kentucky

Bill Aims To Reduce Deer Damage

Mar 7, 2017
Kentucky.com

The House is being asked to urge the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife to take steps to help reduce deer-related property or vehicle damage in certain regions of the Commonwealth, after the Senate passed a bill Friday.


'Religious Expression Bill' Moving Forward

Mar 6, 2017
Kentucky.com

The so-called “Freedom of Religious Expression” bill is before Kentucky House members and likely to get a vote this week after winning overwhelming approval in the Senate.

Senate Bill 17 spells out permission for school students to voluntarily express religious or political viewpoints in school assignments or during school activities.   Elizabethtown Representative Tim Moore carried the bill in the House Education Committee.

Over the past few years, there have been numerous documented instances of contaminated water leaching from a coal ash pond in Central Kentucky into groundwater and directly into Herrington Lake. Now, state regulators are investigating high levels of selenium in the lake’s fish, and they have fined utility Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities $25,000.

Rebecca Kiger

The Road To Recovery

On a recent gray winter morning Tomas Green drove the rain slick streets of Ranson in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle. No matter the weather, Green helps transport clients working through addiction at the Jefferson Day Report Center get to their treatment sessions and meetings.


After a lengthy debate and rushed legislative process, the state House of Representatives has passed a charter schools bill. The measure passed 56-39.

The legislation now heads to the state Senate, where it’s expected to pass.

Under the bill, private organizations and community members can apply to open up a charter school. Local school districts and the mayors of Lexington and Louisville would be charged with approving or denying the charters, though denials could be appealed to the state board of education.

With the clock ticking on this year’s General Assembly, a charter schools bill will be given its first hearing in a legislative committee on Friday and House Speaker Jeff Hoover said the measure will likely be heard on the House Floor for a potential vote later in the day.

Hoover said he’s confident the bill will pass despite past disagreements among Republicans over crucial parts of the legislation.

Stu Johnson

The so called "Blue Lives Matter" bill  to include police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians in Kentucky’s hate crime statute is on its way to the full Senate. The measure easily passed out of the Senate State and Local Government Committee Wednesday.

If the legislation is enacted, anyone who attacks first responders could face an additional finding of a hate crime.  It would give judges and parole boards discretion when it comes to denying probation in those crimes.

Kentucky.com

A Kentucky House bill that would prohibit shock probation in the case of fatal accidents caused by driving under the influence is heading for a vote in the full Senate.

Bill sponsor Robert Benvenuti told the Judiciary Committee Wednesday that Kentucky is one of six states that allows shock probation in such DUI cases.


Kentucky.com

Proposed legislation regarding solar energy was passed over during a legislative meeting Tuesday. The bill concerned with net metering was scheduled to be heard in the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee.


Nuclear Waste Bill Passes In Kentucky Senate

Mar 2, 2017
Kentucky.com

Proponents of nuclear power are hoping the seventh time is a charm at Kentucky's capitol.  The state Senate voted Wednesday to lift a moratorium preventing the storage of nuclear waste in the commonwealth. 

That action is viewed as opening the door to future nuclear reactor construction. Bill sponsor Danny Carrol admits, even with passage of this bill, such a project could be a decade away.


Bill Could Increase Food Bank Donations

Mar 2, 2017
Kentucky Association of Food Banks

A legislative effort to expand primarily retail and farmer donations to Kentucky food banks is one step away from general assembly approval.  The House bill won backing from the Senate Agriculture Committee Tuesday. 

Kentucky Association of Food Banks Director Tamara Sandberg said the bill ensures donors don’t face liability issues when making food donations.  She said it affects grocery retailers and individual growers.

“This bill also establishes and clarifies that the farmers would not be liable, unless there is intentional misconduct, for any of the food that they allow volunteers to come pick in their fields,” she said.

A bill that would separate the relatively healthy retirement fund for local governments from one of the state’s ailing pension systems is dead — despite a push from local officials.

Gov. Matt Bevin announced on Thursday that he has asked bill sponsor Sen. Joe Bowen to pause the legislation.

“The most critical thing is to make sure we get this right,” Bevin said.

Bowen said he still supports the bill and argued that tabling it now would help its chances in the future.

Kentucky ranked 42nd in a new survey that looks at what makes a state a good place to live.

The survey by U.S. News & World Report considered factors such as health, education, opportunity, economy, infrastructure, crime and government.

  

The study weighted health care and education most heavily because that’s what survey respondents said they’re most concerned about. Kentucky ranked 44th in health care and 35th in education.

 

The state that earned the number one spot in the rankings is Massachusetts. At the bottom is Louisiana.

  

You can see all the details about how Kentucky and the other states rank in the complete survey.     

