Associated Press

Kentucky LRC

State Sen. Whitney Westerfield has won the Republican nomination for Kentucky attorney general.

Westerfield defeated Lawrence County Attorney Michael Hogan in Tuesday's primary election.

The Hopkinsville lawmaker will face Andy Beshear, the son of Gov. Steve Beshear, in the November election for the job as Kentucky's chief law enforcement officer. Beshear was unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Westerfield is a former assistant commonwealth's attorney. He touts his chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Westerfield says he helped shape high-profile legislation to combat heroin addiction, revamp the state's juvenile justice system and allow victims of abusive dating relationships to seek emergency protective orders.

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.

One of every 10 registered voters in Kentucky is expected to vote in Tuesday's primary elections.

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes says the low turnout forecast is based on about 5,100 absentee votes cast and results from previous elections.

Attorney General Jack Conway is likely to win the Democratic primary for governor. Republicans Matt Bevin, James Comer, Hal Heiner and Will T. Scott are all vying for the Republican nomination. Incumbent Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear cannot seek re-election because of term limits.

The Republican primary for governor has been contentious. Grimes said negative campaigning usually depresses turnout, citing Kentucky's 2014 U.S. Senate race as an example. U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and Grimes spent tens of millions of dollars on negative advertising in that race, not including spending from outside groups.

The running mates in Kentucky's contentious Republican primary for governor tested their candidates' messages before a statewide television audience Monday night in the first of two pivotal debates ahead of the May 19 election.

The debate was overshadowed early by tensions between the campaigns of James Comer and Hal Heiner. Chris McDaniel, Comer's running mate, attacked Heiner running mate KC Crosbie for her and her husband's contact with a blogger that has accused Comer of committing a crime while in college. The allegation is unproven and Comer has denied it. McDaniel took the contact personally, noting that the same blogger has made threatening comments online toward his children in the past.

Kevin Willis

Kentucky's two U.S. senators have introduced legislation they say will level the playing field for American bourbon and whiskey producers.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office said in a news release Monday that unlike most other spirits, bourbon and whiskey producers must capitalize interest expense that's incurred to finance inventories and it isn't deductible until the product is sold, as long as 23 years after the liquor is aged. The release said in the U.K., spirit producers may deduct interest the year it's capitalized.

McConnell and Sen. rand Paul on Monday introduced a bill that would allow American bourbon and whiskey makers to deduct interest associated with production in the year it's paid.

McConnell said more than 15,000 jobs in Kentucky are related to the bourbon industry, which produces billions of dollars for the state's economy.

Kevin Willis

President Barack Obama has declared a major disaster in parts of Kentucky affected by severe winter storms.

The White House said the disaster declaration was signed Thursday, ordering federal aid to help state and local recovery efforts in areas affected by snowstorms, flooding, landslides and mudslides earlier this year.

Three of Kentucky's top Republican lawmakers sent a letter to Obama earlier Thursday urging him to approve Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear's request for federal funds to help clean up from the storms.

U.S. Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul along with U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers sent the letter saying counties throughout the state suffered extensive damage.

Beshear requested the disaster declaration on April 16. It took several weeks for state officials to do all of the work to submit the request, the result of new procedures implemented by FEMA.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says there will be lane closures on Interstate 65 in northern Hardin County during the next couple of weeks.

The northbound lanes will be affected starting Sunday night, with the inside and center lanes closed at 7 p.m. for concrete repairs between mile points 102 and 104 near the Bullitt County line. The work should be finished Friday, depending on weather.

Southbound lanes will be reduced to one lane between mile points 104 and 102 beginning at 7 p.m. May 10, also for concrete repairs. That work is expected to be finished May 13 if weather is clear.

The cabinet advises reducing speed and preparing for slow or stopped traffic when approaching the work zones. Expect delays during peak hours, and consider alternate routes.

The judge whose ruling striking down Kentucky's ban on gay marriage led to an appeal heard this week in the U.S. Supreme Court, has died. He was 66.

WAVE-TV and The Courier-Journal, citing an announcement from the court, are reporting that U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II died Wednesday at home after battling cancer for several years.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement saying Heyburn had delivered opinions in complex cases over more than two decades on the bench but would also be remembered for his devotion to his family.

Last year, Heyburn struck down Kentucky's ban on gay marriage and on recognizing same-sex marriages from outside the state. The rulings were reversed on appeal, but the Supreme Court heard arguments on them Tuesday.

James Comer leads all Republican candidates for governor with more than $800,000 raised from individual donors in the first four months of 2015.

But the state agriculture commissioner has been outspent nearly 3 to 1 by Hal Heiner, the former Louisville Metro councilman who loaned his campaign more than $4 million last summer. Louisville businessman Matt Bevin has also been a big spender, loaning his campaign $1.25 million after filing for office in January and spending more than $1 million, mostly on TV commercials.

Former state Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott's report was not available.

Both Comer and Heiner have more than $1 million in the bank less than a month before the primary. Bevin has just over $286,000. The candidates are scheduled to appear together at the Rotary Club of Louisville on Thursday.

Pages