More Kentucky firefighters are headed south, this time to help battle wildfires in southeast Georgia. Kentucky already has a crew in Florida. Several fires are consuming large tracts of timberland and threatening homes in and around the Okefenokee Swamp near Waycross, Georgia. Fire crews are stretched thin, so Kentucky is sending some help.
With the fall election 20 weeks away, the two major gubernatorial slates in Kentucky are beating the bushes for campaign dollars. So far, Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear and his running mate, Jerry Abramson, are out-raising Republican Senate President David Williams and his running mate Richie Farmer, but both campaigns are loading up for the fall campaign.
Kentucky public colleges and universities are already compiling their capital project wish lists. They're getting ready for next year's legislative session. A $33 million Engineering-Physics building tops the projects list at Murray State University, but President Randy Dunn says the school also badly needs a new $62 million library.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear is selling surplus state property again. This time it's a vacant lot in Frankfort. Since taking office in 2007, Gov. Beshear says his administration has generated nearly $7.5 million through surplus real estate sales. Included in that figure is nearly $79,000 Beshear says the state got for a vacant, two-acre industrial lot in Frankfort.
The Chronicle of Higher Education has been studying the education levels of state lawmakers in the United States. The state with the most college-educated lawmakers is California, with 90 percent. New Hampshire, with 53 percent, has the least. The national average is around 75 percent, slightly lower than Kentucky’s 77 percent.
New statewide, end-of-course, assessment exams begin this coming school year for Kentucky high school students. The tests were authorized in education reforms approved by Kentucky lawmakers in 2009. The statewide tests measure student achievement in graduation-required courses of English, Algebra, Biology and U.S. History.
It’s been another stellar month for state revenue receipts in Kentucky. And Gov. Steve Beshear says that means no furloughs for state workers next fiscal year. General Fund receipts in May were $750 million, a whopping 18 percent increase over May 2010 receipts.
Statewide Medicaid managed care is coming to Kentucky, but maybe not as fast as some lawmakers thought. Gov. Steve Beshear says the state can save millions of dollars by letting private health care organizations manage services for the state's 820,000 Medicaid recipients. Acting Medicaid Commissioner Neville Wise says proposals from interested organizations are under evaluation.
Deputy Chief Justice Mary Noble of Lexington has become the first woman to preside over oral arguments in the Kentucky Supreme Court. The issue before the Supreme Court was ineffective assistance of counsel in a criminal case. It's a fairly routine issue of appeal, but the proceedings were unique because, for the first time, a woman was sitting in the chief justice's chair.
Kentucky lawmakers want to know more about aviation needs, including aircraft owned and operated by the state. The Department of Aviation has 35 employees and an annual budget of around $10 million. The department oversees three fixed-wing aircraft and one helicopter. Two other planes under the department's control were sold at auction last month.
The results of Kentucky’s May 17th primary election have been officially certified. It took the State Board of Elections less than an hour to go over the numbers and certify the primary vote tallies. Secretary of State Elaine Walker says the only exception to the election night vote count was addressed in a recanvass conducted two weeks ago.
The newly renovated Hall of Governors at the Kentucky History Center in Frankfort reopened over the weekend. The Hall of Governors is literally a wide hallway in the west wing of the history center. It's lined with the portraits of dozens of Kentucky governors. In years past, visitors often breezed through the room, because there was no historical or biographical information accompanying the paintings. That's no longer the case, says Scott Alvey, who's overseeing the hall's redevelopment.
FRANKFORT, KY - Over the objections of a bevy of birdwatchers, a sandhill crane hunting season may soon become a reality in Kentucky. Sandhill cranes are large, migratory birds that were almost completely wiped out in the early 1900's, but rebounded with federal protection. The population east of the Mississippi River now numbers around 60,000 and many of the birds winter in Kentucky.
