News

Marsy's Law for Kentucky

Along with elections for the state legislature and Congress, this November Kentuckians will weigh in on Marsy’s Law, which would amend the state constitution to create new rights for crime victims. But a group of criminal defense lawyers says they’ll sue to keep Marsy’s Law off the ballot, saying the language Kentuckians will see on Election Day is too vague. 
“I got online and found out where Johnny was, the gentleman who murdered my grandson, just by accident.” 

All Tech has decided to end its relationship with Western Kentucky University which will cease production of two WKU-themed beers. 

The Nicholasville-based biotech company will still honor a financial commitment to the school.

Steve Pavey, Hope In Focus

Anti-poverty activists say they will continue a campaign of demonstrations and civil disobedience throughout the Ohio Valley despite arrests at some events and being blocked from Kentucky’s capitol building.

The Poor People’s Campaign has rallied in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia and campaign leaders returned to Kentucky Wednesday after the group was denied access at earlier demonstrations.

 

Public Radio East

The U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee has passed it’s version of the Farm Bill with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s provisions to remove hemp from a list of Schedule 1 controlled substances. 

McConnell’s Hemp Farming Act of 2018 legalizes the growing of hemp and also allows hemp cultivators to receive federal crop insurance. Lawmakers made amendments during Wednesday's Agriculture Committee meeting and passed the revised version of the bill with only one dissenting vote from Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa. 

Anti-Poverty Group May Sue Over Capitol Restrictions

Jun 13, 2018
Charles Bertram/Kentucky.com

Anti-poverty protesters were again told they could only enter into the Kentucky Capitol two at a time Wednesday after the state police commissioner restricted the group’s access to the building. Capitol reporter Ryland Barton says the leaders of the Poor People’s Campaign are considering a lawsuit.

The group argues that the state Constitution allows unfettered access to the Capitol. 

Rev. William Barber, an activist from North Carolina and national leader of the group, said Gov. Matt Bevin should allow the protesters into the building all together.

ARC of Kentucky

  A statewide nonprofit that provides training and advocacy for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities is marking one year since the state cut all its funding.

On July 1st, it will be one year since the state cut the $125,000 previously allocated to The Arc of Kentucky. The group is not getting any federal funding either. 

So programs to offer advocacyand training for individuals with disabilities like Down Syndrome, Autism or fetal alcohol syndrome are on shaky financial ground.

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear says he will back legislation that requires commercial truck drivers to undergo training to help spot and report sex trafficking. His office made the announcement Tuesday. Beshear and Colorado based Truckers Against Trafficking pushed for bipartisan legislation requiring the training the past two regular legislative sessions, but each time the measures failed.

University of Louisville

Two University of Louisville coaches are getting contract revisions. The U of L Athletic Association board Tuesday approved the upgrades for women’s basketball coach Jeff Walz  and baseball coach Dan McDonnell. 

A group of school safety experts shied away from controversial policies like arming teachers or new gun regulations. Instead, they advised schools improve security, hire more school resource officers and find new ways to detect and prevent possible shootings. 

Lexington Approves Budget, Sets Spending Priorities

Jun 12, 2018
City of Lexington

Lexington approved a $371 million budget  Monday.

Mayor Jim Gray says that changes in the state pension did represent a challenge. But, he says, the increase in pension contributions is offset by anticipated increases in revenue.

Some tangible changes folks may see over the next year include new fire and police equipment, new playground equipment at Shillito Park and a major renovation to Rupp Arena that will involve significant job growth. 

Federal Judge To Hear Kentucky Medicaid Case

Jun 12, 2018
Kentucky.com

A federal judge could decide later this week if Kentucky can move forward with changes to its Medicaid program. Governor Matt Bevin’s administration received a waiver from the federal government to require able-bodied adults to work or volunteer to maintain their Medicaid coverage. Enrollees would also pay small premiums and face lockout periods for failing to renew their benefits on time. Kentucky saw one of the country’s largest drops in the number of uninsured 

WKU.EDU

 

The longest serving professor at Western Kentucky Univeristy has passed away.   

Mary Ellen Miller taught English at the school for 54 years. She died over the weekend in Bowling Green at the age of 83.

She had been recuperating at Greenwood Rehabilitation Center after suffering a fall.

A post on the WKU English Department’s Facebook page said Miller’s death—quote—“is an enormous loss for the English Department, WKU, our region, and the arts community”—end 
quote.

Early this year, Republicans advanced version of the pension bill that stalled after intense opposition from state workers, especially teachers. 
Republican leaders of the legislature repeatedly said that the pension proposal wasn’t going to pass this year. 
Then, on one of the final days of this year’s legislative session, a new version of the bill materialized and swiftly passed out of committee and both chambers of the legislature in matter of hours. 

White Water Rafting Could Expand In Kentucky

Jun 11, 2018
KentuckyTourism.Gov

Fans of white water rafting may have more chances to hit the river in eastern Kentucky as Senator Mitch McConnell is working to expand the rafting season.

The current white water season at the Breaks Interstate Park is just four weekends in October. That’s because the rafters depend on the Army Corps of Engineers to release enough water to create white water conditions.

McConnell announced Monday that he is working with the corps to extend the rafting season and boost tourism in Pike County.

3DaysCount

Kentucky’s joining a national effort to reduce the number of people held in jail during pretrial. In Kentucky, counties pay the cost of housing inmates who are awaiting trial.

Pretrial is defined as the period from a person’s first contact with law enforcement through the resolution of any resulting charges, usually through trial, plea or dismissal.

