On Dec. 13, Gov. Steve Beshear will become only the second Kentucky governor to be sworn in to a second consecutive term. To oversee the state's 59th inaugural celebration, the governor Wednesday named eight inauguration committee co-chairs.
Kentucky lawmakers will draft legislation that could make the petition process in the state more consistent and easier. The issues that surrounded the petition submitted by the Home Builders Association of Northern Kentucky and the Northern Kentucky Tea Party in Kenton County in August have led the state Legislature to look at how referenda work in Kentucky.
The state Monday announced that about $2.1 million in grant funding has been awarded by the Kentucky Pride Fund for cleanup of 171 illegal dumps in 29 counties. “Illegal dumping is a major problem that raises significant concerns with regard to safety, property values and quality of life in our communities,” Gov. Steve Beshear said in a press release. “It is a major economic burden on local governments, which are typically responsible for cleaning up dump sites.”
Ashley Stillwell and Josh Walkup hope that no one else has to endure the pain brought on by their experiences with herbal potpourri. Walkup, 26, of Richardsville, and Stillwell, 18, will address the Bowling Green City Commission at 4 p.m. Dec. 6 during a work session to discuss banning the sale of products marketed as herbal incense or potpourri that are in fact being used as cheap, legal alternatives to marijuana.
The fast approaching 2012 Kentucky General Assembly session will likely include items leftover from the just completed governor’s race. Both gubernatorial candidates agreed on the need for tax reform, but disagreed on the timing. Governor Beshear wants to wait until the economy improves, but, Senate President David William proposed immediate action. It’s not a new topic. For years, Fayette County lawmaker Bill Farmer has urged lawmakers to consider tax reforms.
Governor Steve Beshear today set a special election date to fill a vacant legislative seat in the 82nd House district. Rep. Dewayne Bunch resigned his office last month in order to focus on his recovery from a head injury earlier this year.
The Kentucky Court of Appeals will convene Monday, Nov. 14, in Frankfort to hear arguments about a Shelby County Circuit Court judgment that upheld deferment of a woman’s parole eligibility for 20 years. Proceedings are open to the public and will take place at 9:45 a.m. EST in the Court of Appeals Courtroom at 360 Democrat Drive.
After more than two decades in Frankfort, state Sen. Tim Shaughnessy, D-Louisville, announced Thursday that he will not seek re-election to the Kentucky Senate in 2012. Shaughnessy did not indicate why he was retiring, but thanked constituents for allowing him to be a public servant since 1988. “I am grateful to the voters of my community for the honor and privilege of serving in the state Senate,” he said in a statement.
After Tuesday’s convincing win, local state lawmakers expect Gov. Steve Beshear to again push for expanding gambling and explore modernizing the state’s tax structure during his second term. Beshear, a Democrat, unofficially beat Republican challenger David Williams by 20 points Tuesday, garnering 464,635 votes to Williams’ 295,434. Independent candidate Gatewood Galbraith got 74,923 votes, or 9 percent. Statewide, 28 percent of registered voters went to the polls.
The state on Wednesday announced $4.1 million in State Homeland Security Grants for 125 projects across Kentucky. The funding supports 911 programs, mobile computers and radios, bomb detection devices and first-responder training.
It's not unusual for foster children in Kentucky to end up homeless once they turn 18. In the 2012 General Assembly, some former foster children and leaders of private child caring agencies are going to push for improved laws and regulations for young adults in the program who are between the ages of 18 and 21.
A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the planned new interchange on Interstate 65 at Oakland and its connector to U.S. 31-W comply with federal environmental review standards. The ruling means the state will move forward with the project as quickly as it can, said Greg Meredith, chief district engineer with the Department of Highways. The project has been in the works since 2003 and had a federal earmark of $36 million. The project slowed when Karst Environmental Education and Protection sued the Federal Highway Administration in October 2010 to halt the project. The lawsuit contended that federal officials didn’t comply with the National Environmental Policy Act before approving the project.
More than 26,000 prescription pain pills were diverted from a Butler County pharmacy onto the black market in and around Bowling Green. That’s what Bowling Green-Warren County Drug Task Force officers found as the result of an investigation that started with one undercover drug purchase in May. Hundreds of man-hours later, task force officers traced the source to a Butler County pharmacy where an employee, without the knowledge of her employer, stole the pills and provided them to another person for resale, police said.
Officials of the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Chicago have concluded that they have no idea how many deportation cases they handle in Shelby County or Kentucky. The issue first came to light in July when The Sentinel-News sought to find out exactly how many illegal immigration cases involving persons facing criminal charges were processed through the state and the county on detainers from ICE.
A metal thief recently kicked a dent in Bowling Green business owner Terry Simon’s bottom line when the thief made off with thousands of dollars worth of tools and building materials that he later sold for scrap. Simon is one many Kentuckians who have fallen victim to illegal scrappers, people who steal anything made of nonprecious metal that they later sell to metal recyclers. For the scrapper’s effort, he got nearly $400, according to Bowling Green Police Department records. Police recovered some of Simon’s property, but some of what was recovered was damaged beyond any usefulness to Simon. To address the problem, state Rep. Richard Henderson, D-Jeffersonville, recently pre-filed legislation targeting metal theft.
