Tagkentucky

Stories about Kentucky

Special election preview: Kentucky State Senate District 19

The special general election for Kentucky State Senate District 19 is on Feb. 21, 2023. Cassie Chambers Armstrong (D) and Misty Glin (R) are competing in the special election. The filing deadline to run passed on Jan. 3.

The special election was called after Senate Minority Leader Morgan McGarvey (D) left office to represent Kentucky’s 3rd Congressional District on Jan. 3, 2023. McGarvey served in the state Senate from 2012 to 2023. 

As of February 2023, 23 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2023 in 11 states. Between 2011 and 2021, an average of 74 special elections took place each year. Kentucky has held 27 state legislative special elections from 2010 to 2022. 

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Kentucky threatens to divest from 11 banks over ESG policies

Kentucky State Treasurer Allison Ball (R) on January 2 issued a statement notifying 11 banks that their environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) policies amounted to energy boycotts that harmed the state’s economy according to definitions passed into law last spring. The statement says the banks have 90 days to stop what Kentucky argues are energy company boycotts or face divestment from the state. According to Fox Business:

“Kentucky issued an official notice Monday morning listing 11 banks it accused of boycotting energy companies and which would be subject to divestment within months.

“Kentucky State Treasurer Allison Ball announced that, after a review of their energy and climate policies, the listed banks — which included BlackRock, the largest asset manager in the world, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and HSBC among others — were found to be in an active boycott of fossil fuel companies. The Kentucky state government could begin divesting from the firms if they didn’t reverse their boycotts, according to the notice obtained first by FOX Business.

“‘Kentucky is a coal, oil, and gas producing state,’ Ball told FOX Business. ‘Our energy sector helps power America. Kentucky refuses to fund the ideological boycotts of our own fossil fuel industry with the hard-earned taxes and pensions of Kentucky citizens.’

“Kentucky’s Republican-led legislature passed a bill requiring the state government to identify and divest from banks that are determined to be engaging in a boycott of energy and fossil fuel companies. Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear signed the bill, which was endorsed by both the Kentucky Oil and Gas Association and Kentucky Coal Association, into law on April 8, 2022.

“The law directs the state treasurer’s office to publish an annual list of financial firms engaged in energy boycotts. State agencies then must notify the office if they own direct or indirect holdings of the listed companies and send a notice to the relevant companies within 30 days. If the companies don’t halt their boycotts within 90 days of receiving such notice, the state government could divest from their holdings.

“When companies boycott fossil fuels, they intentionally choke off the lifeblood of capital to Kentucky’s signature industries,” Ball said in a statement Monday. ‘Traditional energy sources fuel our Kentucky economy, provide much needed jobs, and warm our homes. Kentucky must not allow our signature industries to be irreparably damaged based upon the ideological whims of a select few.’…

“Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia have already announced they will divest hundreds of millions of dollars from banks engaging in energy boycotts. Texas and Oklahoma have taken legislative steps akin to Kentucky’s that will likely soon lead to divestment.”

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Kentucky threatens to divest from 11 banks over ESG policies

Kentucky State Treasurer Allison Ball (R) on January 2 issued a statement notifying 11 banks that their environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) policies amounted to energy boycotts that harmed the state’s economy according to definitions passed into law last spring. The statement says the banks have 90 days to stop what Kentucky argues are energy company boycotts or face divestment from the state. According to Fox Business:

“Kentucky issued an official notice Monday morning listing 11 banks it accused of boycotting energy companies and which would be subject to divestment within months.

“Kentucky State Treasurer Allison Ball announced that, after a review of their energy and climate policies, the listed banks — which included BlackRock, the largest asset manager in the world, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and HSBC among others — were found to be in an active boycott of fossil fuel companies. The Kentucky state government could begin divesting from the firms if they didn’t reverse their boycotts, according to the notice obtained first by FOX Business.

“‘Kentucky is a coal, oil, and gas producing state,’ Ball told FOX Business. ‘Our energy sector helps power America. Kentucky refuses to fund the ideological boycotts of our own fossil fuel industry with the hard-earned taxes and pensions of Kentucky citizens.’

“Kentucky’s Republican-led legislature passed a bill requiring the state government to identify and divest from banks that are determined to be engaging in a boycott of energy and fossil fuel companies. Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear signed the bill, which was endorsed by both the Kentucky Oil and Gas Association and Kentucky Coal Association, into law on April 8, 2022.

“The law directs the state treasurer’s office to publish an annual list of financial firms engaged in energy boycotts. State agencies then must notify the office if they own direct or indirect holdings of the listed companies and send a notice to the relevant companies within 30 days. If the companies don’t halt their boycotts within 90 days of receiving such notice, the state government could divest from their holdings.

