Regional
6:57 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Group To Examine Tennessee Sentencing Laws, Recidivism

A task force formed by Gov. Bill Haslam meets Thursday in Nashville to examine Tennessee's sentencing structure and examine ways to reduce the state's high recidivism rate.

It's the group's third meeting since being formed by Haslam last year in an overall effort to reduce crime and improve public safety.

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Economy
6:52 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Beshear Heading to Europe for Economic Development Trip

Governor Steve Beshear is leaving Saturday for an economic development trip to Germany and Sweden.

Beshear's office said Wednesday that the governor has been invited to speak at a symposium in Germany, where he will discuss Kentucky's role in the global auto industry. More than a thousand auto executives from around the world gather for the yearly conference.

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Politics
1:13 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Kentucky Governor Reacts to LRC Audit

A performance audit of the Legislative Research Commission has blamed poor staff morale on outdated management practices, a lack of communication and decision-making that isn't transparent.

Governor Steve Beshear says a draft reports shows a need for reforms.

"Some of the policies and procedures are outdated and need to be modernized," Beshear told WKU Public Radio.  "Pay equity is an issue, promotions.  Getting all those things into a more modern platform would make sense for them and for the public."

The audit by the National Conference of State Legislatures questioned the nearly 400 LRC employees who reported feeling “frustrated and often confused” by personnel decisions.  It recommended giving less power to top leaders and implementing annual performance evaluations, as well as formal job descriptions and pay scales. 

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Health
10:26 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Indiana Set to Reform Medicaid, Update Health Plan for Low-Income Residents

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 4:48 pm

Indiana has gained approval from the federal government to use an updated version of the state’s Health Indiana Plan, or HIP, instead of Medicaid.

The updated version will be called HIP 2.0, and it will provide health care to 350,000 uninsured Indiana residents.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced the expansion Tuesday.

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Education
10:24 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Report Gives Kentucky Low Marks in Teacher Pension Policy

Kentucky’s teacher pension policies are receiving near-failing grades in a new report.

The National Council of Teacher Quality gives the pension plan a D-, and points out that 48-percent of the Kentucky Teacher Retirement System consists of unfunded liabilities.

Council Vice President Sandi Jacobs says the vast majority of taxpayer funds going into the system isn’t being invested in the future retirement of current employees.

“Only 23 cents on the dollar—less than the national average—is going towards the cost of the system. About 77 cents are going toward the debt.”

KTRS currently has over $13 billion in unfunded liabilities. The state budget passed by lawmakers last year provided about half the money needed to bring KTRS into the black.

Jacobs says her group also considers the system’s five-year vesting period a negative feature.

“If you leave before five years you’re not eligible for future benefits. That’s a long time to wait.”

You can see the NCTQ’s report card on Kentucky’s teacher pension policy here.

Politics
8:41 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Lawmaker Says Attorney to Withdraw Motion in DUI Case

State Representative Brandon Smith, R-Hazard

A state senator says he has told his attorney to withdraw a motion that seeks to have his DUI charge dismissed because the state constitution bans lawmakers from being arrested while the legislature is in session.

Republican state Sen. Brandon Smith of Hazard was arrested and charged with DUI on Jan. 6, the first day of the 2015 legislative session.

His attorney, Bill Johnson, filed a motion to dismiss the charges citing language that was added to the Kentucky Constitution in 1891.

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Regional
6:29 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Hopkinsville HS Students Allege Discrimination Over LGBT Related Yearbook Quote

Brooklyn Fosberg

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 12:01 pm

 

Hopkinsville High School has refused to run three students’ senior yearbook quotes that reference their LGBT lifestyles, and one of them has filed a petition against the school board saying its discrimination.

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Regional
5:15 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Biden, Clinton Among Hundreds Who Honor Former Senator Wendell Ford

Former Kentucky governor and U.S. Sen. Wendell Ford is being remembered for his ability to get things done at the highest levels of government without compromising his love for his state or its people.

Vice President Joe Biden and former President Bill Clinton were among the hundreds of people who filled the First Baptist Church of Owensboro for Ford's funeral Tuesday. Biden hailed Ford as the rare politician who could listen to and understand people's problems while Clinton credited Ford with wrangling enough votes in the Senate to pass some of the legislation that defined his presidency.

Ford died Thursday at his home in Owensboro. He was 90. He is the only Kentuckian to win consecutive terms as lieutenant governor, governor and U.S. senator.

Regional
1:56 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Logan County Gives Initial Nod to Right-to-Work Measure

Logan County Courthouse in Russellville
Credit logancounty.ky.gov

Logan County may soon join neighboring Warren, Todd, and Simpson counties in passing a local right-to-work law. 

The Logan County Fiscal Court voted unanimously for an ordinance Tuesday on first reading.  A final vote is scheduled next month. 

Judge-Executive Logan Chick says the county has two industrial sites ready for new business, which he hopes a local right-to-work law will attract.

"Every time somebody visits you have obstacles they look at, and of course that's one of the obstacles we hear on a regular basis," Chick told WKU Public Radio.  "Anytime you can eliminate any obstacle, the better off you are with that particular project."

Chick doubts Logan County magistrates would be considering a local right-to-work measure had surrounding counties not already acted.  Chick says a local ordinance is needed to stay competitive with those counties, as well as neighboring Tennessee which has a statewide right-to-work law. 

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Politics
8:34 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Matt Bevin to Run for Governor

Former U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin will file to run for statewide office this year. The Louisville Republican has been mulling a bid for governor.

Louisville businessman and Tea Party activist Matt Bevin is running for Kentucky Governor.

Bevin made the announcement Tuesday in Louisville. Bevin challenged U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell during last year's GOP Senate primary, winning 35 percent of the vote.

Bevin's Lieutenant Governor running mate will be Jenean Hampton of Bowling Green. She ran unsuccessfully against Democratic Rep. Jody Richards  last year for the state's 20th District House seat.

Bevin joins a crowded GOP gubernatorial primary including Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, former Louisville Metro Councilman Hal Heiner, and former Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott.

Attorney General Jack Conway and former Congressional candidates Geoff Young have filed to run for the Democratic nomination.

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