Kentucky

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WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about whether Ohio Democrats have a chance this year to end a long drought in statewide elections; and about Kentucky's primary election on Tuesday. 

Stu Johnson / WEKU

Earlier this week we heard from half of the Democratic candidates for the Sixth Congressional seat - Jim Gray, Reggie Thomas, and Amy McGrath. The three remaining candidates Daniel Kemph, Geoff Young and Ted Green, face an uphill climb.

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Emma and Liam continued their reign as popular baby names in 2017. The two top the list of most popular names given to babies born in Ohio last year, according to the Social Security Administration.

A coveted seat in the Kentucky House will soon have a new representative for the first time since 1976.  Former House Speaker Jody Richards announced earlier this year he would not seek re-election. 

Ahead of the May 22 primary, WKU Public Radio is airing a series of reports introducing you to each of the five Democrats and three Republicans seeking to replace Richards.  Democrats Brian Slim Nash and Patti Minter were profiled in a previous story.  The remaining three Democrats in the race, Ashlea Shepherd Porter, Rick DuBose, and Eldon Renaud, are heard in this report.


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A new trail is opening up this week across Kentucky, but it has little to do with hiking, biking, or driving. It's the initiation of the Kentucky State Park Culinary Trail, right in line with the state parks' administration focus on food.

BAISHAMPAYAN GHOSE / CREATIVE COMMONS

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down a federal law that could allow states to legalize sports betting, potentially paving the way for Kentucky to rake in millions on sports bets.

Kyeland Jackson / WFPL

Community members gathered in Radcliff on Saturday to mark the 30th anniversary of the deadliest drunk driving crash in American history.

The accident took place on May 14, 1988, when a drunk driver hit a church bus carrying 60 people on Interstate 71 near Carrollton, Kentucky.

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Monday will mark the 30th anniversary of the nation’s deadliest drunk driving crash.

rand paul
J. Tyler Franklin / WFPL

Rand Paul still says he will vote against the confirmation of Gina Haspel to be the next director of the CIA, citing her role in the intelligence agency’s brutal interrogation program more than a decade ago.

yum center louisville kentucky
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It could cost $1.4 billion but a group of investors interested in bringing an NBA team to Louisville says it remains committed to its goal. The group gave an update on the project to community members at the Louisville Forum Wednesday.

matt bevin
J. Tyler Franklin / WFPL

After suffering a minor loss in the lawsuit over Kentucky’s new pension law on Monday, Gov. Matt Bevin lashed out at the judge overseeing the case again, calling him an "incompetent hack."

Cumberland Falls Kentucky
James St. John / Flickr Creative Commons

Kentucky’s tourism industry generated more than $15 billion dollars in 2017. Department of Tourism Commissioner Kristen Branscum said in a release Monday the industry saw a 3.8-percent increase over the previous year and supported more than 195,000 jobs.

kentucky derby
Erica Peterson / WFPL

It’s a cool spring morning just about dawn on the backside of Churchill Downs, eight days before the Derby. Exercise riders on gleaming racehorses trot past the barns and onto the track for a workout. Some horses have already finished and are being hosed down…they’re so warm, steam is rising off their backs when the water hits.

matt bevin
J. Tyler Franklin / WFPL

Gov. Matt Bevin says problems in Louisville’s public school system are so severe that “we have got to make changes.” Bevin’s comments come a day after the state’s top education official recommended a takeover of Kentucky’s largest school district.

The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education has approved tuition and fee ceilings that limit the amount public colleges and universities can charge in-state, under-graduate students. 

The CPE capped tuition increases at six percent over the next two academic years for the state's comprehensive and research universities.  Schools would not be allowed to raise tuition more than four percent in any one year.

For the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, tuition hikes will be limited to $12 per credit hour, with an $8 per credit hour maximum allowed per year.

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The leader of the Kentucky House of Representatives is calling for an investigation into the deal that created the Kentucky Wired high-speed internet project, a public-private partnership that has cost the state tens of millions of dollars in delays in recent years.

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Separating parents will get joint custody of their children by default under a bill signed into law by Gov. Matt Bevin last week, unless a parent has a recent history of domestic violence.

Kentucky is the first state in the country to create a “legal presumption” for joint custody in divorce proceedings.

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Decades before the Kentucky Board of Education forced out former Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt two years before his contract was up, the legislature passed a massive overhaul of the state education system, including measures to try and shield Kentucky’s top education official from political influence.

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After a shakeup of Kentucky’s Board of Education last week, conservative groups are pushing for the state to intervene in the management of Jefferson County Public Schools, the state’s largest school district.

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YouTube / Star Wars Channel

The famous and beloved "fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy" lands in Northern Kentucky this weekend, and yes, the Millennium Falcon, talking about we are. 

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes says she hopes turnout in Kentucky’s May 22 primary election will be just as large as the ballot.  The deadline to register to vote is Monday, April 23.

The mid-term election will feature a host of county-wide races, all of the seats in the state House, half of the state Senate, Congressional, and judicial races. 

Grimes says she’s optimistic that the activism among teachers and other state workers during this year’s legislative session will translate into high turnout at the polls.

kentucky state capitol building
Peter Fitzgerald / Wikimedia

This year’s Kentucky General Assembly was book-ended by turmoil, but over the course of nearly four months the Republican-led legislature was still able to wrangle the votes to approve politically volatile policies like changing pension benefits for public workers and overhauling Kentucky’s tax code amid intense protests from public workers, especially teachers.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin is apologizing for saying a teachers' strike left hundreds of thousands of children vulnerable to sexual assault and drug use.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Update, Monday, April 16: Bevin has now apologized for his remarks

As one of its final acts of this year’s legislative session, the Republican-led Kentucky House of Representatives passed a resolution formally condemning Gov. Matt Bevin for saying that teachers neglected students by attending protests in Frankfort on Friday, leading to child abuse.

Kentucky state capitol
Alix Mattingly / WFPL, Kentucky Public Radio

On the final day of this year’s Kentucky General Assembly, state lawmakers passed “clean-up” bills that would make changes to the two-year budget and revenue bills that passed into law on Friday.

kentucky teacher protest
Ryland Barton

Teachers from across Kentucky are expected to converge on the state Capitol again Friday as lawmakers return to Frankfort for the final two days of this year’s legislative session.

The Kentucky Education Association — the statewide teachers union — has called for lawmakers to override Gov. Matt Bevin’s vetoes of the two-year state budget and revenue bills, which set aside more funding for public education than Bevin’s proposed budget did.

J. Tyler Franklin / WFPL

Kentucky lawmakers will consider whether to override Gov. Matt Bevin’s vetoes of the state budget and revenue bills and whether to pass any other last-minute bills during the final two days of this year’s legislative session on Friday and Saturday.

Craft bourbon distillers have been growing for the past several years as drinkers rediscover heritage and new styles of brown liquor drinks. Some might call it a boom. But many distillers have seen the boom-and-bust cycle of liquor popularity before and are exploring ways to hedge their bets against another bust.

Andrew Buchanan walks through Hartfield & Co. Distillery, a small, relatively new operation located in a former seed storage warehouse in Paris, Ky.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

A day after Gov. Matt Bevin signed a bill overhauling retirement benefits for public workers, Attorney General Andy Beshear has filed a lawsuit to try and block it.

jeff hoover
Gage Skidmor / Wikimedia Commons

Former House Speaker Jeff Hoover has admitted that he violated state ethics rules by exchanging sexually charged text messages with a legislative staffer who used to work for him.

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