“When companies boycott fossil fuels, they intentionally choke off the lifeblood of capital to Kentucky’s signature industries,” Ball said in a statement Monday. ‘Traditional energy sources fuel our Kentucky economy, provide much needed jobs, and warm our homes. Kentucky must not allow our signature industries to be irreparably damaged based upon the ideological whims of a select few.’…

“Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia have already announced they will divest hundreds of millions of dollars from banks engaging in energy boycotts. Texas and Oklahoma have taken legislative steps akin to Kentucky’s that will likely soon lead to divestment.”

Click here to subscribe to Ballotpedia’s ESG newsletter to stay up-to-date on the most important developments.



Kentucky unemployment insurance indexing bill takes effect

An unemployment insurance indexing law in Kentucky took effect January 1, 2023, establishing a 12-week maximum benefit period during periods of low unemployment and a 24-week maximum benefit period during times of high unemployment. The Kentucky House and Senate both voted on March 21, 2022, to override Gov. Andy Beshear’s (D) veto of House Bill 4 and pass the indexing law.

Indexing unemployment insurance program benefits is an approach that ties benefit lengths to economic conditions with the goal of moving benefit recipients back into the workforce during times of low unemployment. State unemployment programs that index their benefits provide shorter periods of benefits during times of low unemployment and longer periods of benefits during times of high unemployment.

Unemployment insurance is a joint federal and state program that provides temporary monetary benefits to eligible laid-off workers who are actively seeking new employment. Qualifying individuals receive unemployment compensation as a percentage of their lost wages in the form of weekly cash benefits while they search for new employment.

The federal government oversees the general administration of state unemployment insurance programs. The states control the specific features of their unemployment insurance programs, such as eligibility requirements and length of benefits.

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Three states to have veto-proof legislative majority and governor of the opposing party

2022-Veto-Proof

Two of four states heading into the 2022 elections that had a veto-proof legislative majority and governor of the opposing party—Kentucky and Kansas—maintained that status after the elections. Vermont became a state with a veto-proof legislative majority and opposing-party governor as a result of the 2022 elections.

Maryland and Massachusetts will no longer have a veto-proof legislative majority and governor of the opposing party since the party that held a veto-proof majority also gained control of the governor’s office in the 2022 elections.

State governors may veto bills advanced by the state legislature. With sufficient support—between one-half and two-thirds of sitting legislators, depending on the state—state legislatures may overturn a gubernatorial veto. When one party controls enough seats to overturn a veto without support from the other party, a legislature can hold a veto-proof majority.

Heading into the 2022 elections, four states had a governor of one party and a veto-proof state legislative majority of the opposing party: Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, and Massachusetts. Three states—North Carolina, Vermont, and Wisconsin—could have switched to having a veto-proof majority and an opposing party governor due to the 2022 elections.

  1. In Kentucky, Republicans maintained their veto-proof majority in both chambers of the state legislature. Gov. Andy Beshear (D) is not up for re-election until 2023.
  2. In Kansas, Governor Laura Kelly (D) won re-election. Republicans maintained their veto-proof majority in the state Senate since that chamber did not hold regular elections. Republicans also won at least two-thirds of the seats in the state House of Representatives.
  3. In Maryland, Democrats won the governorship while maintaining their veto-proof state legislative majority and became a Democratic trifecta. Wes Moore (D) won the Maryland gubernatorial election. Incumbent Larry Hogan (R) was term-limited.
  4. In Massachusetts, Democrats won the governorship while maintaining their veto-proof state legislative majority and became a Democratic trifecta. Maura Healey (D) won the Massachusetts gubernatorial election. Incumbent Charlie Baker (R) did not run for re-election.
  5. In Vermont, Democrats gained a veto-proof majority in the state legislature and Phil Scott (R) was re-elected governor.

Two states could have gained a veto-proof legislative majority with an opposing party governor in 2022.

  1. In North Carolina, Republicans gained a three-fifths majority in the state Senate. The final margin of the Republican majority in the North Carolina House of Representatives has not yet been determined. North Carolina holds gubernatorial elections in presidential election years, so Gov. Roy Cooper (D) was not up for re-election.
  2. In Wisconsin, Republicans gained a two-thirds majority in the state Senate but fell at least two seats short of a two-thirds majority in the Wisconsin State Assembly. Incumbent Gov. Tony Evers (D) won re-election.

