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July 1, 2016

July 1, 2016

Journalists from around the state discuss the week's news with host Bill Bryant. Guests: Adam Beam, Kentucky statehouse reporter, the Associated Press; James Pilcher, investigative reporter, the Kentucky Enquirer; and Kevin Wheatley, reporter, Pure Politics on cn|2.
S42 E35 Length 26:31 Premiere: 7.1.16

News of the Week: July 1, 2016

A full plate of news awaited the journalists who gathered for the July 4 holiday weekend edition of Comment on Kentucky. The panel discussed a circuit judge’s ruling on an abortion clinic, public reaction to Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed overhaul of Medicaid, and a new attraction of biblical proportions set to open in the state this week.

Louisville Abortion Clinic Ruling
Late Friday a judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Bevin administration against a Louisville abortion clinic. Kevin Wheatley of cn|2 says Gov. Matt Bevin sued Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK) for allegedly operating the facility without the proper licensing. He says officials in the administration of former Gov. Steve Beshear told PPINK late last year it could perform abortions at the clinic while it completed the licensing process.

Shortly after he took office, Gov. Bevin, who opposes abortions, sued PPINK for illegally providing the procedures in Louisville.

According to Wheatley, Jefferson Circuit Judge Mitch Perry said in his ruling that it defied reason to believe that PPINK willfully broke state law because they followed the directions given to them by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Wheatley says Bevin will appeal the decision.

The Kentucky Supreme Court is already set to hear another abortion case. The Bevin administration sued EMW for allegedly providing abortions without proper licensing at its Lexington clinic. Adam Beam of the Associated Press says a Fayette circuit judge originally decided in favor of EMW, but the Kentucky Court of Appeals overturned that ruling.

Public Comments Heard on Medicaid Plan
The Bevin administration held two public hearings last week to gather input on its proposal to overhaul the state Medicaid system. Beam says the comments he heard at a meeting in Bowling Green on Tuesday were overwhelmingly negative, especially regarding the governor’s plan to drop vision and dental coverage. Beam says Medicaid recipients could perform certain tasks to earn credits with which they could buy the extra coverage. But he says health advocates fear that will simply erect more barriers to coverage for some individuals.

Kevin Wheatley says the Bevin administration wants to make Medicaid financially sustainable for the commonwealth and improve health outcomes for Kentuckians. At a hearing in Frankfort on Wednesday, Wheatley says a Richmond optometrist spoke in favor of the vision coverage, saying regular eye exams can spot early signs of diabetes and glaucoma.

In an interview with cn|2 last week, 3rd District Congressman John Yarmuth, a Democrat, called Bevin’s proposal “devious.” Wheatley reports that Yarmuth contends the governor included “poison pills” like work requirements that will cause the federal government to reject the state’s application for a waiver to change the state’s Medicaid program. Bevin, a Republican, has said that if the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) denies his request, he would simply end the expanded Medicaid program enacted by former Gov. Beshear. Yarmuth says Bevin would then blame the Obama administration for ending coverage to more than 400,000 Kentuckians.

One aspect of Bevin’s overhaul that is being widely praised is his call to have Medicaid pay for 30 days of treatment for those with a substance abuse problem. Adam Beam says that hasn’t been done before and could help fight Kentucky’s escalating drug crisis.

A final public hearing will be held Wednesday in Hazard. Bevin hopes to submit his proposal to CMS by Aug. 1 and receive a decision from them by Sept. 30.

New University Trustees Announced
After dismantling the University of Louisville Board of Trustees earlier this month, Gov. Bevin last week announced his selections to the newly reconstituted board. Kevin Wheatley says the 10 appointees are weighted heavily towards those with business and investment backgrounds. He says the group includes former U of L basketball star Ulysses “Junior” Bridgeman, who is president of his own food and restaurant company, as well as pizza mogul John Schnatter.

The new board will face a full agenda when it convenes. Wheatley says the previous board had yet to approve a fiscal year 2017 budget for the school or decide on a 5 percent tuition increase. There’s also uncertainty about U of L President James Ramsey. He had pledged to resign or retire once a “legal restructure” of the board was completed.

But the legality of Bevin’s order to replace the old trustees with a new group is still uncertain. Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear is challenging the restructuring in Franklin Circuit Court. Beshear has also sued the governor over his move to cut 4.5 percent from state university budgets for fiscal year 2016. Adam Beam says that matter has advanced directly to the Kentucky Supreme Court for a ruling.

New Ark Ready for Launch
A life-sized re-creation of Noah’s Ark is set to open this Thursday just off Interstate 75 in Grant County. James Pilcher of The Kentucky Enquirer says the Christian organization Answers in Genesis built the ark to biblical specifications, right down to the cubit measurements. He says the new ark is more than 500 feet long and 90 feet tall at its highest point. Inside what’s being called the Ark Encounter, Pilcher says visitors can browse displays about the story of the great flood described in Genesis, what life on the ark would’ve been like, and the 6,000-year history of the Earth as told in the Bible.

The attraction, which cost $92 million to build and is expected to draw upwards of 2 million tourists the first year, has been at the center of several controversies. Pilcher says the scientific community has scorned the Ark Encounter, as well as the Creation Museum that Answers in Genesis also operates. Meanwhile the organization won a legal battle to secure state tax incentives that former Gov. Steve Beshear tried to revoke after concerns arose about potentially discriminatory hiring practices at the attraction. Now Pilcher says the Ark Encounter will receive more than $18 million in sales tax rebates, plus another $60 million in property tax breaks over the next two decades.

Despite declining participation in many mainstream Protestant denominations, Pilcher says Christian-themed tourist attractions are growing in popularity and sophistication. For example, he says the family that owns the arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby is funding a $400 million museum about the Bible that will be located near the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

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.

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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.

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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

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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

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