Skip to Main Content

April 1, 2016

April 1, 2016

Jack Brammer of the Lexington Herald-Leader, Lawrence Smith of WDRB-TV in Louisville, and Deborah Yetter of the Courier-Journal discuss the collapse of state budget talks.
S42 E22 Length 26:36 Premiere: 3.31.16

News of the Week: April 1, 2016

Oh how far we’ve come from the optimistic days of early January when lawmakers and a new gubernatorial administration were eager to get to work on the state’s business.

Now in early April, the 2016 General Assembly session is nearing the finish line without a new two-year budget and dwindling hopes for securing one with only a single business day left for lawmakers.

Despite some progress towards a compromise, the House and Senate adjourned last week without a final agreement on a state spending plan. The journalists on Comment on Kentucky discussed why the negotiations broke down and what may happen as legislators and Gov. Matt Bevin struggle to find common ground.

Legislators Get Close, But Find No Agreement
After a week of private and public meetings, budget talks came to an end on Thursday when lawmakers could not agree on how much money to allocate to higher education and to the state’s public employee and teacher retirement systems. Jack Brammer of the Lexington Herald-Leader says the bottom line difference between House Democrats and Senate Republicans is only about $60 million, or less than .3 percent of the state’s $21 billion budget.

Brammer says Senate leaders agreed to decrease cuts to higher education from 9 percent, the level Gov. Bevin wants, to 4.5 percent. But Democrats in the House are holding firm on no budget reductions for the Kentucky’s public universities and community colleges. Republicans contend the state cannot afford to fund both higher education and payments to the ailing pension systems. Democrats say both can and should be funded. They also warn that cutting higher education dollars will result in higher tuition, which they say is a tax increase on students and families.

Deborah Yetter of The Courier-Journal says House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg) has implied that Gov. Bevin is to blame for legislators failing to reach a deal. Yetter reports that Stumbo says House and Senate leaders have gotten close to an agreement, only to have it fall through after Republicans confer with the governor. Lawrence Smith of WDRB-TV in Louisville adds that Stumbo and Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester) generally have a good working relationship. But Smith says relations between Stumbo and the Republican governor are “fairly toxic.”

If lawmakers fail to agree on a budget by the end of the session, which is scheduled for April 12, Brammer says voters will likely blame all the parties involved – especially if taxpayers get stuck with a $70,000-a-day bill for a special session to resolve the budget crisis. Although the governor could call a special session immediately after the end of the regular session, Smith says Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) thinks Bevin should wait a while so he can play the budget battle for greater political advantage.

Yetter says she’s already fielding questions about what would happen if the impasse continues beyond the start of the new fiscal year on July 1. She says public safety services and schools would continue to operate, as well as federally mandated programs. But other government operations could be suspended.

Current University Funding Targeted
Late Thursday Gov. Bevin ordered an immediate 4.5 percent reduction in the allotments for state universities for the remainder of the current fiscal year. House Speaker Stumbo doubted Bevin had the authority to force the cuts and said doing so set a dangerous precedent by the governor.

On Friday Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear confirmed that the state statute does not allow a governor change a budget approved by a previous legislature unless there is an emergency or a financial shortfall. Deborah Yetter says Beshear asked Bevin to rescind his order within seven days or else face legal action over the matter.

Bevin argues that the universities can withstand the short-term funding cut and he contends his lawyers believe the reduction is within his legal authority. The governor also thanked university presidents who said they would enact the cut: Morehead State University has planned a five-day furlough, and Eastern Kentucky University said it would tap reserve funds.

Jack Brammer says Kentucky State University President Raymond Burse did not immediately respond to Bevin’s order. KSU has struggled with finances and enrollments in recent years, and Burse had previously said another round of state cuts could force the historically black institution to close. Brammer also says he doesn’t see individual schools suing to halt Bevin’s order since the governor appoints the trustees of the state universities.

Resolving Problems with Benefits Website
A massive computer system that manages Medicaid, food stamps, welfare and other public benefits is causing more headaches for the Bevin administration. Yetter says the state’s Benefind website went live on Feb. 29, and has since caused problems for beneficiaries as well as state employees and contractors who manage the site.

Problems with Benefind began to surface when the system incorrectly sent letters to thousands of people saying their benefits had been suspended, according to Yetter. In other cases the system cancelled benefits for people who were still valid beneficiaries. When those individuals tried to resolve their cases either online, on the phone, or in person, Yetter says they were met with incredibly long wait times.

