Matt Bevin

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.

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton took to Twitter on Friday to ask for prayers as she battles “dark forces” following the firing of her deputy chief of staff.

In the Tweet, Hampton said that “person(s) unknown initiated unauthorized personnel action” ending the employment of Adrienne Southworth, who had served as Hampton’s deputy chief of staff since the administration took office in 2015.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Matt Bevin still doesn’t have enough support for his version of a pension bill that would provide relief to some state universities and small agencies that are facing massive increases in the amount they have to contribute to the pension systems.

Bevin still says that he will call a special legislative session for lawmakers to vote on the bill before July 1, when the spike in pension contributions is set to begin.

J. Tyler Franklin

Incumbent Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has won a closer-than-expected primary election and will face Attorney General Andy Beshear during this year’s race to be Kentucky’s next governor.

The two men have been political rivals since taking office more than three years ago with Beshear, a Democrat, filing a series of lawsuits against Bevin over executive orders and a controversial pension bill.

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With one week until the primary election, Kentucky’s Democratic candidates for governor made their pitches for why they should be their party’s nominee during a debate on KET Monday night.

It’s the third televised event during this year’s race to see who will take on the winner of the Republican primary, which includes incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin and three Republican challengers. Democrats will participate in two more televised forums this week.

All three Democratic candidates voiced support for increasing state revenue to provide more money for state programs like public education, Medicaid and the state worker pension system, but candidates differed on how they would do it.

Liz Schlemmer

School choice is a big buzzword in education policy, and in many parts of the country, opinions on it usually run along party lines. Republicans tend to be for school choice, and Democrats against — however, that’s not the case among all of Kentucky’s candidates for governor.

School choice covers a wide range of policies that all do one thing: give students more support to attend schools outside the realm of traditional public education. Relative to other states in the South and Midwest, Kentucky has been slow to adopt school choice measures like charter schools and scholarship tax credits.


Sydney Boles

A large whiteboard in an Ashland, Kentucky, unemployment office is covered with a list of companies that are currently hiring. Senior career counselor Melissa Sloas said that just a few years ago, that board was a lot emptier.

This corner of eastern Kentucky has long struggled to make up for losses in mining and manufacturing. Unemployment in the Ashland area is still around 6.3 percent, well above the state average. Career center employees said workers are anxious about the closure of longtime employer AK Steel, which announced in January it would close its Ashland plant this year.


Federal Judge Strikes Down Kentucky Abortion Law

May 13, 2019
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A federal judge on Friday struck down a Kentucky abortion law that would halt a common second-trimester procedure to end pregnancies. The state’s anti-abortion governor immediately vowed to appeal.

U.S. District Judge Joseph H. McKinley Jr. ruled that the 2018 law would create a “substantial obstacle” to a woman’s right to an abortion, violating constitutionally protected privacy rights.

Kentucky’s only abortion clinic challenged the law right after it was signed by Republican Gov. Matt Bevin. A consent order had suspended its enforcement pending the outcome of last year’s trial in which Bevin’s legal team and ACLU attorneys argued the case.

Judge: Pension Plan Analysis Wrongfully Withheld From Public

May 10, 2019
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A Kentucky judge shed light on Gov. Matt Bevin's original plan to revamp the state's pension systems in a ruling that said officials wrongfully concealed a financial analysis of the proposal.

Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd's ruling Thursday delved into details of the actuarial report, saying the findings "call into question the effectiveness" of Bevin's pension proposal.

Liz Schlemmer

The Kentucky Labor Cabinet filed a notice of removal Thursday, seeking to move a lawsuit Attorney General Andy Beshear and the Jefferson County Teachers Association filed in state court to federal court.

The lawsuit sought to block subpoenas the Kentucky Labor Cabinet issued to 10 school districts to seek attendance records that could identify school employees who called in sick to protest during the last legislative session.

Ryland Barton

The Kentucky Department of Education has handed over records to the Labor Cabinet that could identify teachers who participated in a sickout at the state Capitol that closed Jefferson County Public Schools for six days this spring.

Kentucky Department of Education spokeswoman Jessica Fletcher confirmed the department received a subpoena from the Labor Cabinet Thursday demanding the records by the end of the day.

KDE had the attendance records in hand. In March, KDE itself had required 10 school districts, including JCPS, to send documents regarding the days schools closed due to the protests. At that time, Commissioner of Education Wayne Lewis said the department would not directly punish teachers, but indicated in a press release that the Labor Cabinet could investigate the matter and seek to fine teachers up to $1,000.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Matt Bevin has crafted a new version of the pension bill he vetoed last month and is expected to call a special session for lawmakers to consider the issue soon.

The measure is similar to the one that Bevin rejected last month. It allows regional universities and agencies like health departments to exit the state’s pension system to avoid a spike in the amount of money they have to contribute to it.

It would also add to the state’s pension debt by allowing some of the agencies to exit without paying the full share of what they owe to the retirement systems.

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Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin says his administration has crafted a new pension bill for lawmakers to consider in a special session.

Bevin hasn't said when he'll call lawmakers back to the Capitol in Frankfort to consider the measure aimed at giving regional universities, county health departments and other agencies relief from a spike in pension costs.

The Republican governor said Tuesday in an interview on WKDZ in Cadiz that he'll call the special session in the days following the Kentucky Derby. He says he wants the issue resolved long before July 1, when the governmental agencies face ballooning pension costs.

Liz Schlemmer

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear has filed a lawsuit to block subpoenas issued by Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration as part of an investigation into teacher sickouts.

The complaint Beshear filed Monday seeks a temporary injunction to prevent school districts from having to submit records to the Kentucky Labor Cabinet that might identify teachers who participated in recent sickouts at the statehouse. Labor Cabinet Secretary David Dickerson has said it is his office’s duty to investigate whether school employees broke a state law prohibiting public employees from striking. The Labor Cabinet could punish any violation of that law with a fine of up to $1,000. 

Ryland Barton

Gov. Matt Bevin made his reelection pitch to a group of Louisville business leaders on Thursday, saying that the other candidates vying for his job are making “grandiose claims and promises.”

“They’re going to get wages up, they’re going to bring jobs of the future and these things sound great, but what do they even mean?” Bevin said.

There are three Republican challengers and four Democrats vying to replace Bevin in November. Democrats held their first of four televised debates on Wednesday.

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