1:02 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Kentucky House Passes Legislative Redistricting Plan 83-17

Speaker Greg Stumbo unveils Democratic redistricting plan earlier this month.
Credit Submitted photo

FRANKFORT — A legislative redistricting bill has breezed through the House and now heads to the Senate for consideration.

Legislative leaders removed many of the partisan overtones that had been in previous proposals, a move that led to broader support among rank-and-file lawmakers of both parties.

The House passed the bill 83-17 Wednesday morning. The Senate is expected to rush the measure to a vote on Friday.

(Related: WFPL's past coverage of the redistricting issue and the General Assembly's special session.)

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Arts and Humanities
12:17 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Hot Rods, Skate Decks, Tattoos: Green Building Hosts Panel on Lowbrow/High Culture Art

"Speedster 13" by Jeral Tidwell. 5-color hand-made screen print, 12x17 inches, signed and numbered limited edition
Credit Jeral Tidwell / http://humantree.com/

The Green Building Gallery's Focus series continues Monday with a panel discussion on the careers of Louisville artists who have one foot in the art gallery world and one in the so-called "lowbrow" design world of skateboards, motorcycles, tattoos and hot rods.

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12:10 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Hal Heiner Launches Second Charter School Organization Ahead of Louisville Panel

Hal Heiner is chairman of the Kentucky Charter Schools Association.

Leaders of a defunct organization supporting charter schools in Kentucky have launched a new group that will host a panel of charter supporters including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Rand Paul tomorrow in Louisville.

“We’ve had a loose coalition for a couple years now and I wanted to sharpen the focus, pull the coalition together and sharpen the focus on public charter schools for Kentucky,” says Hal Heiner, chairman of the Kentucky Charter Schools Association.

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10:56 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Kentucky Statehouse Staffers Accuse Rep. John Arnold of Sexual Harassment, Assault

State Rep. John A. Arnold Jr.
Credit Jonathan Meador/WFPL News

Two longtime Kentucky statehouse employees have filed ethics complaints against Democratic state Rep. John A. Arnold Jr., alleging a pattern of sexual assault and harassment dating back to early 2010.

Cassaundra Cooper and Yolanda Costner, in separate complaints, allege Arnold inappropriately touched them and made lewd and vulgar comments in numerous incidents over several years. Arnold  is a veteran legislator from Sturgis.

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9:01 am
Wed August 21, 2013

EMILY's List Endorses Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky Senate

Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes

The powerful pro-choice group EMILY's List is endorsing Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky's 2014 U.S. Senate race.

The group had encouraged Grimes to get in the Senate race as early as March, and has been helping the first-term secretary of state raise money in a bid to unseat Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell next year.

In an e-mail to supporters, EMILY's List President Stephanie Schriock called Grimes an "energetic rising star" who can beat McConnell.

"Mitch McConnell is one of the least liked senators in the country for a reason—he’s hopelessly out-of-touch with the needs of his state," Schriock said. "Alison is working tirelessly to make sure that Kentuckians’ voices are being heard."

EMILY's List is a political action committee that works to elect Democratic women who support reproductive rights. Last year, the group raised close to $52 million and is known to have an extensive national campaign network.

Grimes has avoided hot button national topics for the most part and her campaign website doesn't address social issues but rather focuses instead on jobs, veterans issues and protecting entitlements.

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8:47 am
Wed August 21, 2013

JCPS Bus Accident Sends 7 Students To Hospital, Some With 'Minor Pains'

UPDATE, 9:47 am: Jefferson County Public Schools officials now say that there were only seven students aboard school bus 0157 that was involved in an accident this morning. All seven were taken to an area hospital, but only five reported minor pains.

Original story:

Jefferson County Public Schools officials say five elementary school students were sent to an area hospital following an accident with bus number 0157.

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7:30 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Louisville Councilman Brent Ackerson Unveils Drastic Changes to Discretionary Spending

Councilman Brent Ackerson, D-26
Credit Louisville Metro Council

After an hour long deliberation of the Louisville Metro Council's ethics committee Democrat Brent Ackerson unveiled a 19-page draft of broad changes to discretionary spending rules on Tuesday.

The committee discussed a number of possible reforms including tighter rules for neighborhood grants and a resolution asking the General Assembly for a change in state law that would give the Metro Ethics Commission subpoena powers.

But the proposals Ackerson is outlining call for a drastic shift in policy such as blocking the use of neighborhood grant funding for community picnics and festivals unless there is a public purpose such as a health fair.

"At the end of the day I hope it will be equally offensive to all of us because that’s what it’s going to take here. This can’t be a situation where we say don’t touch my project or this or that," says Ackerson. "Let’s just vomit the ideas out there and flush through. If we’re going to bring out real change then let’s really do it."

He says it's important lawmakers put bold ideas out for the public to debate in the wake of Barbara Shanklin’s expulsion trial, which in part centered on the use of discretionary funds.

The plan also would forbid a single council member from spending over $15,000 on a single event. It would effectively stop the funding district events such as Newburg Day, which has received grants over $20,000 from Shanklin's office in years past.

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The Two-Way
6:42 am
Wed August 21, 2013

More College Students Rely On Federal Aid, Study Says

For the first time, a majority of students got federal help to attend college, according to a new U.S. survey. Here, people walk on the Columbia University campus in July.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 5:21 pm

The percentage of U.S. undergrads who rely on the federal government for financial aid soared above 50 percent in the most recent survey from the National Center for Education Statistics. The data show that for the first time, a majority of students got federal help.

NPR's Claudio Sanchez reports for our Newscast unit:

"The new figures from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that from 2007 to 2011, the percentage of undergraduate students who depend on federal loans and grants jumped from 47 percent to 57 percent.

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4:02 am
Wed August 21, 2013

ACT Releases Kentucky Test Results, Education Officials Also Release Their Version

The ACT released results according to its new scoring metrics, which are different than Kentucky's.
Courtesy of the ACT report

The ACT testing company has released its annual college and career readiness report and it shows a drop in reading scores for Kentucky’s 2013 graduating class. But state education officials say that’s because the ACT has changed the way it measures reading and the state is not using the same benchmark system.

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8:46 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

JCPS Officials: All Students Bused Home by 7 p.m.

Credit File photo

Jefferson County Public Schools officials say the last student was delivered home by 6:58 Tuesday night.

The previous two years JCPS has reduced the time buses cleared on the first day of school. Last year, the final bus cleared at 6:38 pm. The year before it was 7:20 pm.

Busing on the first day of school has been closely watched, in large part due to the infamous 2010 school year when the final students weren't delivered home until after 9 p.m. on the first day of class.

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