Thursday, February 10, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...2-11-'11
- Legislation championed by Kentucky first lady Jane Beshear that would gradually raise the school dropout age won overwhelming approval Thursday as the measure sailed through the House on a 91-8 vote. The legislation would increase the minimum age for quitting school to 17 in 2015 and 18 in 2016 in a state where about 6,000 students dropped out in 2009. Currently, Kentucky students can drop out of school at age 16.
- At a public hearing held at the Jenny Wiley State Park in Floyd County, MSHA officials listened to what eastern Kentuckians think of a proposed coal dust rule change designed to end black lung disease. MSHA says black lung has killed more than 10-thousand miners over the past decade, and now young miners are getting the disease. MSHA is proposing lowering the respirable coal mine dust limit from two milligrams per cubic meter of air to one milligram. The proposed rule would also require personal dust monitors and expanded medical surveillance. MSHA is taking written comments through May 2nd and is holding another public meeting on Tuesday in Arlington, Virginia.
- Kentucky State Police found 42 year old Lisa Rogers of Mount Sterling dead in the back seat of a car a trooper stopped for weaving Tuesday on Interstate 75 after traveling north through Richmond. Several drivers called about a car being driven erratically. Trooper Chris Lanham says the three people in the car had gone to Florida and obtained prescription medication from pain management clinics. Police believe Rogers died of a drug overdose. A toxicology report is pending. The driver of the car faces drug and weapon charges. A male passenger was charged with not reporting a death.
- Volunteers joined the family of 26 year old Jerry Rowe Jr., a missing Magoffin County man, in their search Thursday. Rowe was last seen on January 28th in Royalton. Over the weekend, the Magoffin County rescue squad searched a pond there. They used a camera, but visibility was so poor they dragged the pond instead. They did not find anything. The family organized a search Thursday at the Old Salyer Elementary building parking lot off Route 7.
- Kentucky State Police have arrested eight people as the result of a six month investigation into alleged drug trafficking in Knox County. Seized during the arrests was over 20 pounds of processed marijuana at a street value of $39,000 as well as $28,163 in cash and two vehicles. Police say the suspects involved in the alleged drug ring targeted area high schools for their illegal drug sales.
Albert D. Davis, age 53 of Corbin, charged with Engaging in Organized Criminal Syndicate, Trafficking Marijuana Over 5 pounds.
Mark C. Martin, age 46 of Gray, charged with Engaging in Organized Criminal Syndicate, 2 counts Trafficking Marijuana Over 8 ounces, Trafficking in Marijuana less than 8 ounces, Trafficking in Controlled Substance.
Tim Wayne Brock, age 54 of Pineville, charged with Engaging in Organized Criminal Syndicate, Trafficking Marijuana Over 8 ounces.
Damon D. Williams, age 46 of Gray, charged with Engaging in Organized Criminal Syndicate, Trafficking Marijuana Over 5 pounds.
Jonathan Martin, age 19 of Corbin, charged with Engaging in Organized Criminal Syndicate, Trafficking Marijuana less than 8 ounces.
Brandon Smith, age 18 of Corbin, charged with Trafficking Marijuana less than 8 ounces.
Michael Woody, age 20 of Corbin, charged with Trafficking Marijuana less than 8 ounces.
Tonya Honeycutt, age 25 of Corbin, charged with Trafficking Marijuana less than 8 ounces.
- Some schools in southeastern Kentucky were closed Thursday and will remain closed Friday because of illness. Whitley County Schools have about 1,200 kids out sick with the flu, and Williamsburg Independent Schools had about 200 out of 800 students out sick. Doctors agree that canceling classe can help stop germs from spreading. The state has widespread flu activity and had about 94 new cases last week.
- A Kentucky lawmaker has offered a compromise in the debate over whether to require people to obtain prescriptions to purchase cold medications that can be used to make crystal meth. Representative David Floyd of Bardstown said Thursday the legislation he filed would allow pharmacists to determine when medications containing pseudoephedrine should be dispensed without a prescription. Floyd says they're seeking a medical solution to a legal problem, not a medical problem. U.S. Representative Hal Rogers says requiring prescriptions for such medications would save lives in Kentucky, a state dealing with an epidemic of illegal drugs. Some say the pending measures would put a hardship on law-abiding Kentuckians, forcing them to pay for doctors' visits to get medications that are currently sold over the counter.
- With Senator Rand Paul and other tea party Republicans bashing his plan to cut federal spending as inadequate, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers said Thursday that he will look for more significant reductions. Rogers, R-5th District, who unveiled $35 billion in cuts from current spending levels on Wednesday, responded to the criticism saying he would aim to cut Obama’s request by $100 million, as promised during last year’s campaign. Paul says Rogers' plan would add $3 trillion to the debt over five years.
- A new engineering report released Thursday by the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Kentucky section, assigned the state a “fair,” or “C,” rating, up slightly from “C-” in 2003. The report says, while school buildings and systems carrying drinking water and disposing of waste are in better shape, Kentucky’s roads and bridges are in “poor” condition and have shown little or no improvement since 2003. Researchers determined that replacing the deficient bridges in Kentucky would cost more than $1.2 billion and bringing those spans up to the national average would require $283 million.
- U.S. District Judge Karl Forester on Thursday ordered the survivors of Bryan Keith Woodward of Louisiana, a victim of the 2006 Comair crash, to divide about $7 million in damages. Dozens of other lawsuits from the crash Blue Grass Airport in Lexington that killed 49 people have already been settled. Flight 5191 crashed after trying to take off from a runway too short for commercial jets.
- The Senate has passed legislation that would allow registered independents to vote in Democratic and Republican primaries. The proposal, championed by Senator Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon, was approved 23-13 on Thursday. Higdon says the legislation, if approved by the House and signed into law by the governor, would allow some 200,000 independent voters to take part in Kentucky’s primary elections. They could only vote for candidates of one party, not switch between the two.
- Governor Steve Beshear's plan to balance the Medicaid budget cleared the House on Thursday by a vote of 80-19. The measure calls for shifting $166.5 million that would have been used next fiscal year to cover this year's costs and to carve out additional savings by contracting with more private firms to provide Medicaid services. Beshear recommended the plan in November, warning that failing to adopt his plan could force $600 million in cuts to Medicaid services.
- Legislation calling for a state constitutional amendment to provide automatic restoration of voting rights for felons who have served their sentences has received a thumbs-up from the Kentucky House, which voted 77-21 on Thursday to pass the legislation. Felons now can have their right to vote restored in Kentucky only by petitioning the governor and getting his approval. Democratic state Representative Jesse Crenshaw of Lexington has been pushing the measure for years in the General Assembly without success.
- A bill to create an outside panel to review child abuse deaths and serious injuries was filed Thursday by Representative Tom Burch, chairman of the House Health and Welfare Committee. He said he filed House Bill 441 to bring more “transparency” to how the Cabinet of Health and Family Services does its job of attempting to protect children from neglect and abuse. But in addition to creating an 11-member, outside panel to be overseen by the state Attorney General’s office, the bill contains language that would shield the cabinet from provisions of current state law that permit it to release information in the event of a child’s death or serious injury from abuse, which is in conformance with federal law.
Links to this post: