Richard Brown was re-appointed to the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights earlier this year. He was also inducted into the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame for his life-long work fighting for racial equality.
Joe Corcoran spoke with Richard Brown about his decades of leading the struggle for equality.
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has announced that he won't pursue expanding the state's Medicaid program to help cover the uninsured as part of the federal Affordable Care Act.
Haslam told a joint session of state lawmakers Wednesday that he decided not to do that because he prefers a third option to use federal money to subsidize private insurance. The federal government hasn't accepted that proposal.
Expanding TennCare, the state's Medicaid program, had been estimated to cover roughly 140,000 of Tennessee's nearly 1 million uninsured residents and bring in $1.4 billion in federal money.
Haslam is among the last of the Republican governors to declare a decision on expansion. Both the health care program and President Barack Obama are widely unpopular in the highly Republican state.
Kentucky's legislative leaders have passed two bills to shore up the state's underfunded pension systems, effectively staving off a special session on the issue.
The new plan would reduce a personal tax credit of $20 to $10, generating roughly 33 million in revenue that would go to General Fund, but lawmakers would use for pensions. It would also use revenue from technical changes in the state's tax code, as well as money from federal tax changes.
Overall, the plan would generate $96 million in the 2015 fiscal year and $100 million in 2016 fiscal year.
In a news conference with legislative leaders after the bill passed, Governor Steve Beshear said the process will work as a template for other states.
"This is a good solution to a thorny problem. A solution that other states around the country will be looking at as they look at options to solve their own crises," Beshear said.
A bill requiring prompt pay for health care providers participating in Kentucky's Medicaid managed-care system is heading to the governor's desk—but it could be vetoed.
The bill, sponsored by House Speaker Greg Stumbo and would move disputes between providers and managed care organizations to the Department of Insurance to be settled.
Many Medicaid managed-care providers providers over late or non-existent payments from the MCOs for the services they did, repeatedly telling lawmakers their problems.
The House passed the legislature in February and the Senate OKed it on Monday.
But the bill isn't favored by the MCOs and the Cabinet for Health and Family services, which currently hears disputes, has concerns too, leading some to believe Gov. Steve Beshear will veto it. And if it is vetoed, Stumbo said he'll make a larger priority in 2014.
A Christians-only health care plan would be allowed to resume operations in Kentucky under a measure approved by the House on Tuesday.
The House passed the measure 88-8 on Tuesday, sending it back to the Senate for final passage.
The proposal would exempt the Medi-Share ministry from state insurance regulations. A Franklin County circuit judge ordered the ministry to shut down last year at the Kentucky Insurance Department's request. The bill in its current form would require members to sign a notice acknowledging they're aware they may not have their claims paid.
The plan resembles secular insurance in some ways but only allows participation by people who pledge to live Christian lives with no smoking, drinking, using drugs or having sex outside of marriage.
Negotiations have broken down on a bill that would allow Kentucky to quickly license hemp growers if the federal government ever lifts a ban on the crop, according to a state legislative leader.
House Floor Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Catlettsburg, had voiced optimism early Monday that a deal could be struck between House and Senate negotiators before the Legislature adjourns on Tuesday. However, by Monday night, he said he was disappointed by the lack of progress.
The hemp legislation has been hotly debated this year in Frankfort and was languishing in the House before Adkins stepped in with a proposal that seemed to revive it.
Hemp thrived as a crop in Kentucky generations ago but has been banned for decades by the federal government after it was classified as a controlled substance.
Some state lawmakers believe the Tennessee General Assembly may have gone too far with cost-cutting when it wiped out oversight committees looking out for children.
Governor Bill Haslam was asked whether he supports a push by Democrats to reestablish the panel that looked over the troubled Department of Children’s Services.
“You can’t have 133 bosses. That doesn’t work. But having said that, there is a legitimate role for legislative oversight, and we’d love to be a part of that conversation about what that should look like going forward," said the Governor.
Haslam says the debate should be about more than DCS.
The Glasgow City Council has unanimously passed a resolution pledging the city's support for an expansion of the WKU-Glasgow campus.
Glasgow mayor Rhonda Riherd Trautman says the resolution passed at Monday night's meeting offers the city's bonding authority to help fund a building expansion at the school's regional campus in Barren County.
WKU President Gary Ransdell has talked repeatedly in recent weeks about the need for the school to find alternative revenue streams in order to pay for major projects, in light of declining state aid for higher education.
WKU-Glasgow administrators say they need more classrooms, office space, and food services.