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The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights has requested an investigation of the Providence Police Department in Webster County.

The Courier Journal reports the human rights commission has received complaints from residents about racial profiling and harassment by police.

One concern of the commission is that Providence Mayor Eddie Gooch allegedly told someone wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt that the organization is “racist.” The incident occurred at a city council meeting. The mayor reportedly told the person wearing the shirt not to wear it again in council chambers and that, “All lives matter.”

Some residents reported their concerns about harassment to the Providence City Council last month.

The state human rights commission has asked the U.S. Department of Justice for the Western District of Kentucky to investigate.

J. Tyler Franklin

Although the 2016 General Assembly ended back in April, its effects will be felt in mid-July, when a bevy of laws go into effect.

Most new laws are given a 90-day window for state agencies and other offices to prepare for their implementation. Here’s a rundown of some of the major laws that will take effect on July 15.

Budget: The $21 billion plan cuts state spending by about 9 percent over the next two years. Several programs are exempted from the cuts, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, public school funding, Medicaid and financial aid for higher education. State troopers get a pay raise under the bill, and funding to state colleges and universities will be cut by 4.5 percent.

Pension Permanent Fund: Establishes a new fund to save money for future infusions into the state pension systems. The state budget set aside $125 million for the reserve, with plans to add potential surpluses and windfalls from lawsuit settlements as well.

Noah's Ark Amusement Park Ready to Open in Kentucky

Jul 5, 2016
ArkEncounter.com

A Noah's Ark attraction built by Christians who say the biblical story really happened is ready to open in Kentucky.

The long-awaited theme park based on the story of a man who got a warning from God about a worldwide flood will debut in northern Kentucky this week. The Christian group behind the 510 foot-long wooden ark says it will demonstrate that the stories of the Bible are true.

Its construction has rankled opponents who say the attraction will be detrimental to science education.

Ken Ham, president of the group Answers in Genesis, is welcoming media and some VIP guests to the big boat on Tuesday. The ark will open to the public on Thursday. Ham says up to two million could visit the ark in its first year.

Jacob Ryan

Liberal state lawmakers have for 16 years pushed for a bill that would amend Kentucky’s civil rights code to protect people from discrimination in the workplace, housing and other areas based on their sexual orientation.

Dubbed the fairness bill, the measure has gotten considerable attention from the press and advocates each year it’s been proposed, but it hasn’t ever gotten traction in the legislature.

But in the wake of the shootings at a gay nightclub in Orlando last month, and as several states —including Kentucky — sue the federal government over bathroom guidelines for transgender students in public schools, it doesn’t look like support for the measure is growing in the commonwealth.

The fairness bill has never received an official vote in committee — one of the first hurdles a bill has to overcome on the way to becoming a law — even in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. House Speaker Greg Stumbo, a Democrat from Prestonsburg, co-sponsored the legislation in 2014, but this year he has said he hasn’t given it much consideration.

Rob Canning

The federal government has given its most forceful statement yet in response to Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposal to apply for a waiver to change Kentucky’s Medicaid system.

Bevin’s plan, which requires federal approval, would make most Medicaid recipients pay monthly premiums, eliminate vision and dental coverage and institute a credit program whereby individuals could get better coverage by volunteering or applying for a job.

At a forum hosted by the Health Enterprises Network on Thursday, Bevin’s deputy chief of staff Adam Meier said that the administration had little doubt the federal government would accept the plan.

“We’re pretty confident they’ll approve our waiver or something pretty close to it,” Meier said, according to the Courier-Journal.

In response, Ben Wakana, press secretary for the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services, said in an email that during talks with Bevin’s administration, the department has “repeatedly been clear” about “principles of access to coverage and affordability of care.”

Jacob Ryan

A judge has dismissed Gov. Matt Bevin’s lawsuit that accused a Louisville Planned Parenthood facility of performing abortions without a license.

Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Mitch Perry ruled that the clinic had received approval from Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services days before Bevin took office.

“Based simply on a change in Cabinet personnel, it defies reason that an abortion facility which opened based on the approval of the Cabinet’s [Office of the Inspector General] may be then said to have willfully violated the law by that same Cabinet,” Perry wrote.

In its lawsuit, the Bevin administration alleged that Planned Parenthood’s required documentation of an emergency hospital and ambulance service were “a complete sham.”

Bevin’s office also alleged that Maryellen Mynear, the former inspector general of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, “ignored or overlooked” the allegedly deficient abortion license application.

The state said the previous administration erroneously told Planned Parenthood that abortion clinics could begin operations without a license.

Rhonda J. Miller

Gov. Matt Bevin says he’ll do away with Kentucky’s expanded Medicaid system if the federal government doesn’t approve a waiver he’s seeking to augment the expansion.  No state has repealed a Medicaid expansion yet.

If the expansion is totally repealed, those who earn more than 100 percent of the federal poverty level—that’s a little under $12,000 a year—would still be eligible for subsidized insurance through healthcare.gov.

Marybeth Musumeci with the Kaiser Family Foundations says. “They would likely experience higher out-of-pocket costs compared to what they experience under Medicaid and there may be some differences in the benefit package”

Ellis Park

Ellis Park in Henderson opens Saturday with daily purses expected to average $210,000 during a summer meet featuring five stakes races worth $325,000.

