Jack Conway

Kentucky Reaches Settlement With Tobacco Companies

Jun 12, 2014

Tobacco companies have agreed to give Kentucky more than $110 million to settle a 10-year legal battle over the state's share of the tobacco master settlement agreement.

In 1998, U.S. tobacco companies agreed to pay $229 billion to 52 states and territories over many years to compensate for the costs of treating smoking-related illnesses. Kentucky had to tax tobacco companies that did not participate in the agreement.

The big tobacco companies accused Kentucky of not collecting all of those taxes. As a result, they withheld some of Kentucky's annual payments. State officials and tobacco companies have been fighting over those disputed payments since 2003.

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear and Attorney General Jack Conway said the money will go to pay for a range of agricultural and public health programs.

Kentucky Company To Return $7.75 Million To Consumers

May 13, 2014
Thinkstock

A Lexington-based company has been ordered to return $7.75 million in assets to more than 350,000 people who were caught up in what officials say was one of the country's largest pyramid schemes.

The Federal Trade Commission along with attorneys general in Kentucky, Illinois and North Carolina announced the settlement Tuesday with Lexington-based Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing. Officials said the company would charge people $249 for the rights to sell products like satellite TV service and home security systems. Officials said more than 98 percent of the people who paid the fee lost money.
 
Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway called it a classic pyramid scheme. An attorney for Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing did not immediately return a call seeking comment. The Federal Trade Commission is responsible for returning the money to consumers.

Kentucky Dept. of Agriculture

The list of confirmed 2015 Kentucky candidates for governor grew Tuesday, when Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway announced he was running for the office.

He joins Republican and former Louisville Metro Council member Hal Heiner, who announced earlier this year his gubernatorial bid.

Kentucky political observers will now turn their attention on a handful of other potential candidates for governor.

Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo has said he is strongly considering a run for Governor, but only if Democrats hang on to their majority in the state House.

Stumbo was the running mate for gubernatorial candidate Bruce Lundsford in 2007, a ticket that lost the primary to Steve Beshear and Daniel Mongiardo.

Other potential Democratic 2015 candidates include state Auditor Adam Edelen and former U.S. Congressman Ben Chandler, who is currently executive director of the Kentucky Humanities Council.

Former state Auditor Crit Luallen announced last month that she won’t run for governor.

On the Republican side, the most high-profile would-be candidate appears to be Agriculture Commissioner and Monroe County farmer James Comer.

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway officially announced in a video press release on Tuesday his candidacy for governor, adding that he has tapped House Democratic Caucus Chair Rep. Sannie Overly, D-Paris, as his running mate.

“Now is the time to roll up our sleeves and continue to move Kentucky forward, and we begin doing that by building a great team. The strength of this gubernatorial ticket is bolstered by Rep. Sannie Overly’s record of accomplishments.”

Conway has served as the state’s Attorney General since 2008. Overly, a Democrat from Paris, was first elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives in 2008, and in 2013 became the first woman in state history to be elected Caucus Chair by House Democrats.

“As governor, Jack will fight for better jobs, to fix our schools, and to help our families confront the economic struggles they face every day,” Overly said in a statement. “Jack has refused to back down from the toughest fights and he has won. Together, we will work hard to build Kentucky’s future.”

Conway is the first Democrat to announce his candidacy in the 2015 gubernatorial election; former Louisville Metro Councilman Hal Heiner, a Republican, threw his hat into the ring earlier this year. Former Lexington urban-county council member K.C. Crosbie is Heiner's running mate.

Democrat Luallen Won't Run For Kentucky Governor in 2015

Apr 24, 2014
Courtesy

Former Kentucky state auditor Crit Luallen says she will not run for governor in 2015.

Luallen has been mentioned as a possible Democratic contender as Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear finishes his second term.

In a written statement, Luallen said Thursday she is passionate about Kentucky's future but decided not to run because it was the best decision for her family.

Luallen's decision could open the door for Attorney General Jack Conway, a Luallen ally, to seek the Democratic nomination. Current state Auditor Adam Edelen is also considering running for governor. Republican Hal Heiner is the only person to officially announce as a candidate.

Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo has asked Democrats to delay their candidacies until after the November elections, in which Alison Lundergan Grimes is running for U.S. Senate and Democrats are trying to keep control of the state House of Representatives.

After years of complaints and calls for investigations from consumers, Kentucky's fluctuating gas prices are now being investigated in Washington. The Federal Trade Commission is looking into the state's single supply of gasoline, a monopoly by Marathon Oil.

Spokeswoman Alison Martin says Attorney General Jack Conway and Governor Beshear had a study done on the impact of artificially high prices on Kentucky consumers and have turned its data over to the FTC. The Commission originally declined to look into the situation but that changed with the appointment of a new chair, Edith Ramirez, earlier this year.

Martin says despite public outcry the last several years, the state's regular sudden price hikes don't qualify as actual "price gouging" that could be acted on during a statewide emergency.

Six universities in Kentucky may now begin growing legal hemp this year. Agriculture Commissioner James Comer told Kentucky Public Radio his office has received the go-ahead from the Attorney General's office to begin pilot projects with the plant.

Those projects were made possible by last year's state legislation providing a regulatory framework and a provision inserted in a recent federal farm bill. Comer says his office will begin immediately to finalize regulations concerning the growth and production of hemp.

Drug Settlement Money to Fund Addiction Treatment

Jan 6, 2014
Recovery Kentucky

A multi-million dollar settlement between Kentucky and two pharmaceutical companies will fund a variety of drug treatment efforts.

Attorney General Jack Conway’s office announced Monday that over $32 million in settlement money will go toward expanding drug treatment centers, treatment scholarships and juvenile drug services.

