Beshear Prepares State Of The Commonwealth Address

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear delivers his annual State of the Commonwealth address Tuesday to a joint session of the legislature.

The governor’s office is keeping mum on the contents of the speech, but two issues in particular are likely to surface.

This year’s Medicaid budget is facing a huge deficit and Beshear wants lawmakers to move $166 million from the second year of the budget to the current year to cover it.

Beshear says if the second year comes up short, savings from managed care will take care of that.

The plan has House Democratic support, but Senate Republicans are skeptical, so look for the governor to make a new pitch for his proposal tonight.

Beshear also wants to raise the state’s dropout age from 16 to 18 – a proposal that cleared the House last year, only to die in the Senate.

Beshear likely will use tonight’s speech to push passage of similar legislation strongly supported by First Lady Jane Beshear.

By Tony McVeigh

Veteran broadcast journalist Tony McVeigh has been covering Kentucky politics since 1986, reporting for Clear Channel Communications before joining Kentucky Public Radio in 2004. His stories are aired by seven KPR affiliates, whose signals blanket the Commonwealth and parts of surrounding states. McVeigh began his broadcasting career at WRFC in Athens, Georgia, while earning a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Georgia. He has extensive anchor/reporter experience, including stints with South Carolina Network and Georgia Radio News Service in Atlanta. In 2007 and 2008, McVeigh was named Best Radio Reporter in the Kentucky Associated Press Awards. He also picked up consecutive AP Awards for Best Political Coverage. McVeigh won four Kentucky AP Awards in 2009, six in 2010 - including Best Political Coverage and Best Hard News Feature - and three in 2011. His coverage of the 2007 Kentucky governor's race topped the Political Reporting category of the Society of Professional Journalists Green Eyeshade Awards of 2008. In 2009, McVeigh placed second in Courts and Law Reporting in the Atlanta-based competition for journalists in 11 Southern states. McVeigh is also the proud recipient of an Individual Liberty Award from the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The Brunswick, Georgia, native is a die-hard UGA football fan who enjoys photography, astronomy, live music, hiking Kentucky's Red River Gorge and exploring the state's beautiful back roads. McVeigh and his big, fat, black cat Simon, reside in Frankfort, KY.