Jonathan Meador

Frankfort Bureau Chief

Jonathan Meador

 Jonathan Meador is the Frankfort Bureau chief for Kentucky Public Radio. 

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Politics
9:00 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Kentucky Statewide Smoking Ban an 'Uphill Battle,' House Speaker Greg Stumbo Says

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FRANKFORT — Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo says that mustering legislative support for a bill that would ban smoking in private businesses and public areas is “an uphill battle.”

Stumbo, a Democrat, says that the bill, sponsored by Rep. Susan Westrom, a Lexington Democrat, has only a handful of Republican votes and about 30 Democratic votes.

Despite his support, Stumbo says some lawmakers are apprehensive about the ban.

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Education
2:33 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Testing Waivers for Kentucky School Districts of Innovation Wins House Committee Approval

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A bill that would modify student assessments in Kentucky public schools has unanimously cleared a House committee.

The measure would permit schools participating in the Kentucky Department of Education’s Districts of Innovation program to implement new testing methods to assess student performance.

Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Donna Hargens testified before the House Education Committee Tuesday morning, saying that alternative assessments won’t be any less rigorous than current ones.

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Politics
7:33 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Former Rep. John Arnold's Mental Competence Questioned as Kentucky Ethics Case is Delayed

John Arnold
Credit Jonathan Meador/WFPL News

FRANKFORT—A hearing on the state ethics complaints against former state Rep. John Arnold was delayed Monday amid questions about his mental health.

In an ruling, Legislative Ethics Commission chairman George Troutman ordered that the trial be postponed because of continued uncertainty over Arnold's mental competence. The continuance was asked for in a motion by Steve Downey, Arnold's attorney, said LEC counsel John Schaaf in a statement.

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Politics
6:42 am
Mon February 24, 2014

At Louisville Republican Gathering, Rand Paul Talks Inclusiveness With Minorities

Rand Paul
Credit U.S. Senate

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul says he wants the Republican Party to become more inclusive toward minorities and the poor.

He spoke Friday before a gathering of state Republicans in downtown Louisville. Paul—who just a few years ago voiced his displeasure with the 1964 Civil Rights Act—said the GOP needs to change is collective voice.  

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Politics
12:00 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

In Kentucky the Path to Restoring Voting Rights to Felons Makes a Detour

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FRANKFORT — As a child, Teddi Smith-Robillard suffered trauma that haunted and shaped her early years—to the point that she ended up a convicted felon, she said.

“I lived in hell, in my mind," she said. 

Now 74, she can reflect on a life of overcoming many obstacles—including regaining the right to vote in Kentucky, which she needed extraordinary measures to achieve.

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Politics
4:22 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Gov. Steve Beshear Launches Kentucky Health Initiative

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Gov. Steve Beshear is launching a new initiative aimed at improving Kentucky’s health outcomes over the next five years.

The initiative, KyHealthNow, will use executive and legislative measures, public-private partnerships and momentum from growing enrollment in the state’s healthcare exchange, Kynect, in an effort to improve health across the state.

Beshear says he wants to cut by 10 percent the rates of obesity, smoking, heart disease and more by 2019.

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Politics
4:47 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Rand Paul's Support Boosts Weakened Kentucky Felon Voting Rights Bill

Rand Paul
Credit U.S. Senate

Update: The full state Senate has approved the amended felon voting rights bill. The vote was 34-4.

Earlier: U.S. Senator Rand Paul has given a boost to a state bill that would restore the voting rights of some felons.

A committee substitute to HB 70 would reduce the number of felons affected by 55 percent. An estimated 128,000 felons in Kentucky would have been affected by the original law—now, only half of them will be. The rest must seek executive pardons.

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Politics
9:31 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Kentucky Juvenile Justice Department Feeling Strains of State's Pension Issues

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Kentucky’s pension woes are putting a strain on the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Commissioner Hasan Davis told lawmakers on the House Budget Review Subcommittee on Justice and the Judiciary this week that the Department of Juvenile Justice is struggling.

Years of employee attrition, program reductions and budget fluctuations have strained the agency.

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Politics
3:40 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

How Kentucky's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Began and Where It's Going

It was a very different time in 2004, politically and socially. George W. Bush was poised to sail into a second term in the White House. Hearings in Saddam Hussein’s war crimes trial began in earnest. And “Shrek 2” was making millions at the box office.

And Kentucky, along with 10 other states, voted to ban same-sex marriages.

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Politics
7:19 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Republican, Democratic Lawmakers Propose Bills Ending Kentucky Death Penalty

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FRANKFORT — Two Kentucky lawmakers have introduced bills that would eliminate the death penalty and replace it with life without parole.

Democratic Sen. Gerald Neal of Louisville and Republican Rep. David Floyd of Bardstown say the justice system is flawed and should not have the power to take a felon’s life.

Corrections data provided by the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty shows that 14 death penalty cases have been overturned since 1983.

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