Rita Wooten holds up her smartphone and plays a video: her three-year-old son, Eli, clad in a diaper, writhes on a couch, his limbs twitching, his lips a pale shade of blue.
Eli has Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, or LGS, a rare neurological disorder that causes chronic seizures.Wooton says her son has suffered thousands of them, causing extensive brain damage.
Wooton testified before the Senate Health & Welfare Committee Wednesday in support of a measure filed by Sen. Julie Denton that would permit state universities to research and ultimately prescribe the use of cannabidiol, or CBD, a compound derived from the cannabis plant that is believed to successfully treat certain neurological disorders.
“Our neurologist told us two weeks ago..she said ‘Rita, try this CBD oil and see if it’ll help’. I said we can’t because it’s not legal in our state. I said we’re looking at going to Colorado. We shouldn’t have to leave our homes and our families and our jobs to seek treatment for him.”
A legislative committee has advanced a bill to clarify Kentucky’s eminent domain laws.
If the bill becomes law it would amend Kentucky law to clarify that natural gas liquids pipelines—including the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline—aren’t eligible for eminent domain in the commonwealth.
Legal experts have disagreed as to whether the Bluegrass Pipeline could use eminent domain to obtain easements to carry the byproducts of gas drilling through Central Kentucky. The Judiciary Committee heard rushed testimony from several landowners, but none of the representatives from the laborers’ international union in attendance spoke. The group has previously voiced support for the pipeline.
Representative Johnny Bell of Glasgow spoke directly to those union members when casting his vote.
"Those of you who are up here today to protect your jobs, we all appreciate that," the Barren County Democrat said. "Your job is important to you and it’s important to us, but I feel that a person’s property rights is one of the highest rights that we have in this country, so I vote yes on that and thank you all for being here today."
Now that the bill has cleared committee, it will be up for a vote on the House floor before it goes to the Senate.
The widow of a Bowling Green man shot to death following an apparent act of road rage has filed a civil lawsuit against the shooter and top officials at area law enforcement agencies.
On February 26, 2013, off-duty Warren County court security officer Tommy Brown shot 27-year-old Brandon Bradshaw three times in a parking lot off the 31-W Bypass.
Brown claimed he acted in self-defense. His attorney Paul Lawless could not be reached for comment.
Attorney Gary Logsdon is representing Heidi Bradshaw, who is seeking an unspecified amount of damages.
"Her husband left her home with three children and he did not return. That is a wife's greatest nightmare and fear," Logsdon told WKU Public Radio. "For that, she seeks compensation, and more so for accountability for those who would do this again. It's a deterrent."
Named as defendants in the federal lawsuit are leaders within Kentucky State Police, Bowling Green City Police, and the Warren County Sheriff’s Department, as well as the Medical Center EMS.
"The EMS were told by some police agency that was already there that he was 10-7, which means out of commission, dead, that is Bradshaw was," Logsdon added. "They waited a considerable number of minutes before they went over and actually did an assessment, whereupon they found that Mr. Bradshaw had a very strong pulse."
The Medical Center declined to comment on pending litigation.
The case was closed after a Warren County grand jury did not find enough evidence to indict Tommy Brown, who has since resigned.
Attorneys for gay couples seeking formal recognition of their out-of-state marriages say a federal judge is expected to sign a final order in the case by the end of the week.
U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II earlier this month threw part of the state's ban on gay marriages. The ruling only applies to couples married in other states or countries.
A final order would mean same-sex couples may change their names on official identifications and documents and obtain any other benefits of a married couple in Kentucky. But Heyburn's ruling doesn't affect a related lawsuit seeking to force the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The Kentucky attorney general's office has not sought to delay the ruling as of Wednesday afternoon.
Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo says that mustering legislative support for a bill that would ban smoking in private businesses and public areas is “an uphill battle.”
Stumbo says that the bill, sponsored by Rep. Susan Westrom, has only a handful of Republican votes and about 30 Democratic votes.
