Ryland Barton

Boyle County student Brooklyn Rockhold and her mother and brother endured abuse from her biological father for years. This week, she testified in front of Kentucky legislators, urging them to pass legislation to require child abuse education in schools so that children like her will be able to identify when they are being abused and report it.

Kentucky.gov

  Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton has filed a lawsuit against Gov. Matt Bevinover 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.

“There is no monetary value, no price, which can be placed upon each day of the Lieutenant Governor’s term,” Hampton’s attorney Joshua Harp wrote in the complaint.

WFPL

This week in Kentucky politics, Gov. Matt Bevin signed the so-called pension “relief” bill into law after a short special legislative session.

Attorney General Andy Beshear threatened to sue over the session, saying that Bevin had blocked lawmakers from considering other proposals.

And Amy McGrath addressed the bumpy launch to her U.S. Senate campaign

Updated: Bevin Signs Pension Bill

Jul 24, 2019
J. Tyler Franklin

 Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin signed a  proposal Wednesday afternoon providing relief from surging pension costs for regional universities and 118 “quasi” state agencies like local health departments, rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters.

The measure allows the agencies to buy out of Kentucky’s ailing pension system and incentivizes them to move their employees into 401k-type retirement plans, preventing them from earning future pension benefits.

The bill could affect up to 7,000 employees and is also expected to add $827 million in state pension costs.

  Gov. Matt Bevin’s pension bill continues to advance through the Republican-led legislature, easily passing the Kentucky Senate’s State Government Committee on Tuesday.

Lawmakers are meeting for a special legislative session called by Bevin to address surging pension costs for the state’s regional universities and 118 “quasi” state agencies like health departments and rape crisis centers.

Bevin has proposed allowing the agencies to exit the state’s ailing pension system to avoid the spike in costs, as long as they either pay all or most of their share of the state’s pension debt.

This week in Kentucky politics, Gov. Matt Bevin’s special legislative session on pensions is finally taking place and Democrats think he’s tied the legislature’s hands. Bevin and Democratic rival Andy Beshear clashed during a debate at the Kentucky Farm Bureau. And Kentucky lawmakers responded to President Trump’s inflammatory tweets. Jean West from member station WFPL talked to Ryland Barton for this week’s edition of Kentucky Politics Distilled. 

  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.

WFPL.com

This week in Kentucky politics, candidates for governor and other statewide offices made their final pitches ahead of the primary election. Democrats running for governor participated in three televised debates, Republicans running for attorney general continued to sling mud at eachother and one of Gov. Matt Bevin’s primary challengers still thinks he’ll win. Jean West from member station WFPL talked to Ryland Barton for this week’s edition of Kentucky Politics Distilled. 

Kentucky Democratic Party

With about a month to go before Kentucky’s primary elections, all three major Democratic candidates for governor appeared together on stage for the first time on Thursday.

During a forum held by Louisville’s Rotary Club, candidates differed only slightly in their stances on a wide range of issues including preserving Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion, shoring up public education and allowing casino gambling to generate revenue for the state’s ailing pension systems.

But the candidates are still trying to set themselves apart.

On the last day of the legislative session, Kentucky lawmakers are advancing new tax breaks that would benefit companies that are spread across multiple states and countries.

The measure allows multi-state companies that are now required to use “mandatory combined reporting”— a change to the tax code enacted by state lawmakers last year — to spread their financial losses evenly across their various affiliates, a financial benefit to the companies.

PBS

The parents of two teenagers killed during a shooting at Marshall County High School last year testified on Thursday in favor of a bill that seeks to improve safety in Kentucky schools.

Bailey Holt and Preston Cope, both sophomores, died on January 23, 2018 after police say a fellow student took his step-father’s pistol from a closet at home and opened fire on a group of students before school started.

Local health departments, mental health agencies and domestic violence shelters are asking state lawmakers to shield them from massive pension contributions that they say will bankrupt them or severely limit services.

As of last July, most state agencies pay 83 percent of employee salaries to Kentucky’s pension system. That means on top of paying an employee’s salary, state agencies have to send an additional 83 percent of that salary to pay for state worker retirements.

Distilled Politics For The Week Of Jan 21st

Jan 25, 2019
capitol.ky.gov

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for Kentucky Politics Distilled with capitol reporter Ryland Barton. There was a lot of news this week—some of it Friday—as the official field of people running for statewide political offices grows.

Capitol Reporter Ryland Barton spoke with Jean West from member station WFPL.

Wikimedia Commons

  Leaders of the Kentucky legislature have formed a new group tasked with reviewing and analyzing the state’s pension systems, which are underfunded and have been the subject of controversial reform attempts in recent years.

  An eastern Kentucky lawmaker has filed a bill that would ban women from receiving abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which takes place as early as the sixth week of pregnancy.

The proposal would be one of the most restrictive abortion policies in the country. Similar measures have failed to pass in other states or been struck down by courts.

