Despite a short legislative session that’s expected to focus on pension reforms, Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday says lawmakers may consider some key education measures, too.
“I think you’re going to see a number of possible bills coming out following up from the Newtown incident.”
Holliday says lawmakers may also be interested in increasing funding for Kentucky’s Center for School Safety, which saw dramatic cuts to its budget in 2009.
He also expects the General Assembly to take up legislation that would allow the education department to move forward with reforming its teacher evaluation system. The new system would likely measure teacher performance based partly on student test scores, which has been controversial among some in education.
As of the end of November, Kentucky had added 35,000 new jobs in 2012. Companies operating in Kentucky are cautiously hiring more workers as the state comes out of the recession.
Kentucky’s unemployment rate this year dropped below nine percent for the first time in three years. Office of Employment and Training economist Manoj Shanker says many industries, including the manufacturing sector, are hiring employees on temporary contracts.
“They’re not sure how real and how strong the recovery is," explains Shanker. "In the case of Toyota, for example, they sell to our domestic market, but they also sell to South Korea and Canada. So they have to look to see what the market is like out there. Are they going to be hit by what’s happening in east Asia and Europe?”
A state lawmaker would like to see Kentucky's regional universities "fast track" their degree programs to save students money and get them into the labor force more quickly. Republican Senator Jared Carpenter of Berea says students are piling up debt and taking some courses that really aren't necessary.
If the Army’s 101st Airborne Division Commander knows what impact the upcoming “fiscal cliff” will have on the unit, he’s not saying. Major General James McConville leads the 24,000 soldiers in the 101st based at Fort Campbell. McConville says he doesn’t want to find out what the automatic defense cuts required by the 2011 Budget Control Act will mean for his soldiers.
Kentucky Sheriffs' Association Executive Director Jerry Wagner says his group hasn't decided on supporting or opposing legalizing industrial hemp. Wagner and other members of the KSA board met with Agriculture Commissioner James Comer Thursday in Frankfort for more information on the subject.
Construction of a new veterans nursing home in central Kentucky could start early next year. Veterans Affairs Commissioner Ken Lucas says bids for the 120-bed facility in Radcliff will be opened in January.
Public schools across Kentucky will be scored on a scale of 1-100 under the new Unbridled Learning Accountability data to be released on Friday. The top 90 percent of schools will be labeled Distinguished; Proficient for schools in the 70-89th percentile, and Needs Improvement for the remaining schools.
The Governor's Commission on Tax Reform will likely miss a November 15th deadline. Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson chairs the panel and says progress is being made, but more discussion is needed to finalize a report.
Even before the full impact of Hurricane Sandy is known, some Kentucky volunteers are on their way to lend a hand. The Bluegrass Chapter of the Red Cross has sent out six trained responders. Two of them are helping out in New York, one in New Jersey, and two others are being positioned in West Virginia.