The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy launched a decade ago to develop policy solutions that build a commonwealth where everyone can thrive. For the last 10 years, we’ve worked to advance public policies that increase economic security, reduce problems like poverty and incarceration, and ensure stronger investments in our communities. Here’s the story of our work so far:
Support the Work of KyPolicy
To celebrate KyPolicy’s 10th anniversary, a donor is matching every new or increased gift to KyPolicy through March 31, 2022 up to $100,000 total. It’s a powerful opportunity to tackle Kentucky’s big challenges ahead.
Public policy shapes all our lives. From child care deserts and overcrowded jails, to poverty wages and a lack of paid sick leave, poor policy choices fall the hardest on families in economically distressed communities, Kentuckians of color, people in underpaid jobs and others for whom the rules governing our economy do not work. When we prioritize well-resourced public schools, high-quality, affordable child and elder care, help through hard times with programs like SNAP and unemployment insurance, and other equitable, effective policy solutions, we lay the foundation for thriving communities.
Because we can’t fix what we don’t understand, KyPolicy has been making these policy choices clear for 10 years by producing timely, credible research. We break down complex issues so you know how they affect you and our economy, and why they matter. We work in strategic partnerships to promote public conversation and advocate to decision makers, and our research is cited frequently in the media and in policy debates on wide-ranging issues.
Impact by the numbers:
431 public presentations to 22,205 people
560 presentations and meetings with decision makers
19,991 social media followers
919,593 website visits
1,590 media interviews and citations
Broad partnership in key coalitions advancing well-being in Kentucky
Working with a wide variety of partners, KyPolicy helped win important policy victories over the last 10 years including the following:
- Won the nation’s leading Medicaid expansion, providing 400,000 more Kentuckians with health insurance, and protected it against aggressive efforts to roll it back.
- Protected safety net programs including SNAP food assistance, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) and unemployment insurance from multiple attempts to severely limit access.
- Won reversal of a decision to eliminate dental and vision benefits in Medicaid.
- Won temporary legislation greatly expanding access to unemployment insurance during COVID-19.
- Passed legislation ending co-pays in the Medicaid program.
- Eliminated a ban from SNAP food assistance for people in arrears on child support.
- Protected the $300 a week in supplemental unemployment benefits from attempts to end it prematurely while the pandemic was still raging.
Protecting Workers and Families
- Blocked efforts to weaken worker protections including overtime protections and workers’ compensation.
- Passed legislation protecting the rights of pregnant and nursing mothers on the job.
- Stopped efforts to expand predatory lending in Kentucky.
- Defeated efforts to pass a resolution calling for a dangerous new convention to overhaul the United States Constitution.
- Won re-entry supports for people leaving jail and prison.
- Won legislation making it easier to expunge past offenses from an individual’s criminal record.
- Ended a lifetime ban from SNAP food assistance for people with a drug felony conviction, making benefits available for 7,000 Kentuckians formerly denied.
- Won legislation doubling the threshold by which theft is considered a felony to $1,000.
- Won legislation limiting the use of no-knock warrants.
- Won legislation that will lead to fewer youth being tried as adults.
Tax and Budget
- Blocked hundreds of millions of dollars in tax cuts over multiple legislative sessions for corporations, wealthy individuals, investment companies, tech giants and other special interests.
- Protected public employees and teachers from attempts to completely eliminate pensions and break the inviolable contract for workers.
- Increased funding for need-based college financial aid in the state budget.
- Expanded eligibility for child care assistance to 5,600 additional children.
- Eliminated the $120 fee previously required to take a GED test.
KyPolicy has been an invaluable partner over the past 10 years with their expertise in tax and budget policy and messaging, strong linkages to national partners, and excellent, well-written analyses of issues ranging from health care to employment, from education funding to criminal justice reform, from poverty to food security. Their staff have always been generous in sharing information, building strong working partnerships and collaborating to move Kentucky forward to become the Commonwealth we need for it to be. Congratulations on an incredibly strong first 10 years of policy advocacy…and best wishes for many, many more!Sheila Schuster, Ph.D. Executive Director, Advocacy Action Network
The Kentucky State AFL-CIO is pleased to recognize and honor the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy on the occasion of its 10th Anniversary! On behalf of all of Kentucky’s workers, unions and our allies in the fight for jobs with justice and dignity we salute the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy and thank the staff and leadership for a decade of activism and partnership which have been invaluable in promoting our shared goals and aspirations.Bill Londrigan, President, Kentucky State AFL-CIO
In just 10 years, KyPolicy has proven to be a reliable voice of fact and reason in the commonwealth during the most turbulent economic times. We are lucky to have such a dedicated team of Kentuckians willing to dive into the complex nature of our government’s tax codes, budget appropriations, and other public policies that impact every single household, and then fight for strong and fair laws in Frankfort. As partners, we are proud to have stood shoulder to shoulder with KyPolicy throughout the years to defend the Affordable Care Act from attacks, protect Medicaid expansion for more than half a million Kentuckians, and advocate for the systemic change we need to build an equitable safety net that will truly meet the basic needs of every Kentuckian. There is no better organization working for a stronger and more just commonwealth where all Kentuckians can thrive.Emily Beauregard, Executive Director, Kentucky Voices for Health
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