Associated Press

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.


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."

The number of Kentucky hospitalizations for drug-dependent newborns has continued to skyrocket.

The number of hospitalizations for drug-dependent newborns in the state rose 48 percent last year, compared to 2013.

Those 1,409 hospitalizations last year represent a 50-fold increase from just 28 hospitalizations in 2000.

According to a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine, admissions of drug-dependent babies to U.S. hospitals nearly quadrupled from 2004 through 2013.

Dr. Veeral Tolia, a Texas doctor and lead author of the journal article, says the surge is a result of a recent national opioid abuse crisis.

Researchers say more pregnant women are being prescribed painkillers, which both raises the risk of having a drug-dependent baby and can sometimes lead to abuse and addiction.

The Supreme Court has declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States.

Gay and lesbian couples already can marry in 36 states and the District of Columbia. The court's ruling on Friday means the remaining 14 states in the South and Midwest, including Kentucky and Tennessee, will have to stop enforcing their bans on same-sex marriage.

The outcome is the culmination of two decades of Supreme Court litigation over marriage, and gay rights generally.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, just as he did in the court's previous three major gay rights cases dating back to 1996.

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. [The petitioners] ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right,” Kennedy wrote.

As expected, Kennedy was joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan. Chief Justice John Roberts, considered a wild card in the case, wrote a dissent joined by Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito, who each filed dissents of their own.

“If you are among the many Americans—of whatever sexual orientation—who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not Celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it,” Roberts said, making the rare decision to read part of his opinion from the bench.

The case, Obergefell v. Hodges, was named for lead plaintiff Jim Obergefell, an Ohio man who sued the state because it wouldn’t list him as a surviving spouse on his husband’s death certificate. The two had been married in Maryland before his husband, John, died of ALS. (Hodges is the director of the Ohio Department of Health.)

The combined case also included plaintiffs from three other states that don’t currently recognize same-sex marriages: Kentucky, Michigan, and Tennessee.

The Court is still due to announce rulings on mandatory minimums for violent gun offenders, power plant pollution, lethal injection drugs, and gerrymandering.