Jonathan Meador

Frankfort Bureau Chief

Jonathan is the Frankfort bureau chief for Kentucky Public Radio.

Meador worked previously as a staff writer for the Nashville Scene and LEO Weekly. Recently, he co-authored, along with R.G. Dunlop of the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, an investigation into sexual harassment complaints against State Rep. John Arnold which led to Arnold’s resignation. His work has been honored with several awards from the Louisville Society of Professional Journalists.

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Regional
2:16 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Religious Coalition Protests 'Misleading' Anti-Abortion Claims

A pro-choice religious group says a Kentucky-based abortion counseling center is using misleading tactics to dissuade women from getting the procedure.

The Kentucky Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice led 40 protesters over the weekend in a demonstration against downtown Louisville’s  “A Woman’s Choice Resource Center.”  KRCRC president Caitlin Willenbrink says the counseling center is one of 100 similar faith-based anti-abortion organizations that use false science .

“They also give out a lot of information that isn’t credible, like information that draws a link between abortion and breast cancer or abortion and mental health issues,” said Willenbrink. “That’s not supported by credible science.”

Willenbrink designed the protest, she says, to draw attention to the issue in advance of the National Right-to-Life Conference, which will be held at the Kentucky International Convention Center this weekend.

Health
5:28 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Lawmakers Hear Impassioned Testimony Over Legalizing Medical Marijuana

Will Kentucky be the next state to legalize medical marijuana?

State lawmakers heard Wednesday another round of impassioned testimony over legalizing medical marijuana in the state.

The legislature’s Interim Joint Committee on Health & Welfare heard pleas from a nurse practitioner and people with disabilities who say that the drug, which is currently available for medicinal use in 22 states, would alleviate symptoms of pain.

Louisville Democratic Rep.Tom Burch says he thinks it’s just a matter of time before it’s legalized for medical use.

“I was here when we criminalized the use of marijuana back in the 70s," Burch said. "It was a rush to, you know, get these criminals off the street, and all this kind of stuff that was going on. It was ill advised, but it was a good election year and everybody wanted to be against crime, so that's why we passed it, so that a little bag of marijuana would get you five years."

The legislature will take up the issue again next month when it will examine the effects of marijuana on post-traumatic stress disorder in combat veterans.

Politics
5:10 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Edelen Rules Out 2015 Run for Kentucky Governor

State Auditor Adam Edelen

Citing a need to be with his family, Democratic Kentucky State Auditor Adam Edelen has declared he won't run for governor next year.

Speculation was rampant that Edelen would enter the contest, but he quelled it with an announcement  Wednesday. 

“My wife and my sons were all gung-ho for me to run, but at the end of the day I made the determination that I’d rather spend the next year-and-a-half coaching little league and catching crooks and running for re-election than I would worrying about my name ID in a governor’s race,” said Edelen

Attorney General Jack Conway is currently the only Democrat seeking the governor's office. 

Edelen says he is withholding any endorsements until more candidates enter the race. 

But he thinks Conway will benefit from greater name recognition among voters. Republican Hal Heiner of Louisville is the only Republican to announce a gubernatorial candidacy so far.

Edelen says he is “absolutely” considering running for governor in the future.

Regional
4:56 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Beshear Addresses National Healthcare Conference

Gov. Steve Beshear

Gov. Steve Beshear addressed a national healthcare conference Tuesday in Washington, where he touted Kentucky’s success in implementing the Affordable Care Act.

Beshear told attendees at the State of Enrollment conference that while Kentuckians continue to hold a negative view of President Barack Obama and his health care law, people are big fans of the state’s health insurance exchange, Kynect.

“Another thing we did was carefully separate the politics of the Affordable Care Act from the health care impact of Kynect," said Beshear. "That was a very fine line to walk, and I’m still walking it.”

State Democrats have picked up on the messaging, frequently referring to the state’s implementation as “Beshearcare.”

More than 421,000 Kentuckians have enrolled through Kynect during its six-month opening signup period.

Regional
5:45 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Beshear Says Kentucky Needs Flexibility From EPA on New Carbon Standards

Gov. Steve Beshear

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear says proposed federal regulations on carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants provide the state with some “flexibility” in meeting government targets.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced this month that the nation must reduce carbon emissions created by burning coal by 30 percent.

