Associated Press

The Tennessee Department of Health wants residents to become more aware of Hepatitis C, saying the rate of acute cases in the state has more than tripled in the last seven years.

Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner says it's also estimated that more than 100,000 Tennesseans may be living with chronic Hepatitis C and not be aware.

The disease has no vaccine. The Health Department says the most important way to prevent the disease from spreading is to avoid exposure to infected blood.

Dreyzehner says anyone who suspects infection should be tested right away and, if infected, speak to a doctor about treatment options.

The agency says most of the increase in transmission of Hepatitis C in Tennessee is due to sharing of contaminated needles and syringes among intravenous drug users.

Wealthy libertarians are giving big to Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul.

Three super PACs supporting the Kentucky senator say they raised a combined $6 million through June 30.

That's on top of the $7 million Paul's campaign reported raising between his April announcement and the end of last month.

Super PACs have no limits on how much they can raise, but they cannot directly coordinate with the candidate they're helping.

Donors to the super PACs include Jeff Yass, a high-frequency trader and board member of the libertarian Cato Institute, and George Macricostas, head of a data center company called RagingWire.

Paul is one of the expected 17 major GOP candidates for president. The total raised by his campaign and allied groups puts him in the top six for fundraising.

Kentucky LRC

An attorney representing three state workers says Kentucky has settled a sexual harassment lawsuit against current and former state lawmakers for $400,000.

Thomas Clay says the Legislative Research Commission agreed to pay Yolanda Costner, Cassaundra Cooper and Nicole Cusic the money to end the lawsuit.

Costner and Cooper said former Democratic state Rep. John Arnold touched them inappropriately. Cusic said she was demoted after complaining that state Rep. Will Coursey sexually harassed some female staffers.

Arnold and Coursey have denied the allegations and did not admit guilt as part of the settlement. The agreement simply satisfies the claims.

State lawmakers are in the process of hiring a new director for the Legislative Research Commission.

Four Kentucky couples are suing a clerk who is refusing to issue gay-marriage licenses -- or any marriage licenses at all -- following the U.S. Supreme Court decision that same-sex couples have a legal right to marry.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis told The Associated Press that her Christian beliefs prevented her from complying with the decision, so she decided to issue no more marriage licenses to any couple, gay or straight.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky filed a federal lawsuit against her Thursday afternoon on behalf of four couples: two homosexual and two heterosexual couples who each tried to get licenses from Davis' office this week and were turned away.

Davis is among a handful of judges and clerks across the South who have defied the high court's order.

Kentucky's two major party candidates for governor are not taking a day off for Independence Day.

Republican nominee Matt Bevin and Democratic nominee Jack Conway will be traveling the state on Saturday to participate in a variety of Independence Day celebrations as both seek to become Kentucky's next governor. Incumbent Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear cannot seek re-election because of term limits.

Bevin and Conway are scheduled to participate in the Campbellsville Fourth of July celebration, which includes speeches and a parade. Bevin will then walk in the Fort Mitchell Parade at noon while Conway will walk in the Lexington Fourth of July parade at 2 p.m.

The two candidates are scheduled to appear together on July 23 at the Measure the Candidates forum at the Kentucky Farm Bureau.

The Fourth of July is almost here, and that means fireworks season.

Officials say the safest way to enjoy fireworks is at a public display. But the Kentucky Fire Commission, which is part of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System in Versailles, says people who want to set off fireworks in a county where it is allowed should follow these guidelines:

   --Buy from a reputable dealer and follow manufacturer directions.

   --Have water nearby to extinguish discarded fireworks or for an emergency.

   --Place fireworks on a flat surface, clear of combustible materials and buildings.

   --Light one firework at a time.

   --Never point or throw fireworks at anyone.

   --Keep bystanders at least 25 feet away.

   --Don't let young children handle or ignite fireworks.

   --Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.

   --Stop, drop and roll if your clothes catch fire.

PGA Tour Photo

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear played golf with Tiger Woods on Wednesday.

The two-term Democratic governor was part of a foursome in a pro-am golf event before the start of the Greenbrier Classic, a golf tournament on the PGA Tour in West Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

Beshear's spokesman, Terry Sebastian, said Beshear was thrilled to play with Woods, calling him a golf legend. The team finished 9 under par, and Sebastian said Beshear picked up three of those strokes for the team.

Woods has won 14 major championships. Beshear is finishing up his second term as Kentucky's governor. He cannot seek re-election because of term limits.

When President Barack Obama visits Nashville to tout his health care law, he's unlikely to say much, if anything, about a failed plan to expand Medicaid in Tennessee.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell told The Associated Press ahead of Obama's visit on Wednesday that he's expected to discuss building on the progress made under the Affordable Care Act.

When asked about Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's plan to expand Medicaid, Burwell said Insure Tennessee "isn't the focus of the visit."

The plan sought to extend coverage to 280,000 low-income Tennesseans. The proposal failed in a special legislative session in February, was then revived during the regular session -- only to be killed again in a Senate committee.

Supporters held a news conference earlier this week to renew an effort to try to pass the plan.

Kentucky teenagers and administrators are bracing themselves for a new state dropout law that will go into effect on July 1 in most school districts.

The dropout age is being raised from 16 to 18, meaning some students who legally left the education system will now have to return to school.

17-year-old dropouts say it is pointless to make them return because they plan on dropping out again upon their next birthday. Administrators, meanwhile, are not relishing the new task of trying to track down the juveniles and bring them back.

   Newport Independent Schools administrator Mike Wills says the law will be hard to enforce. Aside from filing charges and taking a student or the student's parents to court, there's not much recourse for districts, he says.

WKU

Gov. Steve Beshear has appointed Carol Martin "Bill" Gatton to be a lifetime honorary trustee of the University of Kentucky, where Gatton is the largest single donor.

Gatton has given more than $45 million to his alma mater, including $20 million for a new student center. That gift is the largest in UK's history. The Carol Martin Gatton Academy for Mathmatics and Science on the campus of Western Kentucky University is named in his honor.

Gatton's last term as a trustee ends this month. Honorary status makes him a non-voting member of the board.

Beshear said the designation would allow the board to continue to benefit from Gatton's "wisdom, counsel and guidance."

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