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A lawmaker from south central Kentucky has been elected by his Republican colleagues to Senate leadership. 

State Senator Mike Wilson of Bowling Green will serve as Majority Whip when the legislature convenes in January. 

Spectrum News’ Pure Politics reports that Wilson replaces Senator Jimmy Higdon of Lebanon who was chosen by the GOP caucus to serve as Senate President Pro Tem.

Lisa Gillespie

If the latest attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is successful next week, more than 400,000 people in Kentucky who have health insurance through the Medicaid expansion would lose their coverage.

The Graham-Cassidy bill currently under consideration would cut federal funding for the Medicaid expansion program – which covers people making a little above the poverty line – by 2026.

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The Hardin County School district is adjusting its spending habits in anticipation of budget cuts at the state level. The News-Enterprise reports it's in reaction to Gov. Matt Bevin telling state agencies to cut 17 percent from their budgets.

 

Hardin County schools are temporarily freezing spending for professional development. Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt doesn’t expect the Support Education Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK) funding to be affected. That funding makes up a large portion of the school’s revenue. State lawmakers haven’t increased SEEK funding in several years.

Ryland Barton

A panel has unanimously voted to remove a plaque from a statue of Jefferson Davis at the Kentucky State Capitol Rotunda that labels the president of the Confederacy as “patriot, hero, statesman.”

African-American leaders have called for the removal of the statue for years and the call was renewed following the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last month.

Craig Potts, who chairs the Rotunda Committee of the Historic Property Advisory Commission, said the plaque should be removed because not everyone feels the same way about Davis.

Becca Schimmel

A family-owned German manufacturer is beginning operations at its facility in Bowling Green. Bilstein Cold Rolled Steel expects to employ about 110 people at its plant.

The company creates thin pieces of steel for a variety of industries. Construction on the Warren County plant began in 2015. CEO Mark Loik said about 85 percent of their material will be sourced domestically, including some suppliers in Kentucky. He says Bilstein looked at about four states but decided to locate in Bowling Green because it’s a growing community and the quality of the infrastructure.

Senate Republicans' latest plan to overhaul the U.S. health care system ends with a massive shift of federal money from states that expanded Medicaid — and are largely dominated by Democrats — to those that refused to expand.

Nicole Erwin | Ohio Valley ReSource

Talks on renegotiating NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, are set for later this month and farm country is concerned about the potential fallout from a trade dispute. Pork producers are especially nervous about the implications of a threat from President Trump to place a 20 percent tariff on Mexican food imports.

"Mexico is one of the largest markets for pork from the United States,” said Jimmy Tosh, owner of Tosh Farms, the 24th largest pork production company in the country. “I think if Mexico doesn't get favorable treatment we may have a 20 percent tariff imposed on our pork going to Mexico."


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A Kentucky judge has dismissed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s ban on marijuana for medical purposes.

Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate recognized in a ruling Wednesday that marijuana has the potential for medicinal use. But he said the three people who filed the lawsuit do not have a constitutional right to violate a controlled-substance law.

Twenty-nine states have legalized marijuana in some way, the most common being for medical purposes. Kentucky lawmakers have failed to consider proposals to do so. In 2014, the legislature allowed the limited prescription of cannabidiol, which comes from the cannabis plant.

Republicans' complex health care calculations are coming down to simple math.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell needs 50 of the chamber's 52 Republicans to vote for a bill that aims to repeal most of the Affordable Care Act and drastically reshape the Medicaid system. McConnell's office is planning to bring the bill up for a vote next week.

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Four Kentuckians die of drug overdoses every day, according to the state Office of Drug Control Policy. Most of those deaths are due to opioids, chief among them fentanyl, a powerful synthetic drug that has properties similar to heroin.

During a daylong update Wednesday on the state of Kentucky’s opioid epidemic, lawmakers heard from doctors, counselors and those in recovery about efforts to combat drug addiction.

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LRS Replay: The Kentucky Acoustic Music Festival

The second annual Kentucky Acoustic Music Festival was held May 20th at The Capitol Arts Center in Bowling Green. It was presented by Lost River Sessions. The evening featured local favorite Mt. Victor Revue, Jenni Lyn and Lillie Mae.

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