A proposal to raise the minimum wage in Lexington got its first public hearing at city hall Tuesday afternoon. The plan would increase the city's minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 over the next three years. When the committee hearing ended, 19 people testified. April Taylor is in favor of raising the minimum wage. "We can support the pursuit of profit at all costs, or we can chose to care about women, children, and families," said Taylor.
Governor Beshear is expressing confidence that Kentucky lawmakers will approve heroin and dating violence legislation next week. General Assembly members return Monday for the two final days of the 2015 session. Beshear expects passage on both pieces of legislation. "There's so much pressure from the public behind both of those bills, so that I don't really think these folks will leave here on March 24 without having accomplished both of those things," said Beshear.
Tax breaks related to the high profile Breeders Cup Championships at Keeneland have been signed into law. The ceremony was held Tuesday at the state capitol. The law exempts the pari-mutuel tax on wagering on live races during the two-day event. Breeders Cup President Craig Fravel says when it was held in California, the event had an $80 million impact on the local economy. "When you combine this year's event with the thoroughbred sales that will follow immediately, you're gonna have people coming to Lexington, coming to Kentucky for a much longer period of time that has historically b
From left to right: John Hingsbergen, Dr. Peter Kraska
Credit Richard Turner
In recent decades, the distinctions between police and the military have increasingly clouded. On this week's program, we will meet Eastern Kentucky University's Dr. Peter Kraska, a leading scholar of policing and criminal justice as we discuss Expanded Police Militarization.
Listen to the full audio of this edition of Eastern Standard.
The University of Kentucky's Board of Regents has approved a tuition and mandatory fees plan for the fall semester. School officials say the increases are in line with recent years.
The tuition and mandatory fee hike this fall for resident undergrads will be three percent. The combined average increase at UK over the last four years stands at just over four percent. That compares with an average ten percent tuition hike from 2005 to 2008.
This is Environmental Health Professionals Week in Kentucky. Fayette County Health Department inspectors review some 1,700 permitted establishments each year. Environmental Health Specialist Amy Sullivan says about 60 percent of the health department's reviews occur at restaurants. She says several are shut down every year. "Each year there are numerous establishments that do have to be closed for various reasons, whether it's not electricity or not have water," said Sullivan. "Often times we get reports of a sewage back up in the food preparation area."
First term state Senator Danny Carrol says the current 30 day session of the Kentucky General Assembly has been a learning experience. Carrol says, in business, decisions tend to be black or white. He says he's quickly learning that in the legislative process there are a lot of gray areas. "And I've already had an incidence where you get two bills combined like that and one of them you're very supportive of, the other one, you know, you're really not supportive of," said Carrol.
The State Division of Forestry is looking to the Kentucky legislature for help in dealing with persistent logging violators. Legislation to that end has passed both chambers of the Kentucky General Assembly and has been sent to the governor. Division of Forestry Director Leah McSwords says the bill focuses on repeat offenders. "If we find a three or more 'bad actor' who has not paid the penalty or has not cleaned up the site, we can shut them down wherever they're harvesting in the state," McSwords said.
The bishop-elect of the Catholic Diocese of Lexington says the social needs of his 50 county region call for the church to 'get outside of itself.' The Reverend John Stowe says during his 15 years on the Mexico-U.S. border, he experienced poverty under different kinds of circumstances. "You know they don't take a lot of things for granted that many of us are able to take for granted; they learn to help each other and that's the most powerful thing,” said Stowe. “There's no allusion that they can do it all by themselves, and I think we can all learn from that."
Kentucky lawmakers are considering legislation that would recognize the cowboy profession. House approved legislation to designate the fourth Saturday in July as the National Day of the Cowboy is awaiting action in the state Senate. The bill is sponsored by Cynthiana Representative and farmer Tom McKee. "It's important that we realize what a heritage we have with cowboys taking care and cowgirls taking care of our herds," said Mckee. "You know, they don't all ride horses."
A number of widely debated issues await Kentucky lawmakers when they return to the capitol on March 23. One piece of legislation that remains in limbo is related to taxation and the upkeep of Kentucky's roads.
Legislation aimed at cracking down on dog fighting in Kentucky remains a topic for debate. A bill pertaining to bees was amended Wednesday in the House to include anti-dog fighting language. Louisville Representative Mary Lou Marzian says, beyond the argument that animals should be treated humanely, there are also image issues to consider. "You know, do we want Kentucky to look like we're the dog fighting capital of the world?” asked Marzian. “We are out here trying to recruit businesses, large companies, to move to Kentucky."
Many Kentucky lawmakers are probably a bit worn out after another late night session in Frankfort Wednesday. It's become a tradition for state legislators to work a long day right before the end of the session break.
The debate over heroin legislation in Kentucky will continue over the next week. The state House Wednesday night voted on a second version of the bill which includes penalties for traffickers, treatment funding, and a needle exchange provision. Judiciary Committee Chair John Tilley has led the heroin legislation effort in the House. "I think this bill once passed, will represent the most comprehensive, common sense, evidence based, data driven approach to what is a public health epidemic," said Tilley.
Legislation to toughen Kentucky's vehicle booster seat law is moving closer to becoming a reality. The Senate Transportation Committee approved its version of the measure Wednesday. The modification raises the age and height requirement for children riding in vehicles. Louisville Representative Steve Riggs says the Senate revision relates to the age restriction. "My bill was, you had to be less than nine and this changes it to less than eight, which matches most of the other states,” said Riggs. “Only Tennessee is higher and Utah is higher."
A Senate bill that would establish a state framework for the 'Shaping Our Appalachian Region' initiative passed out of a House committee Tuesday. First term Jackson Representative Cluster Howard is hopeful that economic gains made through the state-federal effort can help reduce drug problems in eastern Kentucky. "You end up with people feeling bad and they end up trying drugs to actually feel better, self-medicate, is what I say and I think with economic development and people having a future will eliminate some of that," said Howard.
The Kentucky legislature is working to keep up with relatively new on-line ride-sharing services. The House Transportation Committee Tuesday approved a Senate measure which impacts the ride-sharing companies Lyft and Uber.
The bill's supporters say it serves to protect riders and company drivers by guaranteeing adequate insurance coverage. Oldham County Senator Ernie Harris is sponsoring the bill. "It clears the way for them to continue to operate and be regulated and have a level playing field with regard to insurance requirements," said Harris.
Babies born in Kentucky would undergo a new medical screening under legislation approved in both houses of the state legislature. The full House yesterday unanimously approved the measure to begin testing newborns for Krabbe disease.
Additional regulations regarding hydraulic fracking appear headed for legislative approval in Frankfort. Supporters of the measure include members of the oil and gas industry.
A group of farmers, environmental activists, and members of the oil and gas industry have worked together on the bill for months. Andrew McNeil with Kentucky's Oil and Gas Association called it 'consensus legislation.' "They're regulations that we think meet the needs of protecting the environment, but it's not gonna be something that will create an impediment to investment," said McNeil.