Stu Johnson

Majority Floor Leader  Damon Thayer holds out hope lawmakers can still address pension reforms for public universities and quasi-state agencies when lawmakers return to Frankfort the end of March.

Previous  efforts broke down the last legislative day before the veto period.

Bill Insures Freedom Of Speech On Campus

2 hours ago
creditjolt.law.harvard.edu

Public postsecondary institutions in Kentucky would be required to adopt freedom of speech policies for students and faculty under legislation passed by the General Assembly.  

Preview: Next Edition of Eastern Standard

5 hours ago

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kentucky.com

The fate for Kentucky’s pensions at public universities plus a number of quasi-state agencies like health departments and mental health entities is in limbo.

The state legislature adjourned last night without taking final action on the bill that had been months in the making.  Under the proposal, many university employees could be covered by a separate defined contribution plan. 

WUKY

Following a wave of “sick outs” across the state, Kentucky’s Education Commissioner Wayne D. Lewis held a press conference Friday that produced more questions than answers.

During the 20 minute press conference, that streamed live on Facebook, Lewis sounded a repeat refrain -  teachers can’t take sick days when they aren’t sick and taking those days to protest in Frankfort robs children of important instructional time.

Teachers, he said, have a constitutional right to protest.

Toyota Driving Demand For Solar Power In Ohio Valley

Mar 15, 2019
Sydney Boles/Ohio Valley ReSource

Automaker Toyota is planning to announce a major investment in solar and other renewable energy in Appalachia and the Southeastern U.S. The plan includes a massive new solar facility on an old surface coal mine property in Kentucky.

Sources close to the deal tell the Ohio Valley Resource that the Kentucky site is part of a much larger plan.

  Toyota plans to purchase as much as 800,000 megawatt hours per year, or roughly 365 megawatts, of renewable energy, primarily from developers in Appalachia and the South.

Bill Requires "In God We Trust" Motto For Schools

Mar 15, 2019
wkyt.com

The Kentucky legislature has adopted a national motto measure requiring public schools to post “In God We Trust” in a prominent spot.  Final approval came in the Senate with a 29 to eight vote Thursday night.

wkyufm.org

A bill the sponsor calls a “dramatic overhauling of the ignition interlock device program” has won final approval in the Kentucky legislature. 

The interlock acts as a breathalyzer and will prevent a vehicle from starting if the alcohol concentration is too high.  Hopkinsville Senator Whitney Westerfield expects usage to go up significantly. “We hope and expect to see the utilization climb dramatically from a 4 percent we see in a state today to something substantially higher than that.  And it will save lives.  It will make a difference,” said Westerfield

kentucky.com

Blue Grass Airport Executive Director Eric Frankl says the Lexington facility could see some impact from the decision to ground all Boeing 737 Max planes.  The FAA Wednesday grounded the planes.  It comes following the deadly crash this past weekend which killed 157 people.

Frankl delivered an airport update to the Lexington Council this week.  He saud the loss of the 737 Max planes could have an impact. .

Bill Expanding Felony Expungement Law Passes

Mar 15, 2019

The Kentucky legislature has voted to expand the state’s law that allows people to clear some Class D felonies from their records after a five-year waiting period.

Under current law, people who have been convicted of one of 61 Class D felonies can have their criminal records cleared once they complete their sentences, wait five years and pay a $500 fee.

Senate Bill 57 expands the policy to other non-violent, non-sexual Class D felonies and lowers the fee to $250.

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Ohio Valley ReSource

Mary Meehan

The automaker Toyota announced Thursday major new investments in facilities in Kentucky and West Virginia to increase production of hybrid vehicles. Toyota plans to invest about $750 million in facilities in five states with almost half of that going to its plants in Kentucky and West Virginia.

Toyota’s plant in Georgetown, Kentucky, already the largest Toyota facility in the world, will get a $238 million boost.

J. Tyler Franklin

Amazon employee Andre Woodson made his way among yellow bins traveling through a vast warehouse filled with boxes and envelopes to be packed, sorted and shipped. In Amazon-speak, this is a “fulfillment center.”

“Our Jeffersonville, Indiana, fulfillment center is about 1.2 million square feet, which is equivalent to about 28 football fields,” Woodson explained.

Thinkstock

  Rural jails in Kentucky are increasingly relying on income derived from payments for holding state prisoners in county facilities, according to a new report by a think tank that advocates for criminal justice reform.

To address overcrowding, states make payments to counties to hold convicted prisoners and pretrial detainees. States save money, and counties get an extra influx of cash.

 

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