State Capitol

Face of State Capitol Getting a Makeover

Nov 3, 2016
Stu Johnson

It’s been nearly a half century since the Frankfort home of Kentucky's government got the kind of attention it’s getting this fall as power washing crews tackle the front of the Capitol Building. 

Project Manager Bernie Engelman says this type of thorough cleaning and mortar joint work hasn’t been done for 40 to 50 years. 

He says it’s needed to help protect against weather-related damage,  “If water were to get into the cracks or into the mortar joints, and start getting in there, it could freeze and thaw and pop parts of the limestone off.”

kentucky.com

With fewer than three weeks before Election Day, Kentucky lawmakers on opposing sides of the aisle have differing views about the likelihood of a change in the state's House majority.  The GOP has been eyeing the 100-member chamber for years.

Kentucky Labor Secretary Pushes For Apprenticeships To Train Workforce

Oct 13, 2016
labor.ky.gov

Kentucky’s labor secretary is trying to get more employers to offer apprenticeship programs that provide employment and on-the-job training for new workers entering an industry.

 

There are currently about 1,100 employers that have registered apprenticeship programs in Kentucky, employing about 3,000 people.

Derrick Ramsey, secretary of the Labor Cabinet, said apprenticeship programs will help train Kentucky’s workforce and attract new businesses.

Ky. Officials Seek Extension On REAL ID Implementation

Oct 4, 2016
wkyt.com

State officials have requested an extension to bring the state’s driver license policies into compliance with federal regulations to avoid locking out Kentuckians from federal institutions, nuclear facilities and eventually, commercial airplanes.

All states are required to be in compliance with federal REAL ID driver licenses and state identification standards put into effect in 2008 to help abate terrorism. Kentucky is one of 31 states that is not compliant or has an extension that expires on Oct 10.

Judge Rules Bevin Can’t Overhaul U of L Board

Sep 28, 2016
wkyt.com

A judge has ruled that Gov. Matt Bevin cannot unilaterally reorganize a public university’s board of trustees and dismiss all of its members, calling it an “unprecedented assertion of executive power.”

In June, Bevin issued an executive order abolishing the University of Louisville’s board of trustees, citing dysfunction on the board. He later created a new board and appointed all new members. Attorney General Andy Beshear sued Bevin over the move.

kentucky.com

Kentucky’s highest court says the state’s Republican governor cannot cut the budgets of public colleges and universities without the approval of the state legislature.

The 5-2 ruling by the state Supreme Court reverses a lower court ruling that said Gov. Matt Bevin had the authority to order public colleges and universities not to spend all of the money the state legislature gave them.

Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear appealed, arguing Bevin’s order was illegal. A majority of the court agreed on Thursday, saying Bevin does not have that authority.

Bevin Joins Lawsuit Challenging New Overtime Pay Rule

Sep 21, 2016
wkyt.com

Gov. Bevin has added Kentucky to a multi-state lawsuit against the federal government over a new rule that makes more people eligible to receive overtime pay.

Starting in December, the new policy will require employers to pay overtime to people who make up to $47,476 a year ($913 per week). Currently employers only have to pay overtime to people who make up to $23,660 a year.

Bevin opposes the rule, saying it would increase employment costs for the state and private employers.

Lawmaker Alleges Bevin Pulled Road Project As Political Punishment

Aug 30, 2016
kentucky.com

Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo says Gov. Matt Bevin should be investigated for allegedly halting a road project as political punishment for a state representative who refused to switch political parties.

Rep. Russ Meyer, a Democrat from Nicholasville, released audio of a voicemail he received from the governor in December in which he says Bevin threatened retribution for not switching political parties.

Social Workers to Receive Pay Raises

Aug 15, 2016
chfs.ky.gov

    

More than 37 hundred Kentucky social workers and those in Family Support will see an increase in pay, effective next month.  The $4.8 million appropriation in the current two year state budget also impacts corrections workers.

Governor Creates New Claims Commission

Aug 9, 2016
kentucky.com

    

Governor Matt Bevin has issued an executive order that will consolidate three separate claims boards into a single administrative body. The Governor hopes the new organization will be both more efficient and more cost effective.

The new agency, called the Kentucky Claims Commission, will handle crime victim compensation, tax appeals, and negligence claims against the state.