He says despite his support, some lawmakers are apprehensive about the ban.
“The people in Prestonsburg already have it, for example. If I vote for it, the people out in the county, who might object to it, didn’t get that same local option treatment that the city people, that the folks in the city did. And we’re running into a lot of that.
A spokeswoman for Gov. Steve Beshear confirmed that he is working to persuade lawmakers individually to drum up support for the bill, which has languished in the House for nearly three weeks without a vote.
Over 30 localities across the state currently prohibit smoking in public areas and in some private businesses.
Budding poets will have a chance to work with Kentucky Poet Laureate Frank X Walker at a workshop in Bowling Green this weekend. The Warren County Public Library is hosting the event from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm Central time at its main branch on State Street.
Assistant Library Director Ashley Fowlkes says Walker has been popular during previous events at the library, saying he's very talented and a great teacher.
Walker is a founding member of the Affrilachian Poets and a writer in residence and lecturer of English at Northern Kentucky University. He's lectured, conducted workshops and read poetry at more than 300 national conferences and universities.
Admission to the workshop is free but registration is needed due to limited space. To register, call 270-781-4882 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Former President Bill Clinton visited Louisville Tuesday to stump for Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race.
Grimes is running against Republican Leader Mitch McConnell in a tight race, which is gaining national media attention. In recent weeks, she has put issues such as raising the minimum wage and closing the gender pay gap at the center of her candidacy.
Clinton says Grimes is a contrast with McConnell because she cares about rebuilding the middle-class and believes in compromise over gridlock.
The former President asked his audience if "we should stay with this model of constant conflict, which can generate unlimited amounts of special interest money to keep people stuck in their ideological ruts. Nothing good will happen except the people who are on the receiving end of the benefits may win one more election."
"But real people don’t win that way,” Clinton said.
Clinton also endorsed the Grimes campaign jobs plan, especially its ideas to get military veterans back to work.
The McConnell campaign says Grimes has yet to explain how much the jobs plan would cost and how she would pay for it.
A bill that would modify student assessments in Kentucky public schools has unanimously cleared a House committee.
The measure would permit schools under the Kentucky Department of Education’s districts of innovation to implement new testing methods to assess student performance.
Jefferson County Public Schools superintendent Donna Hargens testified before the House Education Committee Tuesday, saying that alternative assessments won’t be any less rigorous than current ones.
“I want you all to know that this will require more from the districts of innovation including additional development for teachers, more time to prepare assessments, more time to conduct authentic performance assessments, and require students to demonstrate mastery," explained Hargens.
The bill, filed by Louisville Rep. Larry Clark, would permit those schools to apply for waivers of current testing methods set forth by the innovation plan as long as they meet college and career-readiness requirements for students.
Seven school districts across the state participate in the plan, which was passed in 2012 by the General Assembly to give educators greater flexibility in turning around struggling schools.
The Kentucky House Transportation committee has approved a bill that would outlaw handheld cell phone calls in work zones while workers are present and school zones when lights are flashing. The bill, sponsored by Lebanon Democrat Rep. Terry Mills, would not apply to those making calls with a hands-free device under an amendment added Tuesday.
Also, House Bill 33 increases fines for those texting while driving. The penalty for a first offense would increase from $25 to $50, with each subsequent offense carrying a $100 fine, up from $50. The bill now advances to the full Kentucky House.
The Kentucky Public Service Commission is asking electric and natural gas utilities to work with customers who are having difficulty paying higher heating bills in the wake of this harsh winter.
The agency that regulates the state's utilities sent a letter to chief executives of the utilities urging the electric and natural gas providers to "be as flexible as possible in avoiding disconnections and in allowing customers to make arrangements to extend their payments."
PSC Chairman David Armstrong says the higher monthly bills could come as a shock to many customers. The Commission says assistance is available from the state through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program known as LIHEAP. A number of utilities have also announced increase corporate contributions to their assistance programs.