State Capitol

10:18am

Fri August 5, 2011
Statehouse News

KY Protects DUI Surveillance Videos

The arrest and guilty plea by Covington City Commissioner Steve Frank for driving under the influence highlighted a detail of Kentucky's DUI law that distinguishes it from other states - the public doesn't have a right to view the police cruiser camera video of an arrest. Frank and his attorney asked that the video of his arrest in Covington early Saturday for drunken driving not be released. Kenton County District Judge Douglas Grothaus cited the Kentucky law that prohibits the release of any video of an arrest related to drunken driving. First Amendment experts say they don't know of any other state with an exemption for DUI videos.

10:14am

Fri August 5, 2011
Statehouse News

Kentucky Highway Safety Director Fired

The director of Kentucky's Office of Highway Safety has been fired after an investigation found improper acceptance of gifts, timesheet violations and racial harassment in the agency. The termination letter obtained by The State Journal Thursday under the Kentucky Open Records Act, did not give a reason for the firing of Director Boyd Sigler on July 22. But a report from the Transportation Cabinet's Office of Inspector General states that Sigler "accepted free passes to events at the Kentucky Motor Speedway, an organization under contract with (the cabinet) with specific oversight provided by" his office.

1:33pm

Thu August 4, 2011
Statehouse News

Lexington Dismissed in Southworth Case

Umi Southworth
Lexington Herald-Leader

A Fayette Circuit Court judge on Wednesday dismissed the city of Lexington as a defendant in a civil lawsuit over the death of Umi Southworth, who lay alive for hours while police conducted a homicide investigation last year. The lawsuit, however, goes on. Judge Pamela Goodwine ruled that the Urban County Government was shielded from being sued under the legal concept of "sovereign immunity."

10:07am

Thu August 4, 2011
Statehouse News

Documents Tell of Nunn's Desperation

Former state Rep. Steve Nunn appeared in Judge Pamela Goodwine's courtroom in December 2009. He pleaded guilty in June to Amanda Ross's murder and is serving a sentence of life without parole
Charles Bertram Lexington Herald-Leader

UPDATED: As police in Hart County closed in on Steve Nunn after he murdered his ex-fiancée in downtown Lexington on Sept. 11, 2009, the former state lawmaker apologized to his daughters by phone. Seven days after the killing, Mary Elizabeth Nunn and Katharine Courtney Nunn told police officers of the disturbing play-by-play they received from their father, who called them from a cellphone the day Amanda Ross was murdered. A summary of the police interview with the two women was among hundreds of pages of documents released Wednesday by the Urban County Government in response to the Lexington Herald-Leader's request under the Kentucky Open Records Act.

2:55pm

Wed August 3, 2011
Statehouse News

Beshear Moves onto Afghanistan

On Tuesday, Governor Steve Beshear visited with Kentucky troops in Iraq.
Photo provided by Governor's Office

AFGHANISTAN – A day after greeting Kentucky troops serving in Iraq and Kuwait, Gov. Steve Beshear met more Kentucky servicemen and women in Afghanistan Wednesday. The governor’s trip is part of a special Department of Defense trip for selected governors and marks the first time a sitting Kentucky governor has visited active war zones.

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12:56pm

Wed August 3, 2011
Statehouse News

Junction City Alcohol Petition Succeeds

After decades of prohibition, the second Boyle County city in less than two years will vote whether to go wet this October. Boyle Judge-Executive Harold McKinney has signed an order certifying that the petition seeking alcohol sales was valid and setting Tuesday, Oct. 4, as the election date.

10:15am

Wed August 3, 2011
Statehouse News

Beshear Unaware of Worker Allegations

During an interview with WHAS-11 on Tuesday, Democratic Governor Steve Beshear told the Louisville television station he hadn’t heard about an allegation that state employees were being threatened with termination if they did not contribute to his re-election campaign.

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4:13pm

Tue August 2, 2011
Statehouse News

Kentucky's Governor in Iraq

KUWAIT – Gov. Steve Beshear visited US troops serving in Iraq and Kuwait Tuesday, including troops from Kentucky, as part of a special Department of Defense trip. The visit marks the first time in recent history that a sitting Kentucky governor has visited an active war zone.

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10:47am

Tue August 2, 2011
Statehouse News

Jail Denies Medical Treatment, Inmate Dies

Nineteen hours before he was found with no pulse in a cell at the Fayette County Detention Center in June, Anthony Dwayne Davis requested to go to the jail's medical unit and was denied, jail records show. The Herald-Leader has obtained the information under the Kentucky Open Records Law as police continue to investigate Davis' death. A nurse and a mental health specialist evaluated Davis at 1:41 a.m. June 25, and the mental health specialist told a correction's officer that Davis, 26, was probably "manipulating the system," according to the records.

