Matt Bevin

J. Tyler Franklin

The ACLU has asked Kentucky's Republican governor to stop blocking people from following his social media accounts.

The Courier-Journal reports the ACLU sent a letter to Gov. Matt Bevin on July 11 telling him that by blocking people from following his social media accounts, he is violating their rights of free speech under the state and federal constitutions. The newspaper had previously reported Bevin had blocked roughly 600 accounts from his official Facebook and Twitter pages. Blocking an account limits that person's ability to see Bevin's posts or to engage with him.

Lisa Autry

As the U.S. Senate this week voted to hold debate over repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, former Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear accused some Republican politicians of “religious hypocrisy.”

Beshear said some lawmakers have turned their backs on people who need health care. The former Democratic governor said it’s unfortunate that elected leaders take advantage of religion and use it as a political tool.

"When a politician running for office talks in religious terms people believe them and think that's a good person, and vote for them.  The problem is that a lot of these guys and gals preach like the prophets when they're running and govern like Pontius Pilate when they're serving," Beshear told WKU Public Radio. "What kind of Christian principles is it when you want to throw 22 million people off health care coverage? There may be problems with the Affordable Care Act, and we need to fix them, but the answer isn't to turn millions of people out of the health care they desperately need."

Jacob Ryan

A state ethics panel says that even if Gov. Matt Bevin got a $1 million discount on a mansion bought from a political donor and appointee, he didn’t violate the state’s ethics code.

The ruling comes after two complaints were filed against Bevin over his purchase of a house and 10 acres of land from Neil Ramsey, who Bevin appointed to the Kentucky Retirement Systems board of trustees last summer.

Katie Gabhart, executive director of the Executive Branch Ethics Commission, says that the board unanimously voted to dismiss the complaints.

J. Tyler Franklin

An attorney for Gov. Matt Bevin argued during a hearing on Wednesday that county officials overestimated the value of the governor’s home, considering the mansion is old, in disrepair and has water damage.

The governor’s purchase has come under scrutiny after the Courier-Journal first reported that Bevin paid around $1 million less than official estimates deemed the house and surrounding 10 acres were worth.

Bevin bought the property from Neil Ramsey, a political donor and fellow investment manager who the governor appointed to the board that manages one of the state’s pension systems.

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.

Wikimedia Commons

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.

Flickr/Creative Commons

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.

Creative Commons

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.

Thinkstock

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.

Creative Commons

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.

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