State Capitol

Gov. Bevin Alleges Corruption Under Beshear Administration

Apr 19, 2016

Gov. Matt Bevin has launched an investigation into potential corruption under former Gov. Steve Beshear’s administration.

In a press conference Tuesday, Bevin alleged state employees were coerced into contributing to Democratic political campaigns, including those of Attorney General Andy Beshear and Bevin’s opponent in the governor’s race, former Attorney General Jack Conway.

State Budget Agreement Pleases Land Preservationists

Apr 18, 2016


The state budget adopted by the Kentucky general assembly last week maintains some funding for the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund.  Land preservationists are breathing a sigh of relief.

CPE Head Assessing State Budget Agreement Impact

Apr 14, 2016

The head of Kentucky’s Council on Post-secondary Education says the compromise state budget will have an effect on every college and university campus in the state.  Leaders from the House and Senate reached a compromise agreement early Thursday morning.  

Kentucky Lawmakers Reach Budget Deal; Over $1 Billion For Pensions

Apr 14, 2016

State lawmakers have come to an agreement on a budget that makes nearly across-the-board spending cuts, enacts performance funding for higher education and puts more money into the ailing state pension systems.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo called it “an adequate and effective blend” of the House, Senate and Gov. Matt Bevin’s budget priorities.

Senate President Robert Stivers said the bill was ready for a vote.

“I believe we have an agreement on all issues related to the budget,” Stivers said.

With Budget Talks Near Deadline, Bevin Says No Special Session

Apr 12, 2016

If lawmakers fail to pass a state budget by the end of the legislative session on Friday, Gov. Matt Bevin says he won’t call a special legislative session to give them more time.

If a two-year budget doesn’t pass by June 30, the state will be thrown into a partial government shutdown. Nonetheless, Bevin is adamant that he won’t give lawmakers more time.

“I will not reward the inability to do the job that people were sent here for by paying them extra money,” Bevin said. “The job can get done. I believe the job will get done because the job should get done.”

Ky. Attorney General Sues Bevin Over Education Cuts

Apr 11, 2016

Kentucky’s Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear announced on Monday he has filed suit against Republican Gov. Matt Bevin over the governor’s recent order imposing an immediate 4.5 percent funding cut to state colleges and universities.

The cut amounts to some $41 million in spending reductions from what the General Assembly had agreed to in a previous budget.

Beshear said Bevin’s current-year cuts to higher education violate the separation of powers between the three branches of government and are unconstitutional.

Budget Negotiations Still in Play in Frankfort

Apr 11, 2016

Kentucky House and Senate leaders have announced they will resume budget talks Tuesday and have moved the final day of the legislative session to Friday. 

Kentucky University Presidents Meet with Governor Again

Apr 8, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

    Kentucky’s public university presidents remain in dialogue with Governor Bevin on funding matters.  College heads met at the governor’s mansion Wednesday evening to discuss the current budget impasse. 

Eastern Kentucky University President Michael Benson says higher education funding was a bargaining chip when he presided over a college in Utah and so it remains in Kentucky.  “So happens this year that it’s a really big chip,” Benson said. “And it’s one that’s kind of, the analogy we use is kind of the ping pong ball getting knocked back and forth.”

Fewer Kentucky Workers Able To Help With Benefind Problems

Apr 5, 2016

Fewer people are able to help Kentuckians sign up for health insurance through the state exchange and Medicaid now that Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration has rolled out Benefind, an umbrella portal for state benefits.

So-called Kynectors — state workers and volunteers tasked with helping Kentuckians navigate the health exchange — said new regulations require them to refer most applicants to the Department of Community Based Services, a state agency that manages Benefind, which has been plagued by confusion and long wait times.

Ky. General Assembly Backs Additional 9-1-1 Funding

Apr 4, 2016


The Kentucky General Assembly has taken action to help localities across the Commonwealth maintain emergency 9-1-1 services.  It comes with increased costs for some cell phone users.

State Budget Impasse Remains an Issue

Apr 4, 2016

Kentucky lawmakers are deadlocked on a state budget but have to come up with a compromise by April 15th—the last day the state constitution allows them to meet.  If the stalemate continues, state government could be partially shut down. 

