From Frankfort

Kentucky's rural hospitals faring worse than others across the U.S., nine-month audit finds

03/30/2015 03:46 PM

FRANKFORT — Reiterating that his review of Kentucky’s network of rural hospitals is not a “rebuke” against Medicaid managed care or the Affordable Care Act, Auditor Adam Edelen called on Monday for the creation of a panel to better monitor the fiscal wellbeing of rural medical facilities as federal health reforms solidify. Edelen hopes his nine-month review of the state’s 66 rural hospitals, which provide care for an estimated 45 percent of Kentucky’s population, will provide a “baseline” for tracking progress... Read more 

Head of teachers’ pension wants special session for $3.3B bonding plan

03/27/2015 08:53 AM

FRANKFORT — After falling short in its bid for $3.3 billion in bonds to shore up its finances, the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System may request a special session to reconsider the proposal. Citing the “magnitude” of the $14 billion in unfunded pension liabilities that will quickly grow to $21.6 billion by July 1 without a funding plan, KTRS Executive Secretary Gary Harbin said Thursday the KTRS Board of Trustees has directed him to have external analysts look at the financial situation... Read more 

2015 General Assembly had "one of the most productive sessions in recent history," Beshear says

03/25/2015 07:39 PM

FRANKFORT — In the final year of his term, Gov. Steve Beshear says lawmakers stepped up to the plate and delivered for the people of Kentucky in his last session as governor. Legislative leaders in the House and Senate agreed that key bills made it out of their chambers and onto the governor’s desk. “When you look at the laundry list of measures that are going to become law in Kentucky. Obviously, the heroin bill was a top priority for... Read more 

Gov. Beshear signs heroin bill, says legislation sends strong signals to traffickers and addicts

03/25/2015 06:30 PM

FRANKFORT — With a stroke of his pen on Wednesday, Gov. Steve Beshear enacted a comprehensive bill targeting the state’s growing heroin epidemic, making provisions such as local-option needle exchanges, expanded access to the overdose-reversing drug naloxone and stiffer penalties for heroin traffickers immediately available. Senate Bill 192, which sailed through both chambers late Tuesday before the scheduled final day of the short session bled into Wednesday morning, “sends a very strong and clear message” to dealers and addicts, Beshear said... Read more 

Lawmakers walk away without action on KTRS; leaders say issue can be studied in interim

03/25/2015 11:47 AM

FRANKFORT — Legislative leaders say they will continue looking into the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System and be back at the table in the 2016 legislative session over the issue. House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, told reporters that he thought the House would be back next year with a “similar proposal” to alleviate the nearly $14 billion unfunded liability at KTRS. Stumbo proposed bonding $3.3 billion for KTRS while lawmakers study the pension agency. The Senate asked for more time during... Read more 

House, Senate roll into day 29 passing gas tax, dating violence bills

03/25/2015 01:21 AM

FRANKFORT — With ten minutes until midnight Tuesday, the state Senate moved a compromise version of a fix to the gas tax drop with a constitutional majority. The state House wrapped their voting on the measure just as the clock rolled over on 12:30 a.m., day 29 of the legislative session. The gas tax compromise would set a new gas tax floor at 26 cents per gallon. That’s lower than the current 27.6-cents-per-gallon rate but above the expected 22.1-cent-per-gallon rate... Read more 

Landmark heroin bill clears General Assembly; Gov. Beshear promises to sign SB 192 "first thing"

03/25/2015 01:15 AM

FRANKFORT — After falling frustratingly short in recent sessions, the Kentucky General Assembly passed a comprehensive package to address the state’s burgeoning heroin epidemic. Senate Bill 192 largely mirrors a compromise bill passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday, with provisions for needle-exchange programs pending approval by city and county governments, no-charge good Samaritan protections for those who report overdoses, expanded access to the overdose-reversing drug naloxone, and $10 million in the current fiscal year and $24 million annually thereafter to... Read more 

Senate passes students' superintendent search bill with religious and political freedom amendment

03/24/2015 07:30 PM

FRANKFORT — Before breaking for an hourlong dinner break on Tuesday, the state Senate revived a religious freedom bill by adding it to legislation allowing students on school superintendent search committees. The religious freedom floor amendment was one of two that prompted a rally on the Capitol steps Monday by students who worked on House Bill 236. The other floor amendment, language mandating transgender students use the restroom of their original sexes, was withdrawn before debate began. HB 236 as amended cleared... Read more 

Conference committee hits impasse on how to help low-performing schools

03/24/2015 02:03 PM

FRANKFORT — A conference committee looking at ways to help consistently low-performing schools in the commonwealth hit an impasse Tuesday on the best way to help those schools turn outcomes around. House Bill 448, sponsored by Rep. Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort, requires schools classified as low-achieving, or in the bottom 5 percent for four consecutive years, to implement an internal innovation option involving a collaboration between the superintendent, the school site-based decision-making council and the school board in hiring a new principal. Senate... Read more 

With clock ticking toward sine die, Gov. Beshear urges lawmakers to pass heroin, gas tax bills

03/24/2015 12:23 PM

FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear challenged lawmakers to put politics aside on Tuesday and pass comprehensive measures addressing the state’s heroin scourge and plummeting gas tax. Beshear, speaking to reporters after a series of rapid-fire ceremonial bill signings, said the General Assembly needs “to get the job done today” on heroin and other unresolved topics as lawmakers prepare to adjourn sine die by midnight Tuesday. The Democratic governor planned to continue talks with leading lawmakers in the final scheduled day of... Read more 

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