Low-income Kentuckians who work in other states would be exempt from paying bridge tolls under a new bill filed in the General Assembly. House Bill 129 would allow any Kentuckian who commutes across state lines and who qualify for the earned income tax credit to seek reimbursement for tolls they pay going to and from work.
By Scott Wartman & The Kentucky Enquirer & Scott Wartman
The Newtown, Conn., tragedy and other shootings across the nation have sharply increased debate about stricter gun laws, but they won’t likely change Kentucky’s status as one of the most lenient states for gun laws. Both Democrats and Republicans in Kentucky said they don’t foresee anyone proposing any stricter gun laws in the upcoming session starting Jan. 8. Some, however, want to discuss the issue of allowing teachers to carry weapons in schools or increasing the number of school resource officers.
It hardly seems possible that 2012, the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s 220th year, has come to an end. As with most years, there was good news and bad news, joy and sorrow, beginnings and endings. What will we remember most? Wildcat basketball fans will remember 2012 as the eighth year of nirvana for Kentucky’s secular religion. The University of Kentucky men’s team beat Kansas 67-59 to win its eighth NCAA crown and the first since 1998.
The next round of winter weather will arrive later today and likely continue for about 24 hours, according to the National Weather Service office in Louisville. Northcentral Kentucky will see rain this afternoon and it will begin to change over to a mix of rain and snow after sunset tonight. Around midnight, the mix will turn to all snow. Northcentral Kentucky will probably see 1 to 3 inches of snow by Saturday morning, the weather service said. Scattered snow showers could bring an additional inch in spots by Saturday afternoon.
FRANKFORT – The Kentucky State Police, in cooperation with local law enforcement agencies, will be out in full force during the New Years Eve holiday. The official holiday enforcement period begins today at 6 p.m. and will continue through Tuesday, Jan. 1 at 11:59 p.m. Last year, traffic crashes across Kentucky claimed the lives of six people during the New Years Eve holiday period. There were 1,314 crashes reported for that time frame and 63 of those involved alcohol.
FRANKFORT - Kentucky continues to make progress in limiting retail sales of tobacco to minors, according to a recently released survey from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. The 2012 Annual Synar Buying Survey of Kentucky retail tobacco outlets showed that 94.4 percent of retailers complied with the law barring tobacco sales to anyone under the age of 18. The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control conducted the survey during the summer to measure the rate of illegal sales of tobacco to Kentucky youths.
Depending on where you were Wednesday in Hopkinsville, you probably saw some amount of the white stuff. Accumulations were higher north of the city, Christian County Weather Coordinator Dave Powell said, adding that there was close to 3 inches of snow near Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park. Within city limits, there was about an inch.
FRANKFORT – Kentucky Transportation Cabinet highway crews continue to plow and treat roads following the latest batch of winter weather. Crews are working over much of the state today, particularly in western Kentucky and in counties along the Ohio River. In these areas, crews are treating roadways or concentrating on reported problem spots. Snow plows are pushing through 3 to 4 inches of snow in western Kentucky counties.
A blizzard warning remains in effect until noon CST today for parts of Western Kentucky, according to the National Weather Service. Snowfall amounts of 6 to 12 inches are possible with windy conditions and gusts up to 40 mph. Some trees could fall and that could cause some power outages. Kentucky cities in the impacted area include Bardwell, Paducah, Mayfield, Benton, Murray, Marion, Eddyville, Prineceton, Morganfield, Madisonville, Henderson, Owensboro and Calhoun.
A nonprofit animal legal rights group has ranked Kentucky, for the sixth year in a row, as the best state to be an animal abuser. The reasons include the absence of numerous laws – such as one making cockfighting a felony – to a statute on the books that prevents veterinarians from reporting suspected cases of animal cruelty without permission from the animal’s owner, a court order or a subpoena. “No meaningful change in the status of the law in Kentucky precipitates the same result,” said Scott Heiser, an attorney with the California-based Animal Legal Defense Fund, which released the report last week.
By Central Kentucky News-Journal & Central Kentucky News-Journal
The Campbellsville Police Department is launching a special Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over crackdown to stop impaired drivers and to save lives on roadways. Campbellsville Police officers will be aggressively looking for impaired drivers and arrest anyone caught driving impaired. Enforcement efforts will include traffic safety checkpoints and saturation patrols. The special enforcement crackdown will run through Jan. 1.
By Carla Jimenez & Kentucky New Era & Carla Jimenez
Gov. Steve Beshear’s Blue Ribbon Tax Commission recently released its recommendations to reform Kentucky’s tax code. A 453-page report includes 96 proposals, which are expected to come up in the 2013 legislative session. One of the commission’s recommendations is giving local governments the option of implementing a sales taxes. Doing so would require amending the state’s constitution, but it would give local governments another option for bringing in revenue. Currently, counties in Kentucky have a number of options for raising revenue. Counties can implement payroll taxes and library taxes, for example.