Leaders of the Democratic-led House refuse to accept cuts to K-12 and higher education proposed by Senate Republicans and Gov. Matt Bevin. GOP leaders say the cuts are necessary to put more money into the state’s ailing pension system. 

Attorney General Tells Bevin To Rescind Education Cuts, Threatens Suit

Apr 1, 2016

A day after Republican Gov. Matt Bevin issued an order cutting the state’s current contribution to higher education by 4.5 percent, Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear said that move is illegal.

In a news conference late Friday afternoon, Beshear — the state’s top law enforcement official — told Bevin to rescind his order, which made the cuts to state colleges and universities. He said if the governor did not do so within seven days, his office would file suit.

Reaction to Governor Bevin's Higher Ed Funding Cut

Apr 1, 2016

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin’s executive order cutting all state universities’ funding by four point five percent in the current fiscal year is drawing reaction from the higher education community.  That includes officials at Eastern Kentucky University.

Shaker's ‘Mammoth Bones’ Exhibit Opens This Weekend

Apr 1, 2016

Shaker Village in central Kentucky is opening an exhibit of mammoth proportions this weekend.  The brand new display brings attention to a Shaker find from the 1800’s.

Anti-Violence Advocates Applaud Passage of Kentucky’s SAFE Act

Mar 31, 2016

Advocates of survivors of sexual assault are hailing passage of the SAFE Act during the current Kentucky legislative session.  The Sexual Assault Forensic Exam measure addresses a backlog of more than 3,000 untested rape kits and calls for more training and data collection.  Gretchen Hunt is director of the Attorney General’s Office of Victim Advocacy.  “So many rape cases are truly acts of serial rapists and the sooner we can identify those individuals and bring about justice, the more sexual assaults we can prevent in the future,” said Hunt.

College Tuition Rates Featured During State Budget Talks

Mar 30, 2016


Budget talks this week in Frankfort have focused quite a bit on funding for the state’s colleges and universities, and the impact on tuition rates.  

Stu Johnson / WEKU News

Members of the Kentucky House and Senate will not meet in session Wednesday, but budget negotiations will continue.  After talks came to a standstill this week, leaders from both chambers decided to work on the spending plan Wednesday and likely Thursday, and then call members back into session on Friday.  House Speaker Greg Stumbo was asked if this strategy would work.  “If it doesn’t work, it won’t be because we didn’t try,” Stumbo said.  “This is pretty normal in the closing days of a lot of sessions, there is a little bit of confusion.  We are working very desperately to get a budget,

Governor Calls Out Stumbo, Democrats on State Budget Impasse

Mar 29, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

Republican Governor Matt Bevin and GOP legislative leaders held a news conference Tuesday morning to address the state budget standoff. Bevin said House democrats are unwilling to compromise on the spending plan. He maintained that all parts of the budget are up for negotiating.  “We are here, we are in session,” Bevin said.  “We will be here at any hour, on any day for the next two weeks to meet at any time to talk about this issue.”

Omnibus Alcohol Bill Moves Toward Final Approval

Mar 29, 2016

Legislation impacting Kentucky’s bourbon, beer, and wine industries appears headed for final passage.  The omnibus alcohol measure won House approval by a vote of 76 to 20 on Monday.   

Wilder Representative Dennis Keene says the bill supports growing businesses.  “This bill will expand current licensing and provide for new ones, and provide needed support for our bed and breakfasts, our distillers, our brewers, and most of all our small farm wineries,” said Keene.

Natural Hair Braiders' Bill Goes to Governor Bevin

Mar 29, 2016


Legislation that aims to help natural hair braiders in Kentucky has won the support of both Houses of the state General Assembly. The legislature Monday easily approved a measure that would exempt hair braiders from cosmetology regulations.

Stumbo: Compromise on State Budget Unlikely

Mar 28, 2016


Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo is suggesting that the current general assembly session may end without passage of a state budget. House and Senate budget conferees met during a public session Monday afternoon. 

Stumbo says the prospects of reaching agreement on a spending plan are slim.   “Well, I thought this morning there was a glimmer of hope, but it seems that’s vanished in the afternoon session," Stumbo said. "So I think we’re still light years apart."

