News

A new report says Kentucky and other states could do a better job of placing children in the foster care system with families instead of group care.

The Kids Count report, released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Kentucky Youth Advocates, says 18 percent of the 7,211 children put into foster care in 2013 in Kentucky were placed in group settings. The data showed 81 percent were placed in family settings. The report says 30 states do a better job of finding family placements for foster children.

Kentucky Youth Advocates said progress has been made over the last year in placements. In addition, the state has begun to offer more in-home services and has changed how children are assessed when they come into the foster care system.

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has signed a bill into law creating a mandatory waiting period before getting an abortion in Tennessee.

Under the new law signed Monday, women would need to wait at least 48 hours before undergoing the procedure. The House approved the measure on a 79-18 vote, while the Senate passed its version 24-2.

The governor previously signed into law another bill that requires facilities or physician offices to be licensed as ambulatory surgical treatment centers if they perform more than 50 abortions in a year.

The legislation came after voters in November approved a constitutional amendment giving state lawmakers more power to regulate abortions. The ballot measure overturned a 2000 Supreme Court ruling that had thrown out laws imposing similar restrictions.

WKU has announced head baseball coach Matt Myers will not return for another season.

WKU Athletics Director Todd Stewart says a national search for the next Hilltopper coach will begin immediately.

The team just wrapped upped its fourth season under Myers with a 24-28 record overall and a 10-19 record in Conference USA. They missed qualifying for the conference tournament for the first time since 1998.

In announcing Myers' termination, Stewart wrote in a news release that the team's record over the past four years didn't meet his expectations. He added, "We must have more success in conference play and the postseason."

Myers became head coach in 2012 after being on the staff since 2008. The team went 106-118 overall during his tenure, 54-65 in conference games and just 1-6 in conference tournament games.

A drug that can reverse the effects of a heroin overdose will soon be available without a prescription in Kentucky.

The state Board of Pharmacy’s emergency regulation went into effect last week to allow pharmacists to dispense naloxone, a drug that’s already used in hospital emergency rooms and by law enforcement agencies.

Van Ingram, head of the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, says the hope is to save people who can then be rehabilitated.

“Substance abuse treatment is the end-goal for all individuals who are addicted, but we can’t get them to substance abuse treatment if they aren’t alive.”

Naloxone can be administered by a needle injection, through an auto-injector, and through a intranasal device.

A bill passed this year by state lawmakers allows pharmacists to establish guidelines on how to prescribe the drug.

Lisa Autry

The chief justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court says electronic case filing is paving the way for a more efficient court system in the state.  John Minton Jr. spoke Monday in Warren County, one of 11 Kentucky counties adopting the program this week. 

By transitioning from a paper-based system, electronic case filing gives the public 24-7 access to court documents.

Minton said e-filing is ushering in an important new era for the Kentucky justice system.

"It makes our system a modern system that reflects what society around us is doing," Minton told WKU Public Radio.  "We're now less tethered to paper and are more accessible electronically, and we also believe this will be a huge cost-savings in the future."

Since the start of e-filing in December 2013, nearly 600 attorneys and other users have filed more than 20,000 documents electronically.

E-filing will expand this week to Allen, Barren, Butler, Edmonson, Hancock, Logan, Metcalfe, Ohio, Simpson, Todd, and Warren counties. 

The program, now used by 72 counties, should be available statewide by the end of the year.

When Kentucky voters head to the polls for Tuesday's primary, a ban on electioneering will be in place, although it will be less strict than a previous law struck down by a federal judge.

Earlier this month, the state Board of Elections approved an emergency regulation banning electioneering with 100 feet of polling places.  Private property is exempt.

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes says a buffer zone between campaigners and the voting booth is necessary.

"The reason we have an electioneering ban is to give voters the confidence and comfort to know that when they go to the polls on election day, they won't face harassment or intimidation by individuals trying to support of oppose particular candidates," Grimes tells WKU Public Radio.

The regulation prohibits people from displaying signs, distributing campaign literature, or soliciting votes within 100 feet of a polling location.

A state law that banned electioneering within 300 feet of polling locations was struck down by a federal judge and the ruling was recently upheld by a federal appeals court.  The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a 100 foot ban. 

A court date has been set for a judge to hear arguments in a right-to-work lawsuit against Hardin County. Oral arguments will take place in U.S. District Court in Louisville on August 4.

The lawsuit challenges a local right-to-work ordinance approved January 13 by Hardin Fiscal Court.  A group of labor unions filed a federal lawsuit to stop the measure. 

Hardin County is one of about a dozen Kentucky counties that have passed local laws making it illegal for employers to require their workers to join a labor union or pay dues.

Advocates say the law will make the county more attractive to businesses and create jobs, but opponent say it is designed to crush labor unions and lower wages.

At issue is whether local governments have the authority to pass such laws.

Kevin Willis

A group of WKU students is spending the next two weeks in the Great Plains tracking severe storms and dangerous weather patterns.

WKU Meteorology Professor Josh Durkee is taking eight students to a part of the country that is often hit by tornados and other storms this time of the year. He says the class is an opportunity for participants to collect and analyze weather data that are used to predict where storms will next appear.

“The most common phrase I hear students say is, ‘I learned more in two weeks that I have in two years.’ That’s because it takes a lot of the stuff we have been learning about in the classroom and they get to see it in real-time, and they get to put their hands on it.”

Durkee says the students taking his annual Field Methods in Weather Analysis and Forecasting course are never in danger and stay at least five miles away from the storms they are tracking. The class travels throughout the Midwest and Great Plains regions to learn more about how to predict how and when severe weather will impact the area.

Metcalfe County native and graduating senior Tori Hampton has been looking forward to taking the class for years. She says experiencing a tornado at the age of five fueled a passion to learn more about storms.

After saying he would not comment on allegations that James Comer abused his college girlfriend, Republican candidate for governor Hal Heiner has a new TV ad that criticizes Comer and Matt Bevin for not protecting the woman.

The 30 second ad says Comer and fellow candidate Matt Bevin have accused Marilyn Thomas and her friends of lying and taking payoffs for their stories. Heiner urges voters to reject this kind of politics and elect someone with "Christian values."

The ad comes after a nonprofit group supporting Comer paid for a TV ad accusing Heiner of "gutter politics" for promoting the abuse allegations. Heiner apologized to Comer's campaign after the Lexington Herald Leader published emails showing Heiner's campaign had communicated with a blogger that has pushed the allegations for months in social media.

Candidates are escalating their attacks now that the election is days away and public polls show a three way tie.

KCTCS

Owensboro Community and Technical College didn’t go far in naming its new president. 

Dr. Scott Williams takes the helm after spending the past 15 years at the campus.  He is currently vice president of academic affairs and chief academic officer, a position he has held since 2008. 

“Dr. Williams will be an excellent leader for OCTC,” said Dr. Jay Box, president of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. “We are fortunate he already has great knowledge and experience within our system and his vision and ideas will lead to the continued success of the college.”

Williams will begin his new appointment July 1.

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