John Tilley was appointed Secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet by Governor Matthew G. Bevin. A native of Hopkinsville, Tilley is a former prosecutor who is nationally recognized for his work in the arenas of criminal justice reform and drug control policy. Secretary Tilley served five terms in the Kentucky House of Representatives and chaired the House Judiciary Committee from 2009 until his appointment.
During his legislative tenure, he co-chaired several joint bipartisan House/Senate task forces on criminal justice. He sponsored key pieces of legislation including the landmark criminal justice reform bill House Bill 463, which triggered a national model for change. The legislation is heralded for protecting public safety while holding offenders accountable, controlling corrections costs and increasing drug treatment. Secretary Tilley also led efforts to combat synthetic and prescription drugs. He has traveled internationally to speak on criminal justice reform and drug control policy and has received numerous awards and national recognition.
A graduate of the University of Kentucky and Chase College of Law, Secretary Tilley is a board member for the Council of State Government's Justice Center and co-chairs the National Conference of State Legislatures Law and Criminal Justice Committee. He brings a high level of passion and innovation to the Justice Cabinet’s top post. His vision for the Cabinet is to protect citizens, restore victims and reform wrongdoers; all in a focused environment where everything is measured for accountability and performance.
Justice and Public Safety Deputy Secretary
Jonathan Grate was appointed to the Cabinet in January 2016. He previously served 21 years with the Legislative Research Commission, where he headed up the nonpartisan staff assigned to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. Both committees have wide ranging jurisdiction over legislation and research related to all aspects of the Justice Cabinet.
During his tenure with LRC, Deputy Secretary Grate drafted legislation on a nonpartisan basis for all members of the General Assembly: Democrats and Republicans, Senators and Representatives, legislative leadership and newly-elected members. In the 2015 legislative session - and at the direction of legislators - he drafted comprehensive, bipartisan legislation to combat heroin in Kentucky. He also drafted a bill that expanded civil protections to people in dating relationships, victims of stalking, and those victimized by sexual assault.
Deputy Secretary Grate received his bachelor's and juris doctor degrees from the University of Kentucky. He is a life-long resident of Woodford County.