Governor Beshear

Governor Beshear is announcing a major Race to the Top educational grant to several Kentucky school district cooperatives. The governor will be joined by state education commissioner Terry Holliday, the leaders of several educational co-ops, the Hart County Schools superintendent, and other education leaders.

A news release issued by the Governor’s office said Beshear will announce in Shelby County Monday morning $41 million in Race to the Top grant money to be shared by Kentucky school district co-ops.

Those groups include the Green River Regional Educational Cooperative, which includes districts across south-central Kentucky, and the Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative, a consortium of school districts in north-central Kentucky.

Twenty-two districts from those two co-ops joined in an application and were awarded one of the nation’s two largest District-Race to the Top grants.

Race to the Top is a federal education program created to spur innovation and reforms in state and local district K through 12 education.

Sen. Mitch McConnell and Gov. Steve Beshear squared off in a heated debate about the federal health-care law at the Kentucky Country Ham Breakfast.

The Democratic governor said Thursday the Affordable Care Act will work in Kentucky.

Beshear said the law will improve Kentucky's health problems, which include some of the nation's worst rates for cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

McConnell, the Senate's top-ranking Republican, said the law is driving up health insurance premiums and forcing employers to reduce working hours for many employees. McConnell said the law should be repealed.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has announced new tools aimed at enforcing the state's "no texting" law.

A 2010 law made texting while driving punishable by a fine. Speaking in Louisville Wednesday, Beshear said that hasn't been enough of a deterrent. Starting in a few months, the Transportation Cabinet will take three points off the licenses of drivers caught while texting behind the wheel.

The new three-point texting penalty was announced as transportation leaders and emergency responders gathered for an annual meeting. The state can suspend the licenses of drives who incur 12 penalty points within a two-year period.

For drivers under 18, the threshold is seven points.

According to the Governor's office, more than 5,300 crashes in Kentucky last year were caused by driver distraction.

Office of Sec. Grimes

Consider it a "take two": Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes Tuesday will officially kick off her U.S. Senate campaign in Lexington.

When Grimes first announced she was joining the race earlier this month, the event was widely described as disorganized and uninspired. The campaign's senior adviser in later days told reporters Grimes would soon have a second "official" announcement of her Senate campaign.

That's taking place Tuesday afternoon in Lexington. Gov. Steve Beshear will be joining Grimes. When Grimes first announced she was running for Senate, Beshear said she hadn't given him any heads up that she had made a decision.

With Beshear's appearance Tuesday, it appears the Grimes camp is hoping to display a unified Democratic front behind the Secretary of State. Last week, longtime U.S. Senator, former Governor, and Owensboro native Wendell Ford endorsed Grimes for Senate.

Grimes has accused U.S Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of being "out of touch" with Kentucky voters and values. And several polls show the Louisville Republican holding dangerously low favorability ratings with Kentucky voters.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear’s Communications Director says the Governor won’t pursue the Presidency at Murray State University. Beshear has been rumored as a potential candidate during the past few months.

MSU is in the process of hiring a search firm to compile and filter candidates for the job. MSU hopes to hire a new president in spring 2014.  Governor Beshear is in his second term which ends in 2015. The job would’ve offered Beshear a chance to boost his state retirement benefits. The presidential job pays nearly double the Governor’s salary.

There is a precedent for a Governor to assume a university presidential role in the Commonwealth. Former Governor Paul Patton serves as the president of the University of Pikeville. But, U-Pike is not a state supported institution.

Beshear Didn't Know in Advance of Grimes' Campaign

Jul 9, 2013

Kentucky Governor Steve says he wasn't given a heads up before fellow Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes announced her U.S. Senate bid last week. But he says he doesn't see it as a slight.

The governor said Tuesday he's eager to help Grimes in her effort to unseat five-term Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014. Beshear himself lost a Senate race to McConnell in the 1990s.

Beshear and Grimes' father are former political rivals. And Grimes defeated the governor's appointee in winning election as Kentucky's secretary of state two years ago.

Beshear said he didn't get the customary notification of Grimes' intention to run before she called a news conference to announce it.

But the governor says he had already pledged his support in any way possible.

Governor Steve Beshear says he will be working with Kentucky's Congressional delegation to hopefully soften the loss of a brigade at Fort Knox. 

The cuts announced Tuesday will deactivate the Third Brigade Combat Team, which has about 3,500 soldiers.   The number of active duty combat brigades is being slashed as the military returns to pre-9\11 troop levels.

Beshear says not much can be done about the federal decision, but the state can continue to position Fort Knox as a vital resource to the Defense Department.  He suggests building on changes the post made under the military's base re-alignment some five years go.

"We ended up building the biggest office building in this state on Fort Knox to house the Human Resources Command that handles all human resources for the Army," Beshear remarks.  "Why not move human resources for the Air Force, Marines, Navy to that location?"

Beshear claims having human resources for every military branch at one location could be an efficiency measure for the Department of Defense.  In addition, he says officials will be looking at other ways to maximize the use of Fort Knox.

Gov. Steve Beshear was meeting Monday afternoon with House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Senate President Robert Stivers to try to work on a plan to resolve legislative redistricting.

The governor has said he is confident that the issue will be resolved in a special session sometime this year.

