Matt Bevin

Officials to Reconsider Value of Kentucky Governor's Home

Jul 19, 2017
Rob Canning

Local officials will hear an appeal from Republican Gov. Matt Bevin about the value of a home he purchased from a friend and campaign donor.

Bevin and his wife purchased the home in March for $1.6 million. Jefferson County officials say the home is worth $2.9 million. The discrepancy has prompted an ethics watchdog group and a Democratic state lawmaker to file ethics complaints.

Bevin appealed the valuation. Wednesday, a three-member appeals board with the Jefferson County Property Valuation Administrator's office will hear that appeal. The board is appointed by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, a Democrat.

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Medicaid advocates, family members and policy experts gathered in Frankfort Monday to weigh in on proposed changes to the state-run insurance program for low-income and disabled people.

Kentucky’s Medicaid program was expanded by former Gov. Steve Beshear under the Affordable Care Act. But current Gov. Matt Bevin has said the costs associated with the program aren’t sustainable, and is asking the federal government to approve a plan to scale it back.

J. Tyler Franklin

The Executive Branch Ethics Commission says that if Attorney General Andy Beshear plans on running for governor in 2019, he shouldn’t investigate allegations that Gov. Matt Bevin used his office to get a deal on a mansion he bought earlier this year.

But the state ethics agency also issued an advisory opinion saying that Beshear could request a third-party investigator to look into the governor’s transaction.

Alix Mattingly

Gov. Matt Bevin has filled a vacancy on the Executive Branch Ethics Commission days before the agency is scheduled to review complaints that allege the governor used his office to get a deal on a mansion he moved into earlier this year.

The move means Bevin appointees now makeup a majority of members on the five-member commission, which is charged with holding Kentucky governors and their administrations accountable.

The new appointee is Owensboro attorney Tim Kline, who donated $200 to Bevin’s gubernatorial campaign in 2015 and has contributed to several other Republican candidates in the state.

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The first of two public hearings seeking input on Governor Bevin’s Medicaid waiver was held Friday in Somerset.

Governor Bevin wants to overhaul the Medicaid program, in hopes of moving more people to private insurance coverage. Bevin said Kentucky can’t afford to pay for everyone that gained coverage when Medicaid was expanded.

 

The new plan calls for Medicaid recipients to pay premiums of up to $15 a month. Beneficiaries would be required to work or volunteer for 20 hours a week in order to keep their benefits. Those requirements don’t apply to everyone.

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Gov. Matt Bevin issued his first-ever slate of pardons Monday, citing “unique circumstances” that warranted gubernatorial forgiveness for 10 Kentuckians.

Those pardoned were convicted of crimes including drug offenses, sexual misconduct and reckless homicide. Bevin said he was prompted by Independence Day to issue the orders.

“It is an appropriate time to use the authority vested in my office to grant a fresh start at independence and liberty for several individuals who have lost both due to their previous criminal behavior,” Bevin said.

WKU Public Radio

If approved, the proposal would extend the terms of Kentucky’s next governor and other constitutional officeholders by one year, giving the elected officials five-year stints.

Elections for Kentucky’s constitutional officers are now held during odd-numbered years.

Rep. Kenny Imes, a Republican from Murray, said he proposed the bill to save counties money on elections and break up the nearly constant barrage of elections in Kentucky.

Comer Reignites Rivalry with Bevin Over Tax Returns

Jun 27, 2017
Twitter

Republican U.S. Rep. James Comer reignited an old political rivalry this week by publicly releasing his personal income tax returns and questioning why Gov. Matt Bevin has not done the same.

Comer was one of six members of Congress to release his tax returns as part of a story published Monday in Roll Call, a Washington-based publication. Comer told Roll Call he believes that when someone "files for the highest public offices" that the public has a right to know how much money they make and where it comes from.

Bevin Reluctantly Supports Senate Health Care Overhaul

Jun 27, 2017
Alix Mattingly

Kentucky’s Republican governor said he reluctantly supports the Senate’s plan to replace the Affordable Care Act and blamed its shaky prospects for passage on “mushy moderates” who “don’t have enough spine” to pass the bill.

Kentucky was one of 31 states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. It did so under a previous Democratic governor who supported the law. The expansion added another 400,000 people to Kentucky’s Medicaid program, causing the state to have among the largest coverage gains in the country.

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Gov. Matt Bevin said he wants to find more revenue to put toward Kentucky’s ailing pension systems and overstretched state budget, but not everyone is on board if the governor’s solution would mean tax increases.

Bevin said he wants to call lawmakers back to Frankfort later this year to hammer out a plan that would help the state generate more revenue through economic growth and eliminating tax breaks.

Republican lawmakers have historically been wary of tax increases, but Sen. Joe Bowen, a Republican from Owensboro, said lawmakers might be forced to consider it given the state’s financial jam.

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Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has asked for his city to be exempted from California’s recently announced ban on state-funded travel to Kentucky.

The travel ban was announced last week by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who accused Kentucky of passing a law that steps on the rights of LGBTQ citizens.

In his letter, Fischer asked Becerra to consider exempting some cities from the restrictions.

“It is my belief that cities like ours should be rewarded for inclusive behavior, not penalized; a waiver would highlight our inclusivity and encourage other cities to follow accordingly,” Fischer said in his letter.

J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

Updated June 26, 2017 at 1:35 p.m.:

The Public Protection Cabinet had previously told board leaders that Governor Bevin planned to issue an executive order as early as July 1 that would alter how the medical and professional boards operate.  However, the restructuring will not occur July 1, according to Cabinet Spokeswoman Elizabeth Kuhn who issued the following statement:

"The Public Protection Cabinet continues to work with each licensing board, stakeholders, and legislators to receive feedback regarding the proposed reorganization.  The Cabinet is working to fine tune the proposed reorganization based on the feedback we have received, and we look forward to proceeding with the reorganization plan, which will benefit licensed professionals throughout the Commonwealth."

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin is planning to reorganize dozens of medical and professional oversight boards. 

The panels control the licensing of thousands of professionals in Kentucky and investigate complaints filed against them.  The Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet says those boards currently operate without sufficient state oversight. 

Cabinet officials declined to be interviewed, but pointed out that in  2015, the U.S. Supreme Court held in North Carolina Dental Board v. Federal Trade Commission that professional licensing boards comprised of market participants (board members who hold active licenses in the profession they regulate) must be supervised by the state to avoid anti-trust liability.

Public Domain

Attorney General Andy Beshear has announced he is suing Gov. Matt Bevin over a recent executive order that reorganized several education boards.

The announcement comes after the attorney general previously threatened to sue Bevin over the actions and after the governor changed his executive order late last week.

Beshear said that despite Bevin’s changes, “there are still significant constitutional and legal violations.”

Kentucky Supreme Court to Hear U of L Case in August

Jun 20, 2017
J. Tyler Franklin

The Kentucky Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing in a lawsuit pitting the Republican governor against the state's Democratic attorney general.

The court will hear arguments on Aug. 18 about whether Gov. Matt Bevin has the authority to abolish and replace the boards of trustees at public universities.

Last year, Bevin abolished the board of trustees at the University of Louisville and replaced it with a new board. Attorney General Andy Beshear sued, arguing Bevin's order was illegal. A state judge agreed with him, and Bevin appealed.

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If Republicans in Congress move forward with their plan to replace Obamacare, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin's ideas for the future of the program could also go up in smoke.

About 440,000 people were added to the state’s Medicaid rolls as a result of former Gov. Steve Beshear’s executive order to expand the program in 2013, making more people eligible for benefits under the Affordable Care Act.


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