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 email@example.com.
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.
The National Park Service says a disease deadly to bats known as white-nose syndrome has been discovered in passageways of Mammoth Cave that are open to park visitors. Park spokeswoman Vicki Carson says there are no plans to change the way the park operates its tours or research.
Approved cleaning methods recommended by the Us S. Fish and Wildlife Service are being adhered to. For some time, visitors have had to walk through bio-security mats as they exit cave tours, for instance.
The disease was found in remote sections of Mammoth Cave last year. Carson says discovery of it in passageways open to visitors wasn't unexpected. White-nose syndrome has killed millions of cave-dwelling bats in eastern North America. Park superintendent Sarah Craighead said the disease affects bats, not humans.
Three days after the resignation of SKyPAC’s executive director and CEO, the Bowling Green-based performing arts center has confirmed that it is laying off five employees.
The vice chairwoman of the SKyPAC Foundation board tells the Daily News that SKyPAC may have been “overstaffed in some areas”. Names of those who lost their jobs have not been made public. No other layoffs are expected.
CEO and Executive Director Tom Tomlinson departed last week for a job with another performing arts center outside of Kentucky.
A state ethics trial involving former Rep. John Arnold has been delayed again.
The Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission ordered that the sexual harassment trial against Arnold, a Democrat from Sturgis, be postponed.
Arnold’s lawyer, Bowling Green attorney Steve Downey, says that he is still awaiting diagnoses from several doctors on whether Arnold, who may have suffered a series of minor strokes, is mentally competent to stand trial.
“His mental and cognitive status is very pertinent to the charges against him. Despite his doctors’ best efforts, a definitive diagnosis has not been reached,” said Downey. “Without this proof, this matter is not ready for a hearing, and John’s health is so poor that it is doubtful he will participate in that hearing.”
Arnold was accused of sexual assault and harassment last August by female employees of the state Legislative Research Commission.
He has denied the charges.
Thomas Clay, the Louisville attorney representing Arnold’s accusers, calls the continuance a delay tactic, and says the women are cynical about the state’s ability to investigate the matter.
The ethics commission is expected to announce a new hearing date in the next few days.