Judge Rules on U of L Board Suit

Jul 29, 2016
rowlanddesign.com

    

A Franklin Court Judge Friday issued a temporary block on Governor Matt Bevin’s overhaul of the University of Louisville’s Board of Trustees. It’s a result of a challenge of the governor’s actions last month.

On June 17th, Governor Bevin issued an order abolishing the University of Louisville Board and appointing one that he has called “smaller and more efficient.”

Ky. Chief Justice to Head National Judiciary Groups

Jul 28, 2016
courier-journal.com

Kentucky’s Chief Justice has been selected to head two national judicial groups.  It’s the first time in a quarter century that a head jurist from the Commonwealth has held either of these posts.

Chief Justice John Minton is beginning a one year stint as president of the Conference of Chief Justices as well as being chair the National Center for State Courts Board of Directors. 

Ky. Expungement Law Takes Effect

Jul 15, 2016
lawhelplouisville.com

Kentuckians with certain felony convictions can now begin the process of having such Class D offenses expunged.  July 15th marks the first effective day of the legislation approved by lawmakers earlier this year. 

Kentucky Public Advocate Ed Monahan expects thousands to seek removal of non-violent felonies.  “Once they get rid of that one felony, they’re going to come out from under an economic death sentence and their going to have a chance to provide better for their families and be even better contributors to their community,” explained Monahan.

State Launching $100 Million Workforce Development Initiative

Jul 13, 2016
wtvq.com

   Governor Bevin has officially kicked off a $100 million statewide bond program focusing on enhancing workforce development.  The Work Ready Skills Initiative seeks to better align education programs with workforce needs.

West Virginia and Louisiana Lawmakers Weigh-In On Medicaid

Jul 13, 2016
kyforward.com

State officials in communities all across the country wrestle with some of the same issues.  The future of Medicaid is a popular topic in Kentucky and other states.  Lawmakers from 15 states have been in Lexington for the Southern Legislative Conference. 

Group Seeks to Make Davis Statue Harder to Move from Capitol Rotunda

Jul 11, 2016
wkms.org

Kentucky's state curator says a citizens group is seeking a special military designation for a statue of former Confederate president Jefferson Davis, displayed in Kentucky's Capitol Rotunda. 

The Friends of the Jefferson Davis State Historic Site told The Lexington Herald-Leader it wants the statue to remain where it's been for decades. Placing the statue on the Military Heritage Commission's list of military sites and objects would likely make it more difficult to ever relocate it.

Bevin Pushes For Reduced Regs, Doesn’t Name Any He’d Remove

Jul 6, 2016
courier-journal.com

Gov. Matt Bevin is taking requests to remove state regulations, which he says prevent businesses from relocating to Kentucky.

Bevin’s office has set up a website, RedTapeReduction.comwhere people can “report a reg” and describe how the policy is “hurting you/your business.”

In a video announcing the initiative, Bevin said removing regulations will make Kentucky more attractive to businesses looking to relocate.

Statewide ‘Fairness’ Bill Still Faces Political Hurdles In Kentucky

Jul 5, 2016
wkyt.com

    

Liberal state lawmakers have for 16 years pushed for a bill that would amend Kentucky’s civil rights code to protect people from discrimination in the workplace, housing and other areas based on their sexual orientation.

Dubbed the fairness bill, the measure has gotten considerable attention from the press and advocates each year it’s been proposed, but it hasn’t ever gotten traction in the legislature.

These Are The New State Laws That Go Into Effect This Month

Jul 4, 2016
lrc.state.ky.us

Although the 2016 General Assembly ended back in April, its effects will be felt in mid-July, when a bevy of laws go into effect.

Most new laws are given a 90-day window for state agencies and other offices to prepare for their implementation. Here’s a rundown of some of the major laws that will take effect on July 15.

Amid Overcrowding, Kentucky Considers Reopening Private Prisons

Jun 24, 2016
courier-journal.com

    State prisons are at capacity, county jails are overcrowded and the state is recommending transferring about 1,600 inmates to private prisons that have been shuttered for the past several years.

Officials ended the state’s last private prison contract in 2013, partly as a cost savings measure and also in response to scandals at privately owned prisons in the state.

