Right to Work

Jacob Ryan-WFPL/Kentucky Public Radio

Governor Matt Bevin is laying out a conservative legislative agenda he hopes to see accomplished during the next General Assembly.  

WKU Public Radio

The leader of the Kentucky AFL-CIO says labor groups are ready to fight future efforts to pass what supporters call right-to-work laws.

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  The priority bills of the Kentucky state Senate’s Republican majority include several familiar policies: right-to-work, repealing the prevailing wage and enacting medical review panels.

Senate Republican leaders announced on Wednesday the bills they’ll focus on passing during the 2016 legislative session, which began Tuesday. Their top goal is passage of a bill that would reform the state’s education standards.

"Elections in Kodiak" by NicoleKlauss, Flickr Commons, CC BY 2.0

Kentucky’s next governor will face a bevy of issues, ranging from a declining coal industry to a struggling pension system.

Then there’s right-to-work.

  A ruling is imminent in a federal lawsuit that will determine whether Kentucky counties are allowed to pass local right-to-work laws.


Florida Governor Rick Scott will visit Kentucky this month in an effort to recruit businesses to relocate or expand to Florida. 

About two years ago, Scott tried something similar. He sent letters to businesses in Kentucky inviting them to the Sunshine State. 

Jonathunder, Wikimedia Commons

Both sides of the right-to-work controversy say a hearing Tuesday in federal court in Louisville was fair. 

U.S. District Judge David Hale heard arguments on whether local governments can pass right-to-work laws.  A group of labor unions sued Hardin County after magistrates there approved an ordinance earlier this year. 

  To date, Kentucky supporters of right-to-work laws have run into multiple roadblocks — namely, the Democratic-controlled House and a Democratic governor.

Jonathunder, Wikimedia Commons

A court date has been set for a judge to hear arguments in a right-to-work lawsuit against Hardin County.

Oral arguments will take place in U.S. District Court in Louisville on August 4th. 

Less than a month shy of the primary election, three of Kentucky’s four Republican gubernatorial candidates debated Tuesday night in Bowling Green. 

The event at WKU featured Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, Louisville businessman Matt Bevin, and former Louisville Metro Councilman Hal Heiner. 

If elected, all three pledged to dismantle the state’s health insurance exchange known as Kynect. 

Comer said the state took on a lot of responsibility that it can’t afford.

"Eighty-two percent of the people who got on Kynect ended up on Medicaid," Comer explained.  "What Kynect became for Governor Beshear was a way to greatly expand Medicaid to the point to where we have 25 percent of the state on Medicaid, one out of four people.  That's not sustainable."

As governor, Comer said he would get more Kentuckians into private health coverage while changing eligibility requirements for Medicaid. 

Matt Bevin said he would transition those who signed up on Kentucky’s exchange to the federal exchange.

"Frankly, it's a level of redundancy we can't afford.  It's as simple as that," Bevin suggested.  "We were lured into participation through the use of federal dollars."

Starting in 2017, the state must begin bearing a share of the cost of expanding Medicaid.  Currently, the federal government is picking up the entire tab.

Hal Heiner suggested tying the Medicaid expansion to workforce training so people could get a job, get off of Medicaid, and obtain private insurance.  He criticized the Medicaid expansion for lacking any level of personal responsibility.

"It doesn't have what you're seeing conservative governors in other states adopt in their plans which build in incentives to use preventive care, to use primary care providers rather than emergency care, and to make healthy lifestyle choices to reduce the overall cost," Heiner stated. 

The candidates were mostly in agreement on range of economic topics from making Kentucky a right-to-work state to protecting the coal industry. 

The other GOP gubernatorial candidate, Will T. Scott did not attend the debate, citing a scheduling conflict.