Supporters of right-to-work laws have had a hard time passing legislation in Kentucky through the Democrat-controlled House and governor’s office.

But if Republican candidate for governor Matt Bevin is elected, the House’s slim eight-person majority would be the only thing standing in the way of the legislation, which would forbid unions from demanding dues from its members as a condition of employment.

Kentucky AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan called Bevin a “Scott Walker clone,” comparing him to the Wisconsin governor known for anti-union politics.

“Right to work laws really undermine the ability of all workers to have a decent standard of living by undermining the ability of unions to negotiate effective contracts," Londrigan stated.

Right-to-work legislation was the Republican-led Senate’s top priority in the 2015 General Assembly. The body passed the measure in the first days of the session.

Earlier this summer, Governor Steve Beshear said the policy would do nothing to bring jobs to the state, calling it "artificial political issue.”

Local Right to Work Case Heads to Federal Court

2 hours ago
Lisa Autry

A federal judge will hear arguments on Tuesday about whether a Kentucky local government can stop employers from making workers join labor unions.

At least 12 counties in Kentucky have passed so-called "right to work" ordinances, the only such ordinances in the country. Labor leaders sued Hardin County after it passed its ordinance. Advocates say the ordinances help the counties attract jobs while labor leaders say it would hurt their negotiation power and could lead to lower wages.

It has become an issue in Kentucky's race for governor. Democratic nominee Jack Conway is also the state attorney general. His office put out an opinion last year saying local governments do not have the authority to pass such laws. Republican nominee Matt Bevin supports the laws saying it is the only way to keep Kentucky competitive.

The majority of Kentucky voters still don’t support same sex marriage.

According to a Bluegrass Poll released Monday, 53 percent of voters oppose a recent Supreme Court ruling overturning a same sex marriage ban in the state.  That’s compared to 57 percent opposition earlier this year.

Chris Hartman with the Fairness Campaign said he’s not surprised attitudes on this issue are changing slowly.

"The marriage numbers have been lagging a bit, but overall, the trend is undeniably toward approval of same-gender marriage," commented Hartman.

Hartman expects a majority of voters will eventually support gay marriage in the state.

Kentucky was one of four states involved in the case before the Supreme Court this summer that legalized gay marriage nationwide.

Rhonda J. Miler

As a new school year begins, some families in Bowling Green are getting a little extra help, through home visits sponsored by the city schools.

For one family, whose home was shattered by murder, the home visit helps kids, just be kids.

“We’ve got a homework basket so you can keep your supplies in there…”

At the home of Oberlina Cruz Velis and her seven children, Bowling Green City Schools Migrant Advocate Assistant Teresa Sneed has a basket of new school supplies. It’s for these children who had to leave everything behind in a desperate move from El Salvador three years ago.

“Our home visit today is the back-to-school information,” says Sneed. The visit is part of the school district’s Migrant Education program. Sneed has arrived with the school district’s Bilingual Recruiter Mildred Maradiaga, who serves as interpreter.

“We brought pencils, notebooks, loose leaf paper, information about our calendar for next year, and the daily hours for each school,” says Maradiaga.

Lisa Autry

A right-to-work lawsuit against Hardin County will be heard Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Louisville. 

Attorney Buddy Cutler is representing nine labor unions that filed the federal lawsuit.

"Our main argument is that under the National Labor Relations Act, only states, and not counties or cities have the right to pass so-called right-to-work ordinances," Cutler told WKU Public Radio.

Attorney Jason Nemes is co-counsel for Hardin County where magistrates passed a local right-to-work law in January. 

Nemes argues the National Labor Relations Act leaves local governments free to act on right-to-work laws.

"When Congress passes a statute that says states may or may not do something, that includes political subdivisions, and in Kentucky, that would include counties," Nemes added.

After years of stalled efforts to pass statewide legislation, twelve Kentucky counties have approved local right-to-work ordinances which allow employees to work in union businesses without paying union dues. 

A ruling on the lawsuit against Hardin County is expected in the fall.

Fancy Farm 2015

Aug 3, 2015
Emil Moffatt

For some in Western Kentucky, the Fancy Farm Picnic is about chopped mutton and pork, bingo and music. But for the rest of the state it’s that weekend in August when politicians roll up their shirt sleeves and yell into a sea of cheers and boos.  This year’s Fancy Farm continued that tradition—after getting over one plea for civility.

The annual Fancy Farm picnic at St. Jerome's Parish is...a little bit different from the rest of the events most politicians attend during a campaign.

These days, in an increasingly tweeted, snapped and streamed world, politicians prefer to deliver their messages in carefully-scripted commercials or well-rehearsed sound bites for the press.
But Fancy Farm is noisy. Chaotic. Rude. The crowd shouts over the candidates.
This year, Republican candidate for governor Matt Bevin attempted to diffuse the bedlam by leading the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance

In a state where President Barack Obama’s policies are deeply unpopular among the electorate, Democrats have leapt for the center and some believe they might have overshot it.

A Pre-Fancy Farm Bluegrass Poll shows a tight race for Kentucky Governor with Democrat Jack Conway leading Republican Matt Bevin by just 3 points. Democrats also lead in four out of the five down-ticket races. But all of them are close.

Nelson County Sheriff's Office

Today marks one month since a Bardstown mother of five went missing.  Thirty-five-year-old Crystal Rogers’ car was found with a flat tire on the Bluegrass Parkway in Nelson County.  Her keys, purse, and cell phone were still inside. 

Her mother Sherry Ballard says the search is exhausting but she's not giving up hope.

"Getting out there searching every day, it's hot, it's tiring, and you get discouraged because you don't find anything," Ballard told WKU Public Radio.  "It gets unbearable sometimes but we have to keep looking."

Rogers was last seen on her boyfriend’s family farm on July 3.  The farm has been searched, as well as a nearby lake. 

The boyfriend, Brooks Houck with whom she has a child, took a lie detector test but the results were inconclusive.  He maintains he had nothing to do with her disappearance.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Ann Gordon

An estimated 80,000 Kentuckians are serving as caregivers to family members suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia.

The Greater Kentucky-Southern Indiana chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association wants more of those caregivers to be better informed about resources available to them.

Community Outreach Coordinator Helene French says one of the most important lessons she tries to get across to caregivers is that they can’t do it alone.

“You need to build a team, and think about what that team is going to look like--of family and friends, neighbors, people in your community, your physician, and nurses, and community resources.”

French says caregivers should look into government and private programs that provide help with respite care for those with dementia. Some of the governmental services available are income-based, while others aren’t.

Chris Joslin

The incoming executive director of the International Bluegrass Music Museum brings a background in music and business to the job.

The Owensboro-based group today announced that Chris Joslin will lead the museum starting September 1. Joslin toured nationally with the bluegrass group Crucial Smith, playing banjo and resonator guitar, before working with a healthcare company and an executive search firm in Nashville.

Joslin received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Belmont University in Nashville, as well as a Masters of Business Administration from Belmont's Massey School of Business.

Joslin says he’s looking forward to being a part of the annual River of Music Party, held every summer in Owensboro.

“The work at the museum, combined with the energy and success of ROMP—it’s just a dream job.”

Another aspect of the job that attracted Joslin is a planned International Bluegrass Music Center, to be built in downtown Owensboro. Construction will start this fall, with the facility scheduled to open in 2017.

Joslin currently calls Franklin, Tennessee, home. He and his wife will soon make the move to Daviess County.

Gabrielle Gray, the longtime leader of the IBMM, stepped down in December.