Bevin aide: Governor’s pension plan has enough votes to pass
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A key aide to Kentucky’s governor says enough votes have been secured to pass a pension-relief proposal in a special legislative session.
Gov. Matt Bevin’s deputy chief of staff, Bryan Sunderland, said Wednesday that he believes enough support exists in the Republican-led House and Senate to pass the governor’s proposal.
Sunderland says it’s now “more of a scheduling issue than a support issue.”
He says the goal is to pass the bill as soon as possible but acknowledges that getting it done in June would be “very ambitious.”
Sunderland says that Bevin is “looking at July dates” in conversations with legislative leaders.
The Republican governor has spent weeks trying to garner enough support to bring lawmakers back for a special session. His plan would replace a measure he vetoed in April.
Officials: Bureaucracy meant no warning system in park death
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee officials say bureaucratic issues were behind the lack of a warning system at Cummins Falls State Park, where fast-moving water killed a 2-year-old earlier this month.
Parks and Conservation Deputy Commissioner Jim Bryson told lawmakers Wednesday that after 2017 flooding, a warning system was identified, funded and requested by state parks and Tennessee Tech University, which was familiar with the equipment.
Bryson said state procurement decided there was no justification for a sole-source contract, didn’t allow bidding and identified another possible supplier. He said Tennessee Tech’s contact said it would ask colleagues about the supplier but never responded to procurement, which didn’t follow up.
The falls and gorge are closed amid rainfall studies and other changes. Officials say they have loaned warning equipment until permanent equipment arrives in 30 to 45 days.
Delayed Kentucky internet project faces new squirrel setback
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A project that would bring high-speed internet across Kentucky will be delayed because company representatives say an “abundance” of squirrels have chewed through wiring.
The Courier-Journal reports lawmakers in the state’s capitol questioned reports of ravenous squirrels Tuesday, blocking officials in charge of the KentuckyWired project from borrowing an additional $110 million.
KentuckyWired was started in 2015 under former Gov. Steve Beshear to boost Kentucky’s internet infrastructure. Officials are now saying squirrels damaged cable that was supposed to be up and running in April.
This isn’t the first time the project has been denied extra funds. In February, lawmakers blocked a request for an additional $20 million for “unanticipated borrowing costs.” KentuckyWired has been plagued from the beginning by delays and cost overruns , running nearly four years behind schedule.
Delivery man who rescued girls from alleged abuse honored
(Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, http://www.kentucky.com)
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky police have honored a pizza delivery driver they say rescued two girls who were being abused by their father.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reports Mark Buede was honored Tuesday by the Lexington Police Department. Police say Buede was delivering a pizza to an area motel last November and knocked on the door, which opened to reveal a man and a naked child on a bed behind him.
Police say the scene caused Buede to alert authorities, who responded and found two girls hiding in the room. They say a subsequent investigation led authorities to believe the man had been abusing his daughters. Police didn’t release the man’s identity, but said he was charged with multiple offenses.
Other people, including the involved officers, were also honored Tuesday.
Kentucky driver’s license pilot program to start June 28
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky transportation officials say they will begin issuing new driver’s licenses this month that are designed to comply with a federal travel law.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says in a statement that it will begin rolling out the licenses in Franklin County on June 28 as part of a pilot program before the licenses are issued statewide. County driver’s licensing offices will be closed June 27 to prepare. The pilot program will also include Woodford and Hart counties and the rollout dates there will be announced soon.
Vehicle Regulation Commissioner Matt Henderson says with the updates, Kentucky licenses will be “among the most secure in the nation.”
Other Kentucky counties will be added this summer after the test pilot ends.
The REAL ID enforcement deadline is October 2020.
Federal grant to continue youth-support services program
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky agency says it has secured another $5 million federal grant to continue a program providing youth-support services.
Kentucky’s Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities says the latest grant will continue the program through March 2024. The Transition Age Youth Launching Realized Dreams program allows youth ages 16 to 25 to easily access quality, developmentally appropriate, youth-driven support services. Officials say the goal is to help participants achieve their goals and transition into adulthood successfully.
Officials say available services include expedited assistance in locating housing, mental health services and substance-abuse treatment.
Since 2014, the program has helped more than 1,900 youth. Officials say youth and young adults can visit one of Kentucky’s 20 drop-in sites to access behavioral health services.