Matt Bevin

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Matt Bevin is feuding with the Republican leaders of the state legislature after he vetoed the pension bill that passed on the last day of this year’s legislative session.

The bill would have allowed regional universities and other agencies to exit the state’s pension system to avoid a spike in their pension costs. It would have also allowed the state to take over the agencies’ finances if they default on pension payments and suspend benefits of their retirees.

Jacob Ryan

Democrat Adam Edelen said that if he is elected governor of Kentucky, he’ll push to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Edelen said Kentucky’s marijuana laws have put strains on families and taxpayers and are disproportionately used against minorities.

In a news conference Monday, Edelen called for eliminating criminal penalties for possessing less than a half-ounce of marijuana.

J. Tyler Franklin

Thursday is the last day of the Kentucky General Assembly, with decisions still looming on several high-profile bills. But if you wanted to show up at the Kentucky State Capitol and protest, you’ll be turned away.  

 

According to an emergency regulation put in place by the Bevin administration in January, any person or group wanting to protest at the capitol needs to submit an application ten days in advance.

But the rules regarding capitol access are different for lobbyists.


J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin says he deliberately exposed his children to chickenpox so they would catch the highly contagious disease and become immune.

During a Tuesday interview on Bowling Green radio station WKCT, Bevin said his children were "miserable for a few days" after contracting chickenpox but said "they all turned out fine."

Bevin and his wife, Glenna, have nine children, four adopted.

The Republican governor said parents worried about chickenpox should have their children vaccinated. But he said government shouldn't mandate the vaccination.

Bill Seeking to Bypass Frankfort Judges Stalls in Committee

Mar 12, 2019
Flickr/Creative Commons

A bill aimed at redirecting big legal cases away from a circuit judge who has drawn the ire of Republican leaders is on "life support" after a Kentucky House committee refused to consider the measure Tuesday, the Senate's top leader acknowledged.

Senate President Robert Stivers said lingering concerns made it uncertain whether the bill could clear the Judiciary Committee and pass the GOP-dominated House. As a result, the committee skipped over the bill with just a handful of days left in this year's legislative session.

Ryland Barton

Amid massive protests from teachers in the state Capitol Thursday, Gov. Matt Bevin spoke at an anti-abortion rally celebrating several bills that would restrict the procedure.

The state legislature is poised to pass several anti-abortion bills, including one that would ban the procedure as early as six weeks — earlier than many people realize they are pregnant.

During Thursday’s rally, Bevin called himself the “most pro-life governor in America” and said restricting abortion protects human life.

Political Feud Complicating Kentucky's Fight Against Opioids

Mar 6, 2019
J. Tyler Franklin

For every 100,000 people in Kentucky, 23 are killed by opioid overdoses — nearly double the national rate. But a political feud is complicating the state's effort to hold drug companies accountable for their part in the epidemic.

Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear and Republican Gov. Matt Bevin are fighting over Beshear's attempt to hire private attorneys to battle the drug companies. Beshear is running for governor, and Bevin is the man he could face in the general election.

Ryland Barton

A legislative panel has unanimously passed a bill to cut in half the salary of the state’s chief information officer, who happens to be a longtime friend of Gov. Matt Bevin.

The move comes after the Louisville Courier Journal reported last summer that Bevin gave Charles Grindle a $160,000 per year raise, making him the highest paid official in state government.

In fact, at $375,000, Grindle is the highest paid chief information officer in any state, according to the Council of State Governments.

EnerBlu

When battery manufacturer EnerBlu announced it would suspend plans for a new factory in Pikeville, Kentucky, the company used an intriguing phrase. “Unexpected geopolitical factors,” the company said, had soured the deal. 

According to a former executive at the company, those factors tied the rural eastern Kentucky development project to one of the world’s largest companies, the Saudi Arabian royal family, and the international uproar resulting from the murder of a prominent journalist.

Since it announced in 2017 its plan to build a $372 million manufacturing plant and bring as many as 875 jobs to the struggling region, EnerBlu was hailed as a savior for Pike County and eastern Kentucky. Gov. Matt Bevin called the project “truly transformative.”


Kentucky Governor Outlines Support for Medical Marijuana

Feb 12, 2019
J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky's Republican governor says he would be happy to sign a bill to make marijuana legal for medical purposes.

Matt Bevin told a community forum in Stanford on Tuesday his teenage nephew died after battling cancer. He said his nephew suffered near the end of his life, suggesting medical marijuana can provide relief to people experiencing similar pain.

Bevin said his support for a bill legalizing medical marijuana would depend on how the bill is written, adding he would be opposed to a bill written solely to raise money for the state's general fund.

Thinkstock

Gov. Matt Bevin spent much of his fourth State of the Commonwealth Address praising the Republican-led legislature for passing measures like so-called “right-to-work” legislation, anti-abortion policies and attempting to make changes to state worker pension benefits.

The appreciative tone comes a little more than a month after Bevin chided the General Assembly — which has more than three-fifths majority in each chamber — for quickly ending a specially-called legislative session without passing an overhaul of the pension systems.

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear issued an opinion Thursday that said an emergency regulation put in place by Governor Matt Bevin’s administration earlier this year violates the law.

The regulation restricted access to all state-owned facilities and grounds, including the state capitol building in Frankfort.  One provision in the regulation said that any group wanting to protest at the capitol would have to make such a request at least ten days in advance.

Ryland Barton

Gov. Matt Bevin met with members of the Kentucky Poor People’s campaign after the group rallied outside his office for nearly an hour on Tuesday.

The Poor People’s Campaign was protesting an emergency regulation signed by Bevin that limits visitors’ access to the Capitol.

But in the 20 minute meeting with Bevin, the group’s leaders elevated issues like school shootings, health care and voting rights for people who have felony records.

Steve Pavey, Hope In Focus

The Kentucky Poor People’s Campaign is returning to the state capitol Tuesday to protest a new emergency regulation enacted by Governor Matt Bevin.

The new rules require those wanting to assemble at a state building to submit an application ten days in advance of the event. Last summer the group held a series of statehouse protests in Frankfort and 40 other state capitals.

Reverend Megan Huston, a pastor of First Christian Church in Bowling Green, participated in those protests last year and will be in Frankfort for the event Tuesday.

State Officials Delay Start Of Some New Medicaid Rules

Feb 1, 2019
feverpitched, 123rf Stock Photo

Kentucky officials are delaying the start of some new Medicaid rules, including a requirement that some enrollees work or volunteer in order to maintain coverage.

In a news release Thursday, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services said Kentuckians with Medicaid coverage won’t have to start working or volunteering for 80 hours a month to keep their insurance until at least July 1. 

The new rule, called the “community engagement” requirement by the state, was originally supposed to start in July 2018, but a federal judge blocked the rule saying the federal government had not legally approved the change. The Trump administration re-approved changes in November.

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