The Kentucky Senate approved a bill Tuesday designed to improve school safety, hours after a House member unveiled a similar bill he said was "a common-sense approach" and "cost-effective." The proposals do not call for new spending, although state funding for school safety has dropped by 60 percent in recent years, Gov. Steve Beshear said in his State of the Commonwealth speech last week. Only 241 Kentucky schools, or 19 percent, have a trained law enforcement officer on staff, according to Jon Akers, director of the Kentucky Center for School Safety.
WEST LIBERTY – Gov. Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers Monday joined federal, state and local officials to announce a unique $29.3 million funding effort to help Morgan County rebuild from the disastrous storm and tornado damage suffered in March 2012. The funds, supported by both public and private sectors, will support the reconstruction of five major building projects in the county – projects that are critical to stabilizing services and restoring a sense of permanency to the community.
Kentucky is one step closer to enacting a statewide smoking ban after legislation sailed Thursday through the House Committee on Health and Welfare. House Bill 190, sponsored by Rep. Susan Westrom, a Democrat of Lexington, would prohibit smoking in public places and places of employment.
Many Kentucky county leaders would say having sufficient funds to maintain government services remains one of their biggest worries. County officials from across the Commonwealth are in Lexington for the 31st Kentucky County Judge Executive Association Winter Conference. ‘County Consolidation’ is a term which has been uttered at the state capital, but never gotten much traction. Mason County Judge, James Gallenstein believes some regionalization would produce savings.
A recently released poll shows that a majority of Kentuckians favor the expansion of gambling in the state. Sixty percent of Kentuckians said they support expansion when asked a broad yes or no question about it, The Courier-Journal’s Bluegrass Poll said.
Sheriffs in southcentral Kentucky have varied positions on President Barack Obama’s gun control proposals. Some, such as Simpson County Sheriff Chris Cline, completely oppose the proposals, saying such laws would infringe on Americans’ Second Amendment rights. The intention behind Obama’s gun control proposals was to ensure people are safe, Warren County Sheriff Jerry “Peanuts” Gaines said. “Different people will go to extremes about what the president has said,” Gaines said. “But I think he’s just trying to protect the people.”
A bulldozer moved coal at a processing tower at an Arch Minerals facility in Knott County on Wednesday. The company closed the underground mine at the site, but still uses a coal-processing facility and a tipple to load rail cars.
A sharp drop in Eastern Kentucky coal production has created million-dollar budget shortfalls that could bring layoffs and tax increases to some coal counties. In Knott County, the fiscal court appointed a committee last week to recommend ways to deal with a projected shortfall of $1.2 million in budgeted coal severance tax receipts. "You can't pay your bills at this point," Andrew Hartley, staff attorney for the state Department for Local Government, told officials at the fiscal court meeting.
Approval of a new lease agreement today by the Kentucky State Fair Board moves the reopening of Kentucky Kingdom to as early as spring 2014. The investors, Kentucky Kingdom LLLP, now must secure the final private loans – worth $25 million - before the park can open, according to a news release from the Finance and Administration Cabinet.
A trio of film creators has been hitting the streets, the courts, the jail and public officials’ offices, asking questions about Northern Kentucky’s heroin problem. Lucy Treadway, a Los Angeles freelance producer and director, Ameer Mabjish, a public defender for Kenton County, and Julian Starks, a Los Angeles filmmaker and Mabjish’s uncle, are in town making “the heroin documentary,” an as-yet untitled film.
Gov. Steve Beshear says he approves of a plan to reopen the Kentucky Kingdom theme park. The final details of a plan may change depending on negotiations between state officials and the lone group — led by businessman Ed Hart — to respond to the state's request for proposals. Beshear says he's behind the deal and he expects the fair board to approve. “Assuming that the group can get their private financing, the state's ready to go and I think the fair board's ready to go," Beshear told WFPL on Wednesday. "When that lease is approved, we're ready and waiting.”
Kentucky’s Fairness Campaign leaders say they plan to use the small eastern Kentucky city of Vicco as a model for grassroots movements pushing fairness ordinances in other cities. Last week, Vicco became the fourth Kentucky city and the smallest city nationwide to adopt a fairness ordinance. The law protects all residents from discrimination regardless of sexual orientation, race, religion or age.
By Kentucky Press News Service & Kentucky Press News Service
PIKEVILLE – The Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet’s Division of Fire Protection Tuesday announced a partnership with the Kidde Co. and the Pike County Firefighters Association to install 250 smoke detectors in homes throughout Pike County. The Kidde Co., located in Mebane, N.C., is a manufacturer of fire safety products including smoke detectors, carbon monoxide alarms and fire extinguishers and has donated the smoke detectors.
The scene is the same at many gun stores: shelves that once held semiautomatic rifles, boxes of ammunition and high-capacity magazines are barren. Concealed-carry training classes are filled to capacity. And shooters have hit the gun ranges to pop off dozens of practice rounds. In Kentucky, like other states with lenient gun laws and an entrenched gun culture, people are rushing to stock up on rifles, handguns, spare clips and ammunition. Prices are rising to meet the demand.
A special edition of Kentucky Tonight features Bill Goodman and Renee Shaw examining the causes and possible solutions of poverty in Kentucky. The program which airs Monday night on Kentucky Educational Television, will be re-broadcast Tuesday morning at 11:00 on the WEKU Stations.
Strong winds and a possible tornado damaged two churches and a grain silo in Western Kentucky on Saturday afternoon, according to the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management. A gym at North Livingston Baptist Church was destroyed, and the steeple was blown off of Hampton Methodist Church in Livingston County. In Hickman County, a grain bin was blown over in Clifton, and U.S. 51 was closed from Martin Road to Ky. 780. In Carlisle County, Ky. 80 was closed between Arlington and Columbus in the Arlington West End area. The storms flooded roads and caused minor damage in other counties as
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.