The Kentucky Senate Health and Welfare Committee has unanimously approved a bill to help 18-year-olds transition from foster care to independent living. Senator Ken Winters of Murray sponsored the bill. He says it would allow youths to consult with state personnel six months before they turn 18 about whether they want to remain in foster care.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is opposing budget cuts to a health care program for the blind. The House budget committee proposed to cut the state’s current 28 million dollar program and replace it with a new 6 million dollar program. The proposed cuts are expected to go in front of the entire House next week. Nixon is urging representatives to support the current program which covers healthcare costs like prescriptions and doctor visits and serves over 2,000 blind Missourians.
A bill that would allow slow-moving vehicles to use reflective tape instead of an orange triangle is moving through the House. The triangles have become an issue in Kentucky’s Amish community, where the symbol and loud color run counter to religious beliefs. Some Amish men have been arrested for refusing to use the triangles on their buggies. Both the House and the Senate passed separate bills addressing the issue. But the Senate proposal has fewer requirements, and the House decided to take up the Senate’s version.
A compromise to help employers avoid high federal unemployment insurance taxes has easily cleared a House committee.
The proposal would allow Kentucky to borrow money from a bank or other organization to repay federal loans. Kentucky borrowed nearly one billion dollars from the federal government to pay for unemployment insurance during the recession.
Up until now, the state had no plan on how to keep up with interest payments on that loan. If the state is late on payments, the federal government can put a higher tax on employers to recoup the funds.
The Kentucky House has passed a measure giving retired prosecutors special privileges to carry concealed weapons anywhere in the Commonwealth. Representatives voted Monday for the measure now headed to the Senate. Democratic state Representative Bob Damron is sponsor of the bill extending to commonwealth's attorneys and county attorneys the same right already given to retired judges. The measure is intended to allow retired prosecutors to defend themselves if attacked. Kentucky already allows people to carry concealed weapons if they have permits to do so.
General Fund receipts in Kentucky have grown faster than expected over the past month, thanks largely to an increase in sales tax revenue. Budget Director Mary Lassiter says total February receipts were up by over 21 million dollars, or almost four percent. She credits a portion of that increase to gift cards exchanged during the Christmas season that are only now being used. Lassiter says February is not typically Kentucky's best month for revenue collection, so the rise was welcome news.
The McCracken County Fiscal Court continued discussions last night about a resolution supporting nuclear power plant workers uncompensated for work-related health problems. Commonwealth Environmental Services Vice President Gary Vander Boegh presented commissioners with a draft resolution on the workers’ behalf a month ago. The commissioners had several questions about the wording and content, and Judge-Executive Van Newberry says the resolution would need revision before sending it to the U.S.
Changes made to the Kentucky House budget bill would provide funds allowing Madisonville’s medical examiner’s office to stay open another two years. The Justice and Public Safety Cabinet previously sought to close the office due to budget concerns and difficulty hiring a forensic pathologist since the position was left vacant in June. The change to the budget provides for the office’s annual operating costs and also prevents the office from relocating through the 2012-2014 fiscal years.