Kentucky’s Agriculture Commissioner is speaking out against efforts to amend his number one legislative priority—a much talked-about industrial hemp measure. James Comer says an amendment allowing five years of hemp growing demonstration projects in the state is just an effort to kill the bill.
The measure has enjoyed a good deal of bipartisan support in Frankfort, and passed the full Senate and the House Agriculture Committee. But the bill is now hanging by a thread after House Speaker Greg Stumbo refused to allow the bill an up-or-down vote. And the Courier-Journal reports Comer isn’t pleased with an amendment offered this week that would have the Kentucky State Police—instead of the Agriculture Department—issue licenses for hemp-growing demonstration projects.
Still, the bill’s sponsor—Senator Paul Hornback of Shelbyville—says he plans to meet with House leaders next week to allow some kind of action on the measure when lawmakers return for the final two days of the session on March 25th and 26th.
Funeral services have been set for a woman and five children killed in a house fire in Knox County, Kentucky.
Services for 22-year-old Nina Asher and her three children, 3-year-old William Gray Jr., 2-year-old Camden Gray and 8-month-old Abigail Gray are at 2 p.m. EDT Saturday at Antioch Baptist Church in Woollum. Visitation is scheduled for Friday from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the church.
Services for 2-year-old Paiten Cox and 2-year-old Brielle Cox are at 2 p.m. Thursday at Vankirk-Grisell Funeral Home in Corbin with burial at Brafford Cemetery.
The Cox sisters were staying with Asher at a house in Gray when the building caught fire Saturday morning. Investigators have not yet determined the cause.
Services for Asher's fiancé, Jesse Disney, are Thursday in Corbin.
Kentucky legislators have returned home for the next 12 days after passing a flurry of bills in the recent days of the 2013 General Assembly session.
But many big issues still remain on the table and lawmakers will have two days left—March 25 and 26—to hammer out any remaining issues, including pensions and military voting bills.
Between now and then, a few lawmakers will work to resolve those final issues during the so-called veto recess, which is two weeks for the governor to consider all passed bills so far and whether he should sign them into law or strike them down.
Here's the list of what got finished, what's still in limbo and what's likely to be at its final resting place.
Kentucky's top-ranked girl’s basketball team is off to an impressive start in the Sweet 16 basketball tournament. The Marion County Lady Knights beat Bowling Green 64-to-43 Wednesday afternoon in the opening game of the tournament at WKU’s E.A. Diddle Arena.
The Lady Knights will next take on Montgomery County Friday afternoon in the tournament quarterfinals.
Marion County is now 36-0 on the year and is trying to become just the third Kentucky girl’s team ever to go an entire season undefeated.
Another team from the WKU Public Radio listening area, the Henderson County Lady Colonels, lost their first-round game Wednesday. Anderson County beat the Lady Colonels 65-54.
The Owensboro Catholic Lady Aces face off against Lincoln County Thursday afternoon.
A Tennessee panel that could authorize charter schools to open anywhere in the state is moving forward against the objections of Democrats and a few rural Republicans.
The proposal would require that charter applicants first ask the local school board for permission to open a publicly funded, privately run school. If the answer is no, they could go to the new independent state panel that would have the final say-so.
Rep. Curtis Halford is a Republican from west Tennessee, where there are no charter schools at this point. He spoke against the state authorizer in a House committee.
“Is it just kind of like if you don’t get the answer you want from mom you go to dad?,” asked Halford.
The state wants to hear the opinions of teachers across the state. They're being asked to complete the TELL Kentucky Survey. TELL stands for teaching, empowering, leading, and learning.
Schools will use the information gathered for their annual improvement plans. The state will also use the data to make improvements. Questions on the survey cover everything from school leadership and community support to use of time and managing student conduct.
The survey is being done every two years. 2011 was the first year, with 80% of Kentucky teachers responding. State officials hope to get that number to 90% this year. The online survey is anonymous and takes about 30 minutes to complete. It runs through March 29. Click here for more information on the survey and to see response rates, by district.
A southern Kentucky official has posted records from a jail investigation online.
The move comes after the Glasgow Daily Times won a months-long battle in Barren Circuit Court over access to the records. The case began when the newspaper filed an open records request last year with Barren Fiscal Court. The court ruled in February that the county had to hand over an unredacted copy of the report, which was produced by a private investigator for the Fiscal Court at a cost of $3,500.
House Floor Leader Rocky Adkins has proposed an amendment that he believes could revive legislation intended to allow Kentucky to quickly license hemp growers if the federal government ever lifts a ban on the plant.
Adkins' proposal would involve the University of Kentucky in hemp research and would revamp the Kentucky Hemp Commission to include the Kentucky State Police commissioner and the UK agriculture dean as co-chairs along with the state agriculture commissioner.
"I would hope that we could keep an open mind over these next few days," Adkins said. "I know there are parts of it that people won't like; there are parts of it they do."
The hemp legislation has been hotly debated this year in Frankfort. House Speaker Greg Stumbo said Adkins' proposal seems to be "a path forward" but that he will have to take a closer look before deciding whether to support it.
Two priorities of Kentucky lawmakers will spill over to the so-called veto period of the 2013 legislative sessions after the issues could not be resolved by the end of Tuesday.
Legislators were unable to compromise on pension reform and the military electronic voting bill before both legislative chambers adjourned until March 25.
Legislative leaders said talks on pension reforms are still progressing and that a conference committee has been set up to find a compromise on the military voting bill. Earlier Tuesday, Gov. Steve Beshear said a special session appeared more likely because the General Assembly appeared to lack agreement on reforms to the state's underfunded pension system.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo, a Democrat, said the talks on pension reform have been encouraging despite the lack of a deal before legislators adjourned Tuesday.