With the Kentucky Derby less than two weeks away and the summer travel season approaching, state tourism officials are in full advertising mode right now.
Now is the time to roll out the bluegrass carpet to visitors from far and near. Kentucky Travel and Tourism Commissioner Kristen Branscum admits the Derby attracts visitors through tradition. But Branscum says the term “Kentucky Derby’ can benefit attractions three hours away from Louisville. And the state focus is on out of state visitors.
Eastern Kentucky University’s Board of Regent adopted a two-year, $25 million savings plan Friday. It includes reducing Eastern’s workforce by about 140 jobs. Some of those jobs are currently vacant but 96 others will be cut. EKU President Michael Benson said the board faced a difficult task.
Kentucky lawmakers return to Frankfort later this morning to act on remaining bills including a possible vote on a two year spending plan. Legislators from the House and Senate have been trying to reach consensus on the biennial budget.
When this discussion between House and Senate conferees began over a week ago there were some significant differences. The House plan included calls for a 50 cent cigarette tax and a 25 cent levy on prescription opioids at the distribution level. The senate backed plan didn’t include any tax increases.
With financial spending uncertainty ahead, the Lexington city council is considering setting aside more money in a contingency account. One of the primary unknowns is how much the local government will need to spend following anticipated state pension reforms.
Finance and Administration Commissioner Bill O’Mara got council budget committee approval Tuesday for a $10 million budget stabilization reserve.
Kentucky House Speaker Jeff Hoover has reached a confidential settlement over sexual harassment allegations made by a woman who works on his staff.
That's according to a report from the Louisville Courier Journal. The report claims the agreement was made last week after the leader of the House received a demand letter from the woman’s lawyer over allegations dating back to 2016.
The state Department of Alcohol Beverage Control is implementing monthly alcohol serving classes across the state aimed at creating a consistent training schedule as the number of wet counties grows.
The Server Training in Alcohol Regulations or STAR classes are for ABC licensees and their employees. Classes are intended for people who serve or sell alcoholic beverages. They'll be held monthly at state park venues. Alcoholic Beverage Control Commissioner Christine Trout said the training is not state mandated.
A controversial bill affecting the operation of the state attorney general's office won approval in the Kentucky House today and is expected to get a favorable reception as it moves to a vote in the Senate.
In addition to requiring the attorney general to explain why outside counsel is needed, the bill sets a cap at $20 million dollars that an attorney can recover in any given case.
Providence Representative Jim Gooch said that can mean more dollars for taxpayers in large civil cases, “The more you have to pay one of these attorneys, the less money you’re going to get.”
The Kentucky House overwhelmingly approved anti-gang legislation today which that to go after gang recruiters. The measure, backed by a 91-3 vote would make gang recruitment a felony crime. During floor debate the cost for additional prosecution and incarceration was estimated at $38 million.
Lexington Representative Robert Benvenuti said cost of caring for hundreds of shooting victims runs hundreds of millions of dollars.
“What kind of a price tag should we put on the young men and women who are being slaughtered in our streets,” he said.
The Kentucky House Judiciary Committee has overwhelmingly approved legislation focused on reducing gang-related violence in the state.
The bill makes recruitment of gang members a felony and defines a gang for criminal purposes as three or more people. Current law sets the standard at five or more. Louisville Assistant Police Chief Kim Kraeszig said last year 40 percent of a record number of homicides were under 26. “Last year we had over 400 shootings. We are losing so many lives in our community,” he said. “It’s ridiculous.”
Legislation that would change how Kentucky’s public universities are funded is moving to the full Senate. The Appropriations and Revenue Committee easily approved a performance-based funding measure Tuesday.
Kentucky’s bourbon industry is looking for legislative approval to open the door to new in-state sale of whiskey dating back decades. Under current law, these, often discovered, bottles of aged distilled spirits can’t be resold.
The Kentucky senate voted Wednesday to make all public school campuses tobacco free
Bill Sponsor Dr. Ralph Alvarado told senators Kentucky’s youth smoking rate is higher than the national average for adult smokers. The Winchester physician was asked about having tobacco products in a vehicle on school grounds.