Sharp Learning Curve for New House Members

Mar 28, 2016

  The last few days of Kentucky's legislative session seem to be moving in spurts.  That may be felt even more by the House’s newest members.

Four members of the Kentucky House started serving in Frankfort on March 15, following special elections held to fill vacant seats. Retired Greenup judge Lewis Nicholls says there are significant differences between the House floor and a courtroom.  “It’s a whole different set of procedures and the information that they’ve given to us," he said. "It’s kind of like drinking from a fire hose."

House, Senate Budget Negotiations Resume Monday

Mar 28, 2016

House and Senate conferees will go back to the table Monday to continue working toward a state budget agreement.  One of the remaining points of contention is funding for higher education. Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer said on Friday that it was difficult to predict what a compromise would look like.  “That’s why we have a conference committee and it would be premature for me to comment at this time as to where that’s gonna go,” said Thayer.

The Kentucky House on Friday approved a Senate bill aimed at giving the city of Louisville more authority in dealing with dilapidated housing.  Louisville Representative Jerry Miller says there are some 6,000 vacated properties in the river city.  “These areas unfortunately were hard hit by the recession and they’ve not bounced back," Miller said.  "So what we have are just some properties where the copper and all the metal has been stolen out of them. It is a true crisis in Louisville.”

State Budget Negotiations Continue

Mar 25, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

Kentucky House and Senate leaders are continuing negotiations on a compromise $21 billion two-year state budget.  Conferees worked through a number of issues Friday, but no firm decisions are expected just yet.  House Speaker Greg Stumbo says each side has key sticking points.  “We have large philosophical differences in how we should spend these tax dollars, obviously between the two chambers, and I don’t know if those are insurmountable,” said Stumbo.

Work to Reach Agreement on a State Budget Begins

Mar 25, 2016

Kentucky House and Senate conferees are beginning their work trying to reach agreement on a $21 billion budget.  It’s the first budget conference committee for Lexington Representative and Republican Whip Stan Lee.  “I don’t think the differences are as insurmountable as people once thought," Lee said. "I think the biggest movement happened when the House passed its version of the budget."

Lee says a major hurdle was crossed when the House decided not to borrow $3 billion to help remedy the state’s pension problems.  

Bourbon, Beer, and Wine Bill Appears Headed for Final Passage

Mar 24, 2016

    A bill seeking to make many changes to Kentucky’s alcohol laws appears to be moving toward final passage.  It impacts bourbon, beer, and wine industries in communities across the state.

The omnibus alcohol measure allows for increased production by small farm wineries and microbreweries, and aims to ease certain restrictions on the bourbon industry.  Union Senator John Schickel is the bill’s sponsor.  “Almost really in every category - the distilleries, small farm wineries, and craft breweries - everybody got something but nobody got everything they wanted,” said Schickel.

Ky. House Votes to Preserve Kynect, Medicaid Expansion

Mar 24, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News


The Kentucky House has voted to require operation of a state-run healthcare exchange similar to Kynect.  However the bill is unlikely to be considered in the state Senate.

House floor votes on the healthcare exchange bill and another measure to require an expansion of Medicaid, came early Tuesday evening.  Governor Matt Bevin is dismantling Kynect, the state-run exchange developed under former Governor Steve Beshear, and moving the commonwealth to a federal exchange. 

Ky. Senate Passes Its Version of the State Budget

Mar 24, 2016

The Kentucky Senate has passed a budget bill that contains most of Gov. Matt Bevin’s nearly across-the-board proposed spending cuts, including deep cuts to higher education.

The Senate budget also aligns closely with Bevin’s proposal to set aside money in the state rainy day fund and a “permanent fund” that Bevin says would be dedicated to shoring up the pension systems in the future.

Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee chairman Chris McDaniel said the proposal is “structurally balanced.”

House Approved ‘DUI Look Back’ Bill Goes to Gov. Bevin

Mar 23, 2016

Several Kentucky House members on Wednesday shared stories about how alcohol abuse has impacted their lives during a debate on legislation related to drunken driving penalties. Lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to double the period of time allowable to determine penalties for habitual drunk drivers from five to 10 years.