News

Governor Calls Out Stumbo, Democrats on State Budget Impasse

Mar 29, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

Republican Governor Matt Bevin and GOP legislative leaders held a news conference Tuesday morning to address the state budget standoff. Bevin said House democrats are unwilling to compromise on the spending plan. He maintained that all parts of the budget are up for negotiating.  “We are here, we are in session,” Bevin said.  “We will be here at any hour, on any day for the next two weeks to meet at any time to talk about this issue.”

Omnibus Alcohol Bill Moves Toward Final Approval

Mar 29, 2016
kentucky.com

Legislation impacting Kentucky’s bourbon, beer, and wine industries appears headed for final passage.  The omnibus alcohol measure won House approval by a vote of 76 to 20 on Monday.   

Wilder Representative Dennis Keene says the bill supports growing businesses.  “This bill will expand current licensing and provide for new ones, and provide needed support for our bed and breakfasts, our distillers, our brewers, and most of all our small farm wineries,” said Keene.

Natural Hair Braiders' Bill Goes to Governor Bevin

Mar 29, 2016
braidingfreedom.com

   

Legislation that aims to help natural hair braiders in Kentucky has won the support of both Houses of the state General Assembly. The legislature Monday easily approved a measure that would exempt hair braiders from cosmetology regulations.

Eastern Standard

  Some experts are claiming that human beings are entering and staying in adolescence longer than ever before.

On this week’s Eastern Standard, we’ll discuss this modern phenomenon and we’re interested in hearing your stories, comments and questions.

Write to us now at wekueasternstandard@gmail.com or call 859-622-1657 and leave a message. You can also post you comment below in the "comments" box or on the WEKU Facebook page. Send a tweet @wekuest

Stumbo: Compromise on State Budget Unlikely

Mar 28, 2016
commons.wikimedia.org

 

Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo is suggesting that the current general assembly session may end without passage of a state budget. House and Senate budget conferees met during a public session Monday afternoon. 

Stumbo says the prospects of reaching agreement on a spending plan are slim.   “Well, I thought this morning there was a glimmer of hope, but it seems that’s vanished in the afternoon session," Stumbo said. "So I think we’re still light years apart."

Here’s a message from listener Dave, who tells us he enjoys the station, especially while exercising every day, but he has a suggestion for announcers, “Ask your people to quit saying ‘First ever.’ First means it never happened before. ‘First ever’ means you don’t know what the word first means.” 

Sharp Learning Curve for New House Members

Mar 28, 2016
kentucky.com

  The last few days of Kentucky's legislative session seem to be moving in spurts.  That may be felt even more by the House’s newest members.

Four members of the Kentucky House started serving in Frankfort on March 15, following special elections held to fill vacant seats. Retired Greenup judge Lewis Nicholls says there are significant differences between the House floor and a courtroom.  “It’s a whole different set of procedures and the information that they’ve given to us," he said. "It’s kind of like drinking from a fire hose."

House, Senate Budget Negotiations Resume Monday

Mar 28, 2016
wkms.org

House and Senate conferees will go back to the table Monday to continue working toward a state budget agreement.  One of the remaining points of contention is funding for higher education. Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer said on Friday that it was difficult to predict what a compromise would look like.  “That’s why we have a conference committee and it would be premature for me to comment at this time as to where that’s gonna go,” said Thayer.

abc7.com

The White House says President Barack Obama has telephoned the parents of a Lexington native and her husband who died in last week's terror attacks in Brussels.

 

The White House says Obama offered his condolences Sunday and praised Stephanie Shults and her husband Justin as epitomizing all that was good about America.

usmayors.org

The Kentucky House on Friday approved a Senate bill aimed at giving the city of Louisville more authority in dealing with dilapidated housing.  Louisville Representative Jerry Miller says there are some 6,000 vacated properties in the river city.  “These areas unfortunately were hard hit by the recession and they’ve not bounced back," Miller said.  "So what we have are just some properties where the copper and all the metal has been stolen out of them. It is a true crisis in Louisville.”

