Stu Johnson

The April tradition that is the Keeneland Spring Meet starts this weekend in Lexington.  It may begin under brisk, if not downright, chilly conditions.

Retiring Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education President Robert King was honored Monday by the general assembly.  The recognition came the same time as a massive outcry when educators from across the state crammed into the state capitol to protest pension reforms.


In part two of our conversation with U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, Kevin Willis of member station WKYU asked the Louisville Republican what he thought of this week’s news that President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin have talked about a face-to-face meeting.

U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell says he’s not opposed to President Trump meeting face-to-face with his Russian counterpart.

The White House has confirmed that Trump and Vladimir Putin recently spoke about a possible bi-lateral meeting.

Bill Monroe Museum Coming to Ohio County

Apr 4, 2018

The town of Rosine  in Ohio County finally has its own museum honoring native son Bill Monroe, who’s known as “The Father of Bluegrass.”

The community opening of the museum is scheduled for April 20th.

Memorabilia that’s long been in storage will now be on display for the public, including a couple of Monroe’s mandolins.

In addition, a banjo that belonged Rudy Lyle, one of the members of Monroe's band “The Bluegrass Boys" will be in the museum, along with other instruments, and an extensive collection of awards and photos.

A study by a Campbellsville University professor finds Kentucky has a lack of standardized programs aimed at helping former inmates re-enter society.

The Kentucky Department of Corrections released more than 12-hundred inmates in 2017. According to the report, two-thirds of those inmates will be rearrested within three years.

The CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky has a mixed reaction to the just approved cigarette tax increase in Frankfort.

  Ben Chandler and other health advocates had been pushing lawmakers to raise the per pack tax on cigarettes by one dollar.  “We think it was a missed opportunity because they’re not going to get the health benefits they would have gotten had they added a dollar on to the tax.  But, that being said, it is a historic tax increase here in Kentucky on a pack of cigarettes,” said Chandler.

Cheri Lawson

Women are leading the way in fields that for years were dominated by men. In the first of our series. “Women Leading the Way”  we feature  Toyota Motor Manufacturing  Kentucky's first female President, Susan Elkington.

Stu Johnson

Both Lexington’s city run baseball fields and Whitaker Bank Ballpark, home of the Lexington Legends, are now tobacco free.  The announcement came this morning at the ballpark facility off North Broadway. 

 Amy Barkley is with the statewide Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. “It just sort of reinforces what has already been happening in the minor leagues, which is the players are not allowed to use tobacco and now by making it clear that no-one in the entire facility is allowed to use tobacco, it continues that really positive role modeling that we need,” said Barkley.

Kentucky Lawmakers Send Budget And Tax Overhaul To Bevin

Apr 3, 2018
Stu Johnson

Kentucky’s Republican-led legislature has passed a new two-year state budget that cuts much of state government in order to put more money into the state’s ailing pension systems.






But lawmakers also approved about $680 million in new revenue by expanding the sales tax to 17 services ranging from auto repair to country club memberships and raising the tax on cigarettes.

Stu Johnson

Legislation to overhaul Kentucky’s foster care and adoption program has passed both houses of the general assembly.  Senate approval came Monday with a unanimous vote.  

Senate Acts on Taxes and Budget

Apr 3, 2018
Stu Johnson

Final votes on the state’s two year budget and a sizeable tax measure moved forward Monday in Frankfort. It came just before lawmakers break for ten days while the governor considers possible vetoes.

Teachers Descend On Kentucky Capitol To Protest Pension Changes

Apr 3, 2018
Stu Johnson

Thousands of teachers have packed into the State Capitol building in Frankfort to protest the Republican-led legislature’s passage of a bill overhauling the state’s pension systems last week.




The pension changes would no longer give conventional pensions to future teachers, instead providing them with cash-balance retirement plans that depend on the stock market but are guaranteed to not lose money.




An ethics panel will meet tomorrow to consider a case against four Republican lawmakers who signed a secret sexual harassment settlement. The hearing by the Legislative Ethics Commission is the result of a complaint filed by a Democratic lawmaker. 

Poor People's Campaign Stops in Kentucky, West Virginia

Apr 2, 2018

A national campaign that aims to unite disenfranchised populations across the U.S. held events in Kentucky and West Virginia late last week.  Meetings are part of a two-month tour designed to highlight social inequity, and build on a movement begun 50 years ago by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

UPDATE: Teachers Flood Capitol To Protest Pension

Apr 2, 2018


Thousands of Kentucky teachers have filled the streets near the state Capitol in Frankfort Monday to rally for education funding.

Teachers and other school employees gathered outside the Kentucky Education Association a couple of blocks from the Capitol chanting "Stop the war on public education" and holding or posting signs that say "We've Had Enough."


Republican leaders of the Kentucky legislature have unveiled a surprise overhaul of the state’s tax code on one of the last days of this year’s legislative session. 

