Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Daviess County

Daviess County is expecting a record turnout on Election Day that could go as high as 70 percent of registered voters.

Daviess County’s chief election officer, Richard House, says the anticipated high voter turnout is due to a combination of national, state and local races that are generating a lot of interest.

“I think both sides are really polarized as far as the presidential race is concerned. We have several State House races here in Daviess County that are competitive. We’re going to have a new mayor. We’re going to have new city commissioners. So we have a lot of local interest in this race.”

Lots of candidates have stepped up to the plate in Daviess County. Five are running for mayor of Owensboro. Ten people are running for four seats on the Owensboro City Commission.

“We also have our first family court judge and there are four candidates running really competitive races,” said House. “That’s a non-partisan office and it’s the first time we’ve ever had a family court judge. So that’s been drawing a lot of attention.”

Expectations of high voter turnout are leading Daviess County to add 30 poll workers for the Nov. 8 election. The county is estimating that 50,000 voters could cast ballots on Election Day.

House said the voter turnout in previous presidential election years was about 68 percent in 2008 and 63 percent in 2012.

Flickr/Creative Commons/ U.S. Dept. of Agriculture

Thousands of Kentucky residents have two months to look for work or job training to keep their food stamp benefits.  Anya Weber of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services says food stamp recipients have until April 1 to comply with the new requirements.  

"Able-bodied adults without dependents will need to meet a 20-hour work or training requirement," says Weber. "This is going to affect approximately 17,500 able-bodied adults in eight counties."

Those counties are Bullitt, Daviess, Fayette, Hardin, Henderson, Jefferson, McCracken and Warren.

New federal rules impacting the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, went into effect Jan. 1.  Recipients affected by the changes were given a three-month grace period to find work or job training.

Weber said the changes will affect nearly 900 people in Warren County, more than 700 people in Hardin County and more than 600 people in Daviess County.

Supreme Court Hears Arguments Over Records Fight

Aug 14, 2014
ky.gov

The Kentucky Supreme Court has heard arguments in a records dispute between the Council on Developmental Disabilities and the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

The advocacy group is asking to review the records of two disabled men who died in state care in 2009 shortly after being moved to new homes.

The Courier-Journal reports justices heard arguments on Wednesday in the case.

David Tachau, a Louisville attorney who represents the Council on Developmental Disabilities, argued the agency should have to release the records under the state's Open Records Act.

Cabinet attorney D. Brent Irvin argued that a different state law calls for records in such cases to be released only to government agencies with a legitimate interest in the case.

Lower courts have sided with the cabinet.

Tuesday was the inaugural day for Kentucky's Health Benefits Exchange. 

The Kynect website went live at 12 a.m. Tuesday, and according to the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services, 24,000 people browsed to see what they might be eligible for and over 1,000 applications were processed by 9:30 a.m. 

As expected, there have been a some hiccups along the way.

"The high volume of traffic is causing a few technical glitches, but we have an IT command center fully staffed who are working diligently to iron out any issues.  People can continue to browse the site, but we encourage any visitors who experience problems to check back later to begin their application process," said Gwenda Bond, a spokeswoman in the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. 

"There will be a message on the site to provide an update as we work to ensure everything is running smoothly. This surge of early applications demonstrates the pent up demand for quality health coverage for many Kentuckians, who will be able to have that coverage beginning January 1, 2014, because of the ACA."

Kentucky's Health Benefits Exchange can be accessed at kynect.ky.gov.

Budget cuts to a Kentucky government agency will mean less funding to help low-income families pay for child care. Citing a nearly $87 million budget shortfall, the Department of Community Based Services says it will also dramatically cut a program that pays relatives who are caring for children taken from their parents.

Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes says the cuts will begin as early as April 1. According to Haynes, the Department of Community Based Services has for years dealt with decreased funding by cutting back in areas that didn’t directly affect needy families. But she says that's now impossible.

The Courier-Journal reports the budget cuts come at a time of increased need throughout the Bluegrass State, with more than 11,000 children being taken care of by relatives who receive $300 a month to help cover expenses.

Because of the cuts, the Child Care Assistance Program in Kentucky will take no new applicants until June of 2014. That program gives financial help to low-income families who can’t afford child care while parents work.

The next public forum over Kentucky’s upcoming health insurance exchange is being held Friday in Owensboro. The federal healthcare overhaul calls on each state to create its own marketplaces in which residents can compare and purchase insurance plans, or sign up for Medicaid.