Rae Hodge http://wfpl.org en Amended Hemp Bill Passes Kentucky Legislature; Comer OK With Result http://wfpl.org/post/amended-hemp-bill-passes-kentucky-legislature-comer-ok-result <p></p><p>Kentucky lawmakers have achieved a compromise that would set up a regulatory framework should the federal government legalize industrial hemp.</p><p>The so-called hemp bill—Senate Bill 50—gives control of licensing of future hemp farmers to the Industrial Hemp Commission, but allow the Kentucky State Police to do background checks on the farmers.</p><p>The state Department of Agriculture would be given many administrative roles for licensing hemp farmers and the University of Kentucky would be charged with researching the issue.</p> Wed, 27 Mar 2013 05:26:28 +0000 Kenny Colston & Rae Hodge 4693 at http://wfpl.org Amended Hemp Bill Passes Kentucky Legislature; Comer OK With Result Deal Reached on Kentucky Military Voting Legislation, Passes in Final Minutes of Session http://wfpl.org/post/deal-reached-kentucky-military-voting-legislation-passes-final-minutes-session <p></p><p>Kentucky military personnel serving overseas will be able to get ballots electronically under legislation approved late Tuesday in the Kentucky General Assembly. How they send them back is still to be determined.</p><p>Working until the last minute of the 2013 session, legislators went back to the<a href="/term/military-voting"> original Senate version</a> of the military voting bill that allowed for electronic sending of ballots to overseas military, but snail mail return of the ballot.</p> Wed, 27 Mar 2013 05:06:02 +0000 Kenny Colston & Rae Hodge 4692 at http://wfpl.org Deal Reached on Kentucky Military Voting Legislation, Passes in Final Minutes of Session Lawmakers Approve Litany of Alcohol Bills, Including Sales on Election Day http://wfpl.org/post/lawmakers-approve-litany-alcohol-bills-including-sales-election-day <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Kentuckians in wet and moist counties may soon be able to buy alcohol on election days.</span></p><p class="Standard"><o:p></o:p></p><p class="Standard">&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">The Kentucky House of Representatives has passed Senate Bill 13, sponsored by State Senator John </span>Schickel<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, a Republican from Union. Under the bill, small businesses and tourist destinations along Kentucky's Bourbon trail would also be able to stay open during election days.</span></p><p class="Standard"><o:p></o:p></p> Wed, 27 Mar 2013 01:53:36 +0000 Rae Hodge 4690 at http://wfpl.org Charges Dismissed in Mayor Greg Fischer Election Finance Case http://wfpl.org/post/charges-dismissed-mayor-greg-fischer-election-finance-case <p>In the closing decision of the case against Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance has dismissed the last of the civil charges filed regarding Fischer's use of campaign funds.</p><p>The registry initially found that former Fischer Inaugural Committee Co-Chair Marty Cogan indirectly violated state campaign finance law by soliciting money to fund Fischer's inaugural party under a title for which he was not formally registered.</p><p>Despite the finding, KREF officials have dismissed<br>the charge, following the recommendation of general counsel.</p><p>Fischer and his associates were accused of using funds raised expressly for Fischer's inaugural party to pay down outstanding debts incurred during his mayoral campaign.</p><p>Under Kentucky campaign laws, funds raised for the purpose of inauguration cannot be used to pay off campaign debt.</p><p>"The charges had been brought and they really were without foundation," said Cogan's attorney, Donald Cox. "And if a full investigation had been done initially, the charges never would have been brought. But that's the nature of what goes on in these proceedings. And so we're just happy that we've been completely vindicated."</p><p> Fri, 15 Mar 2013 19:14:20 +0000 Rae Hodge 4510 at http://wfpl.org Charges Dismissed in Mayor Greg Fischer Election Finance Case Special Prosecutor Named in Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin's Public Integrity Case http://wfpl.org/post/special-prosecutor-named-councilwoman-barbara-shanklins-public-integrity-case <p>The Louisville Metro Ethics Commission will make a ruling on its case involving Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, this week while the criminal investigation against the embattled lawmaker is moving forward.</p><p>Shanklin is facing <a href="http://wfpl.org/post/louisville-ethics-commission-recommends-actions-week-councilwoman-shanklins-case">five charges of violating the city's code of ethics</a>, including accusations that she misused taxpayer money in relation to an upholstery training program her office championed.