Kentucky’s gay marriage case will go before a GOP-leaning panel next month. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati is made up of two Republican appointees and one Democratic.
Appellate judges Jeffrey Sutton and Deborah Cook were appointed by President George W. Bush. The Courier-Journal reports Sutton’s nomination was adamantly opposed by liberal groups. In March, he wrote in Harvard Law Review “Count me as a skeptic when it comes to the idea that this day and age suffers from a shortage of constitutional rights.”
The other judge considering Kentucky’s case is Martha Craig Daughtrey, appointed by President Bill Clinton.
Legal experts are quick to note that district judges from both parties have struck down gay marriage bans. And Sutton, whose nomination was so fiercely opposed by liberals, wrote the first federal appeals court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act.
Lawyers for Governor Beshear are asking the appeals court to reverse rulings from U.S. District Judge John Heyburn that Kentucky must recognize out-of-state gay marriages and allow them to be performed in Kentucky.
The same panel on August 6 will take up similar cases from Tennessee, Ohio, and Michigan.
Soldiers from two 101st Airborne Division Brigades from Fort Campbell and from the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, will deploy to Afghanistan. The deployment will include about 3,600 personnel.
The Defense Department said the deployment involves about 1,000 soldiers from the 1st Brigade and about 900 from the 3rd Brigade from Fort Campbell and about 1,725 from the 82nd Airborne Division.
The military said the deployments are to take place in the fall.
The mayor of Murray says even before Wednesday morning’s downtown fire, the city was working to define its role in maintaining buildings there. The fire damaged three businesses and prompted temporary closures of many others; no one was injured.
Mayor Bill Wells says city government does play a role downtown but a September meeting with the Kentucky League of Cities will better define how it can work with property owners within state laws.
“Anytime that you have a building that has structural damage, whether it’s age or fire or whatever it may be it’s a concern. But more than just being a concern it’s gotta make sure the citizens and the owners of those buildings are in a safe situation," said Wells. "And so far, I guess I should knock on wood, that’s been the case.”
Wednesday morning’s fire was the third major structural problem to downtown Murray buildings in the last three months. Previous incidents included a collapsed building and partial roof collapse of another.
One of Kentucky’s most respected demographers says the aging population in our nation will have a huge impact on the types of jobs available in the future.
Ron Crouch is Director of Research and Statistics with the state’s Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. Speaking to the Bowling Green Noon Rotary Club Wednesday, Crouch said the aging baby boomer population means health care will continue to be a major growth industry. But he added those jobs go beyond doctors, nurses, and physical therapists.
“Even in health care, you need your janitors, your maintenance men, your computer operators. There’s a lot of jobs in the health care industry that are actually not healthcare training jobs, but that will be in healthcare facilities.”
Crouch says Census data show the number of Kentuckians over the age of 80 in 2010 was more than double what it was in 1980. He points out that the number of health care jobs in Warren County alone grew by more than 33 percent over a ten-year period beginning in 2001.
Kentucky has awarded a $10 million dollar contract to a Missouri company to reconstruct the Breathitt-Pennyrile Parkway/Kentucky 56 interchange near Sebree. The upgrade, to be completed by Dumey Contracting, will help bring the parkway up to interstate highway standards as the state continues work on completing the I-69 corridor.
“This is another important step toward completion of I-69 in western Kentucky,” Gov. Steve Beshear said in a written statement. “An additional interstate route means additional opportunity for economic development in western Kentucky and, indeed, throughout the Commonwealth. And the improvements being made in the I-69 corridor will result in safer, more efficient travel through the region.”
Work is expected to be complete on the Kentucky 56 interchange by October, 2015. After that, Governor Steve Beshear’s office says, the only interchange left to upgrade on the Pennyrile will be at Morton’s Gap.
Fifty-five miles of highway in western Kentucky currently feature the I-69 shield.
The city of Glasgow is receiving federal funding to improve transportation options in part of the community. The Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) is providing $776,815 to expand residential sidewalks and the city’s shared-use path in the Carnation Drive neighborhood.
The goal is to increase the opportunities for residents to walk or bike to grocery stores, parks, and businesses. A proposed pedestrian bridge would link the neighborhood to the South Fork Creek Path, providing a direct connection to the west that’s currently unobtainable because of the wide span of the creek.
Glasgow Mayor Rhonda Trautman says many details still need to be worked out.
“We’re in the initial phase,” Trautman said. “We’ll have a design phase to complete, and then we’ll get items and services procured. It won't be quick, because federal money has a lot of rules and regulations. I’m hoping by late fall we’ll have our plan ready to go.”
TAP provides funding for communities that is used for transportation improvements, such as pedestrian and biking pathways, scenic routes, and beautification. The city of Glasgow is expected to commit $194,204 in local funding toward the project.
Federal, state and local officials are praising the U.S. Department of Energy’s awarding a three-year $420 million clean-up contract to Fluor Federal Services, for decommissioning and decontamination of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant.
An escaped inmate has been arrested and three other people have been charged with assisting him in Daviess County.
Kentucky State Police says tips led them to Troy Lyons at a home in Owensboro Tuesday. Police say Lyons walked away from custody in Hopkinsville on July 19th. Troopers also charged Sara Lyons, Dawn Fulkerson and Eric Fulkerson with hindering prosecution or apprehension on Tuesday.
Amid a $91 million state revenue shortfall, the Kentucky legislature’s Government Contract Review Committee approved $1.3 billion worth of contracts this month. Outgoing Republican Sen. Sara Beth Gregory is a co-chair of the committee. She says the high dollar figure comes at the beginning of a new fiscal year, when large numbers of contracts are typically renewed -- about 1,700 contracts in July alone.
But Gregory says that there are still contracts that creep into the committee that warrant more scrutiny from the public and the media.
“It is somewhat surprising how much is overseen by this committee and how much comes before this committee or has the potential to come before this committee with relatively little press coverage,” said Gregory.
Gregory says the committee’s decisions can be overruled by the secretary of the finance cabinet, and that the best they can do is try to draw attention to contracts that award more money than they should.
The Legislative Ethics Commission reports that despite a reduction in contracts for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, the amount swelled to $3.4 billion from 2007 to 2011.