Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader en Richie Farmer Pleads Not Guilty to Federal Charges <p><a href="" target="_blank">Former Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer pleaded not guilty Thursday</a> to federal charges that he misused more than $450,000 of state money and property during his eight years as Kentucky's top agriculture official. Farmer, a former University of Kentucky basketball player whose retired jersey hangs in Rupp Arena, appeared Thursday afternoon with his attorney, J. Guthrie True, at the federal courthouse in Lexington. A grand jury has charged Farmer, 43, with four counts of misappropriating property and money, and one count of soliciting property to influence agriculture department business. Thu, 25 Apr 2013 21:15:51 +0000 Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader 43251 at Richie Farmer Pleads Not Guilty to Federal Charges Richie Farmer Indicted by Federal Grand Jury <p><a href="">A federal grand jury has indicted former </a>Agriculture Secretary Richie Farmer for allegedly misusing property and funds during his eight years at the helm of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. A grand jury charged Farmer, 43, with four counts of misappropriating property and one count of soliciting property to influence agriculture department business. Each charge has a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The indictment follows a string of ethical and legal troubles for the forme<span style="line-height: 1.5;">r University of Kentucky basketball standout and one-time Republican candidate for lieutenant governor.</span></p><p></p><p> Mon, 22 Apr 2013 14:33:53 +0000 Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader 43060 at Richie Farmer Indicted by Federal Grand Jury Toyota Plans Georgetown Expansion <p><a href="" target="_blank">Toyota is planning an ambitious new project for its flagship Georgetown</a> plant that might see it producing a new vehicle and adding 750 jobs. The news came Wednesday when the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority gave preliminary approval to $146.5 million in tax incentives for the project, which is shrouded in mystery. Katie Smith of the state's Cabinet for Economic Development told the KEDFA board that the project is a vehicle model that is new to the plant, which would produce 50,000 of them annually beginning in fall 2015. She declined to name the vehicle model. Thu, 18 Apr 2013 16:47:57 +0000 Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader & Scott Sloan 42908 at Toyota Plans Georgetown Expansion Beshear May Veto Medicaid Prompt Payment Bill <p><a href="" target="_blank">A bill designed to help doctors, hospitals and other medical providers receive prompt payments</a> from the state's Medicaid managed care companies awaits Gov. Steve Beshear's signature or veto. Despite passing both the state House and Senate unanimously and having the support of the medical community, Beshear has left open the possibility he may veto House Bill 5 because of concerns that it could cost too much to implement. Tue, 02 Apr 2013 15:58:16 +0000 Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader 42149 at Beshear May Veto Medicaid Prompt Payment Bill Three Nominated to Fill Vacant Kentucky Supreme Court Seat <p><a href="" target="_blank">A bipartisan nominating commission has recommended that Gov. Steve Beshear consider a state appeals court</a> judge and two other lawyers for an open state Supreme Court seat in Northern Kentucky. The vacancy was created when Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Wil Schroder retired on Jan. 17 after announcing that he was being treated for cancer. Fri, 22 Mar 2013 17:02:19 +0000 Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader 41665 at Compromise Reached on Raising Drop Out Age <p><a href="" target="_blank">After more than three years of unsuccessful attempts</a> to raise Kentucky's high school dropout age from 16 to 18, House and Senate leaders have struck a compromise that appears poised to pass. The compromise plan would allow school districts to voluntarily raise the dropout age from 16 to 18 beginning in 2014. Once 55 percent of the state's school districts raise the age, remaining school districts across the state would have four years to make the change. Sun, 10 Mar 2013 17:10:41 +0000 Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader & Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader 41035 at House Approves Pension Overhaul and Funding Bills <p><a href="" target="_blank">The House passed its version</a> of a state pension overhaul bill Wednesday, along with a proposal to help fund the ailing pension system by expanding the Kentucky Lottery and instant racing at horse racetracks. The funding measure — House Bill 416 — received 52 "yes" votes and 47 "no" votes, falling shy of the 60 votes needed for a revenue-generating bill to become law in this year's 30-workday legislative session. Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said Wednesday that the Senate will not accept the bill because it did not get 60 votes. Thu, 28 Feb 2013 17:23:52 +0000 Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader 40541 at Advocates Urge Legislature to Reverse Child Care Cuts <p><a href="" target="_blank">Child advocates urged members of a Senate panel</a> Wednesday to find money in Kentucky's cash-strapped budget to reverse cuts to a program that helps poor parents pay for child care. When the spending cuts take effect in April, many parents will lose their jobs, kids will be placed in dangerous child care settings and some rural child care centers could close, advocates told the Senate Health and Welfare Committee. Thu, 21 Feb 2013 17:38:56 +0000 Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader & Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader & Beth Musgrave 40201 at Pension Reform Bill Clears First Hurdle <p><a href="" target="_blank">A pension reform bill</a> that would move new state employees to a 401(k)-style hybrid plan and eliminate annual cost-of-living increases for retirees cleared its first legislative hurdle Wednesday. The Senate State and Local Government Committee voted unanimously — 10-0 — on Wednesday to pass Senate Bill 2. The measure now goes to the full Senate. Thu, 07 Feb 2013 17:54:26 +0000 Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader & Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader & Beth Musgrave 39515 at Senator Files Bill to Block Medicaid Expansion <p><a href="" target="_blank">Senate Health and Welfare Chair Julie Denton</a>, R-Louisville, filed two bills Wednesday to block Gov. Steve Beshear from expanding Medicaid coverage and setting up a health-insurance exchange without legislative approval. The expansion of Medicaid and the exchange, which would provide online information about buying insurance from private companies, are key parts of the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The health package has come under sharp criticism from many Republicans. Thu, 10 Jan 2013 16:05:57 +0000 Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader & Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader & Jack Brammer 38196 at Federal Spending Cuts Worry School Officials <p><a href="" target="_blank">The federal fiscal cliff was averted</a>, but an agreement that delayed decisions about major spending cuts until late February has Kentucky school officials worried about potential layoffs and lost services for needy students. If Congress doesn't reach a compromise on the scheduled spending cuts, Kentucky's 174 school districts will lose $61 million a year in federal support during the next decade, according to numbers generated by the Congressional Budget Office and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Many of Kentucky's gains in K-12 education during the past 20 years could be erased, said Stu Silberman, director of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, a Lexington-based non-profit. Tue, 08 Jan 2013 15:37:43 +0000 Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader & Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader 38089 at Kentucky's Rand Paul hints at Presidential Bid <p><a href="" target="_blank">Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky says he is interested in running for president in 2016. "I'm not going to deny that I'm interested," Paul told ABC's Jonathan Karl in a segment called "Spinners and Winners." Paul, who was first elected to the Senate in 2010 and has been frequently mentioned as a possible presidential candidate, said he hasn't made a final decision yet on whether to run in 2016. "I think it's a little too early," he said. "We'll see what happens."</a></p><p> Wed, 21 Nov 2012 15:33:42 +0000 Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader 36149 at Kentucky's Rand Paul hints at Presidential Bid Child Death Panel to Hold First Meeting <p><a href="" target="_blank">An independent panel charged with reviewing child deaths and serious injuries caused by abuse and neglect in Kentucky will meet Tuesday for the first time. Gov. Steve Beshear established the Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review panel in July, following months of scrutiny by the Lexington Herald-Leader and other media of how the state handles child abuse cases. Members of the panel — which were appointed by Attorney General Jack Conway and various peer groups — were named in September.</a></p><p> Wed, 21 Nov 2012 15:31:29 +0000 Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader 36148 at Commission Recommends Increase on Cigarette Tax <p><a href="" target="_blank">A commission that has spent</a> the better part of a year evaluating Kentucky's tax system recommended a 40-cent increase in the cigarette tax on Monday but no increase in the 6 percent sales tax. Gov. Steve Beshear's Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform also recommended pursuing a constitutional amendment that would allow cities to seek a local-option sales tax for limited periods of time. The local-option sales tax has been requested by city officials for decades as a means to generate revenue for infrastructure improvements, such as new arenas. Tue, 20 Nov 2012 17:37:01 +0000 Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader & Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader 36087 at Democrats keep control of Kentucky House <p><a href="" style="font-family: Arial, Geneva, sans-serif; line-height: 20px; ">FRANKFORT — Despite a strong push by Republicans, the Kentucky House remained under Democratic control after Tuesday's election.&nbsp;Republicans made modest gains Tuesday and were poised to pick up four seats. If those preliminary results stand, come January there will be 55 Democrats in the House and 45 Republicans.