Here is our Byline rundown for today (full audio available below):
At the top – Kentucky’s Auditor says the state agency that responds to weather disasters and other emergencies improperly spent taxpayer funds on, among other things, alcohol, entertainment and door prizes for conferences. The findings have led to the resignation of its director. We discuss the audit of Kentucky Emergency Management and the agency’s response to it with Tom Loftus of the Courier-Journal.
7:45 – Proponents of a statewide fairness law to prohibit discrimination based on perceived sexuality or gender identity have long been lobbying Kentucky lawmakers to take up such a measure, but it’s been an uphill battle. The Fairness Coalition says only about 11 percent of Kentucky legislators support such protections. Undaunted, fairness advocates have taken their case city to city. Louisville, Lexington, and Covington have long had fairness laws on the books, but now smaller communities are moving in that direction and one small town, Vicco, in eastern Kentucky, drew national attention when it passed a fairness ordinance. We talk with Jason Howard, who writes about fairness laws in Kentucky in this week’s LEO Weekly.
14:25 – WFPL’s Erica Peterson is here to tell us about another critical audit, this one involving the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District. State officials found serious problems with the handling of air monitoring data and other procedures that could affect the area’s compliance with federal clean air rules. We also discuss the Bluegrass Pipeline, a proposed natural gas liquids pipeline being considered in Kentucky.
20:00 – The Kentucky Board of Education took final steps to approve new science standards this week. It now heads to legislature for its approval of the new regulations. Several in Kentucky are upset because the standards include teaching concepts in evolution and climate change. State officials rejected their comments to change the standards, saying that’s what the science points to. They further reject the notion that creationism and intelligent design should be included citing that its unconstitutional. Education reporter Devin Katayama explains.
25:30 – For generations, burley tobacco was Kentucky’s top cash crop, but it now ranks third, behind corn and soybean production. Changing attitudes about smoking and its harmful health effects and the end of the tobacco quota system have forever altered Kentucky’s burley industry and agriculture in general in the commonwealth. It’s the topic of a new book by Ann Ferrell, assistant professor of folk studies at Western Kentucky University, and she joins us to talk about it.
36:15 – We talk about noteworthy arts events in the area with WFPL’s Erin Keane, and then she is joined by newly-appointed producing artistic director of Kentucky Shakespeare, Matt Wallace.