Curing the winter doldrums: a week-long celebration of sunshine

  Sunday, March 11, marks the first day of Sunshine Week 2018. Each year since 2005, when the week-long event was inaugurated by the  American Society of News Editors, the media, government watchdogs and ordinary citizens have celebrated the importance and impact of open government. The celebration takes various forms across the country — including…

Bluegrass Beacon: Pension dispute lacks facts, not funding

Editor’s note: The Bluegrass Beacon is a weekly syndicated statewide newspaper column posted on the Bluegrass Institute website after being released to and published by newspapers statewide. Political leaders are justifiably pessimistic that throwing more dollars – even record amounts – at Kentucky’s teetering public-pension systems is not some puff of magic that will allow…

Bluegrass Institute statement regarding House Bill 216

Bluegrass Institute president and CEO Jim Waters made the following comments at a recent meeting of the Kentucky House of Representatives’ State Government Committee opposing a proposed amendment in House Bill 216 which would exempt certain aspects of built-to-suit selection committees from requirements of Kentucky’s open meetings and records laws, including the identity of committee…

Kentucky legislators have an opportunity to be a hero to their taxpayers by supporting scholarship state tax credits

An Open Letter to Kentucky Legislators from the Bluegrass Institute: Dear Legislators, Twenty years ago, a group of community leaders met and wondered how they could make the biggest difference in poor children’s lives in the inner city of Louisville. Their passion resulted in School Choice Scholarships and was based on the founders’ vision that children…

Public protection, professional licensee misconduct, and private admonishments: why we opposed HB 465, Section 11

The Bluegrass Institute Center for Open Government opposes Section 11, Subsection 6 of HB 465, an act “establishing and creating various sections of KRS Chapter 308, relating to Public Protection Cabinet oversight of state occupational boards,” which will authorize professional licensure boards to impose secret disciplinary action consisting of a “private letter of admonishment. .…

News Release: Funding a minor contributor to pension crisis

For Release: Monday, March 5, 2018 (FRANKFORT, Ky.) –– “Inadequate funding” is a popular claim often repeated by defenders of the status quo regarding Kentucky’s $65 billion public-pension crisis. However, facts assign a much-larger role to the failure of the retirement systems’ benefit structures to protect the commonwealth against risks and costs of crushing liabilities.…

Bluegrass Beacon – Eye bill’s focus: Keep online examiners out

Editor’s note: The Bluegrass Beacon is a weekly syndicated statewide newspaper column posted on the Bluegrass Institute website after being released to and published by newspapers statewide. As House members struggle to unite on serious issues involving public-pension reform and budget cuts, they’ve had no problem coming together with shutter-speed agreement to pass legislation protecting…

Bluegrass Beacon: Real reformers aren’t name callers

Ronda Harmon, executive director of the Kentucky Association of School Councils, recently wrote that those who question the commonwealth’s contentious School-Based Decision Making (SBDM) approach toward governing schools “somehow stand in the way of improvement” and are “public school opponents.” It’s a curious charge since groups representing superintendents, school boards and the business community openly…