</a></p><p> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 11:39:59 +0000 Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader & Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader 35479 at Democrats keep control of Kentucky House Republican Robert Benvenuti Wins 88th House District in Lexington <p><a href="">Republicans maintained control of Lexington's 88th House District on Tuesday as voters chose Robert Benvenuti III over Reggie Thomas, a better-financed Democratic candidate. Benvenuti is a former inspector general for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Thomas is a lawyer.</a> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 02:38:52 +0000 Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader & Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader 35452 at Republican Robert Benvenuti Wins 88th House District in Lexington Ruth Ann Palumbo Keeps House Seat in Lexington <p><a href="">The longest-serving woman in the Kentucky legislature was able to hold off a strong and well-financed Republican challenger Tuesday in Lexington. Democratic state Rep. Ruth Ann Palumbo, who represents the 76th House District, bested Richard Marrs, an owner of an advertising firm, for the second time in two years. Marrs lost to Palumbo in 2010 by about 20 percentage points, but Marrs ran a much closer race this year by painting Palumbo as a tax-and-spend liberal in campaign advertisements and describing himself as a fiscal conservative.</a> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 02:01:28 +0000 Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader & Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader 35446 at Williams to Accept Judicial Appointment <p><a href="">Kentucky Senate President David Williams, a Republican reviled by the Democrats he has stymied for nearly 13 years, will resign his post in Frankfort to accept a judicial appointment by Gov. Steve Beshear. In a widely anticipated move, the Democratic governor selected his longtime political foe Friday to fill an open circuit court judgeship in Southern Kentucky. The Burkesville Republican's appointment to the bench leaves a void in Republican Senate leadership for the first time since Republicans assumed control of the Senate in 2000.</a></p><p> Fri, 26 Oct 2012 18:53:01 +0000 Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader & Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader 34910 at Groups Working to Increase Internet Access in Kentucky <p><a href="">A little more than 90 percent of Kentucky residents have access to high-speed or broadband Internet. In a classroom, that would be an A-. But scored on a curve, Kentucky is barely passing. The state is 40th out of 50 states for access to high-speed Internet. The Commonwealth Office of Broadband Outreach and Development, funded in part by federal stimulus money, is mapping Kentucky's broadband accessibility. Its mission is to improve Kentucky's access to high-speed Internet, which will in turn help with educational attainment and economic development, studies show.</a> Mon, 15 Oct 2012 18:32:49 +0000 Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader 34359 at Thousands Watch VP Debate on Centre lawn <p><a href="">Over the cries of a protestor in a tree, a crowd of thousands at Centre College's vice presidential debate festival listened intently to the broadcast of the debate on a large screen TV on the campus lawn. Hearing the debate proved challenging as an anti-abortion protestor shouted from up a tree on the edge of the festival lawn. He was still shouting nearly an hour into the debate, having climbed even higher to avoid law-enforcement agents who had put up a ladder.</a> Fri, 12 Oct 2012 16:37:12 +0000 Greg Kocher, Lexington Herald-Leader & Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader 34253 at Thousands Watch VP Debate on Centre lawn Magazine Ranks Kentucky Low for Fiscal Health <p><a href="">A national financial magazine has ranked Kentucky 47th in overall fiscal health, thanks to its rising pension obligations and relatively high debt levels. South Dakota enjoys the strongest financial position among the 50 states, while Connecticut ranks last, according to the Aug. 27 issue of Barron's. Kentucky's poor showing in the analysis was largely due to it</a> Wed, 05 Sep 2012 16:26:37 +0000 Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader 32437 at Smoking Ban Coalition Takes Message to Voters <p><a href="">Backers of an effort to ban</a> smoking in all public places in Kentucky are taking their message on the road this week in hopes of getting legislation passed in the 2013 legislation session. Smoke Free Kentucky, a coalition of non-profit, business and other groups, stopped Tuesday at the Frankfort headquarters of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, a longtime supporter of a statewide smoking ban. Wed, 01 Aug 2012 14:16:20 +0000 Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader 30488 at Files Provide Look at Child Abuse in Kentucky <p><a href="">Kayla Mosley had been dead several hours</a> by the time her drug-addled parents realized something was wrong and called an ambulance to take her to the Pineville hospital, her cold, nude body wrapped in a blanket. The gut-wrenching story is one of many contained in thousands of pages of documents released last week by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which oversees child protection in Kentucky. The files give an unprecedented look into how Kentucky&#39;s abused and neglected children