State News in Brief

Pension board paying legal fees of former chairman

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky Retirement Systems is paying $50,000 in legal fees of its former chairman in his lawsuit against Gov. Matt Bevin.

The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, which obtained the legal bills through a public records request, reports the move is drawing criticism from Bevin’s office.

Louisville banker Tommy Elliott filed the lawsuit against Bevin on June 17 after Bevin removed Elliott from the agency’s Board of Trustees.

Steve Pitt, the governor’s general counsel, said the payment of Elliott’s legal bill “is a prime example” of the need for leadership change.

Bevin removed Elliott in April, nearly three years before his term was to expire.

KRS Executive Director Bill Thielen said the lawsuit arose as a result of Elliott’s performance as KRS chairman


Bevin removes Jane Beshear’s name from education center

FRANKFORT (AP) — The name of former first lady Jane K. Beshear has been removed from the Capitol Education Center on the grounds of the Kentucky Capitol less than a year after it was added.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the sign with Jane Beshear’s name has been removed from in front of the building, which Gov. Steve Beshear had renamed in his wife’s honor in November shortly before leaving office.

The building serves as an education and welcoming facility for over 60,000 guests to the Capitol campus every year.

State Finance and Administration Cabinet spokeswoman Pamela Trautner says Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration plans to rename the center to honor Kentucky’s military heritage and recognize Kentucky’s “Gold Star” families who lost a loved one in combat.

Trautner didn’t elaborate on the name change.


Bevin asks judge to disqualify Beshear from UofL lawsuit

FRANKFORT (AP) — Republican Gov. Matt Bevin says a conflict of interest should bar Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear from suing him.

Beshear filed a lawsuit last week challenging Bevin’s decision to abolish and replace the board of trustees at the University of Louisville. Thursday, Bevin’s attorneys asked a judge to disqualify Beshear.

Bevin’s attorneys say the attorney general is the legal adviser for all state officers. Last year, former Attorney General Jack Conway issued an advisory opinion that said it was legal for the governor to reorganize the university board. Bevin said the state’s code of professional conduct for attorneys prohibits Beshear from suing the governor for following the attorney general’s advice.

Beshear called the move a “desperate tactic” and said he will not let the governor stop him.


Hacker who called attention to Ohio rape case facing charges

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A man who aligned himself with the hacker group Anonymous has been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly conspiring to access an online account to draw attention to a 2012 high school rape case in Ohio.

Deric Lostutter — who went by the online name “KYAnonymous” — was charged in a conspiracy to gain access to the account and making false statements to authorities. He was ordered to appear before a judge Aug. 9.

The indictment says he conspired to access a fan website for Steubenville High School sports teams. Two football players were convicted of a raping a West Virginia girl at a party.

Lostutter did not immediately reply Friday to an email. The indictment Thursday says he faces up to 16 years in prison if convicted.


Bevin declares state of emergency as storms knock out power

PADUCAH (AP) — Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin declared a statewide emergency Thursday following flooding in parts of western Kentucky that left thousands of residents without power.

Bevin’s office said in a news release that the declaration will give emergency workers help as they respond to local needs. He urged residents to take precautions needed to be safe.

Kentucky Emergency Management Director Michael Dossett said some areas of western Kentucky have had more than 15 inches of rain.

“This event is happening in conjunction with high temperatures across the Commonwealth, creating further concern for local first responders who are assisting displaced residents,” Dossett said in the release. “We are reminding all citizens to be mindful of severe weather notifications through local, state and National Weather Service channels, being prepared to take immediate action if directed to do so.”

Heavy rains and harsh winds blew through the area Wednesday, knocking down power lines and damaging buildings in the far western part of the state, including Paducah.

Media report that a small tornado hit in Metropolis, Illinois, as winds gusted up to 105 miles per hour. No life-threatening injuries were reported.

More than an inch of rain fell in the Paducah area while about three-quarters of an inch fell in Mayfield and Murray, flooding some roadways.

West Kentucky Rural Electric reported about 1,600 customers without power Thursday afternoon, while about 2,700 Jackson Purchase Energy customers had no power.

Severe weather in Paducah could return as there is a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms through Saturday.


Kentucky State Police providing race traffic updates

SPARTA (AP) — Kentucky State Police are again providing traffic updates through social media and a mobile app for NASCAR fans heading to Kentucky Speedway for the Xfinity and Sprint Cup series this weekend.

State police said in a news release that motorists can download the free KSP mobile app by searching “KSPOLICE.” Also, state police will use Twitter and roadside message boards to provide traffic and parking updates. The Twitter handle is @KYStatePolice .

Police say commercial traffic and anyone else not heading to the speedway should avoid the Gallatin County area, specifically Interstate 71, on Saturday and Sunday. Commercial vehicles traveling between Louisville and Cincinnati should use Interstate 64 and Interstate 75, detouring through Lexington.


Jim Gray says he has raised $1.1 million in second quarter

FRANKFORT (AP) — Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jim Gray says he has raised nearly $1.1 million for his U.S. Senate campaign in the second quarter.

The Lexington mayor said in a news release his campaign raised $1,083,039 for the fundraising period ending June 30. Gray reported $1.8 million in his first fundraising report earlier this year, but $1 million of that was his own money. Gray said he did not contribute to his campaign in the second quarter.

Spokeswoman Cathy Lindsey said the campaign has just over $1 million in cash available to spend.

Gray has not yet filed his report with the Federal Election Commission. The deadline is July 15.

Gray is challenging Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul in the November general election. Paul has not released his fundraising totals yet.

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