Matt Bevin

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."

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration has released a report alleging “endemic” coercion of state employees to make campaign contributions under former Gov. Steve Beshear.

The investigation is based on interviews with 16 political appointees — who remained anonymous — claiming that officials pressured them into make contributions to Democratic political candidates, primarily to the campaigns of gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway and Attorney General Andy Beshear.

The probe, conducted by Indianapolis law firm Taft Stettinius & Hollister, construes that the practice was widespread across state government.

J. Tyler Franklin

The state Supreme Court has agreed to take up Gov. Matt Bevin’s appeal of a ruling that said he can’t overhaul of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees.

The move comes two days after the state legislature voted to reorganize the board once again, despite worries that the moves might hurt the institution’s accreditation — which was put on probation last month.

Bevin dismissed the 17-member U of L board in June, later creating a 10-member board and appointing new members.

Kevin Probst / Wikimedia Commons

Community groups in counties across Kentucky are starting the new year with a Bible reading marathon, which Governor Matt Bevin marked in a proclamation earlier this month. In the proclamation, Bevin declared 2017 “The Year of the Bible.”

The Kentucky 120 United Bible Reading Marathon is a four-day event in which volunteers sign up for time slots to read the Bible from beginning to end. Hopkins County event coordinator Lynda Crick says it is a great way to bring the state together.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Matt Bevin has issued an executive order creating the Work Ready Scholarship Program, which will provide free tuition to eligible Kentucky students getting a two-year degree that could be used in “high-demand” industries like healthcare and manufacturing.

“[T]he Commonwealth of Kentucky is committed to increasing the currently low workforce participation rate by expanding the skilled, competitive workforce necessary to attract new businesses to the state,” Bevin wrote in the executive order.

Ryland Barton

After his first year in office, Gov. Matt Bevin says Kentucky is more united now than ever, pointing to Republicans’ recent dominance in elections across the state. “If you don’t think we’re uniting Kentucky, there’s never in the history of Kentucky been a Republican House, Senate and governor’s seat,” Bevin said.

Bevin Rules Out Transgender Bathroom Bill

Dec 9, 2016
Jaison Gardner

Kentucky's Republican governor says he will not use the state's new GOP majority to push through a bill restricting transgender bathroom use. Matt Bevin held a news conference Friday to discuss his first year in office and look ahead to the 2017 legislative session, where Republicans will hold super majorities in both chambers for the first time.

Kenneth Hayden

Some state cultural leaders are concerned that a Kentucky arts agency restructured by Gov. Matt Bevin on Friday will prioritize commercial over creative value in the arts, diminishing their overall impact in the commonwealth.

The Kentucky Arts Council is designed to generate value for, participation in and benefit from the arts. Funding for the agency — which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year — is provided by the General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

As the state partner of the NEA, the council receives matching funds from the organization to distribute within Kentucky. This year, arts groups such as Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Louisville Orchestra and Stage One received funding from the council. It also distributes funds to individual artists.

On Friday, Bevin dismissed all but four of its members and reduced the size of the council from 16 to 15 people. He also accepted the resignation of executive director Lori Meadows, although sources say she was pushed out.

In a news release, Secretary of the Cabinet of Tourism, Arts and Heritage Don Parkinson wrote: “The new arts council will focus on ensuring that Kentucky artisans have the skills and knowledge to develop and successfully sell their products.”

Thinkstock

A judge says Gov. Matt Bevin can appoint six administrative law judges to help deal with a backlog of workers’ compensation cases while a lawsuit over whether the governor can reorganize the board that nominates new judges continues.

The same judge has ruled against Bevin in several decisions, drawing the ire from the governor.

Bevin reorganized the Worker’s Compensation Nominating Commission in May, dismissing seven members appointed by former Gov. Steve Beshear before their terms ended. He later replaced it with a five-person board that he named the Worker’s Compensation Nominating Committee.

A group of labor unions, injured workers and a former commissioner sued Bevin for the move.

And over the summer, Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd temporarily blocked the move, calling it a “wholesale firing of duly appointed state officials” and putting the old version of the board back in place.

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