Creative Commons

The chairman of the Kentucky House Education Committee has introduced legislation that would allow charter schools to open in the commonwealth.

Unlike past versions limited to pilot projects, the bill introduced Friday by House Education Committee Chairman John "Bam" Carney would allow public charter schools statewide.

The Campbellsville Republican plans to have his bill heard in committee next week.

WFPL

Kentucky’s public pension system, which officially faces an $18.1 billion unfunded liability, might be in worse shape than previously thought.

The bigger potential problem for Kentucky Retirement Systems means taxpayers could be on the hook for much more money to honor pension commitments to about 365,000 public employees, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

KRS board chairman John Farris told fellow trustees Thursday that KRS made math errors in recent years. The state pension agency relied on overly optimistic assumptions about its investment returns, the growth of state and local government payrolls and the inflation rate, he said.

LRC Public Information

Lawmakers have given initial approval to a plan to “defund” Kentucky’s Planned Parenthood locations in Lexington and Louisville by putting the organization at the back of the line for federal family planning dollars.

Bill sponsor Sen. Max Wise said the organization had a “notorious history as an abortion provider” and said he filed the bill in reaction to undercover videos allegedly showing Planned Parenthood officials negotiating the sale of fetal organs — allegations denied by Planned Parenthood and later debunked.

“I come before you today thankfully more optimistic about the prospects of protecting unborn life than I was last year when the committee heard this similar bill,” Wise said.

LRC Public Information

Doctors would only be able to prescribe three days’ worth of painkillers under a bill that passed out of a legislative committee on Wednesday.

The legislation would also increase penalties for trafficking fentanyl and other synthetic opioid drugs.

The bill comes as Louisville and other cities and counties around Kentucky are seeing surges in overdoses and deaths related to illicit drugs spiked with fentanyl and other synthetics.

Gov. Matt Bevin threw his support behind the legislation, saying he wants to enhance punishments against dealers of the synthetic drugs.

Ryland Barton

Citing “increasing public interest and media attention,” Kentucky State Police on Wednesday announced the creation of a dedicated unit to investigate police shootings across the state.

The five-person Critical Incident Response Team will automatically investigate if a KSP officer is involved in a shooting and will lend its services to local jurisdictions by request.

Alex Payne, deputy commissioner for Kentucky State Police, said creating the unit was the “right thing to do” in response to societal pressures.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Jason Rojas

A bill that would allow vintage bottles of whiskey to be put back into circulation in the world's bourbon capital has cleared a Kentucky House committee.

The measure would allow people who possess old, unopened bottles of spirits to sell them to bars, restaurants or liquor stores. The bill was advanced Wednesday by the House Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations Committee.

Supporters include the Kentucky Distillers' Association president.

KDA President Eric Gregory says there are probably more vintage bottles of bourbon tucked away in attics in Kentucky than anywhere else.

FILE404, 123RF STOCK PHOTO

Citizen Foster Care Review Boards in Kentucky are looking for volunteers to review foster care cases in 37 counties. Volunteers help to review files on children placed in out-of-home care and work with the cabinet and courts on behalf of foster children.

Some of the counties in our listening area in need of volunteers include Barren, Butler, Edmonson, Grayson, Hardin, Logan, Muhlenberg, Simpson, Taylor, and Warren. Volunteers don't have to live in those counties.

Delores Smith, a regional supervisor with the Department of Family and Juvenile Services, said volunteers ensure children receive necessary services while in out-of-home care.

“Often times these children’s voices would go unheard if it wasn’t for the Citizen Foster Care volunteers advocating for their needs and for permanency.” Smith said.

Benefind Homepage-screenshot

Kentucky’s state auditor has released a report detailing problems with last year’s rollout of Benefind, the new online portal for state benefits like health care, food stamps and cash assistance.

Both the administrations of Gov. Matt Bevin, who took office nearly three months before the rollout, and that of former Gov. Steve Beshear, which spearheaded the development of the new system, had identified problems with Benefind before its introduction.

But Michael Goins, communications director for Republican Auditor Mike Harmon, placed the blame for Benefind’s problems squarely on Beshear.

Creative Commons

Gov. Matt Bevin has thrown his support behind a far-reaching criminal justice bill intended to keep those charged with crimes from reoffending after they’re released from prison.

“A job is one of the best ways for a person to not fall back into recidivism, a chance for them to be able to rebuild their lives” Bevin said during a press conference on Tuesday.

The bill is the product of a 23-member panel appointed by Bevin over the summer to recommend a “smarter, compassionate, evidence-based approach to criminal justice in Kentucky.”

Supporters said the legislation’s most significant component would allow those with felony records to seek professional licenses where they used to be automatically banned.

Kentucky LRC

People convicted of crimes could no longer be automatically denied an occupational license issued by the state under sweeping reforms proposed by Republican leaders.

Senate Bill 120 says a hiring or licensing authority cannot disqualify a person solely because of a criminal conviction, unless the board makes a connection between the conviction and the license being sought. The bill would also give the person the right to a formal hearing and the ability to appeal the decision to the circuit court.

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