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Posts published in “State”

Unemployment Supplement Expires, Senate Race Heats Up

This week in Kentucky politics, Mitch McConnell’s latest coronavirus relief bill stalled in Congress right after the $600 per week supplement to unemployment benefits expired.

Kentuckians got some fresh polling in the race between McConnell and Democratic challenger Amy McGrath, and McConnell accused McGrath of putting out a racist commercial. …

McConnell Unveils New Coronavirus Bill

This week in Kentucky politics, Mitch McConnell unveiled a new coronavirus relief bill, but it still has a long way to go before becoming law. Gov. Andy Beshear rolled back Kentucky’s reopening during the pandemic, closing all bars and reducing restaurant capacity. And the debate continues over whether all Kentuckians will be able to cast ballots by mail this fall. …

No Budget Shortfall, Beshear Calls For More Funding

This week in Kentucky politics, the state avoided a budget shortfall despite initial predictions that tax revenue would plummet in the first months of the coronavirus pandemic. But Gov. Andy Beshear says the next financial year could be bleak. The state Supreme Court refused Beshear’s request to disqualify a judge from a lawsuit challenging his coronavirus executive orders. And a group is suing once again to try and keep the Marsy’s Law constitutional amendment off the ballot.…

McGrath To Take On McConnell

This week in Kentucky politics, Amy McGrath won Kentucky’s Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. She’ll now try to unify the party with the help of her former opponent, state Rep. Charles Booker. And Mitch McConnell gave us a taste this week of how he’ll be campaigning, releasing a new ad that drums up images of a culture war. …

Underdog Democratic Senate Candidates Nab Endorsements

This week in Kentucky politics, big endorsements came in for underdog candidates in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. But Mitch McConnell and Democratic frontrunner Amy McGrath are already looking toward the general election. And the deadline to register to vote in the primary is Tuesday. …

State Prepares For Budget Cuts

This week in Kentucky politics, Gov. Andy Beshear asked state agencies to come up with plans to significantly cut their budgets over the coming months. Mitch McConnell said he still doesn’t support sending more money to states unless business are shielded from lawsuits during the pandemic. And calls are mounting for an independent investigation into a Louisville police raid that killed 26-year-old Breonna Taylor. …

More Testing Needed As State Reopens

This week in Kentucky politics, Gov. Andy Beshear announced a new schedule of business reopenings during the coronavirus pandemic. Beshear has moved on from his initial statement that the state wouldn’t open up until it sees a two-week decline in confirmed cases. And the governor revised his restrictions on traveling to the state during the pandemic after a judge struck them down.

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Attorney General Cameron Threatens To Sue Beshear

This week in Kentucky politics, Attorney General Daniel Cameron threatened to sue Gov. Andy Beshear for not allowing in-person church services during the coronavirus pandemic. The state got its first glimpse at how much tax revenue has dropped off amid business closures. And Kentucky’s senior Senator Mitch McConnell has new conditions for helping states out with their budget problems.

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Legislature Wraps Up With Veto Overrides

This week in Kentucky politics, the legislature wrapped up its 2020 session with a flurry of veto overrides, abortion bills and constitutional amendments. Gov. Andy Beshear said he’s working with a group of neighboring states to coordinate when and how to ease coronavirus restrictions. And protestors gathered at the capitol to protest business closures. Erica Peterson talked to capitol reporter Ryland Barton for this week’s edition of Kentucky Politics Distilled. …

Legislature Returns Next Week

This week in Kentucky politics, Gov. Andy Beshear urged churches to not hold Easter services during the coronavirus pandemic. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that banning drive-in church services violates first amendment rights. And the legislature returns next week to consider overriding Gov. Beshear’s vetoes. …

State temporarily halts wage garnishing for UK medical bills. It should be a permanent stop.

