A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Amye Bensenhaver: Plenty of reasons to care about Texas’ Enrique Iglesias public records case

In December 2015, Enrique Iglesias performed for one hour at a McAllen, Texas holiday event sponsored by the city. Who cares, right? The answer is: Those who believe public officials are accountable through their records for the expenditure of public funds. For just over four years, the city denied the public access to its contract with Iglesias under a Texas court opinion interpreting the state’s...

Sen. John Schickel: A legislative update to keep you informed about what’s happening in the legislature

I was honored to sponsor the second piece of legislation passed out of the Kentucky State Senate this year. Senate Bill 11 (SB 11) protects landlords against tenants who intentionally destroy their property. This legislation was filed at the request of small business owners who rent apartments. Thank you to Boone County Commissioner Jesse Brewer, who authored the bill.   The 60-day legislative session...

Bill Straub: The whole world is watching the ‘dive,’ but that’s the way it goes in McConnell’s world

America hasn’t witnessed a dive like this since Sonny Liston kissed the canvas after that infamous “phantom punch’’ from a young Muhammed Ali up in Lewison, ME, in ’65. And, just as then, the whole world is watching. Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell, of Louisville, has made it crystal clear that, regardless of whatever information comes to the fore, the...

Jim Waters: Fix state’s retirement systems; one idea: no more sick day accumulation to spike pensions

Legislators campaigning to hold on to their seats may be jittery about dealing with controversial pension reform, but the problems plaguing the state’s retirement systems don’t hibernate just because there’s an election. Despite record amounts of funding in recent years, the ailing Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) is saddled with $14.5 billion worth of liabilities, remains under 60% funded...

Whitney Westerfield: Victims of crime are still counting on you, Kentucky; we need Marsy’s Law

In 2018, the General Assembly and Kentucky voters demonstrated their strong support for crime victims when they overwhelmingly adopted the Marsy’s Law constitutional amendment. Their intent was as clear as their message: “you deserve better, we support you, and your voice matters”. Victims were able to breathe a sigh of relief knowing they would finally be afforded the same level of constitutional...

Rob and Lauren Hudson: Letter of Common Ground about free enterprise, freedom and hope

Letters for families based on the book “It Can Be Done” @studentsleadusa We want an economic system that features hope because hope propels us forward and it leads to perseverance in difficult circumstances. We write to make a case for promoting freedom and capitalism because they have helped provide hope to hundreds of millions of Americans. In a free market system, productive effort usually leads...

Sen. Schroder: Senate leadership identifies priority bills; crafting a budget no easy task

During the first week of the 154th Regular Session of the Kentucky General Assembly, Senate leadership named priority bills and the House of Representatives prepared to work on a multi-billion-dollar budget to carry the state through 2022. Sen. Schroder and other members of the Kentucky General Assembly recognized members of the law enforcement community and their families during the first week of...

Commentary: New generation set to lead Kentucky as torch is passed and challenges remain

By Ashli Watts and OJ Oleka In 1960, as the American people entered a new year and, notably, a new decade, the electorate chose a new face to serve as its president. As the youngest president ever elected, John F. Kennedy’s historic victory signaled that a new generation of leadership was ready to serve. He would say so himself in his inaugural address: “Let the word go forth … the torch has...

Amye Bensenhaver: Public agency compliance with open records law is step in right direction

Rep. Maria Sorolis, D-Louisville, filed HB 232 on January 9. The bill is aimed at promoting public agency compliance with Kentucky’s open records law by means of mandatory attorney fee-shifting in cases where a court finds that a public agency willfully withheld public records in violation of the law. Kentucky’s current law provides for discretionary attorney fee-shifting. This means that in cases...

Al Cross: We have waited patiently for the moment that Mitch McConnell would come to his senses. . .

More than once, this space has said Mitch McConnell would face a day of reckoning in his relationship with Donald Trump – a moment when the Senate majority leader would have to decide to maintain fealty to the president of his party or would say, at least to himself, that “enough is enough” when it comes to Trump’s use of the presidency to serve his personal interests.                We...

Charlotte Whittaker: Big Pharma’s prices just keep going up and up — Senate needs to pass HR 3

The price of a new invention usually falls as more people adopt it, but prescription drug prices somehow defy gravity. Kentuckians, like all Americans, pay among the highest drug prices in the world, and prices keep climbing. We can’t change the laws of physics, but we can and must change federal law to bring needed relief. For prescription drugs on the market, you might expect any price increase...

Bill Straub: Sanctuary Cities — now, is this really the No. 1 problem facing a state like Kentucky?

It’s no secret that Kentucky, sadly, has been a bottom feeder among the states for so long that it swims almost undistinguished from the carp and the flounder. Consider just a few items. The Commonwealth ranks 46th in per capita income, 46th in residents with a high school diploma or higher (48th with a bachelor’s degree for those keeping score at home), 43rd in child poverty, 48th in a measure...

Constance Alexander: Fahrenheit 451 sparks programs about literacy, public libraries, free speech

For a man who wrote stories that make spines tingle and raise hairs on the back of the neck, author Ray Bradbury was a just a regular guy. Sure, he had a fabulous imagination and earned worldwide renown, but his beginnings were humble, his tastes simple, his education unique. “I spent three days a week for 10 years educating myself in the public library,” he said, “and it’s better than college....

Daniel Cameron: Remarks on becoming Attorney General; will uphold the law ‘without fear or favor’

It is an honor to be here, standing among this esteemed group of constitutional officers, who share a collective vision for a stronger Kentucky. I look forward to working with all of them in the coming years. It is with both humility and excitement that I share with you my vision for the office of the Attorney General. Let me start by saying that we have hit the ground running. We are building a staff...

Rob and Lauren Hudson: Letter of Common Ground about other economic systems; for fair discussion

Letters for families based on the book “It Can Be Done” @studentsleadusa Because of America’s liberties, capitalism became the natural basis for our economy, but of course, it’s not the only basis for an economy. Other systems, such as fascism, communism, socialism, or some blend of these ideas, all involve large, controlling governments. We write to explain several deficiencies in...