10:33am

Mon August 1, 2011
Statehouse News

Coal Counties Split over $600,000

FRANKFORT – Gov. Steve Beshear Monday announced that fiscal courts in 31 counties will receive refunds totaling $612,450 from mining permit and acreage fees. “Every effort is being made by my administration to help the mining industry extract coal in a manner that is safe, efficient and protective of our environment,” Beshear said. “Our coal-producing counties are our partners, and these funds provide a direct benefit for their efforts.”

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9:48am

Sun July 31, 2011
Statehouse News

Dream Trip to Norway Marred

Pat Baker keeps momentos from her trips to Norway on display in her Mercer County home.
Erich L. Ruehs The Advocate Messenger

Since Pat Baker first went to Norway as a 20-year-old in 1966, she always dreamed of returning to the nation she called home for seven months. So when Baker was finally able to make that return visit earlier this month, there was no way she thought she’d end up in a real-life nightmare. “The closest thing I can think of to describe the mood of Norway after the tragedy would be our 9/11,” Baker said Friday in her home, two days after returning.

12:56pm

Fri July 29, 2011
Statehouse News

Widening Interstate 64 a Top Road Priority

When officials lobby for road projects during the 2012 legislative session, widening Interstate 64 in Franklin County will be a high priority. The Bluegrass Area Development District – tasked with economic development issues – published a list of key projects this week. The agency includes officials from 15 central Kentucky counties

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12:25pm

Fri July 29, 2011
Statehouse News

Troopers "Friend" Potential Recruits

Frankfort - Kentucky State Police is tapping into cyberspace through social media sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter to entice new recruits to join the agency. KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer announced Friday that the agency launched its first of several recruiting videos via YouTube.

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12:23pm

Fri July 29, 2011
Statehouse News

Blasting Suspended at Two Kentucky Mines

FRANKFORT – Blasting at two Eastern Kentucky mines sent rocks through the air that damaged nearby property, including two homes, according to the Department of Natural Resources, which suspended the blasting until those responsible could explain how they intend to prevent it from happening again.

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5:19pm

Thu July 28, 2011
Statehouse News

Paying Off the Recession

Members of the Interim Legislative Budget Committee meeting Thursday in Frankfort
Stu Johnson Weku

While federal lawmakers wrestle with their debt ceiling, legislators in Kentucky have their own debt problems to worry about. A bill comes due in September that worries state officials and business leaders.  Kentucky borrowed about 900 million dollars from the federal government for jobless benefits, and it must make a 28 million dollar interest payment.  If the state falls short, the premiums paid by business for unemployment insurance could go up 400 dollars per employee or about 640 million dollars.

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4:27pm

Thu July 28, 2011
Statehouse News

Governor: Not Invited, Couldn't Go

When President Obama visited Fort Campbell just before Derby Day, Kentucky’s Governor confirms he did not receive a formal invitation to participate.  Nor, could Governor Steve Beshear rework his schedule to join in a ceremony for the Navy Seals who killed Osama Bin Laden.  At the time, Beshear did not talk about not receiving an invitation. The governor said today (Thursday) it was not an attempt to mislead the public for political gain

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4:25pm

Thu July 28, 2011
Statehouse News

Debt Debate Spawns Doubt in Frankfort

While exasperated over the debt ceiling debate, Kentucky’s governor thinks its impacts on the Commonwealth could be minimal. The governor says there’s no way the United States ought to be at this crossroads right now.  Steve Beshear says politicians in Washington have allowed partisan politics to rule the day with no thought to the interest of the American public.  Beshear says Kentucky relies on the federal government for Medicaid, transportation, and education funding.

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10:32am

Thu July 28, 2011
Statehouse News

Lawmakers Weigh in on Hospital Merger

Following growing tensions between health care executives and those opposing the proposed merger among University of Louisville Hospital, Jewish Hospital and St. Mary's HealthCare, and the St. Joseph Healthcare System, Gov. Steve Beshear and Attorney General Jack Conway are weighing in. Beshear issued a statement Wednesday citing "growing concerns within the community about issues related to the hospital's future level of access to medical services" as a reason to conduct a "deliberate and thoughtful" review of the merger.

10:10am

Thu July 28, 2011
Statehouse News

Lawmakers Debate Homeless Voter Policy

Some lawmakers continued to voice concerns about the potential for fraud if someone exploited the state’s policy for registering homeless voters. Others questioned if it is even an issue. Secretary of State Elaine Walker told legislators this week she doesn’t see any evidence that homeless voters have been used to commit voter fraud and said homeless voters across Kentucky are few.

10:02am

Thu July 28, 2011
Statehouse News

Lawsuit Filed Against Daymar College

Attorney General Jack Conway Wednesday filed suit in Daviess County against the owners and operators of Daymar College over allegations the for-profit college violated Kentucky's Consumer Protection Act. The lawsuit alleges that Daymar Learning, Inc., Daymar Learning of Paducah, Inc., Draughons Junior College, Inc., Daymar Colleges Group LLC, Daymar Holdings, Inc. and the president of these companies, Mark Gabis, violated the Consumer Protection Act by engaging in unfair, false, misleading, and deceptive trade practices.

