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Politics
7:34 am
Tue January 8, 2013

IL House Committees Pass Medicaid Expansion, Immigrant ID Measures

Credit wikipedia.org

Two separate measures for expanding the state’s Medicaid program and allowing illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses are ready for an Illinois House vote. The Human Services Appropriations Committee voted 9 to 5 Monday to make up to 600,00 uninsured residents eligible for Medicaid. The measure is necessary to implement the national health care law next year. The federal government would pay all costs of the new Medicaid recipients for three years starting in 2014. The Medicaid expansion would also need Senate approval.

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Government
7:30 am
Tue January 8, 2013

TN Judge Decides If DCS Must Release Records

A Tennessee judge will decide whether the state Department of Children's Services must release the case files of children who have died or nearly died after being in contact with the agency. The Tennessean requested the records in September, citing the state's Open Records law. The department gave the paper only a spreadsheet with minimal information. The newspaper sued to force the release of the files. The Associated Press and other media sources are joining the suit that will be heard today.

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Politics
7:23 am
Tue January 8, 2013

IL Pension Proposal Faces Uncertain Future

A plan to rescue Illinois' worst-in-the-country pension problem faces uncertainty in the final full day of the lame-duck legislative session. The House adjourned with a floor vote Monday on the contentious plan to reform the pension system. House committee members approved a proposal calling for more employee contributions and freezing cost-of-living increases to close the $96 billion deficit. Backers say it's a compromise on a complex problem that addresses many concerns. But opponents question whether it's constitutional.

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Politics
7:20 am
Tue January 8, 2013

KY Lawmakers Prepare for Start of Legislative Session

Kentucky lawmakers start their legislative session today where they're expected to consider tax reforms and search for ways to shore up the financially troubled pension system for government retirees. A task force appointed by Gov. Steve Beshear has recommended a series of changes to the state tax code that could generate more than $600 million in additional revenue. A separate legislative task force has recommended pumping more money into the pension system, which has a $33 billion unfunded liability.

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Politics
9:13 am
Mon January 7, 2013

KY Lawmakers Seek Stronger Human Trafficking Laws

Credit iStockPhoto

Some Kentucky lawmakers say they’ll push to strengthen the Commonwealth's human trafficking law during the upcoming legislative session.  Democratic State Rep. Sannie Overly tells the Lexington Herald-Leader she plans to sponsor a bill similar to one she introduced last year to increase training for law enforcement.  The measure would also use money from those convicted of such crimes to pay for victim services. 

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Society
9:10 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Authorities Probe Cause of Morehead Fire

Authorities are investigating the cause of a fire at a Morehead State University building that injured four firefighters.  Morehead Fire Chief Jeff Anderson says the firefighters were injured by bricks that fell while crews were battling the blaze at Downing Hall around 7 a.m. Sunday. 

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Culture
9:01 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Bluegrass Center Close to $3 Million Goal

Officials say private fundraising for a planned Bluegrass Music Center in Owensboro is going well.  International Bluegrass Music Museum co-founder Terry Woodward says the drive has received just over 2 and a half million dollars in pledges and expects to reach its $7 million goal. The money will be used to turn an old state office building in Owensboro into a bluegrass center that will include a museum, an indoor theater and outdoor festival seating.

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Society
8:58 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Beshear Not That Optimistic on Gambling

Credit iStockPhoto

After years of pushing to legalize casino-style gambling in Kentucky, Gov. Steve Beshear sounds less than optimistic just days before the start of the next legislative session. Beshear has been hopeful that the retirement of Senate President David Williams, the Republican who was seen as the main roadblock to legalizing casinos, would improve the chances to legalize gambling. Williams resigned late last year when Beshear appointed him as a circuit judge in southern Kentucky.  However, his departure doesn't appear to have significantly improved the odds of passing a gambling amendment in the Bible Belt state. 

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Politics
8:54 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Judge Says TN Law Infringes on Free Speech

A federal judge has ruled that a Tennessee law passed last year that targets online sex ads violates free speech rights.  Judge John Nixon says the law that protects children from sex trafficking is written in a way that infringes on freedom of speech and interstate commerce laws. Backpage.com took the issue to court. The website publishes millions of ads each month that include ones that sell adult services, and it says screening every ad on its site was impossible and would hurt its business.

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Weather
8:51 am
Mon January 7, 2013

2012 Brought More TN Tornadoes

Credit wikipedia.org

New data shows Tennessee had more tornadoes in 2012 than in previous years. The National Weather Service says 34 tornadoes were recorded across the state last year with 20 occurring in March alone.  NWS meteorologist Bobby Boyd says the average year brings 21 tornadoes to Tennessee.

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