Stu Johnson

The word “crisis” was used more than once Tuesday to describe the status of Kentucky’s prison population.  The description came during testimony before the House Budget subcommittee on public safety.

While the agenda item referred to a review of Governor Bevin’s recommended budget, much attention focused on major overcrowding in state prisons and county jails.  Justice and Public Safety Secretary John Tilley. “We’re in the crisis, but we’re staring at the edge of a cliff and we could fall over it,” noted Tilley.


UK Officials Outline Response To Meningitis Case

Jan 30, 2018

University of Kentucky officials said steps are being taken to contain the spread of meningitis.

Officials at a news conference Tuesday said a student is being treated for an apparent case of the sometimes fatal bacterial infection.

But, health officials are stressing that casual contact, such as sharing a class with the infected student, is not likely to lead to infection. Those with close contact to the student are receiving antibiotics as a precaution.

Seven File to Run for Lexington Mayor

Jan 30, 2018

Seven people are vying to serve as Lexington’s next mayor.  Tuesday’s filing deadline brought a number of last minute filers to the Fayette County Clerk’s office. 

Among them are former Lexington Mayor Teresa Issac and former Lexington Police Chief Ronnie Bastin.  Also in the crowded field are current Urban County Council Kevin Stinnett and former Lexington Council Member Linda Gorton. 

Business and Educators Gather for Workforce Summit

Jan 30, 2018

Business leaders, educators, and workforce training officials are gathering today for the third Kentucky Workforce Summit.  The day- long event is coordinated by the state chamber of commerce.  Kentucky Workforce Center Director Beth Davisson says the private sector is rolling out a statewide talent pipeline management program.

Girl Scouts Join Cub Scouts in Pinewood Derby

Jan 30, 2018
Stu Johnson

History was made this past weekend in Lexington at the Pinewood Derby track.   The traditional scouting event, featuring whittled wood cars, had some new entrants this go round.  

For the first time in recent memory, the Pinewood Derby held this year at Southern Hills Methodist Church, was not an all-male competition.

The Friday and Saturday Pinewood Derby included 35 cub scouts and 26 girl scouts.  Heats were run on the four lane race track both days as the brightly colored wood cars whizzed past a timer.

Beginning in March, Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities customers will start to see tax savings reflected in their monthly bills.  It is a result of the recent passage of federal tax cuts.

Focus On Business: David Boggs on OWL

Jan 29, 2018

A low unemployment rate is knocking down job barriers for some. Today, Tom Martin talks with David Boggs, President and CEO of "Opportunity for Work and Learning" or "OWL”.

Still from White House

Trump got a warm welcome from the farm bureau crowd. Farm country likes his promises to reduce regulation. But on trade, many growers are growing nervous. Smith thinks it is too early to see a direct impact from Trump’s first year in office, and he’s hopeful but nervous about Trump’s tough talk on NAFTA.



Traditional Pace Found in Kentucky Senate

Jan 29, 2018
Stu Johnson

Come Wednesday morning, one-third of the 2018 general assembly session will be in the books. Much in line with past sessions, so far few bills have seen action in both chambers.

Only two bills have made it through both the House and Senate. 

Over the years, the filing deadline to run for office has been cited as a factor in bill consideration. Traditionally, lawmakers often wait to see about opposition before casting key votes. Legislation to move up the candidate filing deadline has been considered previously.

More than just current state workers and state retirees are waiting to see what pension reforms come from the Kentucky General Assembly. Local government officials are keeping close tabs on developments in Frankfort.

Kentucky Amusement Park Seeks Overtime Exemption

Jan 26, 2018

Legislation aimed at helping Kentucky’s largest amusement park maintain summertime staffing has opponents worried about weakening minimum wage protections.  The measure got senate committee backing this week.

Stu Johnson

Hundreds of students, the majority from private schools, rallied at the capitol Thursday as part of National School Choice Week.  Kentucky lawmakers could take up legislation to support expanding opportunities for students to attend private schools. 

Students waved yellow towels promoting school choice on the walk and grass between the capitol and annex where lawmakers travel back and forth.  Eli Hutchinson attends Somerset Christian School.

Legislation creating state civil and criminal penalties for acts of terrorism is headed to the Kentucky Senate.

The bill establishes the crime as a capital offense punishable by imprisonment for life without probation or parole.  The measure also allows victims of terrorism to file for civil damages against a terrorist or terrorist group.

Leaders of Kentucky’s two largest universities warned lawmakers that Gov. Bevin’s proposed spending cuts would eliminate crucial programs and scholarships that benefit Kentuckians and attract businesses to the state. 

Bevin has proposed cutting most state spending by 6.25 percent and eliminating 70 programs—many of which are in higher education. 

In Wake Of School Shooting, A Look At How Kids Get Guns

Jan 25, 2018
Nicole Erwin/ Ohio Valley ReSource

Heather Adams sat in a line of cars along Kentucky Route 95, cars filled with parents who had just received the call no parent wants to get: A shooting at her child’s school, Marshall County High in Benton, Kentucky. Two 15-year-old students were killed and another 18 injured.  

