News in Brief

Panel advances bill to require ultrasounds before abortions

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky lawmakers have advanced a bill that would require doctors to perform ultrasounds prior to abortions and to describe what is seen to the pregnant woman.

The measure cleared the Senate Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee on Thursday. The committee action is the latest effort by abortion opponents to impose conditions prior to abortions.

Democratic Sen. Julian M. Carroll defended the ultrasound bill as a way to give women more information before the decision to have an abortion.

The bill was opposed by Dr. Sarah Wallett, an obstetrician/gynecologist. She said it would violate the doctor-patient relationship with a government mandate.

Kentucky lawmakers have already updated the state’s informed consent law requiring women seeking abortions to be told of medical risks and benefits at least 24 hours beforehand.


Ky. cancels public hearings after court ruling

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Charles Snavley has canceled a series of public meetings on the EPA’s proposed clean power plan after the U.S. Supreme Court delayed the plan from going into effect.

Snavley said in a news release the planned listening sessions were premature because the clean power plan could change or be vacated. He reiterated his opposition to the plan, saying it put states like Kentucky into an untenable position.

The Environmental Protection Agency required states to come up with a plan to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by one third by 2030. U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell had urged states to ignore the requirement. Republican Gov. Matt Bevin had asked for an extension to give the state time to challenge the plan in court.


Bill takes aim at publishing jail mugshots on websites

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky lawmakers have advanced a bill taking aim at the practice of publishing jail mugshots to a website and then demanding money to remove the photos.

The bill would allow fines to be imposed against offenders.

The House Judiciary Committee approved the measure on Wednesday.

Democratic Rep. Gerald Watkins of Paducah, the bill’s sponsor, says he’s heard from people who lost jobs or weren’t given jobs due to the posting of their mugshots on websites. Watkins says the practice of demanding hundreds of dollars to take down a photo is a form of extortion.

The bill would allow fines of $500 to $1,000 for each offense, but Watkins says he plans to propose increasing those penalties.

The legislation is House Bill 132.


Police: Ky. man tried to behead girlfriend

LEXINGTON (AP) — A northern Kentucky man has been accused of attempting to decapitate his girlfriend with a sword.

Covington police said in a news release Wednesday that on Feb. 6, a woman told responding officers that 39-year-old Terry Phillips of Covington had tried to cut her head off with a samurai-type sword. The sword had struck her in the arm, causing a serious injury. Police say she is expected to survive.

Authorities arrested Phillips at a Lexington home on Tuesday evening, charging him with attempted murder and assault.

It is unclear whether Phillips has an attorney to comment on the charge.


Jack Daniel’s Distillery announces $140 million expansion

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The historic Jack Daniel’s Distillery is planning a $140 million expansion project to help meet global demand for prized Tennessee Whiskey.

The investment announced by Gov. Bill Haslam on Wednesday will be used to construct two new barrelhouses, expand the bottling facility and support the increasing number of visitors to the facility. Officials say more than 275,000 tourists from around the world visited the distillery in Lynchburg last year.

The Louisville, Kentucky-based Brown-Forman company owns the distillery. Company officials say the expansion will create 30 new jobs in Moore County.

The distillery underwent a $103 million expansion less than three years ago that added stills, barrel warehouses and related infrastructure. Officials say that investment created 94 jobs.

The Jack Daniel’s Distillery is the oldest registered distillery in the U.S.


Man convicted in officer’s death up for parole

LEXINGTON (AP) — A man convicted of manslaughter in the death of a Lexington police office will go before the Kentucky Parole Board next week.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports Glenn Doneghy has a hearing on Monday. Prosecutor Ray Larson told the newspaper that his office will oppose release for Doneghy, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison in the death of Lexington police officer Bryan Durman.

Durman was struck by Doneghy sport utility vehicle in 2010 as he answered a complaint about loud music and died a short time later at a hospital.

When Doneghy was convicted, the law allowed defendants to be considered for parole after serving 20 percent of their sentence. Lawmakers have since approved the Bryan Durman Act, which mandates a longer time behind bars for manslaughter convictions involving clearly identified police or firefighters.


Louisville’s needle-exchange program expands to new site

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Louisville’s needle-exchange program is expanding to another site where people can swap dirty needles for clean ones.

Public health officials say the new community site will open Feb. 17.

The site will be open Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in a vacant lot owned by the Louisville Metro Housing Authority at 1455 Bicknell Avenue.

Public health officials opened the first community outreach site in October at the Lake Dreamland Fire Station. That site is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays.

The main site is adjacent to the Public Health and Wellness headquarters in downtown Louisville.

The program is a response to the region’s struggles with heroin addiction. The goal is to prevent the spread of HIV and hepatitis C and to steer drug users toward treatment.

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