Four states with a governor of one party and a veto-proof state legislature of the opposing party—Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, and Massachusetts—maintained that status after the 2020 elections. None of those four states held gubernatorial elections that year. Five states could have switched to having a veto-proof state legislature and an opposing party governor because of the 2020 elections but none of them achieved the sufficient legislative majorities to achieve that status.

Additional reading:

https://ballotpedia.org/Supermajority

https://ballotpedia.org/Veto-proof_state_legislatures_and_opposing_party_governors_in_the_2020_elections



Kentucky voters will decide an abortion-related constitutional amendment on November 8

On November 8, Kentucky voters will decide on two statewide constitutional amendments on the ballot. Amendment 2, if approved, would amend the Kentucky State Constitution to say that nothing in the constitution creates a right to abortion or requires government funding for abortion. These types of amendments are designed to address previous and future state court rulings on abortion that have prevented or could prevent legislatures from passing certain abortion laws.

In 2022, six statewide ballot measures address abortion. Five of them—in California, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, and Vermont—will be decided on November 8. Another abortion-related ballot measure, in Kansas, was rejected by voters in August.

The Kansas amendment is similar to Amendment 2. If the Kansas constitutional amendment had been approved, it would have said that nothing in the state constitution creates a right to abortion or requires government funding for abortion, as well as stating that the legislature has the authority to pass laws regarding abortion. Kansas voters rejected the amendment by a vote of 58.97%-41.03%.

“We were looking at Kansas as a sort of bellwether for how things could potentially go here in Kentucky,” said Heather Ayer, the campaign coordinator for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kentucky.

Organizations like the ACLU of Kentucky, Human Rights Campaign PAC, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and the League of Women Voters of Kentucky are opposing Amendment 2. The campaign opposing the amendment, Protect Kentucky Access, has reported $5.30 million in contributions and $4.48 million in expenditures.

“We’re going to do our best to make sure this issue is front and center when people go into the voting booths Nov. 8,” said Rachel Sweet, the campaign manager for Protect Kentucky Access, “I think we have the opportunity to make a really compelling case as to why this policy is bad for Kentucky and why it should be rejected.”

The campaign supporting Amendment 2, Yes for Life, has reported $1.00 million in contributions and $557,525 in expenditures. Organizations like Kentucky Right to Life, the Catholic Conference of Kentucky, the Commonwealth Policy Center, and The Family Foundation of Kentucky are supporting the amendment.

“The constitutional amendment is very clear,” said Addia Wuchner, the executive director of Kentucky Right to Life and chair of the Yes for Life Alliance, “It protects taxpayer dollars, and it makes sure there is not an interpreted right of abortion in the constitution. It allows the lawmakers to be the lawmakers and make the laws that reflect the values of the people of Kentucky.”

Kentucky state lawmakers met on October 27 to discuss Amendment 2. Rep. Nancy Tate (R-27) said that the amendment does not ban abortion. She said, “The amendment does not allow abortion or does not outlaw abortions. It does not outlaw abortions in all cases. Under current Kentucky law, abortion is legal if necessary to preserve the life or health of a pregnant woman.”

Gov. Andy Beshear (D) said that Amendment 2 would keep Kentucky’s current abortion laws in place. He said, “Constitutional Amendment 2 would protect and keep in place the most extreme law in the country when it comes to abortion services.”

Courts in at least nine states—Alaska, California, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, and New Jersey—have ruled that a right to abortion exists under the state constitution. Four states—Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee, and West Virginia—have constitutional amendments stating that no right to abortion exists under the state constitution. 

In August, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that two laws banning abortion would remain in place while it reviews the arguments challenging both laws. One law bans abortion at six weeks, and the other bans abortion except to prevent serious risk to the health of the mother or to save the mother’s life. The Kentucky Supreme Court is scheduled to review the case on November 15, 2022.

Additional reading:

https://ballotpedia.org/History_of_abortion_ballot_measures



All candidates for Kentucky’s 30th Circuit Court Division 8 complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Kentucky’s 30th Circuit Court Division 8 — Karen Faulkner and Jessica Stone — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office. 

Kentucky District Courts are trial courts of limited jurisdiction in Kentucky. Matters heard by the district courts include city and county ordinance violations, juvenile matters, traffic offenses, misdemeanors, probate, preliminary felony hearings, small claims and civil cases involving $4,000 or less. Along with the family courts, the district courts hear cases of domestic violence. 

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office?                        

Faulkner:       

  • “Everyone should be treated with Fairness in the Court system.”
  • “We need to support alternative resolutions and treatment options, including Restorative Justice, Treatment Courts, and other ways to curb recitivism.”
  • “Access to the Courts and transparency within the system should become a focus and the norm.”

