A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kristin Baldwin: NKY has dismal voter turnout; what to do to encourage participation, stronger voice?

Kentucky legislators elected in the 2018 midterm elections have taken office, ready to get to work on setting policy at the local, state and federal levels. As they begin to set the agenda for what they want to accomplish, will Northern Kentucky be a focus for them? We have a concern that the answer is likely not. Why? Northern Kentucky has one of the lowest voter turnouts in the Commonwealth, with...

Amye Bensenhaver: Some things shouldn’t change; ‘selective disclosure’ does not apply to open records

A bedrock principle of the open records law has recently come under fire. BR 821, pre-filed by Danny Carroll (R-Paducah), was quickly withdrawn after access advocates vociferously criticized the bill. Among other offensive proposals, the bill would permit courts to impose agency attorneys’ fees on open records requesters in cases in which the court found the requesters’ purpose “inproper.”...

Mark Glasper: Stop pharmacy benefits managers from fleecing Kentuckians – eliminate middlemen

Thanks to new federal and state laws, including Rep. Michael Meredith’s House Bill 463 from 2018, your pharmacist can finally inform you when the real price of your medicine is less than the copayment charged by your insurer. This much-needed transparency means consumers will finally be aware of something that happens far more often than they know.   But this is only the tip of the iceberg when...

Wayne Lewis: 2019 legislative agenda prioritizes student success and parent empowerment

The Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) has approved a list of legislative priorities for the 2019 session of the General Assembly that places student success and preparedness and family empowerment at the center of our legislative efforts during the upcoming session. Admittedly, our agenda is ambitious, but I believe the legislative changes we are seeking are central to taking the next critical steps...

Bill Straub: Even the ‘best bad idea’ won’t get the Republicans out the hole Trump has dug for them

Some years ago, Steve Martin (yeah, the guy with the banjo), then an up-and-coming standup comic, introduced a routine and produced an album he titled “Let’s Get Small.” “I like to get small,’’ Martin would tell his always enthusiastic audience. “It’s a wild, wild drug.” Well, apparently Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell has uncovered Martin’s...

Amye Bensenhaver: An analysis of statutory scheme that undermines Kentucky’s open records law

The unnamed authors of BR 821, sponsored by Representative Danny Carroll (R-Paducah), are described by Carroll as “a state Homeland Security employee and a Secret Service agent working in Kentucky.” They have accomplished something hitherto unknown in the annals of Kentucky’s open government laws: a legislative proposal that disserves both the public and public agencies. BR 821 creates a statutory...

Commentary: Leaders of state’s three largest airports say infrastructure should be top KY priority in 2019

By Dan Mann, Candace McGraw, and Eric Frankl As leaders of Kentucky’s three largest commercial service airports, we understand that infrastructure investment is critical to our state’s continued economic success. Dan Mann Our airports are critical infrastructure assets to Kentucky, supporting more than 100,000 jobs and creating a $13 billion impact for the Commonwealth and the Louisville, Lexington,...

Melissa Martin: An alternative history of Appalachia by Elizabeth Catte, a rebuttal to ‘Hillbilly Elegy’

The Appalachian region, defined by the Appalachian Regional Commission, includes 420 counties in 13 states in the United States. All of West Virginia, parts of Kentucky, and parts of Ohio are considered Appalachian. The story of an Appalachian family was told by J.D. Vance in his 2017 book, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir Of A Family And Culture In Crisis. It will soon become a Ron Howard Hollywood movie. Many...

Melissa Martin: Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock — looking back so we can look forward to do more, be more

So long 2018 — Hello 2019. Another year (2018) has departed — 12 months, 52 weeks, and 365 days have ticked away. The residue of events, happenings, and goings-on of 2018 dwell in newspapers, history books, human memories—and in the bowels of computer hard drives, cell phones, and other techno devices. More time has passed — 8760 hours, 525,600 minutes, and 31,536,000 seconds have ticked away....

Bill Straub: Think of all the great acts. Give big round of applause for McConnell, Paul and Trump?

In the past, we’ve had Laurel and Hardy, Burns and Allen, Abbott and Costello. Now we have McConnell and Trump. In an interview with columnist Fred Barnes, an acquaintance from the days of appearing on “Issues in the News’’ over the Voice of America, Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell, of Louisville, squealed like a four-year-old holding a double-scoop ice cream...

Nisia Thornton: Facts are stubborn things — a response to Bevin’s assessment of KY economy

Facts are stubborn things. A former high school teacher, a current nurse educator, and a lifelong avid reader, researcher and writer, I daily deal with facts and the vision they fuel. And as a lifelong Kentuckian, I really do believe that “united we stand, divided we fall.” That’s why I grieve for my state, because more and more of us are being left behind by GOP policies. KCEP director Jason...

Mike Farrell: It’s New Year’s Day; time for resolutions — as in, what are you doing about freedom?

What would New Year’s be without the Rose Parade, college football, and, of course, New Year’s resolutions? Resolutions and New Year’s are almost synonymous. But many of us would not feel obligated to make these pledges of self-improvement if we had eaten fewer Christmas cookies or reined in our gift buying. But alas, we didn’t. Resolutions, according to history.com, are 4,000 years old, all...

Amye Bensenhaver: The year in review — open government defeats and victories in 2018

From a failed legislative attempt to undermine the open records law by redefining “public record” to exclude public officials’ communications about public business on their private devices and accounts to a series of cases reaffirming the principles that support that law, Kentucky’s open government laws experienced legislative defeats and judicial victories in 2018. Along the way, we were regularly...

Governor Matt Bevin: Legislators must address Kentucky’s pension crisis

When I ran for Governor in 2015, I launched a seven-point plan outlining my vision for moving Kentucky forward, entitled the “Blueprint For A Better Kentucky.” The plan was ambitious and unapologetic in its call to change government, grow our economy and enact policies that would modernize education, healthcare and our tax code. Above all, however, I noted that no matter what we accomplish in any...

Commentary: Business and education leaders set four urgent goals for the coming decade

By Dave Adkisson and Aaron Thompson Kentucky must aggressively up its game if we’re going to compete for talent and quality jobs in today’s international economy. Top-flight education and the workforce it produces are key factors in the success of the state and its citizens, but we are struggling to educate and train enough people to be productive and responsible citizens and employees. The struggle...