Refugees can stay in Kentucky high schools after their 21st birthday under a bill that cleared the House Monday. Democratic state Representative Jody Richards says the proposal is intended to help refugees who have fled to the U.S. The divisive issue generated a lengthy floor debate with some critics, including Republican state Representative Ben Waide, questioning the wisdom of having people in their mid-20s sharing schools with teens. Democratic Representative Steve Riggs urged colleagues to pass the measure so refugees can finish high school and become contributing taxpayers.
Whistleblowers in Kentucky could get financial incentives for reporting misuse of state tax dollars under a measure that passed the state House Monday. Speaker Greg Stumbo sponsored the bill now heading to the Senate for consideration. Stumbo says the bill, dubbed the "False Claims Act," could root out fraud and reduce the state's budget deficit by millions of dollars. Kentucky already has a whistle-blower law in place that applies to Medicaid programs.
Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Karla Davis has warned the state's 56,000 unemployment claimants they’ll soon be required to prove they’re looking for work. Davis says beginning in April, claimants also will be required to meet face-to-face with state job service employees. She says the new requirements will make sure claimants are on track to find employment and not get caught off-guard when their benefits expire. The U.S. Department of Labor issued the new guidelines.
A proposal to keep illegal immigrants from getting welfare benefits in Kentucky has passed the state Senate. The legislation sponsored by Republican Senator Mike Wilson cleared the Senate Monday. The bill requires welfare applicants to present documentation of U.S. citizenship or legal residency in order to be eligible. If they're not able to produce a document such as a birth certificate or driver's license within 30 days, they could sign an affidavit swearing that they are eligible for the benefits. The measure now goes to the House for consideration.
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."
Kentucky lawmakers continue to chastise three of the state's Medicaid Managed Care organizations for mismanagement.
Representatives of Kentucky Spirit, Wellcare of Kentucky and Coventry Cares appeared before the program review committee today. Legislators wanted to know whether they had solved problems brought up by health care providers in a January committee meeting.
The MCOs all said the problems were mostly solved and that operations were improving every day. But independent pharmacists and mental health care providers disagreed.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet will begin repairs to the US-60 Ledbetter Bridge Saturday. Intech, Inc., of Lexington, is the prime contractor of the nearly $95,000 repair project. The repairs aim to maintain the safety of the bridge while a new one is built upstream. A heavily enforced three-ton load restriction limits traffic on the bridge to mostly non-commercial vehicles. The bridge will be closed to all traffic from 8 pm Saturday, March 24 to 2 am on Sunday, March 25. and on April 6, the US 60 Ledbetter Bridge will be restricted to one lane of traffic.
The Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce will hold a televised debate May 14th for candidates running in the primaries for mayor and city commission. The Paducah Sun reports the debate will be at 6 p.m. at Crounse Hall on the campus of West Kentucky Community and Technical College. Four mayoral and 19 city commission candidates registered for the debate. The debate will be broadcast live and replayed locally before the May 22nd election.
As is often the case with government reform efforts, the Kentucky General Assembly enacted ethics laws in response to an embarrassing scandal. “BOPTROT” was a federal investigation of the Kentucky legislature in the 1990s, so-named because it involved a powerful legislative committee, Business Organizations and Professions, and horse racing. It exposed 15 state lawmakers who sold their votes, some for as little as $100.