</p><p>The commission has a range of options in the case, from declining any punishment to recommending Shanklin be booted from office.</p><p>It cannot bring criminal charges against the councilwoman, but a separate investigation conducted by the Louisville Metro Police's Public Integrity Unit could.</p><p>The police have finished their probe and forwarded the case to a special prosecutor, First Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Robert Schaefer.</p><p>Schaefer tells WFPL he hasn’t had a change to review the extensive caseload, including a large number of binders, an internal audit and hundreds of pages of documents, but his office is taking the case seriously.</p><p>"Obviously this case has attracted a lot of interest, and we take all the cases that we do seriously. So I’m not going to rush and put something out there before I’ve had a chance to go through it," he says.</p><p> Wed, 13 Mar 2013 20:19:51 +0000 Rae Hodge 4473 at http://wfpl.org Special Prosecutor Named in Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin's Public Integrity Case Gov. Steve Beshear: No Deal on Pension Reform In Sight, Special Session Becomes More Likely http://wfpl.org/post/gov-steve-beshear-no-deal-pension-reform-sight-special-session-becomes-more-likely <p>With no deal and time running out, a special session is becoming more likely for Kentucky lawmakers to reform the underfunded pension programs for state employees, Gov. Steve Beshear said on Tuesday.</p><p>It's unlikely that the General Assembly will address pension reform before legislators leave Frankfort after Tuesday for a brief period called the veto break, Beshear said. Legislators have&nbsp;</p> Tue, 12 Mar 2013 20:52:19 +0000 Rae Hodge 4454 at http://wfpl.org Gov. Steve Beshear: No Deal on Pension Reform In Sight, Special Session Becomes More Likely Once an Aspiring 'War Correspondent,' Morgan McGarvey Settles into Senate http://wfpl.org/post/once-aspiring-war-correspondent-morgan-mcgarvey-settles-senate <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Freshman State Sen. Morgan </span>McGarvey<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> is built like his predecessor, Tim </span>Shaughnessy<span style="line-height: 1.5;">.</span></p><p>He's slight, lean, with a legislator's firm handshake and a clean-shaven face. His frame is a little more wiry, though. T<span style="line-height: 1.5;">he more noticeable difference is when he stands to speak on the Senate floor.</span></p> Mon, 11 Mar 2013 21:42:41 +0000 Rae Hodge 4375 at http://wfpl.org Once an Aspiring 'War Correspondent,' Morgan McGarvey Settles into Senate Kentucky 'Religious Freedom' Bill Goes to Beshear, Critics Warn It May Gut Civil Rights Protections http://wfpl.org/post/kentucky-religious-freedom-bill-goes-beshear-critics-warn-it-may-gut-civil-rights-protections <p>After a lengthy partisan battle that lasted hours into the night, <a href="/post/will-kentucky-religious-freedom-bill-gut-protections-women-minorities-and-gay-residents">a bill that would allow Kentuckians to ignore laws that they say violate their religious beliefs</a> cleared the state Senate.</p><p>Supporters say the "Religious Freedom Act" sponsored by Rep. Robert Damron, D-Nicholasville, would protect religion from government encroachment. WFPL's Phillip Bailey reported earlier this week:</p><p></p> Fri, 08 Mar 2013 05:48:24 +0000 Rae Hodge 4392 at http://wfpl.org Kentucky 'Religious Freedom' Bill Goes to Beshear, Critics Warn It May Gut Civil Rights Protections Kentucky Anti-Gambling Group: Cost Outweights Benefits http://wfpl.org/post/kentucky-anti-gambling-group-cost-outweights-benefits <p></p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">FRANKFORT — Gambling brings social ills that will offset any tax revenue to Kentucky, argued a new group that rallied Wednesday in the Capitol Rotunda.</span></p><p>About 30 people joined the group Stop Predatory Gambling Kentucky for the rally, where speakers dismissed efforts in the General Assembly to expand gambling through casinos or Instant Racing.</p><p></p> Wed, 06 Mar 2013 20:08:31 +0000 Rae Hodge 4363 at http://wfpl.org Kentucky Anti-Gambling Group: Cost Outweights Benefits Kentucky Senate OKs Charter School Bill http://wfpl.org/post/kentucky-senate-oks-charter-school-bill <p>Voting along strict party lines, the Kentucky Senate has approved a bill that would allow persistently low-performing public schools to become charter schools.</p> Tue, 05 Mar 2013 23:01:07 +0000 Rae Hodge 4348 at http://wfpl.org Kentucky Senate OKs Charter School Bill