Matt Bevin

J. Tyler Franklin

A state legislative hearing got heated Monday after lawmakers questioned the University of Louisville’s plan to acquire Jewish Hospital with help from the state.

Last month, state and university officials announced plans to purchase the struggling Jewish Hospital system and associated KentuckyOne Health in a deal that is contingent upon a $50 million loan from the state.

State Sen. Stephen Meredith, a Republican from Leitchfield, questioned why the state should bail out the struggling Louisville hospital while it hasn’t stepped in to help closing rural hospitals, like Pineville Community Hospital, which has been struggling to stay open.


Ryland Barton

A judge has denied Gov. Matt Bevin’s request that he no longer preside over a lawsuit against the state’s investigation into protesting teachers.

The Bevin administration argued that Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd should be disqualified from the case because he “liked” a Facebook post that was supportive of Bevin’s rival, Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear.

But in a three-page order, Shepherd denied Bevin’s request, pointing out that he has liked posts that are supportive of Bevin as well.

Public Domain

The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled that Gov. Matt Bevin is allowed to reject contracts Attorney General Andy Beshear made with private law firms to sue drugmakers over their role in the state’s opioid epidemic.

Beshear’s office has sought assistance from several law firms as it sues drug manufacturers and distributors in nine different cases.

In a statement, Bevin celebrated the legal victory, accusing Beshear of trying to direct contracts to “his friends and campaign donors.”

Ryland Barton

The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., headlined a sparsely-attended campaign rally for Gov. Matt Bevin in Pikeville on Thursday. It was the latest in a string of events attended by President Trump and his surrogates supporting Bevin’s reelection bid.

Bevin is facing a tough race against Democratic rival Andy Beshear and is trying to rally support in eastern Kentucky, which used to be a Democratic stronghold but has trended Republican in recent years.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration is trying to disqualify the judge presiding over a lawsuit against the state’s investigation into protesting teachers, arguing that a Facebook “like” shows bias.

Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd is presiding over Attorney General Andy Beshear’s lawsuit against Labor Cabinet Secretary David Dickerson, who subpoenaed 10 school districts for information about teachers who used sick days to protest in Frankfort during this year’s legislative session.


J. Tyler Franklin

This week in Kentucky politics, President Donald Trump came to Louisville to lend a hand to Gov. Bevin’s reelection campaign. Meanwhile, Bevin made more controversial comments about teacher protests and Lt. Governor Jenean Hampton is suing him over the firing of her staffers.

Listen to this week’s show:


J. Tyler Franklin

Matt Bevin is talking about abortion non-stop in his re-election campaign. That’s a logical strategy in a state like Kentucky. But I’m skeptical that this approach will help him that much.

Let me start with why this approach is smart for Bevin. Kentucky has a lot of people who are anti-abortion. About 20 percent of Kentucky adults believe that abortion should be “illegal in all cases,” a number bigger than in all but five states, according to polling data released last week by the Public Religion Research Institute. (Only Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Nebraska, and Arkansas have a higher percentage of people opposed to all abortions. Twenty-three percent of people in Louisiana think abortion should be illegal in all cases, the highest of any state.)

J. Tyler Franklin

During a speech in Louisville Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced that he will sign an order forgiving federal student loan debt for permanently and totally disabled veterans.

“Today I’m proud to announce that I’m taking executive action to ensure our wounded warriors are not saddled with mountains of student debt,” Trump said. “In a few moments, I will sign a memorandum directing the Department of Education to eliminate every penny of federal student loan debt owed by American veterans who are completely and permanently disabled.”

Ryan Van Velzer

Out on the street outside the Galt House Hotel where President Donald Trump is scheduled to speak Wednesday afternoon, you can hear the cicadas chirping and an acoustic guitar strumming. There’s a man grilling hot dogs in a Trump hat. Protesters holding baby Trump balloons. Trump supporters in American flag regalia. Bored TV reporters.

Trump will address the 75th American Veterans National Convention Wednesday. But before Trump’s arrival, a crowd of protesters gathered nearby. They were chanting “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA.” Calls of “Ditch Mitch” and “This is what democracy looks like” could also be heard.

Ryland Barton

Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton appeared in court Monday as she sues Gov. Matt Bevin for firing two of her staffers, which she says was illegal.

The lawsuit is the latest development in the growing rift between the two Republicans after Bevin decided to not run with Hampton during his bid for re-election.

Bevin has downplayed his frayed relationship with Hampton.

During the hearing, Bevin’s general counsel Steve Pitt described the conflict as a “minor disagreement between two friends.”

 


J. Tyler Franklin

This week in Kentucky politics, Lieutenant Gov. Jean Hampton filed a lawsuit against Gov. Matt Bevin for firing two of her staffers. The University of Louisville announced a deal to try and buy the struggling Jewish Hospital system with a $50 million loan from the state. And sports radio host Matt Jones announced he’s writing a book about Mitch McConnell, but still won’t say if he’s running against him.

J. Tyler Franklin

Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton has filed a lawsuit against Gov. Matt Bevin over the firings of two of her staffers earlier this year.

The development is the latest in the ongoing battle between the former Republican allies after Bevin didn’t select Hampton to be on his re-election ticket.

In the 12-page complaint, Hampton argues that Bevin doesn’t have the authority to fire employees in her office and asks the court to restore her former staffers.

 


J. Tyler Franklin

The University of Louisville is buying Jewish Hospital and other affiliated Louisville KentuckyOne health providers. But there are still a lot of unknowns in how this plan will work, and how it could change the state’s relationship with the Louisville research and health care institution. 

There are a few things we know: the Bevin administration — with the legislature’s approval and buy-in — will loan U of L $50 million to complete the sale (and the loan is partially forgivable). We know Catholic Health Initiatives — Jewish Hospital’s parent company — will forgive about $19.7 million of what University Hospital owes CHI. CHI and KentuckyOne also won’t be able to open any competing facilities for five years after the deal closes. And the deal is contingent on U of L maintaining Kentucky-based jobs and providing care to west Louisville residents. 

Ervins Strauhmanis/Creative Commons

The University of Louisville has announced plans to purchase the KentuckyOne hospital system with the assistance of a $50 million loan from the state’s Economic Development Cabinet.

The deal is contingent upon state lawmakers authorizing it during next year’s legislative session and would amount to the largest loan administered by the cabinet, according to a review of records.

Jack Mazurak, communications director for the Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet, said the state is pursuing the deal because “it’s important that these institutions not be allowed to fail.”

 


J. Tyler Franklin

First, on August 1, Gov. Matt Bevin held a press conference to attack Andy Beshear for attending a fundraiser co-hosted by Ernest Marshall, a doctor and co-founder of the EMW Women’s Surgical Center, the only clinic in Kentucky that provides abortions. He accused Beshear of “accepting blood money” and suggested Democrats are “using money from killing Kentuckians to fund Andy Beshear.”

Two days days later, in a speech at Fancy Farm, Bevin’s running mate, Ralph Alvarado, referred to the attorney general as “Abortion Andy.” Last week, Bevin released a Facebook video attacking Beshear in which he used the word abortion seven times in less than three minutes. A day later, Bevin held an event to highlight four anti-abortion bills that Kentucky’s legislature adopted and the governor signed into law earlier this year.

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