Adams was waiting anxiously to pick up her children, a 15-year-old and a ten-year-old. Both were safe and so she could relax enough to talk a bit. Earlier, she was at the high school with other frantic parents looking for answers about their children. 


House Committee Acts to Criminalize Revenge Porn

Jan 25, 2018
Stu Johnson

The House Judiciary Committee has acted unanimously to criminalize what has typically been termed “revenge porn”.  The measure includes penalties for distributors and web sites which knowingly post such material.

Marshall County Community Copes With School Shooting

Jan 25, 2018
Nicole Erwin

Marshall County Kentucky is still reeling from the school shooting that left two students dead and another 18 injured. As with so many communities around the country, people are searching for answers, including how the shooter got the gun. 27 states have laws requiring safe storage of firearms to prevent child access. Kentucky does not.

 “Oh wait this is the elementary school can I pause? ‘Our students and staff are safe all information regarding the shooting at Marshall County High school will…’

Senate Passes Bill Requiring Abstinence Instruction

Jan 24, 2018
Stu Johnson

The Kentucky Senate has voted to require abstinence be included in any sex education course taught in public schools.  

Proponents like Bill Sponsor Stephen Meredith stressed Wednesday afternoon it is not an abstinence only measure. “Abstinence and monogamy are just plain old fashion common sense.  Period. No hidden agenda,” said Meredith.

Paducah Senator Danny Carrol characterized the legislation as setting a firm baseline for students to follow. 

Louisville Senator Denise Harper Angel cast a no vote.

State Health Officials Declare Flu Epidemic

Jan 24, 2018
Stu Johnson

State health officials are now describing flu activity across Kentucky as an epidemic.  The Commonwealth is in its sixth consecutive week of widespread influenza cases.

Stu Johnson

A statewide coalition seeking to see at least a dollar increase in the state cigarette tax is stressing the health problems associated with smoking during pregnancy.  A leader in the effort still believes the proposed tax hike could get a vote in the current legislative session.

Stu Johnson

A moment of silence was held Tuesday afternoon in the Kentucky Senate to recognize the loss of life and injuries in the Marshall County School shooting.

Two 15 year olds died and some 17 suffered various injuries in the early morning gunfire.  The shooter has been taken into custody. On the floor  Tuesday, Cadiz Senator Stan Humphries said at eight o clock in the morning at Marshall County High School “tragedy rang out.” “Unfortunately it’s something that we deal with in our society, but, somehow it strikes a different cord when it’s this close to home.”

courtesy WKMS

Update AND CORRECTION from AP 3:06 p.m.

A 15-year-old student opened fire with a handgun inside his rural Kentucky high school Tuesday, killing two classmates, injuring 17 others and sending hundreds fleeing for safety.

Police were seen leading a teenager away in handcuffs. It was the nation’s first fatal school shooting of 2018.

The shooter will be charged with murder and attempted murder, Kentucky State Police Lt. Michael Webb said.

The Kentucky Senate has passed legislation aimed at creating more flexibility in teacher professional development.  It also seeks to establish consistent rigor for in-home instruction when school is not in session due to winter weather.

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear is suing San Francisco-based drug distributor McKesson Corporation for allegedly “flooding” the commonwealth with opioids.    

“McKesson had a duty to report when it ships large or suspicious amounts of opioids to a state or region. They knew that their shipments to Kentucky were excessive, even grossly excessive. But they simply sent them any ways and didn’t notify the authorities," Beshear said.

Stu Johnson

CORRECTION: This post initially indicated the earthquake near Wilmore occurred Sunday night.  It actually took place late Saturday night. 

Citizens in central and southeast Kentucky started the week with two separate earthquakes.  One occurred near Wilmore Saturday evening and the other north of Pineville Monday morning.  Both quakes registered 2.7 on the Richter scale, but both caused little stirring above ground. 

Opioid Emergency Extended

Jan 22, 2018
Mary Meehan

Acting Health And Human Services Secretary Eric Hargan signed an order Friday to extend the public health emergency for 90 days. A post on the agency’s website, cited the continued consequences of the opioid crisis.

Kentucky Incarceration Rates On The Rise

Jan 22, 2018

New data show that Kentucky’s incarceration rate is increasing, while the national rate continues to decline.

Figures from the Bureau of Justice Statistics show Kentucky has the ninth-highest incarceration rate in the nation. The commonwealth’s female incarceration rate is more than twice the national average, making it the second-highest in America.

Budget Review Begins in Kentucky House

Jan 22, 2018
Stu Johnson

Now that Governor Bevin has offered his two year budget for review, the state’s 138 lawmakers will begin their work, culminating with floor votes in each chamber.  The House gets the first shot at the budget as outlined in statute. 


A leader in the Kentucky senate believes electronic gambling machines focusing on previously run horse races are partly responsible for record purses at Lexington’s historic track.  Keeneland announced its plans for the spring meet last week.

Keeneland officials says this spring’s April meet will feature a season record $4.4 million in purse money.  Lawmakers like Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer keep up with one of Kentucky’s signature industries.