News in Brief


Bill would exempt clerks from issuing gay marriage licenses

FRANKFORT (AP) — Two Republican state representatives have filed a bill that would protect county clerks from criminal or civil liability for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because of their religious beliefs.

Reps. Stan Lee of Lexington and David Meade of Stanford are sponsoring the bill for the legislative session that begins in January. It is similar to one filed by Republican state Rep. Addia Wuchner of Florence.

At least two county clerks have stopped issuing all marriage licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriages are legal nationwide. The American Civil Liberties Union sued Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis over the issue. That case is pending.

The bill would also protect ministers from liability for refusing to perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples.

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Ky. joins effort to stop misclassification of workers

FRANKFORT (AP) — State and federal labor officials have agreed to work together to stop Kentucky companies from misclassifying full-time workers as independent contractors.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Labor and the Kentucky Labor Cabinet have signed an agreement pledging they will share information and coordinate law enforcement activities to make sure business owners do not try to misclassify workers.

Kentucky joins 22 other states who have signed similar agreements with the federal government. Federal officials said misclassified workers are often denied benefits, including the minimum wage, overtime and family and medical leave. It also means states and the federal government collect less money in taxes.

The agreement lasts for three years.

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Robertson stepping down as Ky. GOP executive director

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Steve Robertson is stepping down as executive director of the Republican Party of Kentucky and a staffer for U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell is taking his place.

Robertson will join public affairs firm CivicPoint as a senior vice president. His last day as executive director will be Aug. 15. He will remain the party’s chairman through the November elections.

Mike Biagi will be the party’s new executive director beginning Aug. 1. He is a field representative for McConnell in Louisville.

Robertson was elected chairman in 2007. Since then, Republicans have added more than 183,600 registered voters in Kentucky while Democrats have added 23,957. Republicans have won five of the six congressional seats and both U.S. Senate seats. But Democrats still hold five of the six statewide constitutional officers and a majority in the state House of Representatives.

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Fort Knox getting new garrison commander this week

FORT KNOX (AP) — A new garrison commander is being installed at Fort Knox this week.

Col. Stephen Aiton will replace Col. T.J. Edwards during a ceremony Friday at the post.

Aiton is a 25-year Army Adjutant General Corps officer and most recently served at Central Command in Tampa, Florida.

Edwards has been garrison commander since July 9, 2013. His next assignment will be as an executive officer at the Pentagon.

Command Sgt. Maj. Marcus Robinson, who is senior enlisted adviser of the Fort Knox garrison, will transfer responsibility to Command Sgt. Maj. Bobby Wooldridge during the same ceremony. Robinson is retiring after a 31-year Army career.

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S. Indiana man charged with murder in death of girlfriend

CORYDON, Ind. (AP) — A New Albany man has been charged with murder in the strangulation death of a girlfriend whose body was found in the Ohio River.

Court records show 51-year-old Clair Eugene Chaplin was arrested on a warrant Wednesday evening.

The body of 35-year-old Genevieve Rogge of New Albany was discovered June 28 in the river near Mauckport, about 30 miles southwest of Louisville, Kentucky.

A probable cause affidavit says broken glass, blood stains and broken blinds were found in Rogge’s home, and marks on her body matched the bed lining of Chaplin’s pickup truck. Investigators found bloodstains on the truck’s tailgate, rear bumper, bed liner, driver’s side door and the steering wheel cover.

Online court records did not list an attorney for Chaplin who might comment on the case.

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Kerry vows to defend Iran-wary allies in Mideast

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry says the U.S. will help Mideast allies defend themselves against any Iranian-supported unrest after holding the Obama administration’s first Cabinet-level meeting with a regional partner since the Iran nuclear deal.

His Saudi Arabian counterpart stopped short of endorsing the accord.

Kerry said he’d travel to the region Aug. 3 to brief American allies on the deal. He vowed to push back against Shiite Iran if it supports extremism — a concern of the Gulf’s Sunni monarchies.

Saudi Foreign Minister Al-Jubeir said he supports a deal that prevents Iran from reaching nuclear weapons capability, includes tough inspections and quickly re-imposes sanctions if Iran cheats. He said his country was still examining the deal and would need time to get questions answered.

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Congressmen proposing uniform drugs rules in horse racing

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two congressmen are introducing a bill that would establish uniform drug and medication standards in thoroughbred racing in 2017.

If passed, the legislation would allow the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to create a drug agency specifically for racing — a first for the sport. USADA, an independent agency, is the national anti-doping organization in the U.S. for the Olympics.

The Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act of 2015 is being presented Thursday by representatives Andy Barr, R-Ky., and Paul Tonko, D-N.Y. They co-chair the Congressional Horse Caucus.

The racing industry is regulated on a state-by-state basis with a patchwork of regulations. Supporters of the bill have been trying for years to set uniform rules, drug testing and penalties at tracks nationwide.

The bill is supported by the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity. Among those in the coalition are the Breeders’ Cup, The Jockey Club, the Humane Society of the United States and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association.

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