Voter turnout in the Nov. 5 general election in Kentucky surged past the prediction by the secretary of state. Alison Lundergan Grimes predicted a 31 percent voter turnout for the election for governor and other statewide offices, but voters easily beat that prediction, with 42 percent casting ballots.

Warren County Clerk Lynnette Yates said both political parties had so much at stake in the governor’s race that it ignited an unusual amount of voter interest. 

Ryland Barton/WFPL

  Kentucky Commissioner of Education Wayne Lewis says it is not within the Kentucky Department of Education’s authority to investigate political emails sent from a private individual to teachers’ professional email accounts.

On Wednesday, the Kentucky Education Association called for Lewis or the Kentucky Board of Education to lead a state investigation into political emails teachers in several rural Kentucky school districts received at work. 

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.

J. Tyler Franklin/WFPL

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.


Members of a legislative budget subcommittee got a status report on teacher training Thursday.  Officials representing elementary, secondary and postsecondary teachers testified before the House panel.  

Taylorsville Representative Jim Tipton chairs the subcommittee. “We hear a lot that a lot of our communities and schools are having challenges, having qualified applicants for teaching positions,” said Tipton.

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.


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. 

A bill that would allow a select number of Tennessee teachers to carry guns in school is 

advancing in that state’s legislature. 

The measure passed a Tennessee House subcommittee at a time when the nation is debating gun control measures following the killings in Parkland, Florida. 

The Tennessean reports the bill would empower school boards and school directors to create policies that allow select staff members to carry a concealed firearm on school grounds. 

Under the measure, schools could have one employee with a gun for every 75 students. 


Retired teachers are voicing concerns about the ability to for Kentucky schools to hire quality teachers should a core component of the proposed pension plan be enacted. Kentucky Retired Teachers Association Executive Director Tim Abrams says having teachers switch to 401(a) plans would be a drain on taxpayers and offer fewer benefits.

Abrams said many teachers are willing to forgo cost-of-living adjustments to help fix the system. That is, he said, until he tells them what it would mean to their bankbook.