Matt Bevin

J. Tyler Frankin

The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled that Gov. Matt Bevin does not have the authority to make mid-year cuts to state university budgets if the state isn’t experiencing a shortfall.

In a 5-2 ruling, the state’s high court declared that Bevin exceeded his authority by issuing an executive order cutting last fiscal year’s fourth quarter higher education allotment by $18 million.

“Whatever authority he might otherwise have to require a budget unit not to spend appropriated funds does not extend to the Universities, which the legislature has made independent bodies politic with control over their own expenditures,” the majority opinion stated.

The court reversed an earlier opinion by Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate, which said that Bevin had authority to unilaterally cut the budgets of state colleges and universities because they are part of the state’s executive branch, which Bevin is the head of.

The opinion stated that Bevin does have the authority to make mid-year budget cuts if the state experiences a budget shortfall of 5 percent or more, however the commonwealth experienced a surplus last fiscal year.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Bevin has added Kentucky to a multi-state lawsuit against the federal government over a new rule that makes more people eligible to receive overtime pay.

Starting in December, the new policy will require employers to pay overtime to people who make up to $47,476 a year ($913 per week). Currently employers only have to pay overtime to people who make up to $23,660 a year.

Bevin opposes the rule, saying it would increase employment costs for the state and private employers.

“The result of this unfunded mandate by the federal government would be to force many private sector employers to lay off workers,” Bevin said. “Once again, the Obama administration is attempting to require compliance with non-legally binding edicts that should instead be decided at the state and local level.”

Bevin’s Spokeswoman Leaving For Trump Campaign

Sep 19, 2016
J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s spokeswoman is leaving to take a position with the Donald Trump campaign.

Jessica Ditto is resigning to become deputy communications director for the Republican nominee for president.

Before being named as Bevin’s spokeswoman last year, Ditto was communications director for his campaign and transition office. She also worked for former Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher and the Republican Party of Kentucky.

Ditto will work in New York with Jason Miller, Trump’s senior communications adviser. Miller was a consultant for Bevin’s 2015 campaign for governor.

Ryland Barton

Students at the University of Louisville could lose federal financial aid and the ability to transfer class credits if the school loses its accreditation. That’s what the attorney general and an expert witness warn will happen if Gov. Matt Bevin is allowed to unilaterally overhaul the school’s governing body.

The governor’s office argues that U of L is not immediately at risk of losing its accreditation and that a lawsuit over the matter will be settled by the time the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools could impose any sanctions, settling whether the governor has the authority to abolish and restructure a university board without legislative approval.

Steve Pitt, the governor’s general counsel, said there’s no legal reason the school has to be accredited, but he still downplayed worries that U of L could lose its accreditation

“There is no statute in Kentucky, oddly enough, that even requires public universities to even be accredited,” Pitt said. “I think you’ll see that there’s a lot more smoke here than there is fire.”

J. Tyler Franklin

Republicans and Democrats are fundraising on the back of Gov. Matt Bevin’s controversial comments in which he predicted that conservatives might have to “shed blood” if Democrat Hillary Clinton is elected president.

Bevin sent out an email Thursday asking followers to donate to his campaign account after a national response to the speech. In the email, he derided Clinton supporters and the “liberal media” for being in an “uproar” over the remarks, which he drew from a quotation by Thomas Jefferson.

“It goes to show how out of touch liberals are with our principles and values when they take offense to statements by our founding fathers,” Bevin wrote in the email. “We must fight to preserve the exceptionalism and the promise of America, because America is worth it.”

Bevin could pass along any funds raised to the state Republican Party, local legislative races or use the money to pay down his campaign debt. The governor personally loaned his campaign $4.1 million during last year’s gubernatorial race.

J. Tyler Franklin

A state judge has denied Republican Gov. Matt Bevin's request to block an expert witness' testimony about the University of Louisville's accreditation.

Bevin abolished and replaced the University of Louisville board of trustees earlier this year. Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear sued him, saying the order was illegal. Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd temporarily blocked Bevin's order, but asked both sides to present testimony from expert witnesses about how Bevin's order would impact the school's accreditation.