Gov. Andy Beshear’s administration says it has stopped a harmful and possibly unlawful practice of garnishing the wages of thousands of low-income Kentuckians with tardy medical bills from University of Kentucky HealthCare. Jill Midkiff, spokeswoman for the Finance and Administration Cabinet said that in mid-March, the Department of Revenue had released levies on wages accrued from debt at UK. A 2004 law expanded the revenue department’s collection powers, allowing UK HealthCare to use the department as a collection agency. Only, unlike collection agencies, Revenue does not have to get a court judgment to begin garnishing wages before property liens and other governmental maneuvers can be applied. The department also adds 25 percent as a collection fee. The practice should have been suspended two years ago, when it became the subject of two different lawsuits.…

Health departments go above, beyond

In the midst of the largest and most challenging global health pandemic of our time, it is not only fitting but also more important than ever that we recognize and thank the teams at health departments across our state. This week marks the 25th annual National Public Health Week, which is celebrated in the first full week of April each year. As we have witnessed over the last handful of weeks, health departments do much more than give flu shots and inspect restaurants.…

It’s important to maintain all COVID-19 precautions

What more could be done to combat the spread of the coronavirus? National health experts continue to warn that failure to observe containment actions in a consistent and serious manner could result in more cities and communities experiencing statistically similar levels of infection, illness and death as being seen in New York. On the other hand, implementation of more aggressive business and marketplace restrictions will further cripple our national economy, sending millions more to the unemployment line. The potential for dire consequences lay on both ends of the spectrum. Striking the right balance moves us more quickly through the bell curve of infection. Getting it wrong will increase illness and death rates.…

Kentucky will get $2.4 billion in federal COVID-19 relief. Here’s what it pays for.

The state of Kentucky should get $2.41 billion from the CARES Act coronavirus relief package that Congress passed last month, with the largest sum — $1.59 billion — going to state government to help it cover virus-related expenses through Dec. 30. Smaller sums will go to schools, universities, public transit, child care, housing and other areas, to help Kentuckians get through the pandemic. But Washington hasn’t released the funds yet, causing some grumbling from the nation’s governors. And at present, officials in Frankfort say they are still awaiting more explanation on how the money can be spent.…

Severe storms, high winds knock down barns, topple trees throughout Kentucky

Severe thunderstorms ripped through Kentucky Wednesday night into Thursday morning, leaving damaged homes and fallen trees around the state. Meteorologist Chris Bailey expected the storms, and said on Kentucky Weather that large hail, damaging winds and even tornadoes were possible. Bailey also said on Twitter that winds likely approached 60 to 65 mph as storms approached. The high winds left behind a lot of damage around the state. Photos from Grant County showed collapsed trees and houses ripped open. The Maysville area was also damaged, according to photos, as trees hit houses and a motorsports arena collapsed.…

Kentucky congressman says stimulus bill should be given time to work

Congressman Brett Guthrie said this week he supports funneling additional money into the program geared toward rescuing small businesses crippled by the coronavirus pandemic. But in a phone interview this week, Guthrie, a Bowling Green Republican, said the rest of the $2 trillion coronavirus bill should be given time to be implemented before Congress pursues another large aid bill. Congress has passed three aid packages since the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered businesses and schools. The scope of the pandemic, which had infected 397,000 Americans and killed nearly 13,000 people nationwide as of Wednesday morning, prompted governors in multiple states, including Kentucky, to order residents to stay home under most circumstances.…

Federal loans can help businesses through pandemic

The late Tom Petty put it well in a rock song: the waiting is the hardest part. Especially when shut-down business owners are waiting to reopen, and potentially losing money as they do. Federal help is available for businesses enduring the coronavirus. The president of the Hopkins County Economic Development Corporation emphasized two potential outlets Wednesday. “One of them is the Economic Injury Disaster Loan,” Hagerman said during the daily city-county briefing on COVID-19. “It’s a two-page application. The original application was extensive.” The form can be found on the Small Business Administration website. Hagerman said it can be filled out in 10 minutes.…

Hopkins County COVID-19 count could reach ‘hundreds’

The fight against coronavirus in Hopkins County could wind up involving “well into the hundreds” of cases. Hopkins County Health Department Director Denise Beach used those words during a video conference meeting of the county health board. She noted the virus now affects two long-term care facilities. Meanwhile, a Madisonville car dealer at South Main and Broadway streets promoted a contest, offering a free car to the person who can predict when the pandemic will end. Shawn Cardwell didn’t have a standard for that date at first, but decided it will be based on the World Health Organization.…

Kentucky coronavirus updates: Money coming to Kentuckians who filed for unemployment

Kentucky saw its largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases Wednesday with 204 new cases for a total of 1,346 in the commonwealth. Eight new deaths were recorded as well, for a total of 73. Meanwhile, Baptist Health, which operates hospitals across Kentucky and Southern Indiana, including in Louisville, announced Thursday that it is “temporarily reassigning some staff, furloughing others and reducing pay for leaders.”…