Stu Johnson (KPR)

Kentucky Public Radio Correspondent

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.

stu.johnson@eku.edu

ket.org

Kentucky lawmakers along with Governor Steve Beshear are getting an earful from their constituents about yet another special legislative session.  It’s unclear how long lawmakers will be in Frankfort to try and iron out an agreement about funding road projects.  And Senator Jack Westwood says taxpayers are making their voices heard.

“Cause all of us are hearing from the folks back home, who are very upset and angry…that they’re sending us back…we once again couldn’t get it done in the 60 days allotted, so here we are back doing the business at 60 thousand dollars a day.”

Author: Jim Champion, via Wikimedia Commons

National grain specialists are predicting a record amount of corn could go in the ground this spring.  As Kentucky Public Radio’s Stu Johnson reports, a rise in corn yields has been a trend in the commonwealth...

University of Kentucky Extension Professor of Grain Crops, Chad Lee says Kentucky’s corn acreage could go up about ten percent this year.  Lee says the profit potential is partly the result of warmer than usual weather.  He says, in the bluegrass, corn has gone from being the number three crop to number one in the last few years.

The warmer than usual March weather is prompting a fast start to Kentucky’s camping season.  Kentucky Department of Parks spokesman Gil Lawson says many of the 31 campgrounds across the Commonwealth are open for business..

“Typically on most years we open on April first but, with this warm weather we’ve had lots of demand for camping so most of our campgrounds have opened up early in March to allow people to camp,” said Lawson.

Lawson adds the March 2nd tornadoes outbreak didn’t impact state parks to any great degree..

ket.org

Just days remain in this year’s legislative session. And with lots of bills still on the board, some Kentucky lawmakers offered their assessments on productivity during KET’s Kentucky Tonight this week. Retiring Representative Danny Ford believes legislative redistricting really bogged down the process.

A new report says college students in America are a trillion dollars in debt. Kentucky has seen a similar increase where annual student-debt climbed from $324 million in 1999 to almost $1.2 billion a decade later. Erin Klarer, who’s a vice president with Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority, still says taking on such debt can sometimes be the right choice.

“You know we don’t want to blanket that all debt is bad but we do at KHEAA we want to encourage responsible borrowing,” said Klarer.

Floods in 2011 and this year’s tornadoes could complicate the tax returns filed by Kentucky farmers.  For example, when farmers receive an insurance check for damaged crops, IRS spokesman Luis Garcia says they must claim that money as income.  And, if bad weather forces the early sale of livestock, Garcia says that income can sometimes be claimed on next year’s tax return.

wikipedia.com

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway says a recent report puts the commonwealth as the fourth most medicated state in the country.  Conway appeared with three other guests on KET’s Kentucky Tonight.  The discussion centered on what’s been called a pain pill epidemic across the state.

“We are losing more people to prescription pill overdoses than car accidents and you know what, we think that’s under reported because only about half of overdoses make it to the coroner, state medical examiner’s office where we get these statistics."

The President of Kentucky Downs Racetrack says the expanded gambling issue isn’t going to go away, even after the state Senate rejected a constitutional amendment on the subject last week.  Corey Johnson also chairs the Kentucky Equine Education Project. He says gambling revenues in other states continue to lure breeders away from the Commonwealth.

‘It takes human beings to take care of horses so when the horse leave, the jobs go away so it is a very, very..we have hundreds of stallions who have left the state.”

Animal Rescue Corp

Kentucky lawmakers were reminded today of a 96 dog rescue in western Kentucky.  The animals were retrieved in the community of Wingo through the efforts of Animal Rescue Corps.  Corps President Scotlund Haisley was at the state capitol for ‘Humane Lobby Day.’

 “We did 13 rescues last year large scale rescues and I’d say 90 percent of them were in the southern region,” said Haisley.

wikipedia.com

A first term lawmaker from Louisville would like to see term limits set for each house of the legislature. The measure, offered by Representative Mike Nemes, calls for a constitutional amendment. If approved, it would require lawmakers to leave their chamber after 12 years.

"It will somewhat rotate leadership so you won't have leaders that possibly could be in charge for 20- 30 years and kind of run everything and the rank and file is kind of non-existent if that happens," said Nemes.

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