Thursday, February 17, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...2-18-'11
- Leslie County Deputies responded to a shots fired call at a home on Glady Branch Road in the Stinnet community Thursday morning, where they found a meth lab. Paige Murphy faces manufacturing methamphetamine and possession charges. Ronnie Smith faces a list of drug charges, along with charges of fleeing and evading police, operating a motor vehicle under the influence, and theft by unlawful taking.
- Operation UNITE officials say, in October 2009, they raided the home of former Magoffin County Elementary School principal Darrell Patrick. where they found drugs and more than 100 guns. Patrick has been indicted on federal drug charges. The indictment says, from August to October, 2009, Patrick distributed OxyCodone. Patrick has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and a trial is scheduled for April. Patrick is not allowed to travel outside of eastern Kentucky.
- David A. McHenry 56, of Massillon Ohio died following an accident on Interstate 75 in Whitley County after his semi ran off the interstate, hit some trees, and overturned near Williamsburg just after 4:00 A.M. Thursday morning. The tractor trailer was owned by LoriMar Materials Management of Massillon Ohio. Whitley County coroner Andy Croley pronounced McHenry dead at the scene.
- State lawmakers criticized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Thursday as two legislative panels approved different measures to shield Kentucky coal mining from federal pollution rules. Representative Keith Hall, D-Phelps, who is in the coal-mining business and owns 1,200 acres, says he hopes the issue goes to the Supreme Court. House Natural Resources and Environment Chairman Jim Gooch, D-Providence, says lawmakers are trying to say to the EPA that we don't want them having ultimate say or control. Gooch's committee unanimously approved his House Bill 421, which would exempt coal mining from the federal Clean Water Act and other EPA regulation if the coal is used inside Kentucky and does not cross state lines. The Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee later unanimously approved Senate Joint Resolution 99, which declares that Kentucky should be a "sanctuary state" for the coal industry, free from "the overreaching regulatory power" of the EPA. The state Energy and Environment Cabinet would be authorized to regulate mining on their own.
- The House Health and Welfare Committee unanimously passed a bill Thursday that would create a panel to review deaths and near-deaths of children who are neglected or abused while under the supervision of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. The bill, however, would exempt the panel from disclosing its conversations and documents regarding neglected and abused children. Representative Tom Burch, D-Louisville, who sponsored the bill, said the panel would increase transparency of child deaths and provide more oversight of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
- Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour spoke privately to a group of Kentucky coal executives meeting in Lexington Thursday. Barbour criticized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for being "out of hand" in its approach to regulating coal, saying the EPA under the Obama administration is imposing strict environmental standards that mining companies can't possibly meet. He says it's a deliberate way to try to halt coal mining, which would be catastrophic for Appalachian America. Barbour was the first candidate pondering a run in next year's presidential race to reach out to Kentucky's coal operators who have the financial resources to help bankroll politicians friendly to their industry.
- Three eastern Kentucky residents have been indicted on charges of vote buying stemming from last November's election in Magoffin County. Fifty-four year old Randall E. Salyer, 43 year old Patricia L. Trusty and 43 year old Donald Trusty, all from Salyersville, were indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury in Ashland. They are accused of paying several people for votes in November. Salyer is charged with four counts of vote buying, Donald Trusty with two counts and Patricia Trusty with one count.
- Legislation sailed through the Kentucky House on a 97-2 vote Thursday that's aimed at reversing the rapid growth in the state’s prison population by steering more offenders into drug treatment and alternative sentences. The bill proposes some of the biggest changes to Kentucky’s penal code in decades, and its supporters say it will ease the state’s escalating corrections costs. They say the measure could reap $422 million in savings over a decade. About half that amount would be put into boosting treatment programs and strengthening probation and parole. Kentucky Chief Justice John D. Minton and Justice Secretary J. Michael Brown hailed the House vote and congratulated Democratic Representative John Tilley, who shepherded the bill through the House.
- The Kentucky House has advanced legislation aimed at protecting older people and vulnerable adults by creating an adult abuse registry. The bill, sponsored by Democratic Representative Ruth Ann Palumbo of Lexington, is one of several being considered to boost protections for some of Kentucky's most vulnerable citizens. The measure that won 98-0 House passage on Thursday would create a tracking system for people found to have abused or neglected the elderly or disabled. Personal care employers would have access to the information, as would families seeking to hire home care workers.
- A controversial bill that would require random drug testing of those who receive Medicaid and other forms of public assistance, including food stamps, was debated Thursday by the House Health and Welfare Committee, which did not vote on House Bill 208 despite motions to do so. Committee Chairman Tom Burch, D-Louisville, said the bill would not be voted on because there was no money to pay for drug testing or the rehabilitation of addicts. Burch said, if the bill was approved, it would be a fraud on the people of Kentucky. Republican Representative Lonnie Napier of Lancaster, the sponsor of the bill, said the cabinet estimates it could cost about $1.5 million a year to implement the random drug testing. But Napier said getting people to stop using drugs would probably result in those people getting jobs and getting off the welfare rolls. People who test positive for drugs would be given 60 days to go to rehabilitation or seek treatment. During that period, their public assistance would not be terminated. Only after repeated positive drug tests would public assistance be terminated.
- Four measures that would strengthen the state's abortion laws died in the House Health and Welfare Committee on Thursday, while Democrats voted against the bills and Republicans voted in favor of them. Anti-abortion advocates say the Democratic-controlled House is not giving the abortion bills, which traditionally pass the Republican-controlled Senate and die in the House, a fair hearing. House Bill 374 would have required a person seeking an abortion to have a face-to-face meeting with a doctor. House Bill 243 would have stopped a minor from another state from petitioning a court to receive an abortion if they do not have the permission of a parent.
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