die and how the state&#39;s child-protection system operates. The cabinet and the state&#39;s two largest newspapers, the Lexington Herald-Leader and The Courier-Journal of Louisville, have been fighting in court for more than two years over access to the case files of children who were killed or critically injured in 2009 and 2010 as a result of abuse and neglect. Mon, 23 Jul 2012 14:22:57 +0000 Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader 30000 at Republicans Hope to Halt Medicaid Expansion <p><a href="">The top Republican in the Kentucky House</a> wants Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear to halt an expansion of Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for the poor and disabled. The expansion of Medicaid is a central element in President Barack Obama&#39;s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which says the federal government will pay 100 percent of the costs to add certain people to the program in 2014. After three years, the states must pick up some of the costs of the expansion, which Kentucky can&#39;t afford, House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover of Jamestown said. Sun, 08 Jul 2012 14:30:52 +0000 Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader 29236 at Medical Schools, Hospitals Team Up to Fight Child Abuse <p><a href="">The story behind 9-month-old&#39;s death</a> is featured in a video produced by the Partnership to Eliminate Child Abuse, a coalition of medical schools and children&#39;s hospitals from Kentucky and Indiana. The kickoff event for the partnership was held Wednesday at Kosair Children&#39;s Hospital. The partnership will launch a media blitz soon to raise awareness about the signs of child abuse. Thu, 17 May 2012 13:24:39 +0000 Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader 26615 at Coventry Cares Reverses Medication Decision <p><a href="">Medicaid provider Coventry Cares</a> has reversed an earlier decision and will continue paying for a costly medication that helps drug addicts stop using opiates, a company spokesman said Monday. Matt Eyles, a spokesman for Coventry, said the company decided to reverse course after talking to representatives of a chain of addiction treatment clinics that threatened last week to sue Coventry. Tue, 15 May 2012 18:51:33 +0000 Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader 26499 at Coventry Cares Violates Contract by Ending Payment for Certain Medications <p><a href="">Medicaid provider Coventry Cares</a> plans to stop paying for an expensive medication that helps addicts kick opioid addictions, a move state officials quickly condemned Thursday as a contract violation. The Medicaid managed care company&#39;s decision to stop paying for buprenorphine, a drug used to curtail cravings for drugs such as Oxycontin and Vicodin, also brought the threat of a lawsuit from a group of addiction treatment centers. Buprenorphine is more commonly known as Suboxone. Fri, 11 May 2012 14:39:30 +0000 Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader 26307 at Managed-Care Company Wants New Contract with Baptist Healthcare <p><a href="">One of the state&#39;s Medicaid managed-care</a> companies has told Baptist Healthcare System that it wants to renegotiate its contract with the chain, which has hospitals in Lexington, Louisville, La Grange, Paducah and Corbin. Coventry Cares notified Baptist Healthcare System on Friday that it wanted to renegotiate, said Ruth Ann Childers, a spokeswoman for Baptist. If an agreement cannot be reached by Nov. 1, when the current contract expires, Coventry has told the health care system that it would allow the contract to expire, Childers said. Wed, 09 May 2012 15:36:24 +0000 Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader & Valarie Honeycutt Spears, Lexington Herald-Leader 26190 at Senate has Concerns About Passing Pill Bill <p><a href="">The Democratic-led House passed a measure Wednesday</a> that supporters hope will curtail Kentucky&#39;s prescription pill addiction, but the bill&#39;s future in the Republican-led Senate remains uncertain. House Bill 1 would allow only doctors to own pain clinics and would move the state&#39;s prescription electronic monitoring system from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to Attorney General Jack Conway&#39;s office. But many of the &quot;no&quot; votes in the House, where the bill passed 70-28, were cast by Republicans, who questioned whether the attorney general&#39;s office was given too much power over the state&#39;s doctors. Thu, 19 Apr 2012 18:13:41 +0000 Jack Brammer, Lexington Herald-Leader & Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader 25155 at Beshear Vetoes $50 Million in Funding for Roads <p><a href="">The Kentucky Senate will approve a $4.5 billion</a> operating budget for the Transportation Cabinet on Friday and end a special legislative session that began Monday, Senate President David Williams said late Wednesday. The announcement came after Gov. Steve Beshear signed into law a two-year road plan, but not before vetoing about $50 million in funding for road projects in or near Senate President David Williams&#39; Southern Kentucky Senate district. Williams said Beshear&#39;s vetoes were &quot;vindictive and unconstitutional. But since he just directed them at me, we will proceed.&quot; Thu, 19 Apr 2012 18:11:11 +0000 Jack Brammer, Lexington Herald-Leader & Beth Musgrave, Lexington Herald-Leader 25154 at