Health Department Sponsors Farmers' Markets

Jun 11, 2018
Pixaby

Farm-fresh food is being offer at two locations of the Fayette County Health department

Beginning Wednesday  farmers’ will set up stands at the two locations of on alternate weeks.

Spokesman Kevin Hall says people often don’t have easy access to healthy fruits and vegetables or they are unfamiliar with how to serve them. He says the special farmers’ address both those problems.

Since the markets are at health department locations, potential clients can also be introduced to other health services.

White House

President Donald Trump last week told the Department of Energy to “prepare immediate steps” to stop the closures of coal and nuclear power plants in the Ohio Valley region that are no longer economical to operate.

But a number of energy analysts say the administration’s unprecedented effort to prop up struggling utilities will do little to solve their underlying problems and will likely end up costing consumers more.   

KSP

Two ranking Kentucky State Troopers and the Scott County coroner have been indicted by a grand jury.

According to Kentucky State Police, Master Trooper Mitch Harris, retired Lieutenant Colonel Michael Crawford and Coroner John Goble are charged with stealing more than $40,000 in ammunition and firearms from a KSP storage facility in Frankfort.

Goble was additionally charged with trafficking in a controlled substance. The indictments were announced Thursday. 

The missing items were discovered in December and KSP soon launched an internal investigation. 

During a hearing Thursday the judge presiding over the lawsuit against Kentucky’s new pension law questioned why state lawmakers were able to pass the measure out of the Republican-led legislature in just one day. 

State law requires bills to be formally presented on three separate days before they are eligible to be voted on in the state House and Senate, though lawmakers frequently vote to override the rule. The new changes to Kentucky’s pension system were passed in just one day. 
 

The Concerned Citizens of Estill County have taken the next step to encourage the state to remove the toxic waste from a local landfill.

Nearby residents have long opposed the state’s plan to keep the waste and Thursday filed new petition to stop it.

Over 1,000 tons of illegally dumped radioactive wastes sits in the Blue Ridge Landfill in Irvine.

The state Energy and Environment Cabinet announced last month that’s where it would stay.

Ky.gov

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles will emcee the annual Fancy Farm Picnic this year. The fundraiser for Saint Jerome’s Catholic Church is one of the best known political events in the state. Organizer Mark Wilson says Quarles is the first millennial to emcee the picnic.

Wilson suggested the relatively young emcee is a sign the picnic, in its 138th year, is  “embracing the changing times.”

Mark Cornelison/Kentucky.com

Legendary University of Kentucky and Southeastern Conference coach and administrator C.M. Newton died Monday at the age of 88.

Kentucky.com put together remembrances from friends and athletes who recalled him as the "defination of a leader"

The Louisville Courier-Journal also posted a tribute

Benny Becker | Ohio Valley ReSource

A new study from the Government Accountability Office finds that the federal fund supporting coal miners with black lung disease could be in financial trouble without Congressional action. As NPR has reported, the GAO found that the fund’s debt could rise dramatically at the same time that black lung disease is surging

Fox59

Repair work beginning on Man o’ War Boulevard in Lexington could cause come traffic headaches over the next few weeks. 

Overnight milling and paving work on Man o’ War begins Tuesday and city officials say it could take at least two weeks to complete.

That means delays starting 6 o’clock each evening and continuing until the next morning.

The first stretch of work is on Man o’ War between Nicholasville Road and Grassy Creek. Next, the road work will continue between Richmond Road and Beaver Creek.

Health Officials Move To Curb Hep A Outbreak

Jun 4, 2018
Northern Kentucky Health Department

Northern Kentucky health officials are reaching out in an effort to help contain a statewide outbreak of Hepatitis A.

Usually, Kentucky has about 20 cases of Hepatitis A each year. But in November 2017 state health officials declared an outbreak and since then 600 cases have been confirmed.

Most of those cases have been found among the homeless or users of illicit drugs and the majority are centered in Louisville.

Still, health officials said much of the public remains unaware of the outbreak and the best way to fight against it.

A University of Kentucky medical researcher believes a new injectable drug to assist those wrestling with opioid addiction could bring more consistency for those trying to get off opioids. Dr. Michelle Lofwall is with UK’s Center on Drug and Alcohol Research. She says the drug CAM2038 would be delivered by injection in a doctor’s office once a week or even monthly. Lofwall says insurers like in-office therapies.

courtesy WKYT.TV

Kentucky’s first LGBTQ historical markers were unveiled Sunday in Lexington.

Bruce Parons, KVEC

Student teams from across the coalfields of eastern Kentucky came together at the Knott County Sportsplex, bringing with them drones that they themselves had built. It was time for the climax of this year-long project. A basketball court had been separated with nets, and padded gates marked a circuit course for the little flying machines.

 

Lexington city council members are expected to finalize decisions Tuesday regarding the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The official readings will occur later this month. During its review of Mayor Jim Gray’s budget, council members suggested relatively few changes. Vice Mayor Steve Kay says public pension costs create ongoing concerns. 

“This is a really tight budget year and we are facing tight budget years going forward and so we’re trying to be as conservative as possible, so we have a balanced budget and we don’t have to consider cuts going forward.” 

This week in Kentucky politics, Gov. Matt Bevin said he’s partnering with a former Democratic congressman to help people navigate the state’s new Medicaid rules. We found out that lobbyists set a new spending record at the state legislature as lawmakers made changes to the tax code. Plus, a state-funded aluminum mill broke ground in northeastern Kentucky and  Bevin asked for a judge to recuse himself from the lawsuit over the new pension bill. 

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