News

Becca Schimmel/Ohio Valley ReSource

  President Donald Trump met with steel and aluminum industry leaders Thursday to talk about implementing steep tariffs on steel and aluminum which matters in the Ohio Valley as it is home to last US aluminum smelters and many industries depend on steel and aluminum. 

As a candidate Trump promised to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum. Now he says he’ll sign those tariffs into law next week. After the announcement the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped about 500 points as investors feared a trade war and retaliation against US exports. 

A bill that would allow a select number of Tennessee teachers to carry guns in school is 

advancing in that state’s legislature. 

The measure passed a Tennessee House subcommittee at a time when the nation is debating gun control measures following the killings in Parkland, Florida. 

The Tennessean reports the bill would empower school boards and school directors to create policies that allow select staff members to carry a concealed firearm on school grounds. 

Under the measure, schools could have one employee with a gun for every 75 students. 

Benny Becker | Ohio Valley ReSource

A water system in eastern Kentucky that was on the verge of collapse could soon get much needed improvements. Many Martin County, Kentucky, residents were without water for long periods this winter. The crisis drew attention amid a national discussion about infrastructure priorities, and put a spotlight on the sort of water woes that are all too common throughout Appalachian coal country.

 


Kentucky Teachers Crowd Public Hearing Of New GOP Pension Bil

Mar 1, 2018
Stu Johnson

Hundreds of teachers and other state employees packed the Kentucky Capitol on Wednesday as Republican lawmakers presented their new plan to overhaul the state’s ailing pension systems.

Supporters of the measure say it would save the state $4.8 billion over the next 30 years by requiring the legislature to put more money into the pension systems and reducing benefits to current and future retirees.

Kentucky House Unveils Budget Bill That Scales Back Bevin Cuts

Mar 1, 2018
Stu Johnson

The Republican-led Kentucky House of Representatives is set to consider a budget bill that exempts some of state government from spending cuts proposed by Gov. Matt Bevin earlier this year.

On Wednesday, the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee advanced a budget bill that gets rid of Bevin’s proposed 6.25 percent cuts to K-12 programs, higher education institutions and Kentucky State Police.

ahchealthnews.com

A joint meeting of the legislative education committees from both houses of the Kentucky General Assembly is scheduled Thursday to discuss school safety matters.  A central Kentucky child psychiatrist says building relationships and trust is paramount in trying to reduce gun violence in schools.

The House Licensing, Occupations, and Administrative Regulations Committee has approved legislation aimed at addressing any uncertainty regarding raffles at the National Corvette Museum. 

Committee Chair Adam Koenig says the measure pertains to certain non-profit organizations. “This bill largely just codifies it in a way that we make sure that it’s being done in a way that conforms with charitable gaming laws and the IRS,” noted Koenig.

Daviess County Emergency Management

The rising waters that have caused flooding across Daviess County roads and farmlands aren’t quite done with the region yet, the Owensboro area is doing as the Ohio River crested to near 48 feet yesterday, about 8 feet above flood stage.

“Much of Smothers Park along the riverfront in Owensboro is still under water and is expected stay that way with an inch or more of mid-week rains predicted for the region. The Ohio River is expected to recede substantially by Friday or Saturday.

Hundreds of teachers and other state employees packed the Kentucky Capitol Wednesday as Republican lawmakers presented their new plan to overhaul the state’s ailing pension systems. 

Supporters of the bill say it would save the state $4.8 billion over the next 30 years by requiring the legislature to put more money into the pension systems and reducing benefits to current and future retirees. 

Janet Sogar, a retired teacher from Florence, says she has a hard time encouraging young people to become teachers because of proposed cuts to future teacher pensions. 

Tobacco The Focus Of Lobbyists' Spending in 2018

Feb 28, 2018
Nicole Erwin/ Ohio Valley ReSource

 

On the heels of a record year for lobbyist spending, Kentucky businesses and organizations spent an all-time high of $2.6 t million dollars in the first portion of the current legislative session. 

After spending more than $20 million dollars in 2017, lobbyists started this year by spending 20 percent more than they spent at the beginning of last year’s session. The top spender during the first month of this year’s legislative session was the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

Stu Johnson

Lexington’s city council is asking the general assembly to pass legislation legalizing medical marijuana in Kentucky.

The council acted unanimously Tuesday to send the request to legislative leaders.  Council Member Jake Gibbs says the Lexington governing body heard from six people who say medical marijuana had helped them. “Dealing with things from gunshot wounds to post traumatic distress disorder to car crashes.  Another guy had a tick bite which he’s taken 32 medicines for,” said Gibbs.

Hemp Resolution Heads to Full Senate

Feb 27, 2018
kentucky.com

The Senate Agriculture Committee has approved a resolution urging Congress to amend the federal Controlled Substance Act to remove hemp from the definition of marijuana.

  

Marshall County Daily News

Commonwealth’s Attorney Mark Blankenship’s Office is requesting a special judge step in to preside over the Marshall County High School shooter case.

The move comes after lawyers representing Paxton Media Group filed a writ alleging Marshall County Circuit Judge Jamie Jameson improperly interfered with the prosecution of the accused shooter, 15-year-old Gabe Parker. Blankenship says the allegations have shaken victims and families that were already fragile. He says no matter the outcome of the request, it might bring ‘peace of mind.’.