State Budget Negotiations Continue

Mar 25, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

Kentucky House and Senate leaders are continuing negotiations on a compromise $21 billion two-year state budget.  Conferees worked through a number of issues Friday, but no firm decisions are expected just yet.  House Speaker Greg Stumbo says each side has key sticking points.  “We have large philosophical differences in how we should spend these tax dollars, obviously between the two chambers, and I don’t know if those are insurmountable,” said Stumbo.

Work to Reach Agreement on a State Budget Begins

Mar 25, 2016
kyforward.com

Kentucky House and Senate conferees are beginning their work trying to reach agreement on a $21 billion budget.  It’s the first budget conference committee for Lexington Representative and Republican Whip Stan Lee.  “I don’t think the differences are as insurmountable as people once thought," Lee said. "I think the biggest movement happened when the House passed its version of the budget."

Lee says a major hurdle was crossed when the House decided not to borrow $3 billion to help remedy the state’s pension problems.  

Bourbon, Beer, and Wine Bill Appears Headed for Final Passage

Mar 24, 2016
distillerytrail.com

    A bill seeking to make many changes to Kentucky’s alcohol laws appears to be moving toward final passage.  It impacts bourbon, beer, and wine industries in communities across the state.

The omnibus alcohol measure allows for increased production by small farm wineries and microbreweries, and aims to ease certain restrictions on the bourbon industry.  Union Senator John Schickel is the bill’s sponsor.  “Almost really in every category - the distilleries, small farm wineries, and craft breweries - everybody got something but nobody got everything they wanted,” said Schickel.

Chilton Named Lexington's New Fire Chief

Mar 24, 2016
lexingtonky.gov

The city of Lexington has a new fire chief.  The announcement came Thursday from Mayor Jim Gray. 

Kristin Chilton is Lexington’s first female fire chief. She has more than two decades of firefighting experience in the bluegrass.

Eastern Standard

A Kentucky professor was part of a team that analyzed fossils from what has been described as “a new human ancestor.”  We’ll discuss this 2013 discovery with University of Kentucky  paleoanthropologist Dr. Andrew Deane who was called to South Africa to join the team examining over 1,500 bones that were found. We’ll also meet biology professor Jim Krupa, also from UK, who teaches biology, ecology and evolution. It’s a special recorded version of our show but we’re still glad to have your comments at:

Ky. House Votes to Preserve Kynect, Medicaid Expansion

Mar 24, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

    

The Kentucky House has voted to require operation of a state-run healthcare exchange similar to Kynect.  However the bill is unlikely to be considered in the state Senate.

House floor votes on the healthcare exchange bill and another measure to require an expansion of Medicaid, came early Tuesday evening.  Governor Matt Bevin is dismantling Kynect, the state-run exchange developed under former Governor Steve Beshear, and moving the commonwealth to a federal exchange. 

Ky. Senate Passes Its Version of the State Budget

Mar 24, 2016
state-journal.com

The Kentucky Senate has passed a budget bill that contains most of Gov. Matt Bevin’s nearly across-the-board proposed spending cuts, including deep cuts to higher education.

The Senate budget also aligns closely with Bevin’s proposal to set aside money in the state rainy day fund and a “permanent fund” that Bevin says would be dedicated to shoring up the pension systems in the future.

Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee chairman Chris McDaniel said the proposal is “structurally balanced.”

House Approved ‘DUI Look Back’ Bill Goes to Gov. Bevin

Mar 23, 2016
wkyt.com

Several Kentucky House members on Wednesday shared stories about how alcohol abuse has impacted their lives during a debate on legislation related to drunken driving penalties. Lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to double the period of time allowable to determine penalties for habitual drunk drivers from five to 10 years. 

McConnell: Military Coalition Needed to Address Terrorism

Mar 23, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

   

The U.S. Senate Majority Leader believes a military coalition that includes American, European, and Middle Eastern countries could work to reduce terrorism.  Mitch McConnell addressed the Richmond Chamber of Commerce Wednesday at Eastern Kentucky University.

Ky. House Votes to Preserve Kynect, Medicaid Expansion

Mar 23, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

    The Kentucky House has voted to require operation of a state-run healthcare exchange similar to Kynect.  However the bill is unlikely to be considered in the state Senate.

