News

Criminal Justice Reform Bill Moving Forward

13 hours ago
Kentucky.com

The Kentucky Senate will consider a lengthy criminal justice reform bill after a Senate Judiciary Committee approved the measure without testimony and little debate.  

The measure resulting from months of study focuses on ways to move more inmates into productive roles in society and save corrections dollars.  Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Whitney Westerfield said the legislation will improve public safety. “I think it will hold offenders accountable,”  Westerfeld said. “I think it will reduce recidivism and reduce future crime.”  


Officer.com

The Kentucky House Judiciary Committee has overwhelmingly approved legislation focused on reducing gang-related violence in the state.  

The bill makes recruitment of gang members a felony and defines a gang for criminal purposes as three or more people.  Current law sets the standard at five or more.  Louisville Assistant Police Chief Kim Kraeszig said last year 40 percent of a record number of homicides were under 26.  “Last year we had over 400 shootings.  We are losing so many lives in our community,” he said. “It’s ridiculous.”

 

Legislation to remove the state entirely from regulating telecommunications firms like AT&T, Windstream, and Cincinnati Bell is moving to the full Kentucky Senate. 

The Economic Development, Tourism, and Labor Committee Tuesday approved the deregulation bill.  

Kentucky.com

Legislation that would change how Kentucky’s public universities are funded is moving to the full Senate. The Appropriations and Revenue Committee easily approved a performance-based funding measure Tuesday.


Marisa Hempel

Kentucky’s Supreme Court struck down Lexington’s panhandling ordinance last week, saying the ban violated free speech. While the homeless in Lexington can now panhandle without fear of prosecution, there are other issues of concern related to basic subsistence.


On this week’s Eastern Standard, homelessness in the Commonwealth.

 

Expansion Of Louisville Expo Center Considered

Feb 21, 2017
Kentucky State Fair Board

Officials with the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center hope to see major facility improvements in the next few years. 

For more than a half century the Fair and Exposition Center in Louisville has been home to the National Farm Machinery Show.


Cheri Lawson

A giddy group of people meeting in Lexington may have observers wondering what’s so funny.  As WEKU’s Cheri Lawson reports, a unique form of yoga taught since the 1990’s has made its way to Central Kentucky.


Genome.gov

Kentucky’s genetic counselors could be licensed under senate legislation now before house members. 


Forestry.Ky.Gov

Kentucky lawmakers are considering ways to reduce timber thefts. 

Much of the committee testimony on the senate bill involved loggers who cross property boundaries during their harvesting. 


With refugee immigration to the United States much in the news, Tom Martin talks with Dana Lea, community engagement coordinator for the Lexington Division of the Kentucky Refugee Ministries.

This note came from Jordan, writing, “Morning!  I've listened to WEKU every morning on my commute for the last several years - you guys are awesome!  One small comment, though.  Every morning when Bryan Bartlett gives the time it is one minute fast when compared to the atomic clock in Boulder, CO, which is the United States' primary time and frequency standard.  http://www.time.gov/” 

Becca Schimmel/Ohio Valley ReSource

The Ohio Valley region once helped give rise to the labor movement. Now it’s shifting toward what’s known as right-to-work law. West Virginia and Kentucky have passed right-to-work laws and Ohio is considering a similar bill.

THE RICHMOND BOIL WATER ADVISORY WAS LIFTED MONDAY EVENING. Customers of Richmond Utilities are now free to use tap water normally.

Copley/Hendren on Student Musicians, Other Weekend Performances

Feb 17, 2017
Lexgo.com

It’s time for our weekly chat featuring arts and cultural activities with Rich Copley and Harriett Hendren of the Lexington Herald-Leader. They begin this week by telling us that the UK Symphony putting student talent on stage this weekend.    

Rich Copley and Harriett Hendren cover arts and culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader and Lexgo dot com.

You can find many listings of arts and cultural activities at the events calendar link at WEKU dot FM. 

Kentucky Education Reform Bill Set For Vote

Feb 16, 2017
Kentucky.com

An education reform bill, a top of the Republican-led Kentucky senate is headed to the floor Friday.

A major thrust of is to give local schools more say in revising academic standards.  Bill Sponsor Mike Wilson said it increases local decision making and decreases bureaucratic burdens on educators.