Each decade, lawmakers are required to draw new legislative district boundaries to account for population changes recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau. Kentucky had major population shifts between 2000 and 2010, requiring changes in boundary lines to comply with the federal and state "one person, one vote" mandate.

Two federal lawsuits have been filed in recent weeks to speed up the process in Kentucky. One asks that a three-judge panel redraw boundaries.

Kevin Willis

The timing of a special legislative session remains uncertain, though Gov. Steve Beshear and top lawmakers have been tossing around potential dates.

Beshear wants lawmakers back in Frankfort before the end of the year to resolve the lingering issue of legislative redistricting, a politically divisive issue that tends to overshadow all other matters when it's up for consideration.

The governor said he wants the issue resolved before lawmakers begin budget talks in January.

Redistricting is undertaken every 10 years to account for population changes recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau. Kentucky had major population shifts between 2000 and 2010, requiring reconfiguration of legislative districts in both the House and Senate.

The Kentucky Supreme Court struck down lawmakers' initial redistricting plan last year, forcing them to start over.

Henderson Company Expands, Adds Jobs

May 30, 2013

Gov. Steve Beshear joined local and company officials Wednesday in announcing that Gibbs Die Casting is expanding operations at its world headquarters in Henderson, adding 160 jobs and investing more than $22.8 million.

Gibbs Die Casting, established in 1965 and owned by Koch Enterprises, has grown into one of the world’s largest die casting companies, operating eight factories for aluminum and magnesium casting, machining, assembly and die building with facilities in Hungary, Brazil and China. The Henderson facility currently employs more than 560 people.

The expansion project includes adding new manufacturing lines for eight-speed transmission parts and rear axles for the automotive industry.

Creative Commons

The tea party has won the first round in a lawsuit that questions the legality of the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange that Gov. Steve Beshear set up last year by executive order.

Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip J. Shepherd refused to dismiss the lawsuit on Thursday, as had been requested by attorneys for the state.

The state argued unsuccessfully that taxpayers don’t have legal standing to challenge the legality of the Kentucky Health Benefits Exchange, which is intended to help uninsured people arrange insurance coverage under the federal health care overhaul.

Tea party activist David Adams filed the lawsuit last month, claiming Beshear created the exchange without necessary legislative approval. Adams wants Shepherd to order work on the exchange to cease.

A Warren County lawmaker says he agrees with Governor Steve Beshear on the need to get legislative redistricting maps done before the 2014 General Assembly.

Bowling Green Representative Jody Richards told WKU Public Radio he hopes House and Senate leaders can come to an agreement on new maps ahead of a possible special legislative session this fall.

"I hope that everybody gets together, and that we do a five-day session, which is the quickest you can possibly do," said Richards. "We don't need to get up there and argue. Everything needs to be settled before we go."

Richards says two lawsuits filed against the state over the lack of a redistricting plan are adding to the urgency lawmakers feel about getting new maps passed. Those lawsuits were filed by a group of county clerks in northern Kentucky and the state chapter of the ACLU, and accuse the state of violating federal law by not having in place new legislative maps based on the latest U.S. Census data.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is set to announce whether or not he’ll expand Kentucky’s Medicaid program.

The Governor’s office says Beshear will share his decision Thursday at a 1:30 p.m. eastern time news conference at the state capitol building.

Under the federal Affordable Care Act, each state has the option of expanding its Medicaid services to those earning less than 133 percent of the poverty rate. The federal government has agreed to pay each state’s additional costs related to expansion for the first three years, with Washington picking up 90 percent of the tab each following year.

Some conservatives and Tea Party activists have called on Beshear not to agree to the expansion, saying the commonwealth can’t afford any additional costs.

Supporters say it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to extend the program to a wider number of Kentuckians who are struggling with high health care costs.

A leading health organization in Kentucky is putting the pressure on Gov. Steve Beshear to expand Medicaid services under the Affordable Care Act.

Kentucky Voices for Health Executive Director Regan Hunt says her group is launching a two-week radio ad campaign pressure Beshear to expand Medicaid. The radio ad campaign will be partnered with a month long online ad campaign.

So far, the governor has delayed making a decision— although he seems to support the ideal, if fiscally possible.

Under the healthcare law, the federal government will pay 100 percent of expansion costs for three years and then 90 percent after that.

Toyota to Add Jobs, Begin New Lexus Production at Kentucky Plant

Apr 19, 2013

A Lexus luxury brand vehicle will soon be built in the Bluegrass State. Toyota officials made the formal announcement Friday morning at the auto maker’s Georgetown, Kentucky, plant, where production of the Lexus ES 350 will begin in 2015.

Governor Beshear told Toyota leaders in attendance that he appreciates their decision to invest further in Kentucky.

“We realize the care and the pride that you take in that vehicle and that it requires the utmost in a skilled workforce, not to mention top quality components,” said Beshear. “Your confidence in the quality of Kentucky’s workers, especially our team here in Georgetown is appreciated and well placed.”

Kentucky Toyota workers will produce about 50,000 of the new Lexus vehicles annually once production begins in two years. The expansion will add an estimated 750 new jobs to a facility that already employs 6,600 workers.

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