Wednesday, March 23, 2011
EKB Capsule News...Kentucky...3-24-'11
- When Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky was asked about his 2012 presidential ambitions during a visit to Charleston, South Carolina Monday, his reply was, "The only decision I've made is I won't run against my dad." Rand Paul visited South Carolina and plans to hit several other key presidential primary states while promoting his new book, The Tea Party Goes to Washington, which was co-written by Jack Hunter, a Charleston-area radio host and columnist. During his Senate campaign, Paul said he was interested in elevating the Tea Party's message of fiscal conservatism and helping shape the debate on federal spending and debt reduction. He recently released a federal debt reduction plan calling for $4 trillion in cuts, which he said would generate a $19 billion surplus in fiscal 2016. Paul's plan calls for eliminating the departments of Commerce, Education, Housing and Urban Development, and Energy, repealing the health care law, removing other smaller agencies and trimming the budgets of several other agencies.
- According to the Kentucky Bar Association, Williamsburg attorney 54 year old Ronnie W. Reynolds has been suspended for disciplinary reasons. Reynolds admitted to conspiring with former Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence Hodge to extort money from defendants. Court documents indicate Reynolds netted nearly $200,000 from the scheme, and Hodge received at least $113,000 in cash, forfeitures, and donations to his department. Reynolds pleaded guilty as part of a plea agreement of conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right. If Reynolds’ plea agreement is accepted, he could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Sentencing is set for June 29th.
- Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee Chairman Bob Leeper says the Senate's plan to shore up the state's Medicaid budget is expected to receive a floor vote in a 10:00 A.M. meeting Thursday. Senate Majority Leader Robert Stivers of Manchester says the bill will incorporate some of the elements of the plan approved Monday by the House. Stivers says the full Senate could vote on the bill Thursday afternoon if it’s approved, as expected, in the morning by the Appropriations and Revenue Committee, sending it back to the House to be accepted or rejected. Unless the House accepts the Senate changes, the bill would go to a conference committee, which would try to work out a compromise.
- Dr. Mary Evans Sias, president of Kentucky State University, sent a message to the campus community Wednesday regarding the death of KSU freshman student 20 year old Brittney Lewis. In the memo Sias wrote, Lewis was found unresponsive in her room in The Halls residence hall early Tuesday evening. The Frankfort EMS arrived, and Franklin County Coroner William Harrod pronounced her dead. The Kentucky State Police were called to assist the KSU Police Department in the investigation. An autopsy was performed by the Franklin County Coroner's Office Wednesday. Brittney, a native of Detroit, Michigan, was studying business administration.
- Governor Steve Beshear signed into law Wednesday two bills to help protect vulnerable and elderly adults from abuse. House Bill 52 prevents people who abuse or neglect vulnerable seniors from benefiting from their deaths and bars anyone convicted of felony abuse or exploitation from serving as a legal guardian, executor or having power of attorney for that person. The measure establishes a trust fund for programs aimed at stopping the abuse. House Bill 164 puts in place procedures for adult guardians when more than one state is involved.
- Former Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence Hodge, who is facing 21 charges of abuse of public trust and evidence tampering, could have his bond revoked or he could be required to undergo drug testing after the recent release of a federal affidavit that states Hodge was seen at a known drug house in Whitley County as recently as February. Hodge’s next court appearance is set for May 17th, but he could be called back sooner.
- Laurel County Deputy Jailer Jack Moore has been arrested after investigators say he gave tobacco to an inmate in exchange for sex with the inmate’s girlfriend. Police used recorded phone calls and an inside informant during their investigation of Moore, who has worked at the Laurel County Detention Center for almost 3 years.
- Governor Steve Beshear has signed into law a ban on new synthetic drugs. Commonly marketed as bath salts or plant food, the manufactured drugs MDPV and mephadrone can create delusions, paranoia and sometimes violent behavior. The bill bans synthetic drugs that are designed to mimic the effects of Ecstasy and methamphetamine. Police will be warning convenience stores and gas stations about the illegal drugs to educate them about the new law. A similar ban on synthetic marijuana, also called "spice" or "K2," became law last year.
- UK Wildcat linebacker Ridge Wilson is expected in court later this month on charges he violated his probation. Wilson was arrested in 2009 on a fourth degree assault charge stemming from an incident on the UK campus in which police say he got in a fight with a woman, hit her in the face and fled. Wilson was briefly suspended from the team, but he was reinstated and participated in this year's bowl game. Wilson's probation conditions include no contact with the victim, payment of a monthly probation fee and domestic violence counseling. Paperwork shows he recently did not pay the fee.
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