The growth of Ellis Park's Instant Racing game and a $1.35 million contribution from Kentucky Downs will increase the track's daily purse average from $155,000 last year.

Federal Judge Blocks Indiana Abortion Law

Jun 30, 2016
Wikipedia

A federal judge has blocked a new Indiana law that bans abortions sought because of a fetus’s genetic abnormalities.

U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt released a ruling Thursday that grants the preliminary injunction sought by Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky. The law was to set to take effect Friday.

Pratt said the state doesn’t have the authority to limit a woman’s reasons for ending a pregnancy. She said the Indiana law would go against U.S. Supreme Court rulings that states may not prohibit a woman from seeking an abortion before fetal viability.

Indiana and North Dakota are the only states with laws banning abortions that are sought due to fetal genetic abnormalities, such as Down syndrome, or because of the race, sex or ancestry of a fetus. The Indiana law also requires that aborted fetuses be buried or cremated.

Ryland Barton

Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo is suing Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, saying the governor didn’t properly deliver vetoes to the Secretary of State at the end of this year’s legislative session.

At stake in the lawsuit is Bevin’s line-item vetoes to the state budget, which could be reversed if Stumbo is successful.

Bevin’s office says the vetoes were delivered to House Clerk Jean Burgin’s office, who Bevin’s attorney says promised to properly deliver the documents to the Secretary of State’s office, as required by law.

The documents never wound up in the Secretary of State’s office, though copies of them were delivered — a move that Bevin’s office says was necessary because Burgin’s office was locked at the end of the day on April 27, the last day vetoes could be filed.

Steve Pitt, Bevin’s general counsel, accused Stumbo of obstructing the proper delivery of the vetoes, saying he had “unclean hands.”

LRC Public Information

South-central Kentucky lawmakers are again pushing the state to provide matching funds for a veterans nursing home in Warren County.

A bi-partisan group of legislators from southern Kentucky tried and failed to get $10.5 million in state support during this year’s General Assembly. The federal government has pledged to kick in between $20 million and $30 million if Kentucky lawmakers provide money for the effort.

Warren County Republican Rep. Jim DeCesare is co-sponsoring a bill for next year’s legislature. He says a lot of pieces are already in place to make the veterans nursing home a reality.

"The property has been donated, the veterans groups have met with the folks in Washington D.C., they've met with the folks in Frankfort. So they've got broad support from not only the state entities, but also the federal entities."

Bridgelink, via Facebook

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin joined Indiana Gov. Mike Pence in Henderson Thursday to sign a memorandum of understanding initiating the study and design of a new Ohio River bridge for Interstate 69, connecting Henderson to Evansville, Ind.

The Indiana Department of Transportation is taking the lead on the bridge, in full partnership with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. At an event streamed live by the KYTC, Gov. Pence said he expects the two states to “swiftly” complete the environmental and design work and send out requests for proposals in just a few months.

Gov. Bevin said the project has been a top priority of his administration.

“We will build this bridge," Bevin said. "It will take years, yet, and that’s important to understand. It will be some years before this really starts to take form. We know that, but this study and the expedition of this is really what is going to set this in motion. We won’t look back.”

Erica Peterson

The fiscal court in Boyle County, Kentucky and the Danville City Commission have formally approved resolutions opposing a proposed natural gas liquids pipeline that would cross the county.

Both bodies are also asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to conduct an environmental impact study before granting approval for the conversion of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline.

The Tennessee Gas Pipeline is already in the ground, carrying natural gas from the Gulf of Mexico through Kentucky. But the proposal by company Kinder Morgan would reverse the pipeline’s flow and convert it to instead carry natural gas liquids.

NGLs are the byproducts of natural gas drilling: hydrocarbons such as ethane, butane and propane. They’re used in manufacturing plastics, synthetic rubber and antifreeze, but they also include health hazards and the risks of water or soil contamination if a leak occurs.

Ryland Barton

A public hearing on Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposal to change the state’s Medicaid system drew mostly backlash from a packed crowd in Frankfort on Wednesday.

Bevin wants to require most Medicaid recipients to pay monthly premiums, eliminate vision and dental coverage from the program and create an incentive system that would allow people to volunteer or get job training in exchange for more benefits.

Harriette Seiler, a Louisville resident, said Bevin’s plan for Kentuckians to put “skin in the game” will “scrape a pound of flesh” from the most vulnerable people.

“The sick and the poor and the unemployed are not naughty children who need to be incentivized or scolded or humiliated by constantly having to prove how poor they are in order to sign up for care,” Seiler said.

J. Tyler Franklin

Less than two weeks after he announced he would dissolve and reconstitute the University of Louisville’s Board of Trustees, Gov. Matt Bevin on Tuesday received nominees for the positions. And on Wednesday, his announced his choices.

The governor’s Postsecondary Education Nominating Committee offered 30 candidates to fill 10 positions. The governor’s office did not release the names to the public, although WFPL has sought the list through an open records request.

On Wednesday, the governor’s office released the names of his 10 appointees to the board. They are characterized by people at the highest levels of business and entrepreneurship in and around Louisville.

Here they are:

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