Friday, February 18, 2011
EKB Capsule News,,,Kentucky...2-19-'11
- U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers (KY-05) has called on Florida Governor Rick Scott to reconsider his proposal to repeal Florida’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. In a letter to Governor Scott, Rogers, co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse, noted that Florida is ground zero for black market painkillers that continue to be abused while continuing to lead to overdoses while feeding illegal habits across the country. Rogers told Scott that now is no time to shy away from the immense challenge of shutting down the pill pipeline. Rogers says he awaits the visit from White House Drug Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske, which will provide him the opportunity to bring to the national spotlight the lawlessness and hopelessness that can result from pills diverted along the "Flamingo Road" and to highlight the impressive strides to attack this multi-faceted problem in southern and eastern Kentucky thanks in large part to Operation UNITE. Florida’s program was authorized in 2009, largely in response to national outcry over an outbreak of dangerous pill mills in the state, but to date, it has not been implemented by the Florida Department of Health.
- Karen Cunagin Sypher cried intermittently and gave a short, incoherent statement during Friday's hearing before being sentenced to 87 months in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release, by U.S. District Judge Charles R. Simpson III. She was also ordered to pay $600 in fines but does not have to pay restitution. A jury convicted Sypher in August of extortion, lying to the FBI and retaliation against a witness after authorities say she threatened to reveal a sexual tryst with Louisville men's basketball coach Rick Pitino unless he paid her millions in cash, luxury cars and a house. Her attorney, David Nolan of Alexandria, Virginia, says he will file an appeal Monday. Sypher was released on bond after a closed, 2 1/2-hour hearing on a prosecution attempt to have her immediately taken into custody.
- Spurred by consumer complaints about skyrocketing utility bills, the Senate passed legislation introduced by Senator Ray Jones, D-Pikeville, with a 29-5 vote Friday to revamp the Public Service Commission and require that its members be elected instead of appointed. Jones said he introduced the measure for Kentucky residents who were hit with a 17 percent electric rate increase before being walloped by one of the coldest winters in modern history. The Senate's legislation would expand the commission from three members to seven. Elected to staggered four-year terms, commission members would be from each of Kentucky's six congressional districts. The seventh member would represent the state at large. Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford heralded the legislation in a statement Friday afternoon, saying he believes an elected panel will be more responsive to voters.
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