Power rates will rise. That’s the bottom line of testimony in Frankfort on the costs of meeting new federal environmental standards for coal-fired utilities in Kentucky. Representatives of several coal-fired utilities in Kentucky say meeting federal clean air standards already in the pipeline will require investments of billions of dollars. John Voyles of LG&E and KU says their capital costs could rise by four billion dollars over the next ten years
Six Kentucky counties have been chosen at random for mandatory, post-primary election audits. Attorney General Jack Conway conducted the drawing, and the counties chosen at random to be audited are Wolfe, Boyd, Muhlenberg, Nelson, Estill and Clark. Pendleton County was drawn before Clark, but disqualified, because it was audited in the previous election. Conway says investigators will now be dispatched to the six counties drawn.
Praise is pouring in for former Kentucky Rep. Eddie Ballard of Madisonville, who died Tuesday at age 81. The Hopkins County Democrat, who retired from the legislature last year, had served in the Kentucky House since 1987. He was chairman of the Tourism, Development and Energy Committee and vice-chair of the State Government committee.
Gov. Steve Beshear's campaign says the list of Republicans backing the Kentucky Democrat's re-election bid this fall is growing. But the man Beshear faces this fall says there are many reasons why some Republicans would be donating to a sitting governor's re-election campaign. On the day before Kentucky Republicans held their post-primary unity rally at GOP headquarters in Frankfort, Gov. Beshear's campaign released the names of 70 Republicans backing his re-election bid. Among the names was former lieutenant governor Steve Pence.
Bill Johnson of Elkton has again prevailed in the Republican primary for Kentucky Secretary of State. On election night, Johnson defeated Hilda Legg of Somerset by just over 1,100 votes, but Legg sought a recheck of voting machine tallies. The recanvass shows Johnson picking up five votes, and Legg gaining 11.
A Frankfort judge, in a price gouging case against Marathon Petroleum, has refused to force the oil company to roll back gas prices in Kentucky. The ruling comes in a case originally filed several years ago, in which the oil company was accused of price gouging following disasters.
The 2010 Kentucky State Police Trooper of the Year is a veteran of Post 1 in Mayfield, in far western Kentucky. Senior Trooper Thomas Williams was honored along with a host of other state troopers in an awards ceremony in Frankfort.
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Kentucky Republicans held a post-primary rally at state GOP headquarters in Frankfort Saturday to show a united front for the fall. But despite claims of party unity, it appears the Republicans may have a few chinks in their armor.
In the wake of Tuesday’s primary election, Kentucky Republicans, including Senate President David Williams, will hold a unity rally Saturday at state GOP headquarters in Frankfort. But the man Williams faces in the fall is already trying to spoil the party.
In Frankfort, two economic experts battled it out in a day long hearing in Kentucky's gas price gouging case against Marathon Petroleum. The state is accusing Marathon of illegally jacking up gasoline prices during a state of emergency declared on April 26th and still in effect. The company denies any wrongdoing.
The top two leaders of the Kentucky House of Representatives are assessing the outcome of Tuesday’s gubernatorial primary. Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Minority Floor Leader Jeffrey Hoover have been studying the counties captured by Senate President David Williams, who grabbed the Republican nomination.
It'll be Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear against Senate President David Williams in the fall. The line up for the November general election was settled last night in the Democratic and Republican primaries. Beshear had no primary opposition, but he roused a crowd of several hundred in Frankfort, with a litany of his accomplishments in his first three and a half years in office.
Nothing was resolved at a Frankfort hearing in Kentucky's price gouging case against Marathon Oil. Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate is in the middle of a murder trial, and rescheduled the Marathon case for Thursday morning.
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Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway is accusing Marathon Petroleum Company of price gouging during a state of emergency. The legal brief has been added to an ongoing lawsuit against Marathon for alleged price gouging during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
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There’s another encouraging sign on Kentucky’s economic front. Tourism is up. Tourism, Arts and Heritage Secretary Marcheta Sparrow says tourism had an $11 billion impact on Kentucky’s economy last year. That’s an almost five percent increase over the previous year.
Secretary of State Elaine Walker is predicting low voter turnout for Tuesday’s primary election in Kentucky, even though voter registration numbers are up. A record 2.9 million Kentuckians are now registered to vote. That’s 11,000 more than in the 2008 General Election, the previous record. But getting voters excited about Tuesday’s primary appears to be a tough sale, says Secretary of State Elaine Walker. She’s predicting voter turnout of around nine to ten percent.