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Politics
11:26 am
Tue March 26, 2013

Kentucky House Okays Christian Health Plan

A Christians-only health care plan would be allowed to resume operations in Kentucky under a measure approved by the House on Tuesday.

The House passed the measure 88-8 on Tuesday, sending it back to the Senate for final passage.

The proposal would exempt the Medi-Share ministry from state insurance regulations. A Franklin County circuit judge ordered the ministry to shut down last year at the Kentucky Insurance Department's request. The bill in its current form would require members to sign a notice acknowledging they're aware they may not have their claims paid.

The plan resembles secular insurance in some ways but only allows participation by people who pledge to live Christian lives with no smoking, drinking, using drugs or having sex outside of marriage.

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Regional
11:23 am
Tue March 26, 2013

NWS Confirms Tornado in South Central Kentucky

The National Weather Service says a tornado hit over the weekend in south-central Kentucky.

A statement from the Jackson office says the EF-1 tornado touched down Sunday in the city of Ferguson in Pulaski County. An EF-1 tornado packs winds of up to 100 miles per hour.

Media reported that the twister caused property damage, but no injuries were reported.

According to a statement from the weather service, the tornado traveled about 700 yards, destroying a building, damaging some homes and downing trees in its path.

Politics
2:09 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Potential Deal on Pensions Soon to be Introduced in Kentucky Legislature

Lawmakers have a deal in the works to shore up the financially troubled pension plan for government retirees.
   
House Speaker Greg Stumbo said Monday the proposal will be presented privately to lawmakers and then released publicly.
   
Gov. Steve Beshear is expected to personally present the offer to House Democrats Monday afternoon.
   
Restoring solvency to the pension system, which has a $33 billion unfunded liability, has been divisive for the Republican-controlled Senate and the Democratic-led House that have been working on the issue since the Legislature convened in January.
   
The Senate has been insisting on a 401(k)-like retirement plan for new employees - a move the House opposes. And the House has pushed a plan that would use money from the lottery and horse tracks to generate more money for pensions.

Health
9:40 am
Mon March 25, 2013

Survey: Kentucky Kids Healthier than U.S. Average

New data shows Kentucky children are healthier on average than children across the nation.

Numbers released last week by the Data Resource Center for Child & Adolescent Health show 85.5% of Kentucky children were in very good or excellent health for a period covering 2011-2012. Nationwide, that number was 84.2%.

The percentage of Kentucky children who received preventive dental care came in below the nationwide average, with 75.5%. Nationwide, 77.2% of children received preventive dental health care.

The data also shows that just 41% of Kentucky children live in neighborhoods with a park, sidewalks, a library and a community center. That compares with 54% of children nationwide.

The Data Resource Center gathers data for the National Center for Health Statistics.

2013 General Assembly
9:29 am
Sun March 24, 2013

Lawmakers Return to Frankfort Monday for Two Day Marathon, Plenty of Issues to Tackle

The Kentucky state capitol building in Frankfort
Credit Kentucky LRC

Lawmakers return to the Capitol on Monday with two days remaining to pass legislation intended to shore up Kentucky's pension plans for state and local government retirees.

Restoring solvency to the pension system, which has a $33 billion unfunded liability, has been divisive for the Republican-controlled Senate and the Democratic-led House, which have been working on the issue since the Legislature convened in January.

Rep. Tommy Turner, R-Somerset, said he expects lawmakers to meet until midnight both days.

"The last few days have historically been the busiest," Turner said. "I don't know why, but we always seem to wait until the last days, until time is running out, to get things done."

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Regional
10:43 am
Wed March 20, 2013

Rebuilt Bill Monroe Cabin Opens to the Public

The Uncle Pen Cabin, a replica of the cabin once lived in by bluegrass legend Bill Monroe

James Monroe has rebuilt a log cabin on the site where his father, bluegrass icon Bill Monroe, once lived and plans to open it to the public.

Monroe told the Messenger-Inquirer that the Ohio County cabin is complete and will open on Thursday at noon with festivities that include barbeque and bluegrass music by an assortment of performers.

The two-room cabin is basically a replica of one that belonged to his great uncle, James Pendleton Vandiver, and was made famous in a song by his father called "Uncle Pen." Bill Monroe went to live with his uncle at the age of 16 after his parents died.

James Monroe said the cabin was the last place his father lived in Kentucky, and he thinks bluegrass fans would be interested in seeing it.

Regional
7:19 pm
Sun March 17, 2013

Kentucky Could Be on the Verge of Restarting Executions

Kentucky may find out Monday if the state can resume carrying out death sentences.  A hearing will be held in Frankfort on the state’s request to lift an order barring executions. 

Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd halted all executions in 2010 after finding issues with Kentucky’s three-drug method for lethal injections. Attorney for death row inmates argued the three drugs caused an unnecessary risk of pain.

Earlier this year, the state switched to one or two drugs, depending upon the availability of the drugs. 

Governor Beshear has requests to set execution dates for condemned inmates Robert Foley and Ralph Baze, but the governor has given no indication if or when he will act on those requests should the injunction be lifted.

Kentucky has executed three inmates since the death penalty was re-instated in 1976.  The last was in 2008.

Politics
1:02 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

McConnell Renews Pledge to Repeal Obamacare in Speech to Conservatives

Mitch McConnell used his "Red Tape Tower" as a prop during his CPAC address,
Credit McConnell Senate Office

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is vowing to repeal President Obama’s sweeping health care law.  He spoke Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference. 

Senator McConnell stood next to a seven-foot tower of 20,000 pages of health care rules and regulations.  He called it a “monument to liberalism,” and said Republicans will not back down from the fight.

“Obamacare should be repealed root and branch," exclaimed McConnell.

As McConnell faces re-election next year, political observers are waiting to see if the five-term senator gets a challenge within the GOP from tea party backers. 

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee responded to McConnell’s speech in a statement by Chair Matt Canter.

“Even many conservative Republicans acknowledge that Mitch McConnell is a huge part of the problem in Washington," suggested Canter.

Politics
12:18 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

Western Kentucky Lawmaker Sees Political Redistricting as a Must-Do

House State Government Committee Chairman Brent Yonts says lawmakers need to deal with legislative redistricting this year to avoid chaos heading into next year's elections.

With all 100 House seats and half of the 38 Senate seats up for election in 2014, Yonts said it would be good to have new boundaries drawn sooner rather than later.

The House has passed a redistricting plan. But the Republican-controlled Senate has opted to wait until next year to deal with the issue.

Redistricting is supposed to occur every 10 years to account for population changes found by the U.S. Census Bureau. Lawmakers passed a plan last year only to have it struck down by the Supreme Court.

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Regional
11:09 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Barren County Jail Report Posted Online

A southern Kentucky official has posted records from a jail investigation online.

The move comes after the Glasgow Daily Times won a months-long battle in Barren Circuit Court over access to the records. The case began when the newspaper filed an open records request last year with Barren Fiscal Court. The court ruled in February that the county had to hand over an unredacted copy of the report, which was produced by a private investigator for the Fiscal Court at a cost of $3,500.

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