Matt Bevin


Gov. Matt Bevin’s attorney says the office will appeal a judge’s ruling that temporarily blocks the governor’s removal of the former chair of one of the state’s pension boards.

Kentucky Retirement Systems board chair Tommy Elliott sued the governor for removing him from the panel in April, three years before his term was set to expire. Attorney General Andy Beshear joined the lawsuit in June after Bevin abolished and reorganized the board, adding four new members.

On Monday evening, Franklin Circuit Court Judge Philip Shepherd ruled that Elliott should remain on the board while the case is still pending. Shepherd denied a request to temporarily block Bevin’s overhaul of the board.

Steve Pitt, Bevin’s general counsel, said the order was “inconsistent and improper” because Elliott was never a member of the governor’s newly constituted board.

J. Tyler Franklin

The judge presiding over a challenge to Gov. Matt Bevin’s overhaul of the University of Louisville board of trustees expressed frustration on Tuesday that the opposing parties hadn’t come to an agreement on which version of the U of L board should be in charge of the school.

Attorney General Andy Beshear sued Bevin for abolishing the 17-member U of L board and replacing it with a 10-member board made up of his own appointments.

Franklin Circuit Court Judge Philip Shepherd temporarily blocked the move late last month, effectively restoring the old version of the board, which Bevin scrapped in June.

On Tuesday, Shepherd said he had been optimistic that questions about the school’s governance would settle after the temporary injunction, but now he’s “concerned.”

“I was still hopeful that there would be some agreement or some consensus that would develop without any issues with regard to the governance of the university while the case is pending,” Shepherd said. “It is now, I think, abundantly apparent to the court that that is not going to happen.”

As a result, Shepherd said the court will expedite proceedings of the case.


A judge says he will rule Tuesday on whether to temporarily block Gov. Matt Bevin’s reorganization of the board that oversees the pension system for most state workers.

Bevin abolished the Kentucky Retirement Systems board in June and created a new board with additional members. He also removed board chair Tommy Elliott in April, three years before the end of his term.

Elliott and Attorney General Andy Beshear have sued Bevin over the moves.

KRS attorney Brian Thomas said that the board needs clarity on whether the new board is legal before making important investment and personnel decisions in the coming weeks.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Matt Bevin has asked the Kentucky Court of Appeals to overturn an order that blocked his overhaul of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees.

Bevin dissolved the 17-member board by executive order in June, alleging dysfunction among the group. He later reconstituted it as a 10-member board.

Earlier this month, Franklin Circuit Court Judge Philip Shephard temporarily blocked the move in the midst of a challenge brought on by Attorney General Andy Beshear.

In a motion filed with the Kentucky Court of Appeals, Bevin’s attorneys said that the court “abused its discretion” in blocking the overhaul.

Ryland Barton

The Kentucky Supreme Court heard arguments on Thursday over a challenge to Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s mid-year cuts to state colleges and universities.

In March of this year, Bevin issued an executive order reducing the amount allotted to higher education for the final quarter of this fiscal year by about 2 percent.

The reduction has been challenged by Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear and three Democratic state representatives, who argue that Bevin has thwarted the legislature’s power over budget decisions.

Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate ruled in favor of the governor in May and the state Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal of the case.

Steve Pitt, general counsel for the governor, argued Thursday that in general, the governor can unilaterally make spending cuts to state universities and other agencies but the courts can step in if they think the cuts amount to an “abuse of discretion.”

Kentucky's Republican governor and Democratic attorney general are preparing to take their dispute over state funding for public colleges and universities to the state's highest court.

The state Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments Thursday in a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Steve Beshear over Gov. Matt Bevin's decision to reduce the allotments of the state's public colleges and universities.

Beshear says the state legislature controls state spending, and Bevin's order reducing the institutions' allotments by $17.8 million was illegal because lawmakers didn't approve it.

Bevin argues lawmakers give money to state agencies and the governor, as the state's chief executive, can order some of those agencies not to spend all of it. A state judge ruled in Bevin's favor in May.

Office of Ky Governor

A $500,000 contract awarded by Kentucky's Republican governor to investigate his Democratic predecessor has survived a challenge in a state legislative committee.

Democrats on the Government Contract Review Committee failed to muster the five votes required to recommend canceling the contract, awarded to an Indiana law firm. It likely would not have mattered, as lawmakers can only recommend that the governor cancel the contract. Ultimately, Republican Gov. Matt Bevin's administration has the final decision.

Bevin announced his intention to investigate former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear earlier this year, saying his staff had found numerous examples of corruption. The two governors have clashed over public pensions and health care policy since Bevin took office.

Democrats say the investigation will not be impartial because several of the attorneys hired have ties to the Republican Party.

Bevin Combines 3 Boards Amid Questions Of Executive Power

Aug 9, 2016
J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky’s Republican governor has abolished and replaced three more boards and commissions as a state judge is considering whether he has the authority to take such action.

Gov. Matt Bevin on Monday abolished the Kentucky Board of Claims, the Board of Tax Appeals and the Crime Victims Compensation Fund. Together, eight people served on those three boards.

