News in Brief

Panel OKs bill to crack down on posting explicit photos

FRANKFORT (AP) — A Kentucky legislative committee has approved a bill aimed at cracking down on people who distribute sexually explicit images without the consent of the person depicted.

The measure clearing the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday is known as the “revenge porn” bill.

Supporters say the bill is needed to fill a gap in state law to protect people, mostly women, from the trauma of having intimate images of them posted on the Internet, often by ex-partners.

The bill would make it a Class A misdemeanor to distribute sexually explicit images with the intent to harm or harass and without the consent of the person depicted. It would be a felony, with a potentially longer jail sentence, if the material is distributed for profit or gain.


Senate approves new rules for drivers passing bicyclists

FRANKFORT (AP) — Drivers overtaking bicyclists on Kentucky roads would have to leave at least 3 feet between their vehicle and the bicycle under a bill that cleared the state Senate.

The Kentucky Senate voted 33-4 to approve a bill that governs how drivers are to pass bicyclists. The bill also gives drivers permission to cross over onto the left side of the road to avoid a bicyclist, even if it is a no passing zone. The bill says the driver must first check to see that the left lane is not obstructed.

Four senators voted against the bill. Republican Sen. Paul Hornback of Shelbyville said it would encourage people to ride bicycles on state highways, which could cause accidents.

Bill sponsor Democratic state Sen. Robin Webb of Grayson said the bill would heighten awareness of bicyclists.


Government asks to intervene in whistleblower lawsuit

PIKEVILLE (AP) — The federal government wants to get involved in a whistleblower lawsuit against Eastern Kentucky disability lawyer Eric C. Conn.

Media outlets report attorneys with the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Division filed a motion Tuesday in federal court asking to “partially intervene for a good cause.”

The lawsuit was filed in by Jennifer Griffith and Sarah Carver, who worked in the Social Security Administration office in Huntington, W.Va. The women say Conn conspired with Judge David Daugherty to funnel thousands of Conn’s cases to Daugherty, who awarded disability benefits to people who didn’t deserve them because their medical records were falsified.

Conn has denied any wrongdoing and hasn’t been charged with a crime.

According to Tuesday’s motion, government involvement is warranted in the whistleblower lawsuit because the public needs to be assured a taxpayer-funded program is administered with transparency.


Gov. Bevin tours Eddyville penitentiary, speaks to staff

EDDYVILLE (AP) — Gov. Matt Bevin has told employees at the Kentucky State Penitentiary that he stands by his promises to include $4.5 million in retention raises for correctional workers at state prisons.

The Paducah Sun reports that Bevin made his first visit to the state penitentiary in Eddyville on Tuesday, joined by a team of legislators and other political officials.

After touring the massive facility, Bevin told the group who gathered in the prison’s chapel that he will work to keep his proposals in the budget as legislators review it over the next few weeks.

Bevin also addressed the high turnover rate in corrections officers, currently reported at 67 percent statewide. He says he expects higher salaries will help lower that rate to benefit everybody.


Hospital industry official hired as Medicaid commissioner

FRANKFORT (AP) — Gov. Matt Bevin has selected hospital industry executive Stephen Miller to serve as the state’s Medicaid commissioner.

Miller’s appointment comes as Bevin’s administration works on a plan to overhaul the state’s expanded Medicaid program. Bevin says his goal is to create a more affordable and sustainable program.

As the work goes on, he says it’s important to have someone with a deep understanding of the healthcare industry leading the state Department of Medicaid.

Miller has spent the past 24 years as vice president of finance with the Kentucky Hospital Association.

Prior to that, Miller’s career included stints as executive Director of Ten Broeck Hospital in Louisville and chief operating officer of Our Lady of Peace Hospital in Louisville.

Miller is a graduate of the University of Louisville.


‘Good progress’ reported on Louisville’s Google Fiber study

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A top Louisville official says Google Fiber is making “very good progress” in assessing whether it can install its ultra-fast fiber optic Internet service in the city.

City Director of Innovation Ted Smith tells the Courier-Journal that it probably will be a few more months before it becomes clear whether the fiber-optics system will be installed.

Last fall, city officials announced that the company had agreed to put Louisville near the head of the class among dozens of communities that had also sought the network. Officials say the network could provide Internet access around 20 times faster than conventional broadband.

Smith says city officials are working with Google Fiber on details such as construction, utility permits and issues related to use of city-owned right of way.


Louisville coach pleads not guilty on child porn charges

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A Louisville softball coach accused of distributing images of children engaged in sexual activities has pleaded not guilty.

News outlets report that Matthew Graves, the head varsity softball coach and a physical education teacher at Kentucky Country Day School, entered the plea Tuesday in Jefferson District Court, a day after he was arrested and charged with one count of distribution of child pornography.

In an arrest citation, Louisville Metro Police say Graves exchanged pictures of juveniles engaged in sexual activities using the smartphone messaging app Kik multiple times in December 2014.

Graves would face between one and five years in prison if he is found guilty.

Graves’ attorney Steve Romines says his client is a Marine Corps veteran who does not have any prior criminal history.


Jeffersontown officers cleared in deadly shooting

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Criminal charges will not be filed against two Jeffersontown police officers who fatally shot a man suspected of robbery.

Media outlets report that 30-year-old Roger D. Hall Jr. died Oct. 20 after officers Dwight Tyler and Torray Walker say he defied their orders to show his hands. Police suspected Hall had just attempted to rob a man. Witnesses had reported that Hall was armed with a gun.

Police had cornered Hall in a Holiday Inn parking lot. When he reached inside his hoodie’s pocket, the officers opened fire. Two of Tyler’s bullets struck Hall, who died soon after.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine reviewed the fatality and decided it was reasonable for the officers to believe Hall was carrying a gun when confronted. He says he won’t present the case to the Jefferson County grand jury.

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