Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam's administration is responding to what it calls confusion about the role of a Muslim staffer and a council that has advised two state departments on Islamic affairs. Haslam was criticized this summer by several Republican groups over what they perceived as the growing influence of a version of the Islamic code called Shariah in state government. Deputy to the governor Claude Ramsey sent a letter last week to the state GOP's executive committee seeking to quell those concerns. Ramsey stated there is no effort under way to promote Shariah law in Tennessee.
The involvement of a state representative in a major coal deal in Kentucky is raising some eyebrows. Under the terms of a new $7 billion contract, Kentucky coal producers will ship nine million tons of coal a year to India for the next twenty-five years. Representative Keith Hall was instrumental in brokering the deal—and he represents both the people of Kentucky and his own private coal interests.
The Obama administration is making $17.5 million available to Kentucky infrastructure projects. Secretary of Transportation Ray Lahood says the money is from a pool of more than $470-million in unspent highway earmarks from fiscal years 2003 through 2006. Lahood says governors and state departments of transportation can use their unspent earmarks on any eligible highway, transit, passenger rail or port project. He says they must identify those projects by October 1st and obligate them by the end of the year. Lahood says,
A Tea Party activist is hoping to end a decade-long battle between the Kentucky Department of Insurance and a Christian health sharing organization.
Christian Care Medishare pools money from members in various states to pay medical bills for members in need. The group has a religious exemption to certain federal rules governing insurance companies. But the state has not made such concessions.
Now, activist David Adams is teaming up with Republican state Senator Tom Buford to push a bill that would grant Medishare its exemptions.
Strong storms last night caused localized power outages in Paducah and downed trees in Lyon and Trigg counties. Kentucky Transportation spokesman Keith Todd reports crews were out clearing downed trees blocking highways along the Trigg/Christian County line and in the northern third of Trigg on Kentucky 128 and 164. Todd says fallen trees also kept crews busy throughout Lyon County on Kentucky 810, 93, 295, and 819.
A federal judge has refused to void Tennessee’s Democratic U.S. Senate primary won by an anti-gay candidate the party has disavowed. District Judge Kevin Sharp ruled the lawsuit filed by losing candidate Larry Crim was improper because it was not filed against an individual. Crim sued the state Division of Elections and the Tennessee Democratic Party trying to keep winner Mark Clayton off the November ballot. The day after the election, the state Democratic Party said it wanted nothing to do with Clayton.
CIA Director, and retired four-star general, David Petraeus returns to 101st Airborne Division, the unit he led into Iraq in 2003. His visit caps a week of celebration at the post, as the 101st commemorates its 70th anniversary. Petraeus will also attend a retirement ceremony for Command Sergeant Major Marvin Hill, who served under Petraeus as the senior non-commissioned officer. After leaving the division, Petraeus served as the commander of U.S.forces in Iraq, was the head of U.S. Central Command and then was tapped by President Barack Obama to lead U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
The Paducah City Commission last night introduced an ordinance creating a commercial construction financial assistance program aimed at improving the city’s Fountain Avenue Neighborhood. The program provides incentives to property owners spending a minimum of $100,000 constructing new commercial buildings. Property owners can receive a five-year, forgivable loan for as much as $20,000. However, the commission limits the program’s total budget to only $40,000.
Governor Pat Quinn signed five new agriculture laws at the Illinois State Fair’s Agriculture Day. As the state's farmers deal with drought conditions, Quinn said it's an important time to support them and the state's agriculture industry. The new legislation protects cattle pastures from wildlife damage and creates the Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council.
A federal judge's ruling could open the door to the sale of hard liquor and wine in grocery stores.
Currently state law allows grocery stores to only sell beer, while liquor stores and drug stores can sell beer, wine and liquor. After years of unsuccessful lobbying to change the law, grocery associations sued in federal court last year. U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II in Louisville handed down a ruling in their favor today, declaring that the ban is unconstitutional.