Bevin attorney Chad Meredith declined to present an expert witness, and asked Shepherd to block a witness called by Beshear. He said the testimony was not relevant to the issue of whether Bevin has the authority to replace the board.

Shepherd called Bevin's request a "dramatic change in direction" and denied it. The hearing is continuing Thursday.

Kentukcy LRC

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin is moving forward with awarding $100 million for workforce training projects despite a warning from the top House Democrat that the actions could be illegal.

Bevin wants to borrow $100 million and use it to aid programs that train Kentucky's workforce. Wednesday, a committee appointed by Bevin and legislative leaders reviewed 114 proposals and approved 91 of them to submit formal applications next month.

The state legislature passed a law detailing how that money would be spent, but Bevin vetoed it and is developing the criteria himself. Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo sued, saying Bevin's veto was illegal. The case is pending.

The Bevin administration is mostly following the criteria that lawmakers approved. One difference is Bevin is not requiring the money to be distributed evenly among  Kentucky's six congressional districts.

Kevin Willis

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin said Wednesday that his recent speech containing remarks about shedding blood was a warning against American apathy.

Bevin made the controversial comments Saturday during a speech in Washington at the Value Voters Summit hosted by the conservative Family Research Council.

During that speech, Bevin said it might be necessary for “patriots” to shed their blood and the blood of “tyrants” if Hillary Clinton is elected president.

Here is some of what Bevin said during his Values Voter Summit speech:

"Somebody asked me yesterday, I did an interview, 'Do you think it’s possible, if Hillary Clinton were to win the election, do you think it’s possible that we’ll be able to survive, that we’d ever be able to recover as a nation?' And while there are people who have stood on this stage and said we would not, I would beg to differ. I do think it would be possible, but at what price? At what price? The roots of the tree of liberty are watered by what? The blood of who? The tyrants, to be sure, but who else? The patriots.

Whose blood will be shed? It may be that of those in this room. It might be that of our children and grandchildren. I have nine children. It breaks my heart to think that it might be their blood is needed to redeem something, to reclaim something that we, through our apathy and our indifference, have given away. Don’t let it happen."

After several Kentucky Democrats criticized Bevin for encouraging political violence, the Republican Governor issued a statement saying his speech was aimed at the dangers of “radical Islamic extremists.”

Speaking Wednesday to the Bowling Green Noon Rotary Club, Bevin said his speech in Washington was targeting the indifference he believes many Americans feel towards the political system.

“We have an opportunity to battle ideologically, politically, spiritually, morally, economically—we have the ability to have these levels of debate. Because, if in fact, we don’t, we will ultimately be forced to fight physically. That’s the point I made. That’s exactly what I said.”

Ryland Barton

Democratic congressional candidate Nancy Jo Kemper said Tuesday that Republican Gov. Matt Bevin should be impeached on the grounds that calling for innocent lives to be taken is illegal.

Kemper is referring to a speech Bevin made over the weekend at a Family Research Council event in Washington D.C. in which he said that Americans might have to shed blood to protect conservative values if Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is elected president.

“I believe that his call to shed the blood of fellow Americans is unconstitutional and a violation of his sworn oath to uphold the laws of the commonwealth,” Kemper said at a news conference.

Bevin went on to say that if Clinton were elected, “patriots” might have to “pay the price” by shedding their own blood and the blood of “tyrants” to help the nation recover.

Creative Commons

A vacant judgeship in Daviess County will remain unfilled until the November election. 

The state budget approved by Kentucky lawmakers this year funded Daviess County’s first family court judgeship.  Monday was the deadline for Governor Matt Bevin to appoint someone to the bench.  The governor’s office issued a statement confirming the position will stay vacant but declined to say why. 

"We have no comment but can confirm the governor passed on making the appointment," Press Secretary Amanda Stamper told WKU Public Radio.

