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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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The Kentucky Senate has voted to ban doctors from performing abortions if they believe the person seeking the procedure wants it because of the fetus’ race, sex or disability. The measure now heads to Gov. Matt Bevin for final approval.

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

Heather Gatnarek, a staff attorney at the ACLU of Kentucky, said the bill would interfere with a person’s right to decide whether to end a pregnancy.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Jeremy W. Osborne

Kentuckians are being urged to take 20 minutes in 2020 to fill out their census questionnaire which will directly impact the commonwealth. 

One year from now, the U.S. Census Bureau will start mailing questionnaires to every household in the nation. 

The U.S. Constitution mandates that a census of the population be conducted every ten years to determine the number of congressional delegates for each state. 

Census data is also used to determine how federal money is distributed to states and local communities for things like roads, schools, and health care.

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Leaders of the Kentucky legislature have proposed revising the state’s tax code, cutting $105 million in state revenue largely by changing how local banks get taxed.

The move comes as Kentucky struggles with a massive pension debt that requires the state to put record amounts of money into the pension systems and as the state consistently has trouble generating enough tax revenue to pay for expenses.

House Speaker David Osborne, a Republican from Prospect, said that the local bank tax break will be expensive, but worth it.

Toyota Driving Demand For Solar Power In Ohio Valley

Mar 13, 2019
Sydney Boles

Automaker Toyota is planning to announce a major investment in solar and other renewable energy in Appalachia and the Southeastern U.S. The plan includes a massive new solar facility on an old surface coal mine property in Kentucky.

Sources close to the deal tell the Ohio Valley Resource that the Kentucky site is part of a much larger plan. Toyota plans to purchase as much as 800,000 megawatt hours per year, or roughly 365 megawatts, of renewable energy, primarily from developers in Appalachia and the South.


creative commons

A bill that would ban the use of tobacco products on public school grounds across the state is making a last-minute bid in the Kentucky legislature after being stalled for weeks.

House Bill 11 would ban students, employees and volunteers from using any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes, on school property or during school events.

Rep. Kim Moser, a Republican from Taylor Mill and sponsor of the bill, said that school districts can vote to “opt out” of the ban.

Kentucky Could Make Worst Funded Pension Plan Even Worse

Mar 13, 2019
J. Tyler Franklin

Over the next three decades, Kentucky owes roughly 35,000 state workers more than $15 billion in pension benefits. But it has a little more than $2 billion to make those payments.

That's less than 13 percent of what's needed, making it one of the worst-funded public pension plans in the country.

Wednesday, state lawmakers will likely vote to make it worse.

The legislation would let about 118 quasi-governmental entities — including public health departments, domestic violence shelters and public universities — leave the struggling pension system while paying less than what they owe. Republican Sen. Chris McDaniel, the bill's chief sponsor, said he expects all of them to take the deal.

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From Oklahoma to the Big Stage, Millsap’s Passion for Music Started as a Teen

Parker Millsap, the 26-year-old singer, songwriter, guitarist and band leader will give a special solo performance in Bowling Green on March 16 th as part of the Lost River Sessions LIVE concert series.

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