Jacob Payne

  Former State Auditor Adam Edelen is the third Democrat to launch a bid for Kentucky governor.

During an announcement in Lexington, Edelen said as governor he would focus on fixing the state’s public education system, protecting health coverage and generating new revenue for the state’s cash-strapped budget.

Edelen depicted himself as a new direction for Kentucky Democrats, saying that he is an alternative to “the stale scent of incrementalism and nostalgia.”

Wikimedia Commons

  The Kentucky Board of Education has approved new high school graduation requirements, mandating students demonstrate competency in basic math and reading, and complete benchmarks intended to show they are ready for work or college before they can graduate.

The legislature still has to sign off on the policy.

Most of the new requirements will go into effect for freshmen starting high school next fall and the full policy will take effect for subsequent classes.

 

Many board members criticized the measure for not going as far as an earlier proposal.

WEKU.fm

Republican leaders of the Kentucky legislature say they will consider passing another bill dealing with state workers’ retirement benefits if the state Supreme Court strikes down the controversial pension bill that drew thousands of protesters to Frankfort earlier this year.

WEKU.fm

Under Commissioner Wayne Lewis’ original proposal, students would have to prove they are, quote, “transition ready” by meeting benchmark test scores on college entrance exams, getting on-the-job experience or passing college-level courses. 

LRC.gov

Republicans in the Kentucky House of Representatives have selected a new set of leaders for the upcoming legislative session and nominated a new speaker for the first time since Rep. Jeff Hoover stepped down from the position early this year amid a sexual harassment scandal.

governor.ky.gov

 

The Kentucky Democratic Party has filed an ethics complaint against Gov. Matt Bevin for tweeting out his support for embattled Congressman Andy Barr’s reelection campaign from his official Twitter account. 

On Saturday, Bevin posted a picture taken in the audience of the rally at Eastern Kentucky University’s Alumni Coliseum, saying he was in a packed house of people who love the president and are supporting Barr’s reelection. 

Kentucky.gov

  The Kentucky Supreme Court heard arguments over the state’s new pension law on Thursday, months after teachers and other government workers descended on Frankfort to protest changes to retirement benefits.

Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear and a lawyer representing Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s office argued over whether legislators violated the state constitution by rushing the bill to passage in a matter of hours this spring. Changes to retirement benefits in the pension bill mostly affect future state employees but also tweak benefits for some current workers.

Kentucky.com

  An ethics panel issued an advisory opinion saying that Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes can’t run for statewide office and serve as the chair of the bipartisan board that oversees elections.

The opinion comes as Grimes, a Democrat, is mulling a possible run for governor or attorney general next year and allegations from elections staff that she improperly accessed voter registration data and addresses of the state’s 15,000 poll workers.

Kentucky.com

The annual Fancy Farm political event takes place this weekend, signaling the unofficial kickoff of the fall election season in Kentucky. Capitol reporter Ryland Barton said candidates will be trying to gauge support from a raucous crowd. 

The festival is a fundraiser for St. Jerome’s Catholic Church in the Graves County town of Fancy Farm in far-west Kentucky. 
During the picnic, organizers also cook more than 20,000 pounds of barbecued pork and mutton for attendees. 
 

This week in Kentucky politics, Attorney General Andy Beshear announced he’s running for governor, the state auditor released a report finding a “pervasive lack of accountability” in Kentucky’s courts administration and a bunch of new laws go into effect this weekend.

WKMS

The agency that runs Kentucky’s court system has a “pervasive lack of accountability” according to a special examination released by state Auditor Mike Harmon. 

State auditor Mike Harmon says that the Administrative Office of the Courts improperly held employee-only sales of surplus property and left the system vulnerable to abuse by top officials. 

Ky.gov

A judge has denied Gov. Matt Bevin’s request to reconsider a ruling that struck down changes to Kentucky’s pensions system. 

Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd blocked the pension law last month, saying that lawmakers had violated the state Constitution by not following proper procedure when they passed it.

Bevin asked Shepherd to amend his ruling to determine if the pension bill violated the state’s “inviolable contract”—a provision that protects state worker benefits from being tinkered with after they’ve been hired. 
 

This week in state politics, federal education officials came to Kentucky to talk about ways to make schools safer and Gov. Matt Bevin said it all comes down to kids’ cell phone use. One of the Republican lawmakers who helped make changes to the state pension system says they’ll pass the bill again if it’s struck down by the courts. And the state’s new education commissioner talked about the potential costs of taking over Louisville’s school system. 

Federal School Safety Commission To Meet In Lexington

Jun 25, 2018
Wikimedia Commons

Federal education officials will be in Lexington on Tuesday to hear recommendations about how to make schools safer.

The panel is led by U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. 

The Federal Commission on School Safety also includes Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. 

The panel was created by President Donald Trump after the February school shooting in Parkland, Florida that left 14 people dead. 
 

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