An overhaul of the state's Medicaid program is set to go live on Nov. 1, state officials said this week. Earlier this year, the state entered into contracts with three managed care companies and continued a contract with Passport Health Plan to serve more than 560,000 people on the state-federal health plan for the poor, aged and disabled. The move, expected to save $375 million over the next three years, was initiated to keep costs down in the more than $6 billion program.
Gov. Steve Beshear has directed that flags at all state office buildings be lowered to half-staff Monday, Oct. 31, 2011 in honor of a Fort Knox soldier who died while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. According to the Department of Defense, Spc. Michael D. Elm, 25, of Phoenix, Ariz., died Oct. 14 in Khowst, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Knox, Ky.
For the third year in a row, Kentucky lawmakers will consider the repeal of loophole that has resulted in some lawmakers receiving lifelong annual pensions of more than $100,000. The measure approved six years ago allows state representatives and senators to calculate their legislative pension based on their highest three years of salary, even if that salary came from another state job.
When Larry Lee walked away from a personal care home in Falmouth on Aug. 4, no one knew how his story would end. Lee, 32, suffered from a brain injury, schizophrenia, and diabetes, and it was unlikely he would survive long on his own. Lee's family took matters into their own hands and tried to find him. Family, friends, and community members searched for an entire month. Unfortunately, Lee was found dead Sept. 3, near the Licking River, only a few miles from where he went missing. However, Lee's story doesn't end there. Instead, it could lead to new legislation to improve personal care homes throughout the state of Kentucky.
A statewide smoking ban will again come before lawmakers when they head back to Frankfort in January, but just how much support such a measure will have is unclear. “There is no question that it would save the state money in terms of what it pays out for Medicaid,” said state Rep. Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green. “We certainly are a high-smoking state and that is based on our tobacco-growing tradition,” Richards said. “I could support a statewide smoking ban, depending on how it’s written, because I think it’s one of those laws that right now have a patchwork across the state and people don’t know from one community to the next whether they have one.”
Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate lifted a restraining order Thursday against a group called Restoring America after the group revealed its donors, a requirement of Kentucky campaign finance law. Restoring America said it got nearly $1.4 million from Terry Stephens of Russell Springs. He is the father-in-law of Republican gubernatorial candidate David Williams. Restoring America had been airing TV commercials promoting Williams in the governor's race and criticizing Gov. Steve Beshear.
Kentucky’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate rose to 9.7 percent in September from 9.5 percent in August, according to the Office of Employment and Training. The preliminary September jobless rate was half a percentage point below the 10.2 percent rate recorded for the state a year ago.
As Pike County officials continue to celebrate strides toward establishing commercial air service at the Pikeville-Pike County Airport, Congressman Hal Rogers chose instead to focus on the state of the coal industry during a visit to Pikeville this week. At an event at the University of Pikeville on Wednesday, Rogers vowed to “reign in” the Environmental Protection Agency and to continue to resist the Obama Administration’s “war on coal.”
State Rep. Brad Montell (R-Shelbyville) is taking dead aim at employers who hire people in the country illegally. Montell this week prefiled a bill that he said he hopes will reduce the number of employees who are in the state illegally by putting more restrictions – and potential penalties – for those who do the hiring. Montell announced Wednesday that he will introduce BR 58 at the 2012 legislative session that would require all employers with more than 11 workers to use E-Verify, a system that checks Social Security numbers for authenticity.
The Kentucky Attorney General's Office has ruled that the Whitley County Clerk's Office subverted the intent of the state's open records act by not allowing a man to use a personal handheld scanner or a camera without a flash to copy county records rather than pay the 50-cent per page charge to the clerk's office.
Henderson Fiscal Court heard the opening salvo Tuesday of a campaign jailers plan to use to sway the General Assembly next year. In a nutshell, Kentucky jailers maintain that House Bill 463 -- a recently enacted major overhaul of the criminal justice system -- is going to have a negative impact on the jails across the state. The way around that problem, they say, is allowing the state's current contracts to expire next year with Corrections Corporation of America, which has prisons in Marion and Floyd counties. The inmates in the Marion Adjustment Center and the Otter Creek Correctional Center would then be transferred to county jails.
An anesthesiologist from Louisa, who is also the former owner of two Eastern Kentucky pain clinics, is among five persons indicted by a Lawrence County Grand Jury. Attorney General Jack Conway said Dr. Lee Adam Balaklaw, 56, was indicted on 20 counts of Medicaid fraud following an investigation into his billing practices at Anesthesia Associates of Louisa.
Attorney General Jack Conway Monday announced the arraignment in Fayette Circuit Court of a former provider in the Kentucky Medicaid Supports for Community Living (SCL) program following an investigation by the Attorney General's Office of Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control.
A Kentucky coal mine is now under extra scrutiny after it became the fourth to be recently placed on a ‘potential pattern of violations’ status by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration. If the mine operator doesn’t rectify the problems, the mine can be shut down when serious violations are discovered. But this process is one that mine safety advocates would like to change.
Nearly 50 people gathered on the Old Capitol lawn Saturday to rally for job creation and against Washington, possibly rehearsing for future protests. Sponsored by the local chapter of MoveOn.org, a public policy group for “democracy in action,” the hour-long rally featured several speakers, including Rep. Carl Rollins, D-Midway, who expressed their concerns with the government and the nation’s lackluster economy. Members of MoveOn.org organized the rally after being inspired by the Occupy Wall Street protests, which denounce economic inequality, particularly focusing on the 1 percent of people who control about a third of the nation’s wealth.