Stone:       

  • “Prioritizes Public Safety: If you want a judge who is going to hold people accountable and keep dangerous criminals off our streets, vote STONE for a safer city!”
  • “Committed to Equal Justice for All – restoring faith and confidence in our justice system can only be done with fairness and open mind”
  • “Public Servant – I am doing this to further serve my hometown community and save our city.”

Click on the candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

Additional reading:

City elections in Louisville, Kentucky, 2022



All candidates for Kentucky’s 30th Circuit Court Division 1 complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Kentucky’s 30th Circuit Court Division 1 — Anthony Jones and Emily Monarch — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office. 

Kentucky District Courts are trial courts of limited jurisdiction in Kentucky. Matters heard by the district courts include city and county ordinance violations, juvenile matters, traffic offenses, misdemeanors, probate, preliminary felony hearings, small claims, and civil cases involving $4,000 or less. Along with the family courts, the district courts hear domestic violence cases. 

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office?

Jones:       

  • “I have spent virtually my entire career in the courtroom. I have been trained as a Prosecutor and Defense Attorney, and I utilize that training to see a case from both perspectives.”
  • “I am experienced in identifying root issues for criminal conduct and utilizing programs to end the cycle.”
  • “I derive joy from witnessing Defendants make positive changes in their lives through the system and ensuring that victims feel restored.”

Monarch:

  • “As a business owner and practicing attorney representing clients for over twenty years, I will bring real-world perspective to the bench.”
  • “I will build a justice system that worked efficiently and fairly. I have been successful in both law school and law practice because of my ability to quickly isolate the important facts of a case and apply them correctly to the law.”
  • “I will treat everyone who appears before me with dignity and respect. I am a mom of three and from toddlers or teenagers, I have always carefully balanced consequences against second chances while always protecting the safety of my children and their community.”

Click on the candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

Additional reading:

City elections in Louisville, Kentucky, 2022



All candidates for Lexington City Council District 2 complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Lexington City Council District 2 — Shayla Lynch and Josh McCurn — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office. 

The Lexington City Council, which is more commonly known as the Urban County Council, is the city’s primary legislative body. It is responsible for adopting the city budget, approving mayoral appointees, levying taxes, and making or amending city laws, policies, and ordinances.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office?            

Lynch:           

  • “For over 17 years I have found fulfillment in serving our community in various capacities and I want to continue this work as your city council member.”
  • “When making decisions on behalf of our community, I will give voice to those whose opinions are frequently ignored. I’m inspired to keep fighting because there is hope for a brighter future.”
  • “As a member of your city council, I invite you to join me at the table as we work to build thriving communities in our city. There’s no need to get pull up a chair; I’ve got one just for you! Let’s get this job done together!” 

McCurn:           

  • “Public Safety- Getting a handle on crime and the activity that is happening in our community begins by addressing what is working and to make it better, and what is not working and finding solutions.”
  • “Lexington is a community where I want you to work, play, learn, and live. Every culture and background is welcome in Lexington and ensuring that the needs of the community are met, especially with affordable housing, is vital to the growth of our city.”
  • “Building a stronger, more unified Lexington has been a passion of mine before running for office. Building bridges and tearing down divisions, we are a community as a whole and need the opportunity to understand our neighbors.”

Click on the candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

Additional reading:



All candidates for Lexington City Council District 4 complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Lexington City Council District 4 — J. Brack Marquette and Brenda Monarrez — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office. 

The Lexington City Council, which is more commonly known as the Urban County Council, is the city’s primary legislative body. It is responsible for adopting the city budget, approving mayoral appointees, levying taxes, and making or amending city laws, policies, and ordinances.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office?            

Marquette:       

  • “Trusted and Proven Leadership in Government, Business, and Civic Engagement with Integrity, Transparency, and Extraordinary Accessibility for Everyone”
  • “Support for Enhanced Public Safety and Innovative Ways to Lead Neighborhoods to Reduced Crime and Violence”
  • “Commitment to Balanced and Sustainable Growth for our Great Community with a Strong Commitment to Inclusion and Diversity”

Monarrez:   

  • “My endorsement by Public Safety officials means I will be receptive to an open dialogue that contributes to decreasing crime and helping them (Fire, 911 operators, Corrections and Police) be more effective and efficient, while still being open and transparent.”
  • “Affordable Housing – Rent in areas of Lexington, according to a recent Herald Leader article, has increased as much as 35%.”
  • “Accessibility, Openness and Transparency -: I am the only candidate that has made my contact information available and has responded to absolutely every inquiry from all constituents.”

Click on the candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

Additional reading: