BESHEAR-STATE OF THE COMMONWEALTH
Kentucky governor reaffirms support for teacher pay raise
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear reaffirmed his support for a teachers' pay raise in his first State of the Commonwealth speech to the Republican-dominated legislature. The state's new Democratic governor told lawmakers on Tuesday evening that the budget he submits later this month will include his campaign pledge for a $2,000 across-the-board pay raise for teachers. Speaking to a statewide television audience, Beshear also promised to support fully funding the state's public pension obligations. He also called for lawmakers to ensure that no one can lose health care coverage because of a pre-existing condition.
Bills seek to end 'conversion therapy' in Kentucky
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Lawmakers from both houses of the Kentucky legislature are promoting a bill to effectively ban so-called conversion therapy. The legislators held a rally at the statehouse on Tuesday during which they and at least one student who had been through the therapy testified. Republican Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr of Lexington is the lead sponsor of the Senate measure. She referred to the practice as “conversion torture."
Kentucky clinic given OK to apply for abortion license
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky officials are inviting a Planned Parenthood clinic to apply for a license to perform abortions. Procedures at the Louisville clinic had been halted under Kentucky's previous governor, Matt Bevin, in early 2016. If Planned Parenthood's license is approved for the Louisville clinic, it would become only the second abortion provider in the state. Bevin and the Republican-controlled General Assembly had moved in recent years to enact restrictions on abortions. But Bevin lost his reelection bid to Democrat Andy Beshear in November. Beshear, who supports abortion rights, took office on Dec. 10.
Kentucky coal miners remain on tracks blocking coal shipment
PIKEVILLE, Ky. (AP) — About a dozen Kentucky coal miners remained on train tracks Tuesday, saying they haven't been paid for producing the coal in the train cars. The tracks lead from Quest Energy in Pike County. American Resources Corp., which owns Quest, told news outlets that the miners will all be paid. The company disputed miners' claims that they haven't been paid since Dec. 16. American Resources said it owes some miners for eight days of work and some for one day. The company blamed a “temporary blip” in the coal market. Miners last summer in Harlan County held a similar protest when Blackjewel filed bankruptcy.
Health advocates call for action to stem youth e-cig use
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Public health advocates have rallied at Kentucky's Capitol to push for legislation aimed at reducing smoking and e-cigarette use among young people. A group called the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow on Tuesday urged Kentucky lawmakers to impose an excise tax on the sale of e-cigarettes. Another measure backed by the group would raise the minimum legal age in Kentucky to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21. The coalition also called for increased state funding for tobacco prevention and cessation efforts. The statehouse rally featured students, health advocates and business leaders.
Third horse rescued in Kentucky where 20 others were killed