House floor votes on the healthcare exchange bill and another measure to require an expansion of Medicaid, came early Tuesday evening.  Governor Matt Bevin is dismantling Kynect, the state-run exchange developed under former Governor Steve Beshear, and moving the commonwealth to a federal exchange. 

Ky. House Approves $4.5 Billion Road Plan

Mar 23, 2016
wtvq.com

The Kentucky House has put its stamp of approval on a two-year road plan.  The vote came after some dramatic testimony on the House floor.  Dry Ridge Representative Brian Linder expressed his dissatisfaction with the lack of funding for an interchange project to help traffic flow around the Ark Encounter Park in northern Kentucky.  “And at some point, we really need to stop worrying about who’s in control of this House and start recognizing who’s in control of the universe,” said Linder.  “For pulling this money, the only thing I can think of is either you got something against me, or you

Concussion Legislation Appears Headed for Passage

Mar 22, 2016
wsaz.com

New protocols for athletic coaches and referees regarding concussions is likely headed for final passage in the Kentucky legislature.  The Senate Education Committee gave unanimous support to the House bill Tuesday. 

Ky. Attorney General Sues Volkswagon Over Clean Diesel Claims

Mar 22, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

The Kentucky attorney general’s office is suing automaker Volkswagen in connection with rigged emissions software.  Andy Beshear made the announcement Tuesday.  The suit claims Volkswagen and its associated brands - Audi and Porsche -willfully violated Kentucky’s Consumer Protection Act when the company claimed its diesel engine cars had ‘clean diesel’ technology. 

eku.edu

Kentucky’s higher education institutions would compete for a portion of their state funding under the Senate’s budget proposal, which will be fully unveiled later this week.

The competition would be based on degrees produced, graduation rates, retention rates and closing “achievement gaps” among low-income students and underrepresented minorities.

“Whoever’s excelling deserves to be rewarded,” said Sen. David Givens, a Greensburg Republican and main architect of the policy, which he said would go into effect in 2018.

wkyt.com

Relatives of Lexington native Stephanie Shults, and her husband, Justin Shults, reported Wednesday that the couple had been found alive at a hospital in Brussels after the terror attacks there.

But according to the Lexington Herald Leader, Justin Shults' brother, Levi Sutton, retracted his statement Wednesday evening on Twitter. Sutton posted that the family had received some misinformation from the State Department. 

wbko.com

    

The Kentucky House of Representatives has approved legislation aimed at toughening the state’s animal cruelty statute. Monday’s unanimous vote signaled consensus in the 100-member chamber on a highly debated topic.

The legislation would make it a felony to breed, train, or own dogs for the purpose of fighting.  The measure’s been the focus of much attention because of the interests of animal protection advocates, hunters and farmers.  

State Funding for Ky. Vet Students Faces Likely Debate

Mar 21, 2016
veterinarypracticenews.com

The status of a portion of state funding for Kentucky students accepted into Auburn University's College of Veterinary Medicine is in limbo.  The commonwealth is under agreement with the Alabama school to allow Kentucky students accepted into the veterinary program to pay in-state tuition, with Kentucky picking up the difference. 

Governor Bevin’s budget includes money to assist with tuition costs for 22 incoming students, leaving 16 openings unfunded. However, the House approved budget restored funding for the remaining spots.

Administrative Office of the Courts

Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John Minton outlined a series of grim consequences if the state House’s proposed budget cuts to the Judicial Branch are approved, including laying off 600 people and trimming programs that keep people out of jail.

“I’m done with being cool and calm and collected. The hair that I have left is on fire,” Minton said to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday.

Focus On Business: Neil Goldsmith on Biotechnology

Mar 21, 2016

What does a grapefruit have in common with a deer tick? Tom Martin found out in talking with Neil Goldsmith, co-founder of Evolva, a Swiss-based biotechnology firm with a significant relationship with Lexington and the University of Kentucky.

Melodie, from Lexington, emailed us, “This message concerns HB 269 which updated veterinary practice laws. One important omission in your report is that the language to allow veterinarians to release animal protection and health information to authorities without an owner's consent is deleted in the committee substitution.." 

Melodie continues, "As the law now stands veterinarians are prohibited from notifying authorities of an animal's condition that are suspicious for abuse.  Kentucky is the only state that does not allow this.

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