Matt Bevin

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.

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin is blaming the shooting of a Louisville child on last month’s teacher sickouts.

“While we had people pretending to be sick when they weren’t sick, and leaving kids unattended to, or in situations that they should not have been in, a girl was shot,” Bevin said in comments to the Louisville Rotary Club Thursday.

The 7-year-old girl was shot on March 12, a day when Jefferson County Public Schools were closed due to teacher protests.

J. Tyler Franklin

When Gov. Matt Bevin vetoed the pension bill that passed out of the legislature last month, he promised to call lawmakers back to Frankfort to do it all over again in a special legislative session before July 1.

But the timing of the yet-to-be-announced session is complicated, because state universities affected by the measure say they need clarity on whether they will face massive increases in the amount they have to contribute to the pension systems when they start writing their budgets on June 1.

Bevin, Devos Promote School Choice Policies at Event in Lexington

Apr 17, 2019
J. Tyler Franklin

The Trump administration's top education official on Wednesday urged school choice supporters in Kentucky — a coalition that includes the state's Republican governor — to "keep fighting" for initiatives aimed at giving students more flexibility to find their right fit.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos teamed with Gov. Matt Bevin to promote school choice policies in a state where political activism has surged among public school teachers who have staged statehouse rallies to challenge pension and education proposals.

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear says he’ll take Gov. Matt Bevin to court if he doesn’t rescind subpoenas for information about teachers who participated in protests in Frankfort last month.

Last week, the Kentucky Labor Cabinet demanded information from several school districts identifying the names of teachers who called in sick on the same days that protests took place in Frankfort.

Braidy Industries

Russian aluminum company Rusal announced Monday it plans to invest in a new Kentucky aluminum mill to be built near Ashland in eastern Kentucky. The $200 million investment in Braidy Industries is Rusal’s first U.S. project since the Trump administration lifted U.S. sanctions placed against the company.

Rusal had been sanctioned by the U.S. government because its major controller, Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, faces accusations of “a range of malign activity around the globe” by Russia, according to the U.S. Treasury Department. Those actions include interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and meddling in neighboring Ukraine.


Public Domain

The Kentucky Supreme Court heard another lawsuit between Attorney General Andy Beshear and Gov. Matt Bevin on Friday.

Once again, the legal challenge was over to what extent the governor has authority to reorganize state boards while the legislature isn’t in session — this time it had to do with Bevin’s overhaul of several state education boards in the summer of 2017.

Beshear argued that the governor overstepped his authority.

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