Beshear And Bevin Go To Court Over Board Overhauls

Jun 24, 2016
flickr.com

The latest legal challenge against Gov. Matt Bevin had its first hearing Thursday — Attorney General Andy Beshear is attempting to join a lawsuit contesting Bevin’s reorganization of the Kentucky Retirement Systems board, which manages retirement funds for state workers.

Beshear is also trying to challenge Bevin’s overhaul of the University of Louisville board of trustees in the same move, arguing that both reorganizations should be tried at the same time.

Bevin’s Medicaid Changes Would Charge New Premiums

Jun 22, 2016
scoopnest.com

    At a news conference Wednesday morning in Frankfort, Gov. Matt Bevin announced his much-anticipated plan to remake the state’s expanded Medicaid system.

Kentucky Attorney General Will Sue Bevin Over U of L Action

Jun 22, 2016
kentucky.com

Attorney General Andy Beshear is suing Gov. Matt Bevin for abolishing and then reinstating the boards of trustees of both the University of Louisville and Kentucky Retirement Systems, the state agency that manages the pensions of most state employees.

Bevin appointed new members and changed the number of seats on each panel on Friday. In both cases, Bevin said the moves were made to achieve a “fresh start.”

On Wednesdy, Beshear said Bevin had overstepped his power.

“The opportunity for abuse of power here is evident, and it’s scary,” Beshear said.

Gov. Bevin Forms Criminal Justice Task Force

Jun 21, 2016
courier-journal.com

Gov. Matt Bevin said he wants Kentucky to “lead the way” on criminal justice reform and has appointed a council tasked with producing legislative ideas for next year’s General Assembly.

The 23-member committee includes state officials, legislators and advocates from around the state.

Bevin said the state’s laws need to be changed to save money and allow those convicted of crimes to more effectively rejoin society.

With Executive Power Expansions, Gov. Bevin Draws Lawsuits

Jun 20, 2016
wkyt.com

Only six months into his first term in office, Gov. Matt Bevin is involved in an array of lawsuits, some of which may have ramifications long beyond his administration.

Executive orders made by Bevin have raised legal questions about the limits of the executive branch’s power in the state — power that has been flexed more by some governors than others.

Former Republican Secretary of State Trey Grayson said Bevin is set on reestablishing the “preeminence” of the governor’s office.

Formation of Elder Abuse Task Force Announced

Jun 16, 2016
forthepeople.com

Attorney General Andy Beshear held a ceremony in Frankfort Wednesday to honor World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The event was also was to announce the formation of the Elder Abuse Task Force.

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky Kerry Harvey came together with the attorney of the Western District to represent two of ten districts across the nation selected for the Elder Justice Task Force. Its purpose, Harvey says, is to protect the elderly from a host of problems such as abuse and neglect in nursing homes, and identity theft.

Kentucky Tax Revenues Down In May

Jun 13, 2016
wkyufm.org

Despite a strong showing during the first 10 months of the year, tax revenue was down last month in Kentucky, dashing hopes of a sizable surplus at the end of the fiscal year on June 30.

State revenues are still expected to have grown by 3.9 percent over the fiscal year, slightly above the rate the state estimated and budgeted for of 3.2 percent.

“Monthly revenue collections were hampered by declines in several accounts, some expected and some not,” state budget director John Chilton said in a news release.

courier-journal.com

An effort is underway in Kentucky to replace a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in the Capitol Rotunda with a tribute to boxing legend MuhammadAli. 

Lexington attorney and former State Treasurer Jonathan Miller has begun anonline petition seeking the change.  Miller says Ali’s recent death has more people talking about his place in history. 

Activists Demand Change From Bevin After Gynnya McMillen Death

May 20, 2016
madmo.tumblr.com

In a demonstration at the state Capitol on Thursday, activists called on Gov. Matt Bevin to make reforms to the state’s juvenile detention system after the death of Gynnya McMillen, the 17-year old girl who died while in custody at a Hardin County detention center earlier this year.

Gynnya died in her sleep while at the Lincoln Village Juvenile Detention Center. As part of an internal state investigation earlier this year, officials found deficiencies in the teen’s care, as well as misconduct by employees at Lincoln Village.

bizjournal.com

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear says it could be several months before a final state court ruling in his lawsuit against Governor Matt Bevin. 

Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate ruled Wednesday the governor had proper authority in ordering a two percent reduction in current year funding for public universities and colleges. 

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