The Substance Abuse treatment Advisory Committee will oversee the disbursement of the funds. It was created by Gov. Steve Beshear, and will be chaired by Conway.

The efforts are a response to the growing heroin abuse problem in Kentucky, which is the target of bipartisan legislation introduced in the General Assembly that could charge dealers with homicide in the event of an overdose death.

In 2012, heroin overdose deaths in Kentucky rose by 550 percent.

Hemp Proponents Take Their Case to Nation's Capital

Nov 18, 2013

Hemp supporters will rally in Washington D.C. Monday.

Members of Vote Hemp and other groups are descending on the nation’s capital for Hemp Lobby Day to convince Congress to lift a federal ban on the plant for industrial use.

Earlier this year Kentucky lawmakers approved the research and cultivation of hemp, but it has yet to be implemented because the federal government still considers the crop a controlled substance.

The dilemma has pitted two potential gubernatorial candidates against one another: Hemp supporter and state Agricultural Commissioner James Comer, and Attorney General Jack Conway. Conway issued an opinion in September stating that under the federal ban, hemp remains illegal in the state.

“Sometimes it’s my job to say what the law is, not what I want the law to be," said the Attorney General. "I support industrial hemp, I think we can make it work. If it can create jobs, great. Now, is it the panacea for all of Kentucky’s agricultural woes? I don’t know.”

Kentucky's Attorney General continues to say he's strongly considering a run for governor.

Democrat Jack Conway was in south-central Kentucky Wednesday, addressing students and civic groups about issues including the state's prescription drug abuse problems.

After a speech to the Noon Rotary Club in Bowling Green, Conway told reporters there are other races that deserve the spotlight ahead of the 2015 gubernatorial election.

"With the Alison Lundergan Grimes campaign underway, they deserve a few quarters under their belt before a governor's race lands on top of them," Conway said. "But I would think that by the spring of next year, whoever's running for governor ought to be starting a fundraising operation to put together the resources necessary."

Grimes is challenging Republican Senator Mitch McConnell in next year's much-talked-about Kentucky Senate race. Conway told his Bowling Green audience that coal will continue to be an important source of energy for the region, and that the state must continue to step up its fight against prescription pill abuse.

Attorney General Jack Conway is advising Kentucky leaders that industrial hemp farming remains illegal in the commonwealth.

Conway issued an advisory letter on Wednesday to Gov. Steve Beshear, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and others to clarify current law related to hemp. The letter appears to deflate hopes of hemp farming proponents who have said they'd like to begin planting next year.

Kentucky lawmakers have passed legislation that would allow farmers to grow the crop if the federal government ever lifts a longstanding ban. But Attorney General Conway said that ban remains firmly in place.

The state agriculture department recently issued a news release saying it was instructed by the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission to begin drawing up regulations for hemp farming in the commonwealth. That came on the heels of comments by Justice Department officials that the federal government had no intention of prosecuting hemp farmers.

Kentucky Attorney General Wants T-Shirts Pulled

Sep 6, 2013

Calling it a "cynical effort" to profit from people who have died from drug abuse, top officials in three states have asked a boutique fashion company to cease selling T-shirts that feature the names of well-known prescription drugs.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi along with the attorneys general of Kentucky and Maine this week sent a letter to Kitson Inc. criticizing the company for selling sport jersey type shirts with the drug names Vicodin, Xanax and Adderall written on the back.

An email to the company — which sells items online and at stores in California — was not immediately returned.

But in a statement posted on the company's Facebook page following a discussion about the shirts on NBC, Kitson contends that the T-shirts are helping create a dialogue about drug abuse.

Kentucky AG Won't Get Involved in Same-Sex Privilege Case

Aug 16, 2013
Creative Commons

Kentucky's attorney general is staying out of a dispute on whether a law exempting spouses from testifying against each other applies to same-sex couples.

A judge in Louisville was told by a local prosecutor Friday that Attorney General Jack Conway's office doesn't intend to weigh in on the matter.

Conway's office says the state is adequately represented by the local prosecutor.

The dispute has arisen in the case of Bobbie Joe Clary, who is charged with a 2011 murder.

Prosecutors claim her partner, Geneva Case, heard Clary admit to the killing and argue she must testify because Kentucky doesn't recognize same-sex civil unions or marriages.

The couple joined into a civil union in Vermont. Defense attorneys say that denying them the same marital rights as others would violate the Constitution.

Two of Kentucky's elected leaders are joining their peers in asking a national clothing retailer to stop selling questionable pint and shot glasses.

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers of Somerset are asking retailer Urban Outfitters to stop selling an array of pint glasses, shot glasses and flasks that are made to look like prescription pill bottles.

The two men have consistently fought for laws to reduce Kentucky's prescription pill epidemic on both the state and federal levels.

In a news release, Conway said the fact that the retailer, which is known for selling ", is encouraging the mixture of alcohol and pills by their branding is even more disturbing.

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway says there is “a good chance” he will run for governor in 2015. Conway has often been mentioned as a possible Democratic candidate to take over the governor’s mansion from two-term incumbent Steve Beshear.

In an interview this week with the editorial board of The Courier-Journal, the 43-year-old Conway also repeated his previous statements that he won’t challenge U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell next year.

Conway, who is finishing his second term as Attorney General, said he won’t “defer to anybody” when making a decision whether or not to run for governor. Other Democrats who have expressed interest in the gubernatorial contest are former state Auditor Crit Luallen, current auditor Adam Edelen, Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson, and former Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo.

On the GOP side, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and Second District Congressman Brett Guthrie have often been mentioned as possible candidates.

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