Matt Bevin

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

As the dust settles on the main part of the legislative session, the Republican-led General Assembly has passed most of its priorities.

A handful of bills approved in early January have already been signed into law by Gov. Matt Bevin. Those include a “right-to-work” law, a repeal of the prevailing wage on public works projects, and anti-abortion legislation.

But a flood of bills — including the authorization of charter schools in Kentucky and REAL ID legislation — passed at the end of session still await the governor’s signature.

Bevin now has a 10-day period to review legislation and either veto bills, sign them into law or ignore them — another way to make them law. The legislature will return on March 29 and 30 for two final working days, during which they will likely give approval to even more bills that haven’t passed yet.

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.

Alix Mattingly

Gov. Matt Bevin said Monday despite praise for Kentucky’s embrace of the Affordable Care Act in recent years, the initiative has been an “abject failure” in the state.

“Kentucky, which has long been vaunted as an example of the opposite, I’m telling you as a matter of fact has been an unmitigated disaster,” Bevin said at a news conference after governors attended an event with President Trump.

Bevin has long opposed the Affordable Care Act, which made more people eligible for Medicaid in Kentucky and created a state exchange, Kynect, for people to purchase health insurance.

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Gov. Matt Bevin said he’s been impressed with Trump’s picks for cabinet positions and is encouraged by the administration’s pledge to cut federal regulations.

Bevin took part in a panel discussion Thursday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC in Washington.

He also touted his own initiative to cut bureaucratic red tape in Frankfort.

“We’ve pledged to cutting 30 percent of all the red tape in Kentucky in the next three years,” Bevin said. “We have 130,000 rules. Pretty confident that we can govern everybody with 90-something-thousand.”

Records Show Kentucky Governor Hasn't Paid Property Taxes

Feb 9, 2017
Rob Canning

Records show Kentucky's Republican governor is late paying his 2016 property taxes on his Louisville home.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office website shows Gov. Matt Bevin owes $11,080 on his Barberry Lane home in Louisville, which has an assessed value of nearly $700,000. The bill includes a 10 percent penalty because it wasn't paid by Jan. 31. The original tax bill was due Dec. 31. It increased by 5 percent in January and 10 percent on Feb. 1.

The website shows the bill has not been paid as of Wednesday afternoon. Jefferson County Sheriff's Office Chief Financial Officer Teri Geraghty noted the website's records are one day behind.

Jacob Ryan

Gov. Matt Bevin delivered his second State of the Commonwealth address Wednesday night. It marked the first time in state history a Republican governor of Kentucky addressed a joint session of a Republican-led legislature.

“It’s good to be here in Speaker Hoover’s House,” Bevin said at the beginning of his speech, referring to House Speaker Jeff Hoover, who now presides over the chamber after Republicans secured a majority of seats in the chamber for the first time since 1921.

Bevin touted recent legislation quickly passed last month by the Republican-dominated legislature, including a pair of anti-abortion bills, ‘right-to-work’ legislation and the repeal of higher wages for workers on state construction projects.

Creative Commons

Gov. Matt Bevin has signed an executive order that would remove questions about criminal convictions from job applications to work in the state executive branch.

The state would still conduct criminal background checks on applicants. Bevin encouraged private employers to do the same thing, saying the state would “lead by example.”

“Let Kentucky become an example to the nation for all the right reasons,” Bevin said. “I am challenging you as a private employer in Kentucky, join me in leading by example. Let us do what we can to restore opportunity, level the playing field and create new chances for people who have made mistakes, paid their dues and want to mainstream back into society.”

Kentucky Governor to Stump for Gillespie in Virginia Race

Jan 31, 2017
WFPL

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin is planning a visit to Virginia to help Republican Ed Gillespie's bid for governor.

Gillespie's campaign announced Tuesday that the two will campaign together in Lynchburg and Staunton on Feb. 9.

Bevin joins a growing list of current and former GOP governors supporting Gillespie. The former chairman of the Republican National Committee is the party establishment's favorite in a four-way GOP primary contest.

The governor's race in Virginia is among the most closely watched contests in the country this year. Liberal groups have vowed to make it a referendum on President Donald Trump's first year in office.

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

A report written by an attorney for a special House committee says the panel couldn't prove that Gov. Matt Bevin stopped a road project in retaliation against a Democratic lawmaker who rejected the governor's request to become Republican.

The Courier-Journal  obtained a copy of the report from former House Speaker Greg Stumbo, who lost his bid for re-election last fall.

The 27-page report written by Nashville attorney Eli Richardson says the committee couldn't fully look at the issue. That was mostly because the Bevin administration wouldn't let Transportation Cabinet officials testify about the road project in Jessamine County and because the committee wasn't able to get testimony from the lawmaker, Rep. Russ Meyer, the newspaper reported Thursday.

The report did find that Bevin pressured Democratic Rep. Kevin Sinnette of Ashland to change parties. Bevin has strongly denied the allegation.

Bevin spokeswoman Amanda Stamper did not respond to a phone message or email seeking comment on the report.

The report did question the state's payment of $625,000 in damages to the contractor for the delay.

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.

J. Tyler Franklin

Jefferson County’s top prosecutor is calling on Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin to take action on overcrowded jails in Louisville and across the state.

Speaking at a press briefing this week, Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine said Louisville jails are well beyond capacity, and that’s an issue that hurts the ability of prosecutors and law enforcement to keep violent criminals off the streets.

“The governor and the department of corrections needs to get on the ball,” he said.

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

Gov. Matt Bevin has released the names of 10 people who will serve on the University of Louisville board of trustees.

The move comes after the legislature abolished the previous board earlier this month in an attempt to bring the school back into compliance with accreditation standards. The school’s accreditation was put on probation in December as a result of Bevin’s attempt to unilaterally overhaul the board over the summer.

In a video released along with the announcement, Bevin said the board had been used as a “political football by people who frankly do not have the university’s best interests at heart.”

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

Gov. Matt Bevin says he’s working with incoming President Donald Trump’s administration to come up with a way to bring Kentucky into compliance with stricter ID and driver’s license standards known as REAL ID.

Kentucky is one of eight states out of compliance with federal identification standards passed by Congress in 2004. The legislature approved a REAL ID bill last spring but Bevin vetoed it, citing widespread misunderstanding of the issue.

The REAL ID legislation was opposed by Tea Party groups and the ACLU of Kentucky, citing privacy concerns.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Matt Bevin has selected 10 people to serve on the newly reconstructed University of Louisville Board of Trustees after the legislature abolished the previous board and created a new one earlier this year.

The move comes after the school’s accreditation was put on probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools as a result of Bevin’s unilateral overhaul of the board last summer.

Bevin announced by video Friday evening that he had chosen 10 trustees to serve on the new board.

“There is going to be the ability to transition as properly as possible in the days and weeks ahead,” Bevin said.

Agency says U of L Probation Due to Governor's Actions

Jan 12, 2017
J. Tyler Franklin

The accrediting body for the University of Louisville says it has placed the school on probation because Republican Gov. Matt Bevin interfered with the board of trustees' decisions and did not use a "fair process for the dismissal of board members."

But the letter from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges is silent on a bill that Bevin signed into law last week. That law abolishes the school's governing board and replaces it with a new group appointed by the governor, subject to confirmation by the state Senate.

The letter noted any legislation impacting the university must protect the university's board from "undue political pressure."

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