Kentucky lawmakers have been discussing the causes of post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans, and how sexual assault in the military plays a factor.
Dr. Mary Sweeney was among a team of physicians from the Robley Rex Veterans Affairs hospital in Louisville who recently testified before a joint Committee on the Military, Veterans Affairs and Public Safety about PTSD treatment efforts.
“Fifty percent of people who experience a rape go on to get PTSD. The numbers are lower for combat. Vietnam veterans, probably about 30 percent at some point in their life. Gulf War veterans, perhaps 10 percent. The numbers are still out in the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.”
Many veterans have lobbied Frankfort in support of medical marijuana as a treatment for their symptoms.
About 18,500 veterans in Kentucky suffer from PTSD. Nationwide, that number is 350,000.
Medical Marijuana for Veterans?
Kentucky lawmakers also heard testimony from those advocating for the legalization of medical marijuana as a way for veterans to cope with the impact of PTSD and physical ailments related to their military service.
Starting Tuesday, a host of new laws approved by the 2014 General Assembly take effect in Kentucky.
Under HB 128, anyone granted an emergency protective or domestic violence order may receive a temporary concealed carry permit in one business day. The normal application process can take up to 60 days. The permit would be good for up to 45 days without undergoing the complete training necessary for a full concealed carry license.
Another law, HB 232, taking effect Tuesday requires businesses to notify consumers of a security breach in which their personal data may have been illegally accessed or stolen.
Another measure, SB 98, creates an adult protection registry with a list of personal caregivers who have had substantiated claims of abuse or neglect toward the elderly and disabled. The registry’s website is expected to be up and running by the end of summer.
Kentucky Retirement Systems, which includes accounts for state employees and teachers, will hold a series of town hall webinars this month to allow members, retirees, and other stakeholders to ask questions and voice concerns about KRS.
The Kentucky Employees Retirement System is the worst-funded major public pension system in the country, according to Fitch Ratings. It has an unfunded liability of more than 17 billion dollars.
The webinars will be hosted by KRS executive staff. The Monday, July 14 webinar will feature KRS Executive Director Bill Thielen. To register, click here.
KRS Chief Investments Officer David Peden will host a webinar on July 21. Click here to register.
Veteran State Representative Jody Richards of Bowling Green is facing his first Tea Party challenger in the November election. Jenean Hampton is taking on the longest continuously serving state representative in Kentucky history.
"There was much prayer involved. This wasn't my plan," said Hampton in an interview with WKU Public Radio. "Sometimes you're screaming at the TV, you see things that need to be improved, and you're screaming that someone needs do something, well sometimes that someone is you."
Hampton serves as chair of the Bowling Green-Southern Kentucky Tea Party. The 55-year-old Republican is an Air Force veteran and businesswoman who wants to use her private sector experience to spur economic development in the commonwealth.
In her first run at public office, Hampton is taking on political heavyweight Jody Richards who was first elected to the legislature in 1975 and served as House Speaker from 1995 to 2009. Over that time, he's become the recipient of several plum committee assignments, including Appropriations and Revenue. Richards told WKU Public Radio that his influence in Frankfort could not be matched by a newcomer.
"No new person would have my committee lineup nor would they have the connections I do," he suggested. "I pride myself in working well with both sides of the aisle."
The office of Gov. Steve Beshear announced Friday that the state is seeking a request for proposals from private companies to expand broadband Internet access to Eastern Kentucky.
In a press release, the governor’s office said it will ask for proposals from companies to expand Internet access as part of the SOAR initiative, which aims to revitalize communities in the state’s economically troubled coal regions.The initial phase of the project will place 3,000 miles of broadband cable over a period of two years.
The governor’s office states that nearly one-quarter of Kentuckians don’t have access to broadband Internet.
The project is estimated to cost about $70 million, with $30 million appropriated by the state legislature and the remainder paid for by public-private partnership.
A Kentucky Congressman who leads the House Appropriations Committee says President Obama needs to lower the amount of funding he’s seeking to address the crisis along the country’s southern border.
Politico reports that Somerset Republican Hal Rogers told reporters Friday that the nearly $4 billion the President wants is “too much money.” The President made the request in response to the growing number of unaccompanied children who are trying to enter the country from central America.
Congressman Rogers said while members of the appropriations committee continue to look through the President’s plan, the $3.7 billion dollar price tag will have to come down in order to gain House support.
While he didn’t suggest a different number, Rogers said he hopes to make a counter-proposal next week.
A Barren County man wanted for the murder of his wife has been arrested in another state. Glasgow Police say John Amis was taken into custody Friday by law enforcement in Clermont County, Ohio.
Amis is charged in the death of 37-year-old Lorine LaBombard. According to police, Amis called 911 on June 16 stating that he was en route to TJ Samson Hospital with his wife who was unresponsive due to a possible drug overdose.
LaBombard was declared dead by hospital staff. The coroner of Barren County later contacted police after discovering multiple bruises and injuries to her body that suggested possible foul play. An autopsy ruled out an overdose as the cause of death, but rather blunt force trauma.
Once Amis is returned to Barren County, his bond will be set $1 million.
Kentucky is facing a $91 million budget shortfall, and one of the driving factors is a decline in a form of income primarily used by the nation’s wealthiest individuals.
In 2012, the U.S. Congress was preparing to take the country over the “fiscal cliff” over rising debt, rising healthcare costs, and spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. To reduce the deficit, President Obama proposed raising the federal capital gains tax, which largely impacted the nation's wealthiest, prompting a massive sell-off by 2013.
As a result, state budget forecasters anticipated a repeat of such revenue on what was essentially a one-time occurrence.
“All states knew of this change, and they made adjustments in their revenue estimates, but it was a much larger impact nationwide than states planned for,” said Kentucky State Budget Director Jane Driskell.
Driskell says there is no need for a special legislative session to address the shortfall. Governor Beshear could issue a budget reduction order to balance the state’s coffers.
A volunteer panel reviewing the deaths and near-deaths of abused or neglected children in Kentucky is planning to hire additional staff to analyze hundreds of social worker case files.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that the Child Fatality and Near Fatality External Review Panel hopes to hire a lawyer by August and additional staff by fall.
The panel was appropriated $420,000 during this year's legislative session to hire more staff to handle the analysis and recommend how to improve the state's child-protection system.
Retired Franklin Circuit Judge Roger Crittenden told a legislative panel on Thursday that hiring the additional staff will allow the 20-member panel to back the recommendations with solid data. Crittenden says the panel was supposed to meet quarterly but now meets every other month.