The administration of former Gov. Steve Beshear had intended Benefind to work in tandem with the state health insurance exchange Kynect. Gov. Bevin wants to end Kynect but continue to use Benefind for Medicaid and other benefit programs. At a press conference last Thursday, Yetter reports, Bevin said his administration is working with Deloitte Consulting, the firm that created the website, to fix the problems. He said the state would also hire 185 additional workers to help people who need to have their benefits restored.

That media briefing led to another kerfuffle when a state lawmaker was denied entrance to the event. Yetter says Bevin’s staff announced the briefing as for credentialed media only, and would not allow House Majority Whip Johnny Bell (D-Glasgow) to attend.

The opinions expressed on Comment on Kentucky and in this program synopsis are the responsibility of the participants and do not necessarily reflect those of KET.

Program Details

Comment on Kentucky

About Comment on Kentucky

KET's longest-running public affairs program has been assembling journalists to offer perspectives on the week's news and newsmakers since 1974. The program is hosted by Bill Bryant.

TV Schedules

Jump to Recent Airdates

Upcoming

November 26, 2021

Bill Bryant and journalists discuss the news of the week. Scheduled guests: Alex Acquisto, Lexington Herald-Leader; Ryland Barton, Kentucky Public Radio; Lisa Benson, Louisville Business First; and Lawrence Smith, WDRB in Louisville.

  • Sunday November 28, 2021 12:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday November 27, 2021 11:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday November 28, 2021 8:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday November 28, 2021 7:30 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday November 28, 2021 5:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday November 28, 2021 4:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday November 29, 2021 1:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday November 29, 2021 12:30 am CT on KETKY
  • Monday November 29, 2021 10:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday November 29, 2021 9:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Monday November 29, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Monday November 29, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Monday November 29, 2021 6:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday November 29, 2021 5:30 pm CT on KETKY

December 3, 2021

Bill Bryant and journalists discuss the news of the week.

  • Friday December 3, 2021 8:00 pm ET on KET
  • Friday December 3, 2021 7:00 pm CT on KET
  • Friday December 3, 2021 10:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday December 3, 2021 9:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday December 5, 2021 12:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday December 4, 2021 11:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday December 5, 2021 8:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday December 5, 2021 7:30 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday December 5, 2021 5:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday December 5, 2021 4:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday December 6, 2021 1:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday December 6, 2021 12:30 am CT on KETKY
  • Monday December 6, 2021 10:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday December 6, 2021 9:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Monday December 6, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Monday December 6, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Monday December 6, 2021 6:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday December 6, 2021 5:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday December 6, 2021 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Monday December 6, 2021 10:30 pm CT on KET

December 10, 2021

Bill Bryant and journalists discuss the news of the week.

  • Friday December 10, 2021 8:00 pm ET on KET
  • Friday December 10, 2021 7:00 pm CT on KET
  • Friday December 10, 2021 10:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday December 10, 2021 9:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday December 10, 2021 11:06 pm ET on KET2
  • Friday December 10, 2021 10:06 pm CT on KET2
  • Saturday December 11, 2021 6:30 am ET on KET2
  • Saturday December 11, 2021 5:30 am CT on KET2
  • Sunday December 12, 2021 12:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday December 11, 2021 11:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday December 12, 2021 8:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday December 12, 2021 7:30 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday December 12, 2021 1:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday December 12, 2021 12:00 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday December 12, 2021 5:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday December 12, 2021 4:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday December 13, 2021 1:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday December 13, 2021 12:30 am CT on KETKY
  • Monday December 13, 2021 10:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday December 13, 2021 9:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Monday December 13, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Monday December 13, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Monday December 13, 2021 6:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday December 13, 2021 5:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday December 13, 2021 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Monday December 13, 2021 10:30 pm CT on KET

December 17, 2021

Bill Bryant and journalists discuss the news of the week.