 As Congress considers repealing the Affordable Care Act, health professionals in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia grapple with what that might mean for a region where many depend on the law for access to care. This occasional series from the ReSource explores what’s ahead for the Ohio Valley

after Obamacare. See more stories here >>

The health care sector has grown by more than 19,000 jobs in the Ohio Valley region. And some economists who focus on health care policy are warning that many of those jobs could well hang in the balance as Congress considers changes to the Act.

Kentucky was one of the states that embraced the Affordable Care Act.

More than 500,000 Kentuckians gained health coverage as a result of the law. About 400,000 got insurance through the expansion of the Medicaid system in the state and the rest through the implementation of Kynect, the now-dismantled state health exchange.

Since the 2013 implementation of the policy, under former Democratic Governor Steve Beshear, the percentage of Kentuckians without insurance has dropped from more than 20 percent down to 8 percent.

A bill that would centralize Kentucky’s driver’s licensing program and bring the state into compliance with federal ID card rules has received initial approval from a legislative committee.

The General Assembly needs to pass the bill in order to meet stricter REAL ID standards passed by Congress more than a decade ago.

If lawmakers don’t pass the legislation, starting June 6, Kentuckians will have to bring additional identification — like a passport — in order to access military bases.

Kentucky.com

A county clerk in Kentucky is backing legislation aimed at reducing the number of special elections across the 120 counties supporting a measure approved Monday by the House Election, Constitutional Amendments, and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee.

Mountain Comprehensive Care Corportation

Mike Caudill runs Mountain Comprehensive Care Corporation in five eastern Kentucky counties. Many of his 30,000 patients gained insurance through Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. No one knows if or when those folks might lose coverage. But, Caudill said, the impact could be considerable.   


Ag.Ky.Gov

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.”


Democrats have tapped former Gov. Steve Beshear to deliver the party’s response to President Donald Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night, highlighting the Kentucky Democrat’s efforts to expand health care coverage under the law Republicans are determined to repeal and replace.

EKU Aviation Program Highlighted At Capitol

Feb 24, 2017
Aviation.EKU.EDU

Eastern Kentucky University officials participated Thursday in the first Aerospace and Aviation Day event at the state Capitol, highlighting the role the college plays in meeting the command for commercial pilots for years to come .

Assistant Aviation Professor Joe Marthaler said hundreds of thousands of pilots will be needed to fly aircraft over the next 15 years.  EKU’s aviation program, initiated in the early 1980’s, can help out with that. “They can’t fill those spots fast enough right now and that’s what EKU is hoping to tap.”

 

Criminal Justice Reform Bill Moving Forward

Feb 23, 2017
Kentucky.com

The Kentucky Senate will consider a lengthy criminal justice reform bill after a Senate Judiciary Committee approved the measure without testimony and little debate.  

The measure resulting from months of study focuses on ways to move more inmates into productive roles in society and save corrections dollars.  Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Whitney Westerfield said the legislation will improve public safety. “I think it will hold offenders accountable,”  Westerfeld said. “I think it will reduce recidivism and reduce future crime.”  


Gov. Matt Bevin said he’s been impressed with Trump’s picks for cabinet positions and is encouraged by the administration’s pledge to cut federal regulations.

Bevin took part in a panel discussion Thursday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC in Washington.

He also touted his own initiative to cut bureaucratic red tape in Frankfort.

“We’ve pledged to cutting 30 percent of all the red tape in Kentucky in the next three years,” Bevin said. “We have 130,000 rules. Pretty confident that we can govern everybody with 90-something-thousand.”

Legislation to remove the state entirely from regulating telecommunications firms like AT&T, Windstream, and Cincinnati Bell is moving to the full Kentucky Senate. 

The Economic Development, Tourism, and Labor Committee Tuesday approved the deregulation bill.  

Genome.gov

Kentucky’s genetic counselors could be licensed under senate legislation now before house members. 


Becca Schimmel/Ohio Valley ReSource

The Ohio Valley region once helped give rise to the labor movement. Now it’s shifting toward what’s known as right-to-work law. West Virginia and Kentucky have passed right-to-work laws and Ohio is considering a similar bill.

Kentucky Education Reform Bill Set For Vote

Feb 16, 2017
Kentucky.com

An education reform bill, a top of the Republican-led Kentucky senate is headed to the floor Friday.

A major thrust of is to give local schools more say in revising academic standards.  Bill Sponsor Mike Wilson said it increases local decision making and decreases bureaucratic burdens on educators.


Stu Johnson/WEKU

The Kentucky Senate voted to double the amount of campaign contributions allowed for some donors after an emotional floor debate.

Kentucky.com

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.


The Kentucky Senate has approved a resolution condemning a white nationalist organization’s planned spring rally in eastern Kentucky. 

 Members of the Traditionalist Worker Party along with the Nationalist Front and National Socialist Movement are scheduled to gather at Jenny Wiley State Park in late April.  A rally is expected to take place in Pikeville. 

Pike County Senator Ray Jones called it disgraceful for the participants to gather near a memorial to those who fought and died in World War II.

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