Andy Beshear

J. Tyler Franklin

Attorney General Andy Beshear says he’s exploring whether his office has the authority to investigate if Gov. Matt Bevin improperly bought a house from a political appointee and got a discount.

Beshear said he’s asked the Executive Branch Ethics Commission to weigh in on whether his office should investigate.

“I have real serious concerns about what’s going on in the Bevin administration and whether we’re seeing one of the worst cases of unjust enrichment or personal enrichment by a governor that I can imagine,” Beshear said on Tuesday to Terry Meiners on WHAS.

Kentucky's attorney general is asking a court to deny Western Kentucky University’s request for a stay in its lawsuit against the campus newspaper. 

WKU is suing the College Heights Herald after the school denied the newspaper's open records request for documents related to sexual misconduct investigations involving university employees.  The university maintains the records are not subject to disclosure under the Kentucky Open Records Act.

WKU is asking for a stay until a similar case is resolved involving the University of Kentucky and its student newspaper, the Kentucky Kernel.

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Attorney General Andy Beshear’s office has appealed a judge’s ruling that wiped decades-old convictions from a Kentuckian’s criminal record, arguing they aren’t eligible under the state’s new felony expungement law.

The case hinges on whether crimes committed over a series of days are considered to be part of the same “incident” and are thus all eligible for expungement.

The new law allows people to have certain class D felonies cleared if — after completing their sentences — they stay out of trouble for five years and pay a $500 fee.

J. Tyler Franklin

Attorney General Andy Beshear still hasn’t returned contributions made to his 2015 campaign by a former top aide who admitted to taking bribes and is now serving time in federal prison.

Beshear announced last year that he would donate the funds to political watchdog group Common Cause once a routine audit of his campaign account is complete.

The Kentucky Registry for Election Finance confirmed Monday that the audit is still not complete.

Tim Longmeyer was Beshear’s deputy attorney general and last year admitted taking more than $212,000 from a consulting firm in exchange for awarding state contracts to the firm.

Ryland Barton

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear's office says training sessions planned this month will focus on the backlog of sexual assault forensic evidence kits.

The three-day training sessions are for law enforcement, prosecutors and victim advocates. The sessions are set for April 11-13 at the Embassy Suites in Lexington.

Beshear says prosecutors have requested the training to help them prosecute cases from the backlog of sexual assault evidence kits. Beshear's office says the training is another step toward helping sexual assault victims receive justice.

Warren County Commonwealth's Attorney Chris Cohron says the training will be invaluable for prosecutors across Kentucky.

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

During a contentious committee hearing late Wednesday night, Republican lawmakers advanced a bill that would limit the powers of the state attorney general’s office.

Attorney General Andy Beshear, a Democrat, called the proposal “silly and unfortunate legislation” and accused lawmakers of trying to give Gov. Matt Bevin more power at the expense of his office.

“This comes at a very high price, simply for a power grab,” Beshear said.

Under the legislation, the attorney general would no longer be able to file an amicus curiae, or “friend of the court,” brief on behalf of the state.

David Brinkley

Kentucky is making progress in addressing a backlog of untested rape kits.  A 2015 audit revealed the commonwealth had more than three-thousand untested kits, which include physical evidence collected from sexual assault victims. 

Attorney General Andy Beshear says about 1,500 of those kits have now been examined and the DNA entered into a national crime database.

"We have active investigations going on right now," Beshear told WKU Public Radio.  "The hits suggests there is at least one serial rapist that has been identified and this is an absolute critical step that we are going to follow through with until every single victim has their kit tested."

Kentucky Senate Scales Back Attorney General Bill

Mar 15, 2017
LRC Public Information

A bill that would take away some powers from the attorney general and give them to the governor likely will not pass this session.

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Whitney Westerfield said he will not consider a proposal that would give the governor the exclusive authority to represent the state in some civil lawsuits. Instead, he said the Senate will likely consider a bill later this month to let the governor represent the state in a lawsuit only if the attorney general declines to do so.

Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear has said he will not defend a recently enacted law that bans all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. He is defending a law requiring women seeking an abortion to first receive an ultrasound, but Republicans have criticized him for not offering a more robust defense.

