Stu Johnson (KPR)

Kentucky Public Radio Correspondent

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

stu.johnson@eku.edu

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Politics
7:28 am
Mon August 26, 2013

KY Lawmakers May Consider Animal Protection Legislation In Next Session

Credit nhandler, Wikimedia Commons

Come 2014, the Kentucky General Assembly will likely consider ‘animal protection’ legislation. Melodie Zentall  is with the Kentucky Coalition for Animal Protection.  She says the Commonwealth ranks poorly when it comes to watching over its animals.

“We are ranked 50th, dead last by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, that’s a national group.  They look at animal protective laws across the nation, Kentucky is ranked dead last, dead last,” said Zentall.

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Politics
7:12 am
Mon August 26, 2013

Lawmakers Look Towards Redistricting Reform

Credit Kentucky Senate courtesy Commonwealth of Kentucky

With legislative redistricting behind them, many lawmakers say it’s time to reform the process for redrawing those boundaries.  Some, like Richmond representative Rita Smart think a change in the state’s constitution is the answer.  When asked about specific suggestions, Smart said last week more study is need to determine what needs to change.   Smart has an ally in House Speaker Greg Stumbo.

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Politics
3:08 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Kentucky Redistricting Signed into Law

New legislative boundaries for 138 members of the general assembly have been approved and signed into law by Kentucky’s governor.   

The final votes in favor of legislative redistricting were overwhelming: 35 to 2 in the Kentucky Senate and 79 to 18 in the House.  Most of the debate occurred as the full Senate took its first vote on the bill. Senate President Robert Stivers said these new district boundaries will have an impact across the Commonwealth.

“When you move five thousand people in Fayette County, it will ripple all the way down to Pulaski County, and when you look at a county in western Kentucky and you move it around, it will ripple all the way to central Kentucky,” Stivers said.

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Society
3:37 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Mine Safety Official Says Fatality-Free Year Achievable

Credit www.dailyyonder.com

It’s never happened, but a leading official in the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration believes a fatality-free year in coal mining is achievable. 

Joe Main, who the Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Mine Safety and Health Administration was in Lexington for the Central Appalachian Regional Work Safety and Health Symposium. Just forty years ago, before the U-S Mine Safety Act, Main says a miner was killed every day. Last year, he says, 36 American miners died with 20 of them claimed by coal.

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Government
3:53 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Kentucky House Passes Redistricting

Credit Wikimedia commons

The Kentucky House has adopted new boundaries for its 100 members, but not without some lawmaker grumbling.   The bill to redraw legislative boundaries passed the full house 83 to 17.  Before the votes were cast, House Speaker Greg Stumbo told colleagues there was no intent to punish anyone or either political party.

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Government
2:52 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Kentucky House Speaker Says He Was Not Advised Of Harrasment Complaints

FRANKFORT— House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg (left), confers with House Republican Floor Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown (right) as House Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark, D-Louisville, looks on.
Credit Kentucky LRC

The leader of the Kentucky House said he doesn’t know the specifics of sexual assault and harassment allegations made against a fellow Democrat.  Two statehouse staffers, Cassaundra Cooper and Yolanda Costner, accuse Democratic Representative John Arnold of sexual assaults and harassment which dates back to 2010.  The women claim the assaults were reported to their bosses and to top Democrats, but Speaker Greg Stumbo said he was never advised directly.

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Government
3:51 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Protestors Push For Restoration Of Child Care Funds

FRANKFORT— Rep. Kevin Sinnette, D-Ashland (right), discusses legislation with Rep. Tanya Pullin, D-South Shore, on the floor of the Kentucky House of Representatives.
Credit Legislative Research Commission

A rally today in Frankfort urged state leaders to spend surplus dollars on programs that provide child care. Since April, no new additions have been made to the list of low-income families eligible for child care or kinship care assistance.  That’s when the governor ordered cuts in both programs.  Without a restoration of funding, Michelle Sanborn with Children’s Alliance predicts more foster parents will be needed.

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Politics
7:18 am
Mon August 19, 2013

KY Political Veteran Anticipates Smooth Special Session

Kentucky lawmakers will try once again to establish legislative boundaries this week in Frankfort.  A first attempt to redraw house and senate boundaries based on 2010 census figures was ruled unconstitutional.  Lawmakers tried again early in 2013 to no avail.  Now, the court’s ready to step in, if it’s not done to meet constitutional mustar.  Al Cross, a long time print journalist and current Director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues at UK, believes the latest legislative maps from each chamber don’t ruffle too many political feathers.

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Health Care
3:14 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

Kentucky Health Exchange Call Center Opens

The federal mandate for health insurance coverage impacts thousands of Kentuckians. 

Another step toward getting those individuals covered occurred today in Lexington.  A call center for the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange Office is located in Lexington.  Gov. Steve Beshear was on hand for the official launch of the center where 60 agents stand by ready to answer questions.  Carrie Banahan directs the Exchange office.

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Environment
7:45 am
Fri August 16, 2013

2013 Brings KY Corn Yields Back

Credit Wikimedia Commons

By and large, most Kentucky corn producers are experiencing a much better year compared to last summer.  Drought conditions wiped out many corn fields across western Kentucky.  With steady rains in 2013, University of Kentucky Agricultural Economist Will Snell says it’s been a different story.

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