From Frankfort

State budget director tells employers to brace for heftier pension contributions in upcoming biennium

09/15/2017 04:12 PM

State Budget Director John Chilton warned employers in the Kentucky Employees Retirement System to expect higher pension contributions, some as much as 84 percent of payroll, in the upcoming budget in a letter Friday. The letter comes as Gov. Matt Bevin and lawmakers grapple with reforming the state’s pension systems for public employees and teachers in a yet-to-be-called special session this year amid unfunded liabilities estimated between $37 billion and $64 billion and follows the Kentucky Retirement Systems’ decision to... Read more 

Satisfaction and morale improving at LRC, NCSL survey finds

09/15/2017 08:55 AM

Three years after an audit of the Legislative Research Commission found low staff morale, a new survey is showing signs of a turn-around at the agency. Staff satisfaction and morale are improving, according to a new National Conference of State Legislatures survey release this week by the LRC. The survey nearly mirrored the questions in the “2014 NCSL study.”: Results from 2014 and 2017 are shown side-by-side, and in nearly every case there were improvements shown in... Read more 

Resolution calling for Gov. Bevin, lawmakers to honor benefits accrued under inviolable contract tabled by KRS board

09/14/2017 05:30 PM

FRANKFORT – The Kentucky Retirement Systems board of trustees tabled action Thursday on a resolution urging Gov. Matt Bevin and lawmakers to honor benefits for pensioners and government workers accrued under the inviolable contract. KRS trustee Jerry Powell offered the resolution, which also called for full actuarially required contributions to the Kentucky Employees Retirement System and State Police Retirement System, toward the end of Thursday’s meeting but some trustees voiced discomfort with voting on something they had only just seen. Instead,... Read more 

First charter school in Kentucky could be in place for start of 2018-19 school year

09/14/2017 03:46 PM

FRANKFORT – With the passage of House Bill 520 during the 2017 legislative session, Kentucky became the 44th state which legalized public charter schools, which proponents say will improve educational opportunities for many students, while critics believe the charters will draw money away from traditional public schools. Last month, the Kentucky Department of Education named Earl Simms as director of its newly created Division of Charter Schools. Simms, a native of Louisville and graduate of Murray State University, previously served as the... Read more 

25 percent of Kentucky kids continue to live in poverty, new data shows

09/14/2017 01:11 PM

One in four Kentucky children still live in poverty, according to new data released by the U.S. Census Bureau and distributed by Kentucky Youth Advocates. New data estimates from the American Community Survey shows the number of Kentucky kids living in poverty did not a significantly change from the 2015 estimate. The percent of Kentucky children living in poverty remains higher since the Great Recession began in 2008 (23.5 percent), according to Kentucky Youth Advocates. “Children thrive when their parents... Read more 

Officials and stakeholders discuss ways to improve state's ability to buy local foods

09/13/2017 05:04 PM

FRANKFORT – State officials and producers offered their suggestions to improve the growing number of entities that look to local farms for food during a Wednesday meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture. Officials from the University of Kentucky, Kentucky Department of Parks and Kentucky Venues testified on the benefits they’ve witnessed in purchasing in-state products and the struggles they still face in getting local foods on their menus. UK, for instance, buys foods from local farmers through their food services... Read more 

N. KY superintendent concerned that potential pension changes will drive teachers to surrounding states

09/13/2017 02:21 PM

BURLINGTON – With a special session addressing pension reform looming, school teachers and administrators are anxious to see what changes might be on the horizon for the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System (KTRS). Last month, PFM Management recommended changes to KTRS which include moving teachers to a combination of Social Security participation and a defined-contribution plan. Boone County Schools Superintendent Randy Poe is concerned that if those recommendations become reality, it would require already financially strapped school districts to spend more money in... Read more 

Number of insured Kentuckians continues to rise

09/12/2017 02:43 PM

The number of Kentuckians with health insurance jumped again, propelling the state to nearly 95 percent of all people covered in 2016, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau; however funding challenges loom at both the state and federal level. The data shows the percent of people with health insurance in Kentucky increased from 85.7 percent in 2013 to 94.9 percent in 2016, according to Kentucky Youth Advocates. Nearly 97 percent of children under the age of 19-years... Read more 

Attorney General Beshear questions legality of $350M in budget cuts proposed by Gov. Bevin

09/12/2017 02:03 PM

FRANKFORT – A request by Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration for budget cuts totaling $350 million in many state government agencies may be illegal and lead to another courtroom showdown between Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear. Beshear announced Tuesday that he had outlined his legal concerns in a letter to Bevin’s office, which sent letters to agency leaders on Friday asking for their plans to absorb 17.4 percent spending reductions by Sept. 25. Funding for K-12 education, Medicaid, corrections, universities... Read more 

Rep. Addia Wuchner studies better ways to treat opioid addiction

09/11/2017 12:39 PM

BURLINGTON – House Health and Family Services chair Rep. Addia Wuchner, R-Florence, says that the key to fighting the opioid addiction in the commonwealth is providing effective treatment based on continuing research. Wuchner, who also co-chairs the Interim Joint Committee on Health and Welfare and Family Services, has been busy evaluating treatment centers around the commonwealth and surrounding states to see what model would serve Kentucky best in battling the growing addiction crisis. “I’ve busy visiting drug treatment centers all over the... Read more 


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