kentucky

This week in Kentucky politics, speculation flared that Kentucky’s new education leaders would try to take over Louisville’s public school district. Plus, a judge ruled that Attorney General Andy Beshear  can sue the governor over the pension bill that was signed into law earlier this month. Capitol reporter Ryland Barton has this week’s edition of Kentucky Politics Distilled. 

FirstEnergy Emergency Request Could Be A Last Chance To

Apr 17, 2018
Glynis Board/Ohio Valley ReSource

Ohio-based utility FirstEnergy Solutions made waves last month when it asked the Department of Energy to grant it an emergency order to help keep coal and nuclear plants operating across the Ohio Valley.

The request even hit the president’s radar. Speaking earlier this month at a roundtable event in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, Donald Trump said the administration was examining the utility’s request.

“We’ll be looking at that 202, you know what a 202 is, we’ll be looking at that, we’re trying,” he said.

Tobacco The Focus Of Lobbyists' Spending in 2018

Feb 28, 2018
Nicole Erwin/ Ohio Valley ReSource

 

On the heels of a record year for lobbyist spending, Kentucky businesses and organizations spent an all-time high of $2.6 t million dollars in the first portion of the current legislative session. 

After spending more than $20 million dollars in 2017, lobbyists started this year by spending 20 percent more than they spent at the beginning of last year’s session. The top spender during the first month of this year’s legislative session was the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

Becca Schimmel/Ohio Valley ReSource

Fayette County Exploring Safer Schools

Feb 23, 2018
Mary Meehan

Fayette County School Superintendent Manny Caulk on has announced a community effort to insure Lexington schools are safe.

That includes exploring all options, although he didn’t endorse arming teachers, an effort floated in the General Assembly.

Penny Christian attend Caulk’s press conference as a representative of the PTA. She says most teachers, including her own daughter, are drawn to the profession because they want to help kids not to be armed guards.

Kycir.org

Gov. Matt Bevin has announced a new website for Kentuckians to find help for drug addiction and search for treatment centers. 

FindHelpNowKY.org has a search engine that allows users to find treatment centers based on location, facility type and type of treatment needed. 

 Bevin has launched an advertising campaign geared towards spreading awareness about the website and opioid addiction. 

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear is suing San Francisco-based drug distributor McKesson Corporation for allegedly “flooding” the commonwealth with opioids.    

“McKesson had a duty to report when it ships large or suspicious amounts of opioids to a state or region. They knew that their shipments to Kentucky were excessive, even grossly excessive. But they simply sent them any ways and didn’t notify the authorities," Beshear said.

BGKY.org

The Los Angeles-based company American Cinema International is increasing its production in Kentucky.

The first project filmed mostly in Hart County was a Hallmark movie called “An Uncommon Grace.” It aired in February 2017.

The second project launches a three-part mini-series called “Runaway Romance.”

It was filmed in Glasgow, Horse Cave, Cave City and Munfordville and will air on January 7 on UP -TV, a small network for family-oriented movies.

When Will Jeff Hoover Officially Step Down? Soon

Dec 26, 2017
@KyHoover

Hoover announced he was stepping down from his role as speaker last month after admitting he exchanged sexually-charged text messages with a staffer. 

On WHAS radio’s Terry Meiners show, Bevin said it’s “highly unlikely” that Hoover would try to keep his leadership position when the General Assembly goes back into session. 

“I don’t know why he would do that. He’s already stated that it’s his intent to stand down. You can’t officially resign until the House is in session, which will happen when they come back in again.” 

IStock

Kentuckians are being told to take steps now to prepare for their home heating 
demands this winter. 

Inventories of U.S. heating oil and propane are lower this year than last year. Weather is the main factor in the demand for propane and colder winters both increase demand and impact deliveries. While propane production has increased in the U.S. the past several years, there are several challenges, including less storage capacity at production facilities.

From C-Span Video

Berea College

A provision that would have protected Berea College from a tax on university endowments has been removed from the tax bill passed by Congress today. 

On Tuesday evening a Senate parliamentarian ruled that the provision shielding Berea’s endowment from the tax violated the chamber’s rules. 

Rep. Andy Barr, a Republican representing the 6th Congressional district blamed the removal on Democrats, who originally challenged the provision.  

Lawmakers Say Tax Reform Unlikely

Dec 20, 2017
LRC.GOV

Republican leaders of the General Assembly are throwing water on the idea that they’ll make major changes to the state’s tax code during the upcoming legislative session. 

Lawmakers have to craft a new two-year budget for the state and are hoping to overhaul the pension systems in the session which lasts from Jan. 2 until mid-April. 

At a Kentucky Chamber of Commerce event Tuesday, Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer said he doesn’t think there will be time for tax reform in the upcoming session. 

SOS.Ky.Gov

The deadline applies to registered voters who wish to vote for another party in the May 2018 Primary Election or be a candidate for a different political party in the 2018 elections.

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes says next year, Kentuckians will elect officials at every level - from Congress to the General Assembly to county offices.Voters who change affiliation after the deadline are not eligible to vote in partisan races in the Primary Election. 

WFPL

 

The Kentucky Court of Appeals has ruled a lower court wrongly dismissed a lawsuit claiming Planned Parenthood illegally provided abortions at its Louisville clinic.

