politics

J. Tyler Franklin

The drama between Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton and Gov. Matt Bevin continues following the firing of one of her staffers at the hands of the Bevin administration.

Hampton issued a statement on Tuesday saying Bevin’s chief of staff Blake Brickman “clearly overstepped his boundaries” when he fired her deputy chief of staff last month.

“Every Kentuckian should be concerned that an unelected bureaucrat appears to have power over the office of the Lieutenant Governor,” Hampton wrote in the statement. “I am perplexed by the vacuous decision to deprive an active, productive Lieutenant Governor of her staff.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says one of his "highest priorities" is to take on the leading cause of preventable death in the United States: smoking.

McConnell has sponsored a bill, along with Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, that would increase the tobacco purchase age from 18 to 21.

J. Tyler Franklin

The political action committee for the Kentucky Education Association, the state’s teachers’ union and largest educator member organization, has unanimously endorsed Democrat Andy Beshear for governor.

All 24 members of the committee voted for Beshear over Republican Governor Matt Bevin.

“Bevin has proven he is a failed governor who has been unable to even work with representatives from his own party. Kentucky can’t afford another four years of his incompetence,” KEA president Eddie Campbell said in a press release.

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s chief of staff says he authorized the firing of a key aide to Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton.

Blake Brickman said in a statement on Saturday to The Courier Journal that he authorized the firing of Adrienne Southworth, saying she repeatedly demonstrated poor judgment.

The firing last month prompted Hampton to send out a tweet praising Southworth’s work as “stellar” and asking for prayers in her fight against “dark forces.”

J. Tyler Franklin

The Kentucky Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that Gov. Matt Bevin didn’t do anything wrong in 2017 when he overhauled several state boards that deal with public education.

Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear sued Bevin over the actions, arguing that the governor had circumvented the legislature’s lawmaking authority by appointing non-voting charter school advisers to the Kentucky Board of Education and totally replacing boards that deal with certifying teachers and establishing curriculum standards, among other changes.

marsyslaw.us

The Kentucky Supreme Court has unanimously ruled against “Marsy’s Law,” a proposal that would have enshrined a new list of rights for crime victims in the state constitution.

Kentucky voters supported the measure by a wide margin during a ballot referendum on Election Day last year, but the court ruled that the entire 553-word proposal should have been included on the ballot instead of only a 38-word summary.

The language included on last year’s ballot was established by the Marsy’s Law bill, which passed the state legislature in 2018.

Democrats Show Unity Amid GOP Squabbles in Kentucky

Jun 7, 2019
J. Tyler Franklin

While Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin has run into resistance from Republican lawmakers on pension legislation, and faced a messy dispute with his lieutenant governor, his Democratic challenger has forged alliances with his ex-rivals as the campaign starts taking shape.

Bevin and his Democratic challenger, Andy Beshear, have previewed themes likely to play out in their fall campaign in a red state race that could offer clues about the mood of the electorate heading into next year's presidential election.

In 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., refused to hold a hearing on President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, saying that it was an election year and that the American people "deserved a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice."

That was then.

Speaking to an audience in Kentucky on Monday, McConnell said should a vacancy occur on the court in 2020, another presidential election year, he would allow a vote.

Grimes Contests Law Removing Her Power Over Elections Board

May 7, 2019
J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky's secretary of state has challenged a new state law removing her power over the State Board of Elections, claiming the action by Republican lawmakers amounts to an unconstitutional infringement of her executive authority.

The lawsuit by Alison Lundergan Grimes, one of the state's most prominent Democrats, warns "confusion and uncertainty" will surround Kentucky's May 21 primary election unless the law is invalidated.

Grimes filed the lawsuit Monday in Franklin County Circuit Court. It seeks an injunction blocking the law's implementation and a ruling that it violates Kentucky's Constitution.

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.

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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.

Becca Schimmel

A Bowling Green-based refugee resettlement agency is having trouble helping local employers fill open positions because federal policy has led to a major reduction in the number of refugees allowed into the U.S.

The Trump administration lowered the cap on refugee resettlement to a record low of 30,000 last September. Local businesses that are trying to fill open positions often reach out to the International Center to find workers.

Executive Director Albert Mbanfu said he’s worried the center’s relationship with the business community could be harmed if he has to keep turning away prospective employers.

Thinkstock

Kentucky lawmakers return to Frankfort for the final day of this year’s legislative session on Thursday and will have to decide whether to override vetoes made by Gov. Matt Bevin and pass any bills at the last minute.

Bevin has already signed dozens of bills into law this legislative session, including a handful of anti-abortion measures, a yet-to-be funded school safety bill and changes to the tax code that reduce state revenue by about $105 million per year.

Flickr/Creative Commons/James Case

Kentuckians wouldn’t need a permit to carry concealed firearms under a bill that is nearing final passage in the state legislature. It now only has to pass out of the state House of Representatives and be signed by Gov. Matt Bevin.

Currently, concealed-carry holders have to take an eight-hour training course and have a background check to receive a permit.

Rep. Charles Booker, a Democrat from Louisville, said he was worried that the measure would lead to more gun violence.

Abortion: Tennessee Lawmakers Advance Fetal Heartbeat Bill

Feb 26, 2019
Creative Commons

A bill that would ban most Tennessee women from obtaining abortions once a fetus' heartbeat is detected cleared a key hurdle Tuesday, advancing for a full House vote in the GOP-dominated Legislature.

The move comes amid a national movement from anti-abortion legislators and activists who hope that President Donald Trump's appointments to the Supreme Court will increase their chances of undermining abortion rights.

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