KYCIR

Unemployment Insurance: How It Works And How To Apply

Mar 18, 2020
Kate Howard/KYCIR

Over the span of a few days, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear issued orders that will grind business in Kentucky to a halt and increase quick access to unemployment benefits.

By 5 p.m. Wednesday, all “public facing” businesses including entertainment, hospitality and recreational facilities, gyms and exercise facilities and hair salons will close their doors. That’s on top of the bars and restaurants that have shuttered or reduced staff as they transitioned to take out and delivery services.

As a result, many in Kentucky have already lost their income source, and many more will in the coming days. Nationwide, nearly 1 in 5 Americans have experienced a layoff or a reduction in hours due to the coronavirus, an NPR/ PBS Newshour/Marist poll found

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Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has directed the Department of Revenue to pause enforced collection methods while the state deals with the economic fallout of the coronavirus.

The move was in response to questions asked about the state’s use of wage garnishments to collect medical debts on behalf of the University of Kentucky’s health care system.

KyCIR investigation found that the revenue department’s enterprise collections office adds the highest such fees in the country — currently, 7% interest and a 25% collection fee to debts referred to it by UK and other state agencies.

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

A bill that would penalize law enforcement agencies that fail to report how much cash and property they seize through asset forfeiture is moving through the state legislature.

The House Judiciary Committee passed the bill on Wednesday, despite concerns from law enforcement advocates that the legislation would bring undue financial and workload burdens on local agencies.

The bill is sponsored by Rep. Savannah Maddox from Dry Ridge and Rep. Jerry Miller from Louisville, both Republicans. If passed, it would prohibit law enforcement agencies from spending their forfeiture proceeds if they don’t file required annual reports to the state detailing their seizures. The bill also imposes a $500 fine for agencies that fail to report each year.

Jefferson County Circuit Court

Amid growing scrutiny of Kentucky law enforcement’s use of asset forfeiture, more than twice as many agencies disclosed last year how much cash and property they seized than they did two years prior. 

More than 280 agencies filed required reports last year for seizures that totaled $11.6 million statewide in fiscal year 2019. That includes every single county sheriff in the state, and at least 44 agencies who disclosed their seizures for the first time in at least six years, according to a KyCIR analysis of state data.

By comparison, state data shows 138 agencies reported seizing $5.9 million in 2017. 


Screenshot courtesy KET

Gov. Andy Beshear announced Friday that he has reinstated the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board, which former Governor Matt Bevin abolished in July 2018.

“This is just one step that we are going to take to make sure that when our Kentuckians leave their family in the morning and head to work, it’s in the safest environment possible and that they know that they’ve got a state government that is looking out for their safety,” Beshear told KyCIR.

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky Gov.-elect Andy Beshear’s transition team will help craft his administration, and he’s stacked it with well-connected bureaucrats, legislators and longtime supporters of the Beshear family’s political campaigns.

Transition team members donated at least $358,000 to Beshear since his run for attorney general in 2015, according to state campaign finance records. About 80 percent of the 163 team members have donated to Beshear, either in this race against incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin or his 2015 campaign. At least 16 currently work for Andy Beshear as employees of the Office of the Attorney General.

Caitlin McGlade

State inspectors have watched the Loch Mary Reservoir Dam in Western Kentucky deteriorate for at least a decade. But it wasn’t until this spring that the state wielded its enforcement power and required the city get to work, or risk penalties.

Now, the city of Earlington in Hopkins County has begun taking steps to fix the dam. A KyCIR investigation published in August revealed that the Loch Mary was among dozens of dams in Kentucky without disaster plans as recommended by the Federal Emergency Management Administration — even though the dams were in bad condition and would threaten lives or property if they breached.

J. Tyler Franklin

More than a year after a deadline has passed to process all rape kits within 90 days, the Kentucky State Police forensic laboratory is averaging a wait of 215 days.

That number has diminished only slightly since the end of 2018, when rape kits were taking an average of 220 days to process. Advocates and researchers say it is unlikely the lab will meet next summer’s legislature-imposed benchmark requiring all rape kits to be processed within 60 days. 

A KSP spokesperson declined to make the director of the lab available for an interview. But in an emailed statement, news stories and public reports, agency officials have blamed the delays on a number of factors. 

J. Tyler Franklin

When a woman walked into Baptist Health’s hospital in suburban Louisville last year and said she’d been raped, the hospital did what they usually did: started calling around to see if there was another hospital they could send her to.

Since Baptist Health didn’t have a trained sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) available, nursing director Denise Carter said the woman would need to go to another hospital to get a forensic sexual assault exam.

“Just to see the trauma and how distraught she was, and then to have to say, ‘I’m sorry, we have to send you to another hospital in the community,’ it just felt really wrong,” Carter said.

Amina Elahi

The Fireball ride had been running for just over an hour at the 2018 Kentucky State Fair when something went wrong, and ride operator Duanne Haywood and a few other workers went underneath.

Within minutes, Haywood was pinned, his body bent in half under the weight of the ride.

Haywood was tasked with setting up and running the controversial ride by his employer, North American Midway Entertainment (NAME), last summer at the Kentucky State Fairgrounds.


Public Domain

When gamblers bet at the chirping, neon-glowing machines that stretch across Kentucky’s gambling parlors, they depend on a state commission to ensure they’re winning — or losing — fair and square.

The commission that oversees gambling depends on a consulting firm for advice about ensuring these systems, known as “historical horse racing” terminals, run legally and accurately. But when it comes to testing machines, records show the state’s regulatory commission let the tracks themselves fund and oversee the consultant’s work.


Kentucky Labor Cabinet

The Kentucky Labor Cabinet has announced plans to increase salaries, provide more training and buy more equipment for its occupational safety and health compliance officers.

The changes come on the heels of an investigative series by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, the Ohio Valley ReSource and the Center for Public Integrity, which first publicly revealed the state’s program was under serious federal scrutiny.

J. Tyler Franklin

Grant Oakley’s second day of work was the last day of his life.

Seventeen, sandy-haired and tall, Grant liked to fish, tinker with motorcycles with his father, Mike, and play tuba in the school marching band. He was excited in the fall of 2015 when he landed his first part-time job at a farm supply business. The location was convenient; Bluegrass Agricultural Distributors was just across the highway from the Oakley family’s farmhouse near Lancaster, Kentucky, in rural Garrard County. 


J. Tyler Franklin

State Rep. Dan Johnson committed suicide Wednesday evening, two days after the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting published accusations that he sexually assaulted a minor.

Johnson was a preacher from Mt. Washington in Bullitt County. He shot himself on a bridge over the Salt River, according to WDRB.

Johnson posted a suicide note on Facebook Wednesday evening calling the accusations false and telling conservatives to “take a stand.”

Facebook

A Republican state representative from Bullitt County has been accused of sexually abusing a girl in his church, among other misdeeds, in a new investigative report from the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting and Louisville Public Media.

Rep. Dan Johnson, a preacher and freshman lawmaker from Mt. Washington, had yet to respond to the allegations as of noon Monday. A receptionist at his legislative office said he was not available.