Becca Schimmel

Kentucky’s Attorney General Andy Beshear said the state’s new right-to-work law is an example of misplaced priorities. In a recent visit to Western Kentucky University, he said the law won’t lead to the job creation its supporters are seeking.

 

Supporters of right-to-work say it will help Kentucky compete against other states for new jobs.

 

Right to work allows employees to work in unionized facilities without paying union dues. Unions are still legally responsible for collectively bargaining for all employees, and defending all employees in the event of a grievance. Beshear believes right-to-work is bad policy.

 

“I wanted to be Attorney General to better protect families, and all right-to-work does is pay our working families less,” Beshear said.

 

Beshear pointed out Kentucky won Site Selection magazine’s “Governor’s Cup” award for its number of capital investment projects in both 2014 and 2015. The Attorney General said that shows the state was capable of competing for jobs and industry without right-to-work.

Becca Schimmel

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear said his office is actively defending a new abortion rule recently signed into law by Governor Matt Bevin. The law requires doctors to show women seeking an abortion pictures of an ultrasound, and describe the images to the patient.

Governor Bevin has accused Beshear of breaking his promise to defend the ultrasound law.

It's the latest incident in an ongoing feud between the Republican Governor and the Democratic Attorney General. Some of the other diasagreements have been about the reorganization of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees, as well as certain cuts to higher education funding Bevin proposed.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky and the state’s only abortion provider are suing the state over the ultrasound regulations. Beshear said the parties in the lawsuit are not named properly.

Western Kentucky University has filed a lawsuit against its student newspaper, arguing that the school is not required to release records related to sexual misconduct by university employees.

The WKU lawsuit against the College Heights Herald comes after a decision by Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear in January that the university is required to release Title IX records about investigations of sexual harassment by employees. The names and any other personal identifiers were to be redacted.

The lawsuit was filed in Warren Circuit Court by Kerrick Bachert, the law firm representing the university.

Michael Abate of the law firm Kaplan and Partners is representing the College Heights Herald.

“We think here in this in this case that the paper was absolutely entitled to receive these documents," Abate said. "And we think it’s incredibly unfortunate that it has come to a point where the university is suing its own student paper over conducting important and essential journalism meant to protect the students.”

Becca Schimmel

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear is announcing a video contest aimed at raising awareness of sexual assault on college campuses. He was at Western Kentucky University Wednesday to promote the effort.  

College and university students can submit a 30-second video encouraging the reporting of sexual assault. One winner will be determined by a panel of sexual assault survivors and advocates, while another winner will be based on which video gets the most online views. Both winners will receive a $500 prize.

 

Beshear said the goal is to make campuses safer.

 

“Because of a lack of transparency in reporting, I don’t think that college students understand or know the prevalence of sexual assault on campuses,” Beshear said.

Jacob Ryan, WFPL

Gov. Matt Bevin took to social media Wednesday to levy attacks on a political opponent and the state’s largest newspaper, falsely claiming that Attorney General Andy Beshear had dropped his defense of a controversial new ultrasound abortion law and that the Courier-Journal falsely reported on the issue.

In a court filing last week, Beshear asked that the lawsuit be dismissed, arguing that his office had no role in implementing the law. The attorney general’s office is also representing another defendant in the case — Michael Rodman, executive director of the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure — and has moved that the legal challenge be dismissed against him as well.

Beshear to Announce Research Project for Rape Kit Backlog

Jan 19, 2017
Ryland Barton

Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear is teaming up with the University of Louisville for a research project involving the state's rape kit backlog.

Beshear is scheduled to announce the project on Thursday along with Bradley Campbell, an assistant professor at UofL's Department of Criminal Justice.

A 2015 audit revealed Kentucky had more than 3,000 untested rape kits, collections of physical evidence from victims after a sexual assault. Police check that evidence against a national database of DNA profiles to look for suspects.

Ryland Barton

Attorney General Andy Beshear says he will not defend the state if it is sued over a law passed by the state legislature last week banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

But Beshear, the Kentucky’s top law enforcement official, said he would defend the state in a lawsuit against another new law requiring abortion doctors to narrate an ultrasound as they perform the procedure on women seeking abortions.

Both laws went into effect over the weekend after Gov. Matt Bevin signed the legislation during a speedy first-week of the newly Republican-led General Assembly.

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