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1:47pm

Wed July 27, 2011
Statehouse News

'Rainy Day Fund' Receives Large Deposit

FRANKFORT – Gov. Steve Beshear announced Wednesday that the state closed Fiscal Year 2011 with a $156.8 million General Fund surplus, on the strength of positive revenues that exceeded budgeted levels.  More than 75 percent of that surplus - $121.8 million - will be deposited into the Budget Reserve Trust Fund, the state’s so-called “rainy day fund.” This is the largest such deposit in state history from an end of year surplus.

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1:16pm

Wed July 27, 2011
Statehouse News

McConnell Still Backs Boehner Plan

Despite challenges within the Republican Party and projections that other congressional plans would result in more savings, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., reiterated his support for House Speaker John Boehner’s plan Wednesday.  Speaking on the Senate floor, McConnell said the proposal will prevent a government default before the August 2 deadline and reduce Washington spending. And unlike President Barack Obama, McConnell points out Boehner was courageous enough to provide the country with an option.

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10:20am

Wed July 27, 2011
Statehouse News

Feds Intervene in Nurses' Registry Lawsuit

The federal government has decided to stake a claim in a whistle-blower lawsuit filed by two former employees against Lexington-based Nurses' Registry and Home Health Corporation, a health care company run by businessman Lennie House. The lawsuit, which alleges Medicare fraud spanning nearly a decade — and retaliation against employees who refused to take part in the fraud — was filed in 2008 by Alisia Robinson-Hill, former vice president of operations, and David Price, a former case manager and office administrator for the company.

10:08am

Wed July 27, 2011
Statehouse News

Owen Voters Say No to Alcohol Sales

The voters of Owen County have rejected a proposal that would have expanded alcohol sales. The final tally was 1,522 votes cast for expanded alcohol sales and 1,792 voting no, a difference of 270 votes. Owen County Clerk Joan Kincaid said she expected a 53-percent turnout early Tuesday. When all the results were official, only 44 percent of registered voters cast their ballots.

7:52pm

Tue July 26, 2011
Statehouse News

Registering Homeless Voters

Secretary of State Elaine Walker with State Election Officials Tuesday at a legislative hearing.
Stu Johnson Weku

Some county clerks say the current system for registering homeless voters is fraught with peril. When a homeless person registers to vote, Boone County Clerk Kenny Brown says something as simple as assigning a poling place becomes complicated.

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10:24am

Tue July 26, 2011
Statehouse News

Homeless Voter Registration to be Discussed

Secretary of State Elaine Walker and Boone County Clerk Kenny Brown will address state legislators this afternoon on the issues surrounding homeless voter registration. They will speak before the Interim Task Force on Elections, Constitutional Amendments and Intergovernmental Affairs to talk about the concerns raised over a memo last month from the Kentucky Board of Elections on the process for homeless voter registration.

10:15am

Sun July 24, 2011
Statehouse News

Same Sex Marriages Ignored in KY

Same-sex marriage is now legal in New York, and couples from across the country have made plans to travel to the state for what are commonly called “destination weddings.” But those weddings will not be recognized by many other states, including Kentucky, which has a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage. But Fairness Campaign director Chris Hartman says that won’t stop local LGBT couples from going anyway.

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10:06am

Sun July 24, 2011
Statehouse News

Nursing Home Sued Before

A nursing home defending itself from a federal lawsuit alleging that it defrauded Medicare and Medicaid by billing $16 million for "worthless" services and care so "grossly deficient" it led to the death of patients, has quietly settled claims of neglecting residents in previous years. Villaspring Health Care Center of Erlanger reached out-of-court settlements in one wrongful-death claim and one negligent-care claim, according to Kenton County Circuit Court records.

9:59am

Sun July 24, 2011
Statehouse News

Jailers Work to Control Street Gangs

An inmate in the Simpson County Jail displays a Crip tattoo. Jailers pay attention to gang tattoos so they can keep rival gang members away from each other to prevent gang violence in county jails.
Pete Rodman Bowling Green Daily News

Bloods, Crips, Latin Kings, MS-13, Gangster Disciples, Asian Pride - jailers work to quickly identify inmates who claim allegiance to these street gangs and others for the safety of the keepers, as well as the kept. Decades-old gang rivalries that span from the East Coast to West Coast have created housing and safety concerns for southcentral Kentucky jailers. Jailers are constantly on the alert to prevent gang-related violence. “You have to make every effort to do everything you can to keep the facility safe,” Warren County Jailer Jackie Strode said.

4:24pm

Fri July 22, 2011
Statehouse News

Jury Indicts Another Nursing Home Head

Attorney General Jack Conway and his Office of Special Prosecutions Friday announced the indictment of a second former administrator of Golden Years Rest Home in Jenkins. A Letcher County grand jury returned an indictment on Thursday against 25-year-old Jonah Tackett on two counts of bribing a witness, two counts of tampering with a witness and three counts of theft by failure to make required disposition of property, all Class D felonies.

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