Filson Historical Society

Kentucky’s bourbon industry is looking for legislative approval to open the door to new in-state sale of whiskey dating back decades.  Under current law, these, often discovered, bottles of aged distilled spirits can’t be resold. 

Stu Johnson/WEKU

The Kentucky Senate voted to double the amount of campaign contributions allowed for some donors after an emotional floor debate.

Kentucky.com

The Kentucky senate voted Wednesday to make all public school campuses tobacco free 

Bill Sponsor Dr. Ralph Alvarado told senators Kentucky’s youth smoking rate is higher than the national average for adult smokers. The Winchester physician was asked about having tobacco products in a vehicle on school grounds.


Singer, actor and dancer Ben Vereen brings his show called “Steppin Out” to the Norton Center for the Arts Saturday evening.  

WEKU’s John Hingsbergen spoke with the 70-year-old about his show, the value of the arts and some of his current efforts, including a project to help troubled kids.  

The Kentucky Senate has approved a resolution condemning a white nationalist organization’s planned spring rally in eastern Kentucky. 

 Members of the Traditionalist Worker Party along with the Nationalist Front and National Socialist Movement are scheduled to gather at Jenny Wiley State Park in late April.  A rally is expected to take place in Pikeville. 

Pike County Senator Ray Jones called it disgraceful for the participants to gather near a memorial to those who fought and died in World War II.

Senate Passes Strict Penalty For Drug Dealing

Feb 15, 2017
Kentucky.com

 The Kentucky Senate has voted to make all trafficking in heroin or Fentanyl Class C felonies, a measure designed to help reduce overdose deaths.


Kentucky.com

The current heroin abuse problem in Kentucky is causing lawmakers on the House Education Committee to look for new ways to prevent sometimes deadly consequences of opioid use.


Cheri Lawson

Northern Kentucky University is moving forward with the sale of its public radio stations.   

The school’s board of regents voted Tuesday to authorize negotiations with buyers for two of its three non-commercial frequencies.

The university’s board gave its approval for the sale of station WNKU in Highland Heights for $1.9 million to the Bible Broadcasting Corporation. 

An NKU station near Portsmouth, Ohio will be sold to another religious broadcaster.

Marisa Hempel

Kentucky’s universities are facing performance-based funding, likely to be mandated by the General Assembly and the governor. Meanwhile Eastern Kentucky University continues planning for tighter budgets while continuing to revitalize the campus in Richmond.

Ky.gov

The Kentucky General Assembly is looking at ways to improve foster care and adoption, although the real push for reforms is likely a year away.

Gov. Matt Bevin is calling for change when it comes to state adoptions and foster care.  He raised the issue during his State of the Commonwealth address last week.


Stu Johnson/WEKU

Dozens of Kentucky college students rallied for nearly two hours in Frankfort Monday to show their concerns about tuition and student debt  

Student leaders and a number of state office-holders drew repeated cheers in the capitol rotunda.

EDITOR'S NOTE: We apologize for the misspelling and mispronunciation of Bruce Horseman's name. Copy below has been corrected - JH

From a listener in Richmond, choosing to remain anonymous, “On Monday, January 23,  a comment was read from a listener named Elaine. She said ‘When I moved to Kentucky from Ohio, I determined not to acquire a southern accent. To this purpose, I listened to NPR for good pronunciation and grammar.’

Kentucky.com

The Kentucky Senate is expected to vote this week on legislation for a relatively new type of relationship between medical patients and physicians called Direct Primary Care.

 The concept is based on a monthly fee, much like a gym membership, to provide routine medical services. 

Currently, doctors interested in such provider-patient arrangements must go through the state department of insurance.  This bill removes that requirement. 

New Leader Named To Kentucky Commission on Women

Feb 13, 2017
Ky.gov

The new chairwoman of the Kentucky Commission on Women is stepping into a brand new role, different than her position as head of an advanced technology firm.

Danette Wilder is president of SealingLife Technology. She said one goal of the Commission this year will be to influence the lives of women in areas like education, entrepreneurship, health and well-being.  Wilder said pay equity remains an issue.


In his farewell speech, former President Obama spoke of the "relentless pace of automation that is making good middle class jobs obsolete.  Today, Tom Martin talks with Dr. Chris Bollinger, director of the University of Kentucky's Center of Business and Economic Research, about the impact of automation on the workforce, now and into the future.

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