  • Friday December 17, 2021 8:00 pm ET on KET
  • Friday December 17, 2021 7:00 pm CT on KET
  • Friday December 17, 2021 10:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday December 17, 2021 9:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday December 17, 2021 11:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Friday December 17, 2021 10:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Saturday December 18, 2021 6:30 am ET on KET2
  • Saturday December 18, 2021 5:30 am CT on KET2
  • Sunday December 19, 2021 12:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday December 18, 2021 11:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday December 19, 2021 8:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday December 19, 2021 7:30 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday December 19, 2021 1:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday December 19, 2021 12:00 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday December 19, 2021 5:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday December 19, 2021 4:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday December 20, 2021 1:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday December 20, 2021 12:30 am CT on KETKY
  • Monday December 20, 2021 10:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday December 20, 2021 9:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Monday December 20, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Monday December 20, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Monday December 20, 2021 6:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday December 20, 2021 5:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday December 20, 2021 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Monday December 20, 2021 10:30 pm CT on KET

December 24, 2021

Bill Bryant and journalists discuss the news of the week.

  • Friday December 24, 2021 8:00 pm ET on KET
  • Friday December 24, 2021 7:00 pm CT on KET
  • Friday December 24, 2021 10:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday December 24, 2021 9:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday December 24, 2021 11:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Friday December 24, 2021 10:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Saturday December 25, 2021 6:30 am ET on KET2
  • Saturday December 25, 2021 5:30 am CT on KET2
  • Sunday December 26, 2021 12:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday December 25, 2021 11:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday December 26, 2021 8:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday December 26, 2021 7:30 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday December 26, 2021 1:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday December 26, 2021 12:00 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday December 26, 2021 5:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday December 26, 2021 4:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday December 27, 2021 1:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday December 27, 2021 12:30 am CT on KETKY
  • Monday December 27, 2021 10:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday December 27, 2021 9:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Monday December 27, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Monday December 27, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Monday December 27, 2021 6:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday December 27, 2021 5:30 pm CT on KETKY
Jump to Upcoming Airdates

Recent

November 26, 2021

  • Friday November 26, 2021 11:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Friday November 26, 2021 10:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Friday November 26, 2021 10:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday November 26, 2021 9:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday November 26, 2021 8:00 pm ET on KET
  • Friday November 26, 2021 7:00 pm CT on KET

November 19, 2021

  • Monday November 22, 2021 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Monday November 22, 2021 10:30 pm CT on KET
  • Monday November 22, 2021 6:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday November 22, 2021 5:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday November 22, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Monday November 22, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Monday November 22, 2021 1:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday November 22, 2021 12:30 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday November 21, 2021 5:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday November 21, 2021 4:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday November 21, 2021 1:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday November 21, 2021 12:00 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday November 21, 2021 8:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday November 21, 2021 7:30 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday November 21, 2021 12:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday November 20, 2021 11:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Saturday November 20, 2021 6:30 am ET on KET2
  • Saturday November 20, 2021 5:30 am CT on KET2
  • Friday November 19, 2021 10:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday November 19, 2021 9:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday November 19, 2021 8:00 pm ET on KET
  • Friday November 19, 2021 7:00 pm CT on KET

November 12, 2021

  • Monday November 15, 2021 6:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday November 15, 2021 5:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday November 15, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Monday November 15, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Monday November 15, 2021 10:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday November 15, 2021 9:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Monday November 15, 2021 1:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday November 15, 2021 12:30 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday November 14, 2021 5:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday November 14, 2021 4:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday November 14, 2021 1:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday November 14, 2021 12:00 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday November 14, 2021 8:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday November 14, 2021 7:30 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday November 14, 2021 12:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday November 13, 2021 11:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Saturday November 13, 2021 6:30 am ET on KET2
  • Saturday November 13, 2021 5:30 am CT on KET2
  • Friday November 12, 2021 11:34 pm ET on KET2
  • Friday November 12, 2021 10:34 pm CT on KET2
  • Friday November 12, 2021 10:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday November 12, 2021 9:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday November 12, 2021 8:00 pm ET on KET
  • Friday November 12, 2021 7:00 pm CT on KET

November 5, 2021

  • Monday November 8, 2021 6:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday November 8, 2021 5:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday November 8, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Monday November 8, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Monday November 8, 2021 1:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday November 8, 2021 12:30 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday November 7, 2021 5:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday November 7, 2021 4:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday November 7, 2021 1:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday November 7, 2021 12:00 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday November 7, 2021 8:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday November 7, 2021 7:30 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday November 7, 2021 12:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday November 6, 2021 11:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Saturday November 6, 2021 6:30 am ET on KET2
  • Saturday November 6, 2021 5:30 am CT on KET2
  • Friday November 5, 2021 10:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday November 5, 2021 9:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday November 5, 2021 8:00 pm ET on KET
  • Friday November 5, 2021 7:00 pm CT on KET

