Kentucky’s top climate official sent packing

by James Bruggers, @jbruggers – Two veteran public servants in the state’s Energy and Environment Cabinet have lost their jobs, including a former air division chief who had been guiding the state’s response to President Barack Obama’s new climate pollution regulations. John Lyons was named assistant secretary for climate policy in 2013 by former Gov. Steve…

Kynect was not sustainable, Kentucky officials say

by John Cheves, jcheves@herald-leader.com –  FRANKFORT — The state’s Kynect health insurance exchange is a financially unsustainable boondoggle that has cost $330 million, Gov. Matt Bevin’s top health officials told lawmakers at the Capitol Tuesday. Additionally, state spending on Medicaid will jump by 20 percent in the next two-year budget, to $3.7 billion, as federal support declines, they said.…

Acting Transportation Cabinet head sees no need for new Road Fund formula after weathering nine-figure shortfall

by Kevin Wheatley – FRANKFORT — Faced with declining revenues in the state’s Road Fund due in part to low gas prices, officials with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said Tuesday that the fund will make minimal progress in the biennium after a $112.5 million shortfall was resolved in the current fiscal year. But after the General Assembly passed…

State Rep. Lynn Bechler Explains Reason for Sole Dissenting Vote on Bullying Bill

by PARKER FRANKLIN –  The lone dissenter of a Kentucky bill that would establish a statewide definition of bullying says the legislation is too broad. Kentucky’s State House passed HB 316 last week. Under that bill, school boards across the commonwealth would be required to institute anti-bullying rules along with procedures to investigate bullying reports. Advocate Susan Guess, who…

Bill would ban salon tanning for minors

by Gina Kinslow, gkinslow@glasgowdailytimes.com – GLASGOW — Members of the State Senate are considering a bill that would prohibit a person under the age of 18 from using a tanning device at a tanning facility, but provide an exemption for medical use of phototherapy devices. Owners of one Glasgow tanning bed business, E-Z Tan Tanning on Shane…

Travel industry study says August school days cost Kentucky $432 million

by Valarie Honeycutt Spears, vhoneycutt@herald-leader.com – Kentucky travel industry officials have released a study that contends the early return to school each year is costing the state millions of dollars and thousands of jobs. The travel industry commissioned the study to support a bill that would prevent school districts from starting classes before late August. Many districts return to…

Bill would seek to clarify retroactivity of Kentucky’s unclaimed life insurance law

by John Cheves, jcheves@herald-leader.com – Several House members filed a bill Friday to clarify that a contested consumer-protection law was meant to cover all life insurance policies, not just those sold after the law was approved in 2012. House Bill 408 would add language to the Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act to clearly state that it applies to all…

Legislative Budget Committee Leaders Say Kentucky’s Pension Shortfall Could Boost Interest in Tax Reform

by Stu Johnson, WEKU NEWS –  Discussions about Kentucky tax reform have circulated around the state capitol for decades but no comprehensive tax measure has passed. Two state lawmakers say major pension shortfalls could help move the issue along. Governor Matt Bevin says his proposed spending cuts across state government aim to deal with the more than $30…

GOP holds financial advantages in special House elections less than a month before voters hit the polls

by Kevin Wheatley – Republicans in three of four special House elections hold a collective 3-to-1 cash advantage on their Democratic opponents, with pro-GOP groups enjoying a $872,377 edge on their counterparts across the aisle with the March 8 contests upcoming, campaign finance filings show. The cash disparity comes less than a month until voters in Scott, Owen, Fayette,…