The position won’t be filled until the November election.  Four local attorneys are vying for the judgeship.  They include Angela Thompson, Clifton Boswell, Julie Hawes Gordon, and Susan Montalvo-Gesser.

J. Tyler Franklin

Over the weekend, Gov. Matt Bevin said that Americans might have to shed blood to protect conservative values if Hillary Clinton is elected president.

Bevin has since clarified that the comments were in reference to the fight against Islamic extremism in the Middle East.

“I want us to be able to fight ideologically, mentally, spiritually, economically so that we don’t have to do it physically, but that may in fact be the case,” Bevin said at a Family Research Council event in Washington D.C. on Saturday.

Bevin went on to say that if Clinton were elected, “patriots” might have to “pay the price” by shedding their own blood and the blood of “tyrants” to help the nation recover.

“Whose blood will be shed? It may be that of those in this room. It might be that of our children and grandchildren. I have nine children. It breaks my heart to think that it might be their blood that is needed to redeem something, to reclaim something, that we through our apathy and our indifference have given away,” Bevin said.

Governor Bevin says the University of Louisville is a key component of a National Center to focus on automotive research in areas of automotive efficiency and sustainable transportation. That could cover everything from online transportation services to self-driving cars.

He made that announcement Monday before the second Auto Vision Conference in Lexington.

Bevin says the multi-state project could result in some new automotive technologies. “Some things that are being imagined now will come to fruition. Other things will come to fruition that nobody’s even thought of yet. Other ideas that we’ve thought of frankly are gonna hit dead ends,” said Bevin.

Bevin says U of L is joining five other universities across the country in launching this program funded by the National Science Foundation. The program is called the Industrial University Cooperative Research Center for Efficient Vehicles and Sustainable Transportation Systems.

Bevin Asks Judge to Dissolve Order on Retirement Board

Sep 7, 2016
WFPL

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has asked a judge to dissolve his order that allows Thomas Elliott to remain on the Kentucky Retirement Systems board.

Bevin removed Elliott from the board earlier this year. Elliott sued, and last month Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd temporarily blocked Bevin's order. But Elliott did not attend the board's next meeting. Bevin's attorney, Stephen Pitt, says skipping the meeting demonstrates Elliott's "lack of commitment."

Elliott's attorney said he did not attend the meeting because the judge issued his order two days before the board's meeting and Elliott had already scheduled some work meetings. Last week, Shepherd called Elliott's reason for missing the meeting "wholly inadequate."

Bevin has asked for a hearing at 4 p.m. Wednesday. The retirement board is scheduled to meet again on Thursday.

WFPL

The absence of the former board chair of the Kentucky Retirement Systems at official meetings is “not acceptable,” according to a judge who temporarily blocked the governor from removing the official.

Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd ruled last week that Tommy Elliott could still be a member of the agency’s Board of Trustees while the court decides if the governor had the power to remove him from the board three years before his appointed term was set to end.

But Elliott did not attend meetings of the full KRS board or investment committee last week.

During a scheduling hearing on Tuesday, Shepherd said the poor condition of the pension system is an “all-hands-on-deck situation” and he criticized Elliott for not showing up.

“If Mr. Elliott’s too busy to serve, he ought to resign or he ought to be prepared to be replaced,” Shepherd said.

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo says Gov. Matt Bevin should be investigated for allegedly halting a road project as political punishment for a state representative who refused to switch political parties.

Rep. Russ Meyer, a Democrat from Nicholasville, released audio of a voicemail he received from the governor in December in which he says Bevin threatened retribution for not switching political parties.

“I want to make sure you understand where things are in my mind and the decisions that I’m going to make in the days ahead, the weeks ahead, months ahead,” Bevin says in the voicemail. “I want you to be very aware of what the impact of those decisions will be as it relates to you, your seat, your district, etcetera, just so that we have all the cards on the table.”

According to a story by CNHI News reporter Ronnie Ellis, Meyer said the voicemail was left on Dec. 17, 2015, shortly after he told the governor’s chief of staff, Blake Brickman, that he wouldn’t be switching parties.

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