October 29, 2021

  • Monday November 1, 2021 6:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday November 1, 2021 5:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday November 1, 2021 6:01 pm ET on KET
  • Monday November 1, 2021 5:01 pm CT on KET
  • Monday November 1, 2021 10:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday November 1, 2021 9:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Monday November 1, 2021 1:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday November 1, 2021 12:30 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday October 31, 2021 5:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday October 31, 2021 4:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday October 31, 2021 1:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday October 31, 2021 12:00 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday October 31, 2021 8:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday October 31, 2021 7:30 am CT on KETKY
  • Sunday October 31, 2021 12:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Saturday October 30, 2021 11:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Saturday October 30, 2021 6:30 am ET on KET2
  • Saturday October 30, 2021 5:30 am CT on KET2
  • Friday October 29, 2021 11:30 pm ET on KET2
  • Friday October 29, 2021 10:30 pm CT on KET2
  • Friday October 29, 2021 10:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday October 29, 2021 9:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday October 29, 2021 8:00 pm ET on KET
  • Friday October 29, 2021 7:00 pm CT on KET
Top

Season 42 Episodes

October 28, 2016

S42 E52 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 10.28.16

October 21, 2016

S42 E51 Length 26:33 Premiere Date 10.21.16

October 14, 2016

S42 E50 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 10.14.16

October 7, 2016

S42 E49 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 10.7.16

September 30, 2016

S42 E48 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 9.30.16

September 23, 2016

S42 E47 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 9.23.16

September 16, 2016

S42 E46 Length 26:33 Premiere Date 9.15.16

September 9, 2016

S42 E45 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 9.9.16

September 2, 2016

S42 E44 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 9.2.16

August 26, 2016

S42 E43 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 8.26.16

August 19, 2016

S42 E42 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 8.19.16

August 12, 2016

S42 E41 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 8.12.16

August 5, 2016

S42 E40 Length 26:33 Premiere Date 8.5.16

July 29, 2016

S42 E39 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 7.29.16

July 22, 2016

S42 E38 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 7.22.16

July 15, 2016

S42 E37 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 7.15.16

July 8, 2016

S42 E36 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 7.7.16

July 1, 2016

S42 E35 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 7.1.16

June 24, 2016

S42 E34 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 6.24.16

June 17, 2016

S42 E33 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 6.17.16

June 10, 2016

S42 E32 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 6.10.16

June 3, 2016

S42 E31 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 6.3.16

May 27, 2016

S42 E30 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 5.27.16

May 20, 2016

S42 E29 Length 26:53 Premiere Date 5.20.16

May 13, 2016

S42 E28 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 5.13.16

May 6, 2016

S42 E27 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 5.6.16

April 29, 2016

S42 E26 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 4.29.16

April 22, 2016

S42 E25 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 4.22.16

April 15, 2016

S42 E24 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 4.15.16

April 8, 2016

S42 E23 Length 26:39 Premiere Date 4.7.16

April 1, 2016

S42 E22 Length 26:36 Premiere Date 3.31.16

March 25, 2016

S42 E21 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 3.25.16

March 18, 2016

S42 E20 Length 26:33 Premiere Date 3.18.16

March 11, 2016

S42 E19 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 3.11.16

March 4, 2016

S42 E18 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 3.4.16

February 26, 2016

S42 E17 Length 26:34 Premiere Date 2.26.16

February 19, 2016

S42 E16 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 2.19.16

February 12, 2016

S42 E15 Length 26:36 Premiere Date 2.12.16

February 5, 2016

S42 E14 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 2.5.16

January 29, 2016

S42 E13 Length 26:35 Premiere Date 1.29.16

January 22, 2016

S42 E12 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 1.22.16

January 15, 2016

S42 E11 Length 26:34 Premiere Date 1.15.16

January 8, 2016

S42 E10 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 1.8.16

January 1, 2016

S42 E9 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 1.1.16

December 18, 2015

S42 E7 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 12.18.15

December 11, 2015

S42 E6 Length 26:35 Premiere Date 12.11.15

December 4, 2015

S42 E5 Length 24:51 Premiere Date 12.4.15

November 27, 2015

S42 E4 Length 26:33 Premiere Date 11.27.15

November 20, 2015

S42 E3 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 11.20.15

November 13, 2015

S42 E2 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 11.13.15

November 6, 2015

S42 E1 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 11.6.15

Explore KET