DEA

A western Kentucky Democrat has pre-filed a bill for the 2018 legislative session reducing the criminal penalty for first degree drug possession, or personal possession, from a felony to a misdemeanor. 


Kentucky's Projected Shortfall Deepens, Cuts Coming

Dec 15, 2017

A panel of economists has revised downward its prediction of how much Kentucky will make in tax revenue by the end of the fiscal year in June and Gov. Matt Bevin is expected to make cuts to state spending soon

The Consensus Forecasting Group on Friday predicted that the state will be $156.1 million short of initial projections. 
State Budget Director John Chilton said he expects Gov. Matt Bevin will make cuts to state spending before the end of the calendar year to help avert a budget shortfall.

Dan Johnson's Widow Vows Run For House Seat

Dec 14, 2017
WFPL.ORG

State Rep. Dan Johnson’s suicide in the wake of sexual assault allegations has sent Frankfort reeling. Capitol reporter Ryland Barton says Johnson’s widow plans to file to run for his seat representing Bullitt County in the legislature. 


Mary Meehan

Another community in south central Kentucky has signed off on the creation of a needle exchange for drug abusers. In a 4-3 vote, the Barren County Fiscal Court approved the program that will allow intravenous drug users to swap dirty needles for clean ones at the local health department.

KCIR

Both of the state’s major political parties are calling for a state representative to resign after allegations that he sexually assaulted a minor and attempted to commit arson.  The Bullitt County Republican mentioned in the allegations is also a preacher.

According to the report from the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, a woman alleges that Rep. Dan Johnson groped and molested her after a New Year’s party in 2012 when she was 17 years old.


Kentucky.com

The backlog of untested rape kits in Kentucky has grown larger than the initial 3,000 discovered in 2015.

While testing is complete on the original backlog, officials uncovered 1,500 so-called “boomerang kits”.

Those are rape kits sent to the crime lab, not tested for various reasons, and then returned to law enforcement agencies.

The state recently received a nearly $3 million federal grant to test those kits from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Flu Season Could Be Harsh This Year

Dec 8, 2017
Kentucky.com

The upcoming flu season may be a harsh one in the U.S. judging from data in the southern hemisphere, where the flu season is waning. The New England Journal of Medicine has reported that the flu vaccine used this year in Australia, which has the same composition as the vaccine used in the U.S., had a low rate of effectiveness. But State Epidemiologist Jonathan Ballard said the current vaccine is working well in Kentucky. Even if that weren’t the case, Dr. Ballard said some protection is better than none.

Shuttershock

A new study of elder abuse protections ranks Kentucky the fourth worst in the nation.

The study by WalletHub looked at a few key areas--prevalence of elder abuse, resources, and protection. Kentucky ranks 47th in the quality of its nursing homes. The commonwealth also ranks in the bottom for the most gross neglect and exploitation complaints.

Tennessee is ranked 15th in elder abuse protection, while Indiana is 27th.

KentuckyTourism.Gov

Kentucky agriculture officials expect an economic boost from renewed horse trading.  It's been two years since the last American horses where shipped to China.

Kentucky Thoroughbred Association Director Chauncey Morris says trade stopped because of China’s concern over equine infectious anemia.  He said Chinese officials have now been convinced exported horses are protected from the disease.   He says Chinese veterinarians conducted a health audit on Kentucky horses last spring. Morris says the trade accord means increased opportunities for Kentucky race horses.

Rainbow Crosswalks Will Stay, For Now

Dec 1, 2017
Kentucky.com

The future of Lexington’s vibrant rainbow crosswalks has been cloudy because of safety concerns. But city officials are looking into those claims.

The crosswalks added this summer were created to honor the LGBTQ community during Lexington's annual Pride Festival.

 


BaptistHealth

 Baptist Health providers will soon accept CareSource insurance offered on Healthcare.gov. That’s because starting in 2018, CareSource will be the only health insurance choice for half of the counties in Kentucky on the individual market created through the Affordable Care Act.

“Given that CareSource is going to be the only option in many of these counties, a number of patients and physicians had reached out to us and asked if we’d consider CareSource,” said Donna Ghobadi, a vice president at Baptist Health.

Glynis Board/Ohio Valley ReSource

A group of about 30 coal miners in work apparel complete with hardhats sat in one of the three hearing rooms to hear their boss, Bob Murray. Murray is CEO of the Ohio-based coal company Murray Energy, and a leading opponent of the Clean Power Plan. He applauded EPA’s decision to repeal the regulation.

“God bless President Trump, and you coal miners,” Murray said. “I love you, fellas. God bless you.”

USDA/Bob Nichols

After serving five years in the Navy Tyler Dunn has returned home to Hickman, Kentucky.

These days, if he isn’t at work at the local liquor store or completing assignments for a business degree, you might find him surrounded by one of several stray cats he saved from a parking lot.


Rebecca Kiger

It’s been nearly one month since President Trump told a group of reporters he was declaring the opioid crisis a national emergency.

“The opioid crisis is an emergency, and I am saying, officially, right now, it is an emergency,”  the president said at his golf resort in New Jersey on August 10.  


Ohio Valley Environmental Council

The Trump administration’s Department of the Interior has asked the National Academy of Sciences to suspend research into the health effects of mountaintop removal coal mining.

A team from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine was established last year for a two-year study.    


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