Study: Ky. Medicaid population centered in east
FRANKFORT (AP) — A new review by a nonprofit health organization shows that the largest share of Kentucky’s Medicaid population lives in the impoverished eastern portion of the state.
The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky has embarked on a three-year study of how the federal Affordable Care Act is affecting Kentucky. The group released its first report on Tuesday. About a quarter of the state’s population is now on Medicaid after the state decided to expand the program’s eligibility requirements.
Eastern Kentucky accounts for 32 percent of the Medicaid recipients while 25 percent live in western Kentucky. Nineteen percent live in Louisville, 16 percent live in Lexington and 8 percent live in northern Kentucky near Cincinnati.
Kentucky’s uninsured rate dropped 10.4 percentage points following the expansion, outpacing surrounding states and the national average.
Governor creates board to govern broadband construction
FRANKFORT (AP) — Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear has created a board to govern the construction of 3,000 miles of cables for the state’s broadband Internet network.
The project is expected to take two to three years to complete. It will cost about $324 million, with $53.5 million coming from taxpayers and $270.9 million coming from private investment.
The governing board consists of the secretary of the governor’s Executive Cabinet, the state budget director, the executive director of the Public Service Commission, the chief information officer and the chief executive officer of The Center for Rural Development. Each person can choose someone to take their place on the board if they want.
Construction will begin in eastern Kentucky. State officials will hold a kickoff event on Aug. 31 in Hazard.
McConnell: Tobacco should not be excluded from trade pact
SHELBYVILLE(AP) — U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled Tuesday that the inclusion of anti-tobacco language in a Pacific Rim trade deal being negotiated could influence his stance on a potential agreement covering nearly 40 percent of the global economy.
The Kentucky Republican also said climate change should not surface as an issue in the trade talks involving a dozen nations.
As the Senate’s top-ranking leader, McConnell will wield considerable influence when a trade deal comes up for a Senate vote.
In a rare show of teamwork, McConnell recently sided with President Barack Obama to give the president greater authority to negotiate trade deals. The bill gives Congress the right to approve or reject trade agreements but not change them.
McConnell is a free-trade advocate, but indicated that how tobacco and coal are treated would be factors in weighing a trade deal.
“I’ve said to the trade negotiator that carve-outs for commodities that the administration doesn’t like are a bad idea,” McConnell said Tuesday after a speech in Shelbyville. “And I hope they won’t do that. I’ve also expressed my opposition to try to turn the trade deal into some kind of climate change agenda, given the depression we have in the coalfields. So we’ll see what the final deal looks like. I hope it’s one I can support.”
Paul hasn’t yet transferred $250K for presidential caucus
FRANKFORT (AP) — Rand Paul’s campaign says he hasn’t transferred money to the Republican Party of Kentucky despite saying he made a $250,000 installment as part of his pledge to fully fund a proposed GOP presidential caucus in the state, which would allow him to run simultaneously for president and re-election to his Senate seat.
The campaign told media on Tuesday that the money has been set aside in a dedicated fund and will be handed over after the party’s central committee approves the caucus plan.
Paul told fellow Kentucky Republicans in a weekend letter that he made a $250,000 installment and pledged another $200,000 to pay for the proposed March 5 caucus in the Bluegrass state.
Committee members are scheduled to vote on the new rules Saturday.
Attorney general: Panel must comply with Open Meetings Act
FRANKFORT (AP) — The Kentucky attorney general’s office has found that the state Board of Education violated the Open Meetings Law by not notifying the public of a committee meeting to choose a firm to help with the search for a new commissioner.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that after Education Commissioner Terry Holliday announced his retirement this year, the state board voted April 1 to name a committee to choose a search firm to find Holliday’s successor.
Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions Executive Director Jim Waters challenged the committee’s lack of publicly advertised and held meetings.
The board’s counsel said the committee was convened for a single task and not viewed as formal.
The attorney general’s office disagreed and said the committee was required to comply with the Open Meetings Act.
Man pleads not guilty to murder charge in infant’s death
ELIZABETHTOWN (AP) — A central Kentucky man who police say was seen driving down a highway beating an infant in a car seat has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in the death of his 4-month-old son.
The News-Enterprise reports 35-year-old Daniel A. Cox appeared in court Tuesday with a public defender who requested a reduction in his client’s $500,000 bail. Judge Ken Howard denied the request, saying the bond “was reasonable and necessary for protection of the community.”
A Hardin County grand jury indicted Cox of Radcliff last week on a charge of murder-domestic violence in the death of Jayceon Chrystie.
Court records say witnesses called 911 on Aug. 6 after seeing a man repeatedly hitting a child in a car seat while driving along a highway. After Cox left the unresponsive infant with the baby’s mother, she called police. Authorities say the child was black and blue, had no pulse and his eye was swollen shut.
The baby died two days later. Jefferson County Deputy Coroner Bob Fraction said the cause of death was “inflicted traumatic injury to the head.”
A pretrial conference is set for Cox on Oct. 13.
Louisville jaywalkers, drivers warned of crackdown
LOUISVILLE (AP) — Louisville Metro Police have warned the public that officers are about to start cracking down on jaywalking.
Local media outlets report that officers have been giving warnings to jaywalkers and drivers at targeted intersections in recent months and will soon start issuing citations with fines ranging from $20 to $100.
Police say they are monitoring five especially dangerous intersections to keep pedestrians safe, a year after 18 pedestrians were killed. Eleven have been killed so far this year.
Public Works Department bicycle and pedestrian coordinator Rolf Eisinger says the operation will include undercover officers who will walk crosswalks to issue citations to pedestrians and notify nearby officers of vehicles that break the law.
The initiative is funded by a $307,000, three-year grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Landfill to gradually stop taking out-of-state trash trains
ASHLAND (AP) — A landfill near Ashland has announced that it will gradually stop accepting train deliveries of out-of-state trash by the end of next year.
Local media outlets report the amount of rail delivered waste to the Big Run landfill will drop 30 percent by the end of this year and terminate by the end of 2016, which will cut the dump’s total intake by 75 percent.
Parent company EnviroSolutions CEO Dean Kattler also says that rail deliveries containing sewage sludge will end within three weeks. The landfill will continue to accept sludge from local municipalities, including Ashland and Huntington.
The announcement comes as the company and local and state officials face lawsuits from citizens and as the landfill seeks a permit renewal from state environmental regulators amid ongoing odor fines.
Belafonte, Davis to receive Ali Humanitarian Awards
LOUISVILLE (AP) — Singer and activist Harry Belafonte and Academy Award-winning actress Geena Davis will headline this year’s winners of Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards.
The awards are named after the former heavyweight boxing champion, who has focused on humanitarian causes since leaving the ring.
Ali is scheduled to attend the Sept. 19 ceremony in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.
Organizers said Tuesday that Belafonte will receive the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Lifetime Achievement for his contributions to civil rights.
Davis will receive the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year Award for her efforts to promote gender equality.
Olympic Gold Medal swimmer Janet Evans will emcee the event.