ACLU Seeks To Block Fetal Heartbeat Measure In Kentucky

Mar 18, 2019
ONA News Agency/Wikimedia Commons

Abortion-rights defenders opened a new legal fight against Kentucky on Friday to try to block one of the country’s most restrictive abortion measures, which would mostly ban the procedure once a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Hours after Kentucky’s Republican-dominated legislature passed the so-called fetal heartbeat bill, the American Civil Liberties Union was back in federal court in Louisville to challenge the measure. The legislation won final passage late Thursday and was sent to the state’s anti-abortion governor, Republican Matt Bevin, who signed it Friday.

Nicole Erwin

Western Kentucky Soybean Farmer Jed Clark, like many Ohio Valley farmers, is in a tighter financial situation because tariffs from the trade war and market forces have depressed crop prices.

“We’ve had a collapse in our grain markets,” Clark said. “We’re seeing some of the lowest commodity prices for wheat we’ve seen in a long time.”

The Trump administration’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2020 would cut U.S. Department of Agriculture funding by 15 percent. That includes a proposal to reduce the amount of subsidies farmers receive to afford crop insurance, which can cost thousands of dollars depending on the crop. Farmers would have to pay for 52 percent of their crop insurance instead of 38 percent.


U.S. National Library of Medicine

Much of the effort to confront the opioid crisis in America has focused on young adult and middle-aged populations. But  a new study finds that more older adults, including those in Kentucky, are showing up in emergency rooms because of opioid misuse.

The results of the study, published in the journal Innovation in Aging, show that nationwide, emergency room visits due to opioid misuse by adults 65 and old more than tripled between 2006 and 2014. That increase was determined using data from emergency departments at hospitals in 34 states.

Associate Professor of Health Sciences at Towson University Mary Carter is the lead researcher on the study.

Carter said that during the five-year period from 2009 to 2014, the number of Kentuckians over 65 who visited emergency rooms for opioid misuse rose from 265 to 616. 

J. Tyler Franklin

With time expiring on the business-end of this year’s legislative session, Kentucky lawmakers sent a flurry of bills to Gov. Matt Bevin’s desk on Thursday night.

Bevin now has 10 days — excluding Sundays — to veto bills or sign them into law. Legislators will return for one final day on March 28 to consider overriding vetoes or passing any last-minute measures.

Bevin has not been shy about using his veto powers in recent years, but the Republican-led legislature has overridden his rejections in many cases over the last two years.

Alix Mattingly

The Kentucky legislature has passed a bill banning abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, sending the measure to Gov. Matt Bevin to be signed into law.

Within minutes of the bill’s passage on Thursday night, the American Civil Liberties Union announced it would sue to block it.

A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as the sixth week of pregnancy, earlier than many people are aware that they’re pregnant.

Kentucky Rooftop Solar Bill Heads To Governor

Mar 15, 2019
Erica Peterson

Kentucky lawmakers have placed the future of rooftop solar in the hands of state regulators, changing how homeowners and small businesses receive compensation for the excess power they produce.

Late Thursday night, House representatives stripped Senate Bill 100 of protections favored by the state’s rooftop solar industry before adopting it in a 55 to 36 vote. The measure now moves to the governor’s office for a signature.

Rooftop solar installers and advocates say the measure will slow the growth of solar in the state and give large utilities the upper hand in cornering the market on solar energy production.

Thinkstock

The Kentucky legislature has voted to expand the state’s law that allows people to clear some Class D felonies from their records after a five-year waiting period.

Under current law, people who have been convicted of one of 61 Class D felonies can have their criminal records cleared once they complete their sentences, wait five years and pay a $500 fee.

Senate Bill 57 expands the policy to other non-violent, non-sexual Class D felonies and lowers the fee to $250.

Liz Schlemmer

State Commissioner of Education Wayne Lewis is asking for the names of teachers who have called in sick to protest education bills at the legislature.

The Kentucky Department of Education has requested the attendance records of teachers in 10 school districts: Bath, Boyd, Bullitt, Carter, Fayette, Jefferson, Letcher, Madison, Marion and Oldham.

The Department is also asking for the names and dates school employees have called in sick, with documentation from a doctor’s office and information about each school district’s attendance policy. School districts must submit the information by the close of the business day on Monday, March 18.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Matt Bevin says he will likely sign off on a tax bill that reduces state revenue by about $105 million per year. The changes are mostly due to an adjustment in the way local banks get taxed by the state, but also include several other tax breaks.

Following a news conference Thursday announcing a $238 million expansion at the Toyota plant in Georgetown, Bevin said the “odds are pretty high” that he would sign the tax bill.

“I will commit to that once I actually have it on my desk, but we know it has a fiscal cost of about a $100 million,” Bevin said.

Toyota

The automaker Toyota announced Thursday major new investments in facilities in Kentucky and West Virginia to increase production of hybrid vehicles. Toyota plans to invest about $750 million in facilities in five states with almost half of that going to its plants in Kentucky and West Virginia.

Toyota’s plant in Georgetown, Kentucky, already the largest Toyota facility in the world, will get a $238 million boost.

“It gives me much pleasure to announce that beginning in May, TMMK will begin producing the Lexus ES 300 Hybrid,” said Susan Elkington, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky.

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