“I am glad that the EPA recognized that states need flexibility. We tried to make that point with them over and over again as they developed this rule,” said Beshear. “What I’m concerned about is they, I’m not sure they’ve given us as much flexibility as we need.”

An analysis by Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance research arm found that Kentucky could actually be able to increase its carbon emissions up to 4 percent under the EPA rules.

“We all want a clean environment, and I think we all share that goal. It’s a difference in balance and how we phase in those standards and how we can reach them, and at the same time keep coal jobs in the coal fields and keep manufacturing jobs in Kentucky,” said Beshear.

Regional
5:16 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Beshear: Budget Shortfall Won't Affect Education

Gov. Steve Beshear

Recent state revenue receipts show that Kentucky’s real income is falling short of projections and will lead to a multi-million dollar budget shortfall.

State Budget Director Jane Driskell says the state will have to raise revenues by about 12 percent to make up for a nearly $28 million hole that could grow larger if revenues continue to underperform.

But Gov. Steve Beshear, who championed a restoration of education funding during this year’s General Assembly, says if spending cuts need to be juggled to make up for the shortfall, education spending should not be disrupted.

“I can assure you this: The investments that we are making in the next two years in things like education of our kids are not going to be touched," said Beshear.  "We’re not going to interfere with what great steps we have taken to move education forward in Kentucky.”

Beshear says his administration is unsure just how big the shortfall will be, but promised that the budget will ultimately be balanced.

Regional
6:21 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Beshear Pleased With Appeal in Seven Counties Case

Governor Steve Beshear says he is pleased with a decision by the Kentucky Retirement Systems to appeal a recent ruling that would allow quasi-governmental agencies to withdraw from the beleaguered public pension system.

Earlier this month a federal judge ruled that groups like the mental health nonprofit Seven Counties Services, which is currently filing for bankruptcy as a result of its pension debt, could exit KRS because they aren’t government agencies.

Beshear says that if the decision is upheld, it would create millions of dollars in new unfunded pension liabilities.

“It is a very dangerous ruling, in terms of the financial stability of our pension system. And so I want to make sure that that gets a full hearing and hopefully will get overturned on appeal,” said Beshear

The Kentucky Employee Retirement System’s total unfunded liability is about $17 billion.

Regional
5:14 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Bills Promise to Strengthen Kentucky's Cyber Security Measures

Gov. Steve Beshear ceremonially signed a pair of bills Wednesday aimed at improving the state’s ability to protect Kentuckians’ data.

House Bills 5 and 232 require the state and private businesses to notify citizens in the event that their collected personal data is compromised by a security breach

“With more of our sensitive financial and health information being stored on the Internet everyday, both government and private businesses have to embrace the latest technology to protect that sensitive information,” said Beshear.

The legislation also permits the government to investigate security breaches, and to take steps to protect personal information collected by the state.

Politics
8:42 am
Wed June 11, 2014

Study: Kentucky's Public Spending Among the Most Corrupt in Nation

Credit Kentucky LRC

A new study suggests that states with high levels of public corruption like Kentucky tend to spend more money on capital construction projects and police protection at the expense of social services.

The journal Public Administration Review found a correlation between states with higher instances of corruption and the scale of a state's spending in certain economic sectors. It also found that between 1997 and 2008, corruption actually inflated a state's total annual expenditures.

"During that time, the 10 most corrupt states could have reduced their total annual expenditure by an average of $1,308 per capita—5.2 percent of the mean per capita state expenditure—if corruption had been at the average level of the states," the study states.

"Moreover, at the expense of social sectors, corruption is likely to distort states’ public resource allocations in favor of higher-potential “bribe-generating” spending and items directly beneficial to public officials, such as capital, construction, highways, borrowing, and total salaries and wages."

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Regional
4:46 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Arnold Appeals Commission's Verdict on Sexual Harassment Claims

Former State Rep. John Arnold
Credit Jonathan Meador

Former Kentucky state Rep. John Arnold has filed an appeal in an ethics case in which he was found guilty of abusing his office by sexually harassing three female state House employees.

Arnold’s attorney filed an appeal in Franklin Circuit Court on Monday asking a judge to rescind a public reprimand and $3,000 in fines levied against the former lawmaker by a state ethics panel last month.

The appeal claims that the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission acted outside of its jurisdiction when it ruled against Arnold because he was not a sitting member of the legislature at the time of the trial.

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