The proposal is moving quickly toward final passage in the legislature and would be the first major change to the state’s tax code in nearly two decades. 

The bill establishes a flat income tax rate of 5 percent—currently Kentuckians are taxed at rates ranging from 2 percent to 6 percent, depending on income. 

Mary Meehan/Ohio Valley ReSource

Bridge Over Lake Herrington Permanently Closed

Apr 2, 2018

Families traveling to the Lake Herrington region this week for spring break may need an alternate route.  That’s because of a bridge closure on a nearby roadway.

A permanent closure is in effect for the existing Kennedy Mill Bridge connecting Mercer and Grant Counties.  State Transportation officials say the shutdown is necessary due to failures in the bridge deck and deterioration of the bridge truss. 

Stu Johnson

Kentucky lawmakers return to Frankfort later this morning to act on remaining bills including a possible vote on a two year spending plan.  Legislators from the House and Senate have been trying to reach consensus on the biennial budget.

When this discussion between House and Senate conferees began over a week ago there were some significant differences.  The House plan included calls for a 50 cent cigarette tax and a 25 cent levy on prescription opioids at the distribution level.  The senate backed plan didn’t include any tax increases.  

Teachers Storm Capitol Protesting Pension Bill

Mar 30, 2018


Teachers from around Kentucky descended on Frankfort Friday  morning to protest a surprise pension bill that was rushed through the state legislature the day before. About two dozen school districts were shut down because of teacher walk outs. 

Kentucky Lawmakers Pass Pension Bill

Mar 30, 2018
Stu Johnson

The Kentucky legislature has passed public pension reform legislation with just a few days left in the current 2018 session.  

Debate on the House and Senate floors was accompanied by almost non-stop protest chanting from current and retired teachers.

The brand new pension bill got committee approval in the early afternoon, House backing a few hours later, and Senate approval late in the night.  The 22-15 senate vote got quick reaction from teachers.

Howard Berkes/NPR

William McCool is a 64-year-old former coal miner from Letcher County, Kentucky, with an advanced form of black lung disease. Health experts say the condition is entirely preventable with dust control measures in mines. But today, more miners in Appalachia are being diagnosed with severe black lung than ever before.

After Day Of Private Meetings, Still No Agreement On Kentucky Budget

Mar 29, 2018

With time running out on this year’s legislative session, state budget leaders say they didn’t reach any compromises on a two-year spending plan during a day of closed-door meetings on Wednesday.

Questions remain about whether lawmakers will try and raise new revenue to boost the cash-strapped budget, what programs will be exempted from Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed 6.25 percent cuts and whether charter schools and a myriad of other state programs will be funded.

Senate budget chairman Chris McDaniel said lawmakers are slowly working towards a compromise.

EKU New Men's Basketball Coach Introduced

Mar 28, 2018
Stu Johnson

A formal introduction came Wednesday afternoon for Eastern Kentucky University’s new men’s head basketball coach A.W. Hamilton.  The Scott County native comes to Richmond following the dismissal of Dan McHale. 

Harlan County Miner Dies in Conveyer Belt Accident

Mar 28, 2018

A 29 year old eastern Kentucky man was killed Wednesday in a coal mining accident in Harlan County.  Hubert Grubbs suffered fatal injuries in a conveyer belt accident at a Panther Mine in Cumberland.

Officials with the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet say Grubbs was splicing a conveyer belt when the machine started unexpectedly, causing fatal injuries. 

All mining operations were shut down after the fatality and are being suspended while an investigation into the fatal accident continues.  The mine is in the process of a full inspection. 

Senate Acts This Week on MidWifery Legislation

Mar 28, 2018
Stu Johnson

Legislation tied to midwifery across Kentucky generated a great deal of debate in the state senate Tuesday.

Major Issues Still Pending As End Of Legislative Session Looms

Mar 28, 2018
Stu Johnson

As this year’s legislative session winds down, Kentucky lawmakers still have to make hard decisions on how the state will spend and make money over the next two years.


Republicans are solely in charge of writing the $22 billion two-year budget for the first time in state history, but leaders of the state House and Senate still disagree on the thorniest spending issues.

Package Liquor Quota Bill Advances to Full House

Mar 28, 2018

Legislation seeking to put into law an existing quota regulation for package liquor licensing continues to move through the Kentucky general assembly.  An effort to weaken the measure fell short in a House Committee Tuesday.

Kentucky Gang Bill Rolls Forward, Despite Protest

Mar 27, 2018
Stu Johnson

A bill that would broaden the definition of criminal gangs, give longer prison sentences to those labeled as gang members and increase penalties for gang recruiting is close to becoming law in Kentucky.

Supporters say the measure would discourage gang activity in the state, while opponents argue it would wrongly label some defendants as gang members and disproportionately affect African-American communities.

Stu Johnson

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he tends to focus on congressional decisions more than comments coming out of the White House.