legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky ahead of next year’s legislative session, arguing that doing so would provide patients with an alternative to addictive painkillers and expensive medications.

Louisville resident Cassie Everett said she has to take a variety of medications every day to treat her epilepsy, which has gotten worse since she was first diagnosed as a child.

“They make me sleepy, I have trouble breathing, talking,” Everett said. “I personally would like the option of having medical marijuana knowing [I could] be off of some of this medicine and the side effects.”

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