Associated Press

Legislation that would give parents the option to move a child from a failing public school to a private school is scheduled for a vote on the Senate floor Thursday.

The proposal is sponsored by Republican Sen. Todd Gardenhire of Chattanooga.

It's similar to a measure Republican Gov. Bill Haslam proposed last year that failed. The governor also failed to pass voucher legislation in the previous session.

Under Gardenhire's proposal, eligibility would be opened to low-income students in districts that have a school in the bottom 5 percent.

Haslam's proposal was approved in the Senate last year, but the House version was unsuccessful because it sought to expand eligibility to the bottom 10 percent of schools.

Opponents of vouchers say the money should stay with public schools and improve them.

The three Kentucky hospitals that treat the most heroin overdoses are getting reversal kits to hand out to patients.

The kits will go to University Hospital in Louisville, the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, and St. Elizabeth Hospital in northern Kentucky.

The kits contain naloxone, which can restart breathing in people who have overdosed.

The initiative to hand out 2,000 kits was announced Tuesday by first lady Jane Beshear and Attorney General Jack Conway.

Taxpayers will spend money to keep heroin dealers in prison longer and to give addicts a steady supply of clean needles under a bill that has passed the state legislature designed to curb Kentucky's alarming increase of overdose deaths.

The bill passed late Tuesday and is the result of more three years of negotiations between Democrats and Republicans who had deep philosophical differences about how to treat addicts and the criminal penalties that should be imposed on them and their dealers.

Lawmakers agreed to let local governments set up needle-exchange programs where addicts can swap dirty needles for clean ones in an effort to prevent disease and death. And it toughens penalties for some heroin dealers, requiring them to serve at least 50 percent of their sentence.

Gov. Steve Beshear is expected to sign the bill.

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House Republicans are targeting a key element of President Barack Obama's strategy for fighting climate change, this time with a bill to delay the Obama administration's plan to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants.

Rep. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky unveiled a draft bill Monday that would allow governors to veto compliance with the federal rule if the governor determines it would cause significant hikes for electricity or harm reliability in the state.

The bill also would delay the Environmental Protection Agency's climate rule until all court challenges are completed.

The measure does not block the EPA rule outright, as previous GOP bills have intended, but Whitfield said he is confident the measure would protect states and consumers. Whitfield chairs the House Energy panel's energy and power subcommittee.

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Nissan Motor Co. is building a new $160 million supplier park at its Tennessee assembly plant in Smyrna that the Japanese automaker says will lead to the creation of more than 1,000 jobs.

Nissan North America Chairman Jose Munoz on Tuesday called the supplier park a key component in the company's drive toward capturing 10 percent of the U.S. market share.

Nissan's plans call for the new 1.5 million-square-foot logistics center to be built in phases starting next year and completed by the end of 2017.

More than 8,400 people work at the Nissan plant that built 648,000 vehicles last year, making it the highest-producing plant in North America. The plant, which opened in 1983, makes the Altima, Maxima, Leaf, Rogue, Pathfinder and Infiniti QX60.

Sen. Rand Paul's advisers are preparing to launch a White House bid on April 7.

A senior Paul adviser said Tuesday the Kentucky Republican is set to make his presidential ambitions official in Louisville, Kentucky. He then is expected to visit early nominating states such as Iowa and New Hampshire.

The adviser demanded anonymity to speak ahead of Paul's public announcement. The adviser adds that Paul could still pull the plug on a campaign, although that is not expected to happen.

Paul's team has booked an event at Louisville's Galt House hotel. His supporters have also received invitations to that site.

Details of the kick-off event were first reported by The Lexington Herald-Leader.

The University of Kentucky's board of trustees has approved a 3 percent increase for in-state students this fall.

The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education is expected to vote on the proposal next month. The in-state undergraduate increase would bring first-year tuition to $10,780.

Tuition for non-resident students would increase 6 percent.

UK said in a news release that housing rates will increase by 3 percent. Dining rates will increase for most plans from 2.4 percent to 3.6 percent.

The council last year approved allowing Kentucky universities to increase tuition by up to 8 percent over two years. UK approved a 5 percent increase last year.

Kentucky LRC

A refurbishing project for the House and Senate chambers at the Kentucky Capitol is set to start soon.

Plans call for refinishing the desks of all 138 legislators, new carpet, plaster repair work, new paint and updated electrical equipment.

Work on the $800,000 project is set to begin after the current legislative session ends on March 24 and should be complete in November.

David Buchta, who is the state curator and director of the state historic properties division in the Finance and Administration Cabinet, says the chambers haven't been restored in more than a half-century.

The division maintains historic properties owned by the cabinet including the Capitol.

Buchta says refinishing the desks, which have been in place since 1909, accounts for more than half the project's cost.

A federal report says raising the legal age to buy tobacco products to higher than 18 would likely prevent premature death for hundreds of thousands of people.

The report issued Thursday by the Institute of Medicine was commissioned by the Food and Drug Administration and mandated by a 2009 law that gave it authority to regulate tobacco.

The law set the federal minimum age at 18. Congress would have to act to raise it nationally.

Most states currently have set the age at 18. Four set the age at 19 and several localities, including New York City, have raised the minimum to 21.

The report looks at the impact of increasing the age to 19, 21 or 25, but it does not make any recommendations.

A winter storm has dumped more than a foot of snow on the state capital, knocking out power at the statehouse and cancelling the legislative session.

According to an email, Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Republican Senate President Robert Stivers made the decision early Thursday morning. Frankfort officials have reported snowfall of as much as 14 inches.

The cancellation comes at a crucial time for lawmakers, with just five scheduled work days left in the 2015 session. Several key bills are pending, including measures to address the state's heroin epidemic and make Kentucky the last state in the country to offer some sort of civil protections for abusive dating relationships.

A spokesman for Stivers says the two leaders will talk later Thursday about the possibility of adjusting the schedule.

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