2018 General Assembly

J. Tyler Franklin

Drivers will need to maintain a three-foot buffer when they pass bicyclists, health educators will be required to teach sex abstinence in public schools and sweeping changes to Kentucky’s adoption and foster care system are all included in new state laws that go into effect on Saturday.

New laws take effect 90 days after the state legislature adjourns unless they have a special effective date or have an emergency clause — which would make them effective immediately.

http://rtravisbrendaforkentucky.com/

A high school teacher has defeated Kentucky’s House majority leader in a Republican primary election, signaling the newfound voting power of teachers after lawmakers made changes to state worker pension benefits this year.

Travis Brenda is a 19-year teacher at Rockcastle County High School and won the 71st district GOP primary by just 123 votes.

During the campaign, Brenda attacked Rep. Jonathan Shell for helping craft the pension bill and tax reform package that passed into law this spring.

ONA News Agency/Wikimedia Commons

Separating parents will get joint custody of their children by default under a bill signed into law by Gov. Matt Bevin last week, unless a parent has a recent history of domestic violence.

Kentucky is the first state in the country to create a “legal presumption” for joint custody in divorce proceedings.

Supporters of the measure say that joint custody allows for more stable upbringing of children, but critics argue that it unravels protections against abusive parents and makes it much harder for a judge to give one parent more time with children than the other.

J. Tyler Franklin

This week in Kentucky politics, speculation flared that Kentucky’s new education leaders would try to take over Louisville’s public school district. Plus, a judge ruled that Attorney General Andy Beshear can sue the governor over the pension bill that was signed into law earlier this month. Listen to this week’s edition of Kentucky Politics Distilled in the player below.


Public Domain

A judge has denied a request to have Kentucky's attorney general disqualified from taking part in a lawsuit challenging a new law making changes to the state's pension system.

Media reports say Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd on Wednesday turned down the request by Gov. Matt Bevin's attorneys to disqualify Andy Beshear from the case.

Bevin attorney Steve Pitt said Beshear couldn't provide legal advice to legislators on the pension measure and later file the lawsuit challenging the law.

Ryland Barton

This year’s Kentucky General Assembly was book-ended by turmoil, but over the course of nearly four months the Republican-led legislature was still able to wrangle the votes to approve politically volatile policies like changing pension benefits for public workers and overhauling Kentucky’s tax code amid intense protests from public workers, especially teachers.

The legislature also passed a variety of conservative measures like new abortion restrictions, an expansion of the state’s gang penalties and an overhaul of Kentucky’s workers compensation system.

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin apologized Sunday for saying that children were sexually abused because they were left home alone while teachers rallied to ask lawmakers to override his vetoes.

The Republican issued his apology in a nearly four-minute video posted online, saying "it is not my intent to hurt anybody in this process, but to help us all move forward together."

J. Tyler Franklin

As one of its final acts of this year’s legislative session, the Republican-led Kentucky House of Representatives passed a resolution formally condemning Gov. Matt Bevin for saying that teachers neglected students by attending protests in Frankfort on Friday, leading to child abuse.

The reprimand came after Democrats and several Republican statehouse leaders demanded an apology from Bevin for the remarks.

Ryland Barton

After thousands of teachers traveled to Frankfort on Friday to protest, Gov. Matt Bevin said that somewhere in Kentucky children were sexually assaulted or ingested poison because they were left unattended.

Bevin made the comments to several reporters early Friday evening, hours after the Republican-led legislature overrode his vetoes of the state budget and tax reform bills amid noisy protests from teachers.

Lisa Gillespie

Kentucky’s local health departments are facing massive increases in pension costs starting in July. And this, many of them say, could cause them to have to lay off employees, cut back or even close public health programs as a result.

“This is a watershed moment for public health, it’s a tipping point, where we need to assess how we do business and look at every aspect of operations in local health departments and what can we do differently,” said Scott Lockard, the director of the Kentucky River District Health Department, which covers several eastern Kentucky counties.


Patrice McCrary Facebook

A Warren County teacher is joining thousands of her colleagues from across Kentucky at the state Capitol Friday.  Busloads of educators arrived in Frankfort to continue their activism, exercised many times throughout this year's General Assembly.

Lawmakers increased funding for K-12 education and restored cuts to school bus transportation in the next state budget.  Governor Bevin vetoed the spending plan, and educators will rally in hopes of convincing lawmakers to override the governor’s veto.

Ryland Barton

Teachers from across Kentucky are expected to converge on the state Capitol again Friday as lawmakers return to Frankfort for the final two days of this year’s legislative session.

The Kentucky Education Association — the statewide teachers union — has called for lawmakers to override Gov. Matt Bevin’s vetoes of the two-year state budget and revenue bills, which set aside more funding for public education than Bevin’s proposed budget did.

Ryland Barton, Kentucky Public Radio

Teachers from across Kentucky are planning to travel to Frankfort on Friday to rally for better funding for schools. Educators are protesting Governor Matt Bevin’s vetoes of bills that impact schools and communities.

Some school districts are closing so teachers can attend the Frankfort rally on April 13 while others, like Bowling Green, are holding regular classes and sending delegations of teachers.

Becca Schimmel

Students and university employees gathered on Western Kentucky University’s campus Thursday at a rally for higher education funding. The event was intended to bring attention to budget cuts, pension increases and faculty and staff reductions.

Governor Matt Bevin recently signed a new pension bill into law that will preserve most benefits for current and retired teachers but moves new hires into a hybrid plan that puts less risk on the state. Jeremy McFarland is a senior at WKU and was registering people to vote at the rally.

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky lawmakers will consider whether to override Gov. Matt Bevin’s vetoes of the state budget and revenue bills and whether to pass any other last-minute bills during the final two days of this year’s legislative session on Friday and Saturday.

Plus, teachers are expected to descend on the state capitol for another rally Friday after Bevin signed controversial changes to public employee pension benefits into law earlier this week.

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