Matt Bevin

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky House Speaker Jeff Hoover is not resigning his leadership position, despite saying he would in November after admitting to confidentially settling a sexual harassment complaint made by a staffer.

In a statement distributed Tuesday, Hoover said he would temporarily give powers of the speakership to Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne while the Legislative Ethics Commission investigates a complaint that Hoover and his staff retaliated against another staffer for blowing the whistle on the allegations.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Matt Bevin has ordered budget cuts of 1.3 percent this fiscal year to meet a shortfall.

The Consensus Forecasting Group earlier this month revised the estimate of tax receipts this fiscal year and projected that General Fund revenues will be $156 million less than previously budgeted.

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin says the state will undergo a round of spending cuts in the upcoming legislative session to set aside more money for the struggling pension systems amid sluggish revenue growth.

In 2016, Bevin and the Democratic-led House and Republican-led Senate crafted a budget that set aside more money for the public retirement systems than ever before: $1.2 billion out of the state’s $21 billion biennial budget.

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Republican leaders of the General Assembly are throwing water on the idea that they’ll make major changes to the state’s tax code during the upcoming legislative session.

Lawmakers have to craft a new two-year budget for the state and are hoping to overhaul the pension systems in the session, which lasts from Jan. 2 until mid-April.

And for the first time in Kentucky history, Republicans will have control of the House, Senate and governorship during a budget-writing session.

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A panel of economists is more pessimistic about Kentucky’s tax revenue than it was a few months ago. The group revised downward its prediction of how much Kentucky will make in tax revenue by the end of the fiscal year in June.

The Consensus Forecasting Group on Friday predicted that the state will be $156.1 million short of initial projections, down from $155 million predicted in October.

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Kentucky State Rep. Dan Johnson’s suicide following sexual assault allegations has sent Frankfort reeling.

Johnson, a Republican from Mt. Washington, fatally shot himself next to a bridge in a rural area Wednesday evening after posting an apparent suicide note on Facebook.

Earlier in the week, the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting published an expose of Johnson’s life, including years of deceptive claims, alleged criminal activity and accusations from a woman who says Johnson assaulted her in 2013 when she was 17 years-old.

A leader of Kentucky’s state senate says a “watered down” version of Gov. Matt Bevin’s pension proposal is being drafted but it would still shift future workers onto 401(k)-type retirement plans.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer said he hopes the bill is revealed to the public before Christmas so it can be reviewed in advance of lawmakers’ return for the legislative session that begins on Jan. 2.

Kentucky GOP Rejects Governor’s Call For Resignations

Dec 4, 2017
J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky’s Republican governor asked his party on Saturday to call for the resignation of four GOP lawmakers who signed a secret sexual harassment settlement, but party leaders rejected it in a move the governor said “speaks to the fact that we’ve got real problems.”

The Republican Party of Kentucky’s Central Committee held its regular meeting on Saturday. Party Chairman Mac Brown introduced a resolution that condemned “proven sexual harassment in any form committed by any public servant in the state of Kentucky.”

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration is asking for a redo of an analysis that says his proposed changes to the teacher pension system would cost taxpayers an extra $4.4 billion over the next 20 years.

Bevin has proposed moving future teachers into 401(k)-style retirement plans and increasing the amount of money the state puts towards the system every year.

The analysis by Cavanaugh Macdonald Consulting showed that under Bevin’s plan, the state wouldn’t see savings until 2034.

Budget Director John Chilton said the analysis used incorrect assumptions of retirement patterns and of how much money the pension system would make from its investments.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Matt Bevin says his proposal to overhaul Kentucky’s troubled pension systems has enough support to pass out of the state legislature, despite skepticism from lawmakers and intense opposition from state workers.

In an interview on the Leland Conway Show on WHAS in Louisville, Bevin said that when the proposal was unveiled the leaders of the state House and Senate “said straight up that they had the votes to pass that bill.”

The insurance program that provides health insurance to almost a third of Kentuckians — Medicaid — will soon change. Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin is awaiting approval from the federal government on his proposed reforms. But even if Bevin gets everything he asked for, Medicaid providers and advocates say there are still a lot of unknowns to how Kentucky will manage the program.

In Kentucky, Medicaid used to just cover pregnant women, children or people who were disabled or living in poverty. Under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, former Governor Steve Beshear expanded the insurance program to include people living outside of poverty – up to about $33,000 a year for a family of four. The program now covers about a third of Kentuckians, many of whom got on Medicaid through the expansion.

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Despite numerous failed legislative attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the Trump administration is rolling out regulatory changes that are likely to clear the way for Kentucky’s plan to remake its Medicaid system.

At a National Association of Medicaid Directors conference in Arlington, Virginia on Tuesday, Trump administration official Seema Verma said the government will give states more freedom over their Medicaid programs, including allowing states to require Medicaid enrollees to work or volunteer to keep their coverage.

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

Republican leaders in the state House of Representatives have hired a law firm to look into sexual harassment allegations against multiple GOP members.

The scandal has already led to the resignation of former House Speaker Jeff Hoover.

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne said that “new information regarding this unfolding situation has emerged today.”

J. Tyler Franklin

Allegations that House Speaker Jeff Hoover and other Republican lawmakers sexually harassed a female staffer have rocked the state capitol in recent days, pitting political allies against each other and unearthing deep divisions within Kentucky’s GOP.

Hoover resigned from his position as speaker, admitting to exchanging “inappropriate text messages” with an employee.

But he denied committing sexual harassment and claimed he was the target of a political conspiracy to bring him down.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Matt Bevin is calling for the immediate resignation of all elected officials and staff who have been involved in settling or hiding sexual harassment allegations.

The announcement came in a quickly-organized news conference Saturday afternoon amid allegations that House Speaker Jeff Hoover and several Republican leaders in the chamber had secretly settled sexual harassment claims.

Bevin called for the immediate resignation of  “every individual who has settled a sexual harassment case” and state employees “party to trying to hide this type of behavior.”

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