Gov. Steve Beshear on Tuesday emergency regulations to place newly identified synthetic marijuana under Schedule 1 of the Kentucky Controlled Substances Act. The action represents the first time synthetic substances have been banned by administrative regulation instead of by statute, a change allowed by the passage of House Bill 481 in the 2012 session.
The Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform suggested its findings and recommendations to Gov. Steve Beshear Monday. The commission suggested changes to the state tax code that would generate roughly $659 million in new revenue annually once fully implemented, according to a news release from Frankfort. The proposals would also modernize the tax structure, making it fairer for families and businesses, as the governor was quoted in the release.
It’s been a roller coaster year, weather wise, for much of Kentucky. This winter, we may see more consistency. University of Kentucky Agricultural Meteorologist Matt Dixon says the first half of 20-12 saw way above normal temperatures. He says Kentucky’s March was the warmest on record. A major drought hit western Kentucky hard. But, Dixon says a strange twist took place this fall.
An area of low pressure crossing the state from southwest to northeast is causing scattered thunderstorms, some of which could contain hail and high winds. The Storm Prediction Center has placed much of the state in the Slight Risk today. Winds could gust to around 30 mph.
Kentucky’s second sandhill crane hunting season is underway. When the Kentucky Division of Fish and Wildlife first proposed a sandhill crane hunting season, it met with opposition from groups that argued the birds weren’t overpopulated or causing an environmental burden. There was also a worry that hunters could mistakenly kill an endangered whooping crane.
A divided four lane road from the Kentucky River to Kentucky Highway 34 is officially open to travel. The Governor today (Monday) joined local leaders in Lancaster to the “cut the ribbon” on an expanded stretch of US 27. Lonnie Napier is Garrard County’s state representative. “People that’s wanted to move from Lexington down into Garrad County, they can get back and forth much quicker and yeah it’s just a great asset to us, we’ve needed this for a long time,” said Napier.
COVINGTON – In a display of bipartisan leadership, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and Ohio Gov. John Kasich Wednesday signed an agreement that describes in broad terms how their two states will cooperatively build a new bridge over the Ohio River between Cincinnati and Covington. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood joined the governors for the landmark announcement.
Gov. Steve Beshear says negotiations on a lease deal to reopen the Kentucky Kingdom amusement park are close, and he’s “excited” about the progress being made. Beshear made his comments on WHAS-radio this week, saying, “I think it’s fair to say that we’re fairly close to negotiating a lease and if we get there and the fair board approves that, then the next step would be for the bidder to come up with the financing on it.”
An Army official said Tuesday he hopes to receive a state permit to separate the propellant sections from 44 nerve-agent rockets in 2014 at Blue Grass Army Depot in Madison County. If the permitting is granted by the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection, the procedure will take place in February 2014, an Army official said.
FRANKFORT – As Kentuckians open their hearts and pocketbooks to help those in need this holiday season, Attorney General Jack Conway wants to make sure charitable donations end up where they are needed most and not in the hands of scam artists. “Donations to reputable charitable organizations can help clothe a child or put food on the table for a struggling family,” Conway said in a statement from his office.
Kentucky’s largest retirement fund for state employees, the Kentucky Employees Retirement System non-hazardous plan, has less than a quarter of the money needed to pay projected benefits, say actuaries with Cavanaugh Macdonald Consulting. Tom Cavanaugh, CEO of the actuarial firm, told the Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Trustees Wednesday that the KERS non-hazardous plan is projected to dip below 10 percent funded in 2019 before improving.
Kentucky’s Blue Ribbon Tax Commission will solidify its final list of recommendations Thursday afternoon, which could include imposing higher income taxes for those making more money. Gov. Steve Beshear created the group to review the state’s tax code, which officials have determined needs significant changes to respond to slowing revenue.
These are renderings of the two alternatives under consideration to replace the Brent Spence Bridge. This tied arch bridge is one of the styles under consideration.
The Ohio and Kentucky governors are scheduled to publicly sign an agreement next week intended to demonstrate their shared determination to replace the Brent Spence Bridge that connects the two states. Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear plan to officially agree during a joint appearance in Covington on Dec. 12 on a study that will map out how to pay for the $2.5 billion project, The Enquirer has learned exclusively.
You will definitely need an umbrella today with showers and thunderstorms in the forecast as a cold front approaches from the west, bringing cooler and more seasonal temperatures. Spotty showers will approach from the west this morning and stick around most of the day. There could even be a rumble of thunder this afternoon.
By Amy Wilson & Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues
Almost 110,000 teens and young adults in Kentucky are not enrolled in school and are not employed, even part-time, according to a new Kids Count report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Nationwide, the number reaches nearly 6.5 million. In Kentucky between 2000 and 2011 the number of 16-19 year-olds not in school and not employed rose by 3 percent, but the number of idle young adults ages 20-24 climbed by a whopping 88 percent. Both rates exceed the national rate. (Getty Images)
FRANKFORT – Friday, Nov. 30, is the last day for delinquent taxpayers to take advantage of Kentucky’s tax amnesty program. Department of Revenue’s main Frankfort office and taxpayer centers throughout the state are open until 9 p.m. local time Friday and will close after the last person in line has been helped.