Bevin’s order creates a new Kentucky Claims Commission of three people. Bevin says the new commission will decide tax appeals, crime victim compensation claims and negligence claims against the state. He says it will save $350,000 a year.

Bevin has abolished and replaced at least five other boards and commissions. Three of those orders are being challenged in court. Last month, a judge temporarily blocked Bevin’s order abolishing and replacing the University of Louisville board of trustees.

Kentucky Reopens Medicaid Waiver Comment Period

Aug 9, 2016
LRC Public Information

Kentuckians who missed the chance to give input on proposed changes to state-run Medicaid now have until the end of the day on August 14 to comment.

Officials with the Kentucky Department for Medicaid Services say the comment period was reopened because of the high volume of remarks received after the original July 22 deadline.

“We got 30 percent of comments on the last day and even some after the deadline,” said Jean West, Cabinet for Health and Family Services communications director. “So we decided to extend it to accept the comments that came right after the deadline and allow any others.”

She said the state has not determined a date for submission of the revised waiver to the federal government. That will allow officials time to go through comments, she said.

J. Tyler Franklin

A state judge says he wants more information about University of Louisville's accreditation and the political and racial makeup of the school's board of trustees.

Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd issued an order last month at the request of Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear to temporarily block Bevin's decision to abolish and replace the University of Louisville board. On Monday, both sides were back in court to discuss scheduling for the case.

Shepherd said the university's accreditation is "an extremely important issue" and said he does not have enough information about it to make a permanent decision.

Shepherd also said he is concerned the old board of trustees may violate state law because it does not have proper political and minority representation.

Bevin Delays Applying For Medicaid Waiver

Aug 2, 2016
Creative Commons

Gov. Matt Bevin is delaying submitting changes to the state’s Medicaid program, which his administration had intended to submit to the federal government by Monday.

Adam Meier, Bevin’s deputy chief of staff for policy, said the extension is due to the large number of comments the state received regarding the proposal.

Under Bevin’s proposed plan, some recipients would have co-pays for doctor visits, basic dental and vision benefits would be eliminated for able-bodied adults, and beneficiaries who earn above the federal poverty line would pay monthly premiums. Those who don’t pay premiums would have co-pays.

In addition, beneficiaries would be required to accrue funds to earn dental and vision benefits by participating in activities such as community service or job-training.

Bevin Approves Contract to Probe Beshear Administration

Aug 2, 2016
Alix Mattingly

Kentucky Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has approved a contract of up to $500,000 to an Indiana law firm to investigate his Democratic predecessor's administration.

According to media reports, the two-year contract was awarded to the Indianapolis office of the law firm Taft Stettinius & Hollister. The contract says the firm will investigate possible violations of state spending rules and possible coercion of state workers for campaign donations.

Last spring, Bevin announced that his Finance and Administration Cabinet would oversee an investigation of what he called a "pay-to-play" method of conducting business during Beshear's administration. Beshear, who left office late last year after serving two terms, has said Bevin's accusations "have absolutely no basis in truth."

The Lexington Herald-Leader first reported the awarding of the contract.

University of Louisville

A judge on Thursday grilled the attorney defending Gov. Matt Bevin’s executive order that abolished and then reorganized the University of Louisville board.

Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd didn’t rule on whether to temporarily block the overhaul, as requested by Attorney General Andy Beshear, but said a decision would be forthcoming.

Beshear’s office says that Bevin had no authority to disband the school’s governing board and that state law protects university trustees — who serve for six-year-long staggered terms — from termination without cause and due process.

“[Bevin] gave them no process whatsoever in this case,” said Mitchel Denham, assistant deputy attorney general, after the hearing.

Benefind Homepage-screenshot

After the troubled rollout earlier this year of Benefind — Kentucky’s new online portal for welfare services — state officials say they are still working out the kinks in the program.

“The system is working much, much better now than at roll out,” said Tim Feeley, deputy secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. “We’re going to continue working on problems until we do this right for the citizens of Kentucky.”

The $100 million program, launched in late February, erroneously sent out about 25,000 notices to people saying that their benefits had been canceled. The state also had to work through a backlog of about 50,000 cases created from conflicting information from newly merged systems. The administration says it cleared the backlog in mid-May.

Now officials say they are trying to fix logistical issues like how to revive elements of the old system that allowed for one-on-one relationships between caseworkers and clients.

Judge Says Beshear Can Sue Bevin over U of L Board

Jul 21, 2016
Ryland Barton

A state judge says Kentucky's Democratic Attorney General can sue the state's Republican governor over his decision to abolish the University of Louisville board of trustees.

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin abolished the board and replaced all of its members last month, saying the university needed a "fresh start." Attorney General Andy Beshear sued Bevin, saying the governor's order is illegal.

But last year, former Attorney General Jack Conway issued an advisory opinion saying the governor does have the authority to reorganize the university's board. Chad Meredith, one of Bevin's attorneys, argued Beshear's lawsuit directly contradicts that opinion and violates the state's code of ethics for attorneys.

Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd ruled Thursday morning there was no basis to disqualify the attorney general's office from suing the governor.