WKU.EDU

A bill raising the cap on how much package beer can be bought from Kentucky microbreweries is nearing final passage from the state legislature. Capitol reporter Ryland Barton has more.               

The bill would allow customers to take home up to 31 gallons of beer from microbreweries— that’s the equivalent of two kegs. Currently the limit is two dozen 12-ounce beers, or, a little over two gallons. 
Adam Watson, co-owner of Against the Grain Brewery in Louisville, says the measure would help boost sales out of his brewery and beyond. 
 

wkms.org

The director of the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research says carbon capture technologies could help stabilize coal mining employment in the Commonwealth.  Center officials last week received a federal grant of nearly a million dollars.

 

Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed budget includes specific cuts impacting Eastern Kentucky University.

 

EKU President Michael Benson outlined key provisions a campus-wide email today. They include $4 million overall budget reduction and cuts of $200,000 to the Center for the Arts and $150,000 cut to Model Laboratory School.

 

Benson said plans are being made to mitigate the cuts. 

But on  Monday the EKU Board of Regents were told that slow enrollment, pension reform and state cuts will require $25 million budget reduction and include layoffs. 

EKU Men's Head Basketball Coach Dan McHale Let Go

Feb 26, 2018
kentucky.com

Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball coach Dan McHale has been let go.  Word of his termination as head coach came Monday from Athletics Director Steve Lochmueller. McHale just completed his third year at EKU, compiling a 38 and 55 record with an 11 and 20 mark this season. 

McHale spoke with Eastern play-by-play announcer Greg Stotelmyer following Saturday’s season ending loss at Morehead.

EKU Faces Tough Choices, $25 Million In Cuts

Feb 26, 2018
EKU.EDU

Eastern Kentucky University is facing $25 million in cuts and, as the Board of Regents heard Monday, every reduction reflects a difficult decision.

Vice President David McFadden said a committee has been meeting with groups across campus to make strategic cuts to meet the goal.

“From the SGA to every college, we have been across campus to have a broad dialogue,” he said. 

McFadden said the cuts will be targeted and “across the board” and will include some loss of faculty and staff.

Becca Schimmel/Ohio Valley ReSource

Proposed Tariffs and Kentucky's Steel and Aluminum Industries

Feb 26, 2018
wkyt.com

The Ohio Valley’s steel and aluminum industries are closely watching what the Trump administration will do on imports. The Department of Commerce has suggested a massive 24 percent global tariff on steel and aluminum imports. Candidate Donald Trump promised to crack down on imports. Now, it’s unclear if President Trump will follow through. Becca Schimmel spoke to people in regional industries that could win or lose if tariffs take effect.

kentucky.com

Gov. Matt Bevin and Congressman Hal Rogers this weekend announced plans for a $3.4 million water project in eastern Kentucky.  In all, more than four and a half million dollars will go to address long standing problems in one Appalachian community.

wkyt.com

Officials within Kentucky’s Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities expect to play a continual role in tackling the Commonwealth’s opioid epidemic. 

Commissioner Wendy Morris offered testimony last week before the House Budget Subcommittee on Health and Family Services. “We want to continue to build an array of evidence based practices that address prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery,” said Morris. 

Stu Johnson

Widely circulated reports online today cite one current and two former University of Kentucky basketball players as part of the ongoing FBI investigation.  A Yahoo Sports report today included information from documents and bank records.

UK Junior Grant Smith of Cincinnati is not overly concerned.  “I don’t think they are too serious.  I think the Kevin Knox thing is just over a meal and that can be paid back.  So that’s no problem,” said Smith.  “I don’t know about any of the other allegations.

State Capitols Online

This week at the state legislature, a new bill overhauling the public pension system was finally filed and it’s a lot different from the proposal made by Gov. Matt Bevin last fall. But, it still reduces benefits to many current and most future state employees while promising massive infusions of cash into the pension systems. 
Bevin’s plan to overhaul the pension system would have moved most future and some current state employees onto 401k-style retirement plans. 

WKU Facing Staff Cuts

Feb 23, 2018
WKU.EDU

The president of Western Kentucky University revealed today recommendations to meet a $15 million dollar budget shortfall caused by several years of declining enrollment and increased operating costs.

Timothy Caboni says 40 vacant positions will not be filled and about 100 jobs will be eliminated.

Health officials in Northern Kentucky are concerned about a report showing that HIV infections linked to intravenous drug use continue to rise

Northern County Health Department Spokeswoman Emily Grisham Wherle said there have been 20 cases of HIV cases linked to injection since the beginning of 2018. Historically, she said, the four county covered by the department report 0-5 such infections each year.

Fayette County Exploring Safer Schools

Feb 23, 2018
Mary Meehan

Fayette County School Superintendent Manny Caulk on has announced a community effort to insure Lexington schools are safe.

That includes exploring all options, although he didn’t endorse arming teachers, an effort floated in the General Assembly.

Penny Christian attend Caulk’s press conference as a representative of the PTA. She says most teachers, including her own daughter, are drawn to the profession because they want to help kids not to be armed guards.

Stu Johnson

The first legislative step to substantial changes in Kentucky’s adoption and foster care programs took place Thursday in Frankfort. Unanimous approval came from the House Health and Family Services Committee.

Stu Johnson

A senate panel has adopted legislation aimed at reforms for a growing female population in Kentucky prisons and jails.  It includes standards regarding adequate nutrition and hygiene products for pregnant prisoners.  

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