7:30 am
Thu February 14, 2013

Bill Blocking Taxpayer Dollars in City Ethics Cases Clears House Panel

Democratic State Rep. Larry Clark of Louisville

A bill requiring Louisville Metro officials and employees to pay for their own defense attorneys when charged with an ethics violation passed a state House committee by a unanimous vote.

State Rep. Larry Clark, D-Louisville, introduced the measure citing the over $180,000 in costs for two cases involving members of the Metro Council in recent years.

"I don’t think it’s fair for the taxpayers to have to pay for a lawyer for those of us in public service," Clark told WFPL earlier this week. "I think we should be held at a higher standard."

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6:10 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

After Tough Debate, Senate Passes Bill Allowing Panel Reviews in Nursing Home Abuses Cases

Julie Denton
Credit Rae Hodge/Kentucky Public Radio

The state Senate on Wednesday approved that sets up a panel to review abuse cases from nursing homes.

Three doctors would be put on the panel to review abuse cases; the bill would not prevent patients from filing lawsuits, but the findings from the panel could be admissible in court.

The Senate approved Senate Bill 9 on a party-line vote—Republican for, Democrats against.

The bill sponsor, Sen. Julie Denton, a Louisville Republican, said the goal is to crack down on bad lawsuits, while still protecting nursing home patients.

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6:00 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Mitch McConnell Leads Ashley Judd 49-40 in New Poll

Mitch McConnell and Ashley Judd

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., leads actress Ashley Judd by nine percentage points, according to new poll released Wednesday.

The survey was conducted by RunSwitch & Harper Polling, which was co-founded by Republican strategist Scott Jennings of Kentucky.

It has a 3.3 percent margin of error and surveyed 850 likely voters.

Besides a near 10-point lead for McConnell, the firm shows the GOP leader with 60 percent support among Republican primary voters versus "someone else."

Those figures differ from previous polls showing McConnell struggling amongst his base.

"My takeaways from the survey are that Senator McConnell is in solid-shape among Republicans and general election voters, and that Ashley Judd, for someone who has never run for office, already has a tough hole out of which to climb regarding her own image," Jennings said in a online statement.

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5:26 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Medicaid Expansion Bill Clears Indiana Senate Panel

The Indiana Senate Public Health Committee is advancing a proposal to expand Medicaid using the state's health savings account plan.

The panel voted 9-3 today to request that the federal government allow Indiana to use its Healthy Indiana Plan to cover the roughly 400,000 residents who would qualify under an expansion.

The measure, which has the backing of Gov. Mike Pence, now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee.   A similar proposal has been introduced in the House.

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5:13 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Kentucky House Committee Backs Automatic Collection of DNA From Felony Suspects

Credit Creative Commons

Legislation to allow the automatic collection of DNA samples from felony suspects easily won committee approval Wednesday in the Kentucky House.

The DNA would be gathered with a cheek swab. It would be tested and results recorded, so it could be used to identify suspects in other cases. 

The House Judiciary Committee heard from Jayann Sepich, whose daughter Katie was raped and murdered in 2003 near her New Mexico home. She says this simple process has the power to quickly punish the guilty and heal the harm they’ve done.

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5:00 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Councilman Rick Blackwell Pulls Support for Insurance Premium Tax Hike

Democratic Councilman Rick Blackwell
Credit Louisville Metro Council

Louisville Metro Councilman Rick Blackwell, D-12, is pulling his support of an ordinance to help pay for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund by raising the city’s tax on insurance premiums.

The proposal was introduced by Democratic lawmakers this week, and seeks to increase the tax by one percentage point to raise an estimated $9.7 million.

Supporters argue going from a 5 to 6 percent rate represents a small increase per month for average residents.

In an e-mail message sent Feb. 11 to Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh, D-9—the bill's chief sponsor—the Jefferson County attorney’s office said it is "unconstitutional" to designate public funding exclusively for affordable housing

Any new revenue would have to go through the general fund first, and that is unraveling the bill's support.

"I think it’s problematic if it’s not a dedicated source. That’s what people had signed on for," says Blackwell. "It was supposed to be a way to take care of some of the issues in our neighborhoods with the abandoned and foreclosed on homes. And if it’s not dedicated to that I think you’ll have a hard time keeping sponsors and keeping people on board to vote for it."

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4:09 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Experts Say Tree Removed for Speed Expansion Was Only 60 Years Old

The mystery tree in 1974, left, and recently, right.
Speed Art Museum

The Speed Art Museum has produced photos (see image) showing the supposedly 300-year-old tree that was removed last year to make way for the museum’s expansion. The first picture is from 1974, the second is more recent.

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Arts and Humanities
3:44 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Meet the Man Who Made Baseball History in 'Jackie and Me'

John Vessels as Pee Wee Reese and Jeremy Sonkin as Jackie Robinson in Stage One's production of "Jackie and Me."
Credit Stage One Family Theatre

Stage One Family Theatre commemorates Black History Month with a play about Jackie Robinson, the first African American man to play in baseball’s major leagues. The first baseman broke the unwritten color barrier in 1947. The story takes a contemporary student back in time to witness Jackie Robinson’s historic first season with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Playwright Stephen Dietz adapted the play from Dan Gutman’s novel, a volume in his “Baseball Card Adventures” series. 

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2:21 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Kentucky Wildcats' Nerlens Noel Tears ACL, Out for Season

Nerlens Noel
Credit University of Kentucky Athletics

LEXINGTON — Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel is out for the rest of the season with a torn ligament in his left knee.

Noel tore his ACL on Tuesday night when No. 25 Kentucky lost at Florida. An MRI on Wednesday revealed the injury.

The 6-foot-10 forward will have surgery in the two or three weeks. The projected recovery period is six to eight months.

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2:03 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

In Australia, Renewable Energy is Cheaper Than Coal

Harvey McDaniel Wikimedia Commons

A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows that the price of renewable energy in Australia is so low that it’s now cheaper to invest in wind and solar power than in a new coal-fired power plant.

According to Bloomberg, energy from a new wind farm costs about $83 per megawatt hour. Building a new coal plant would cost consumers $148 per megawatt hour, and a new baseload gas plant would cost $120 per megawatt hour.

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