State News in Brief

Fearing concussions, Ky. weighs giving referees more power

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky lawmakers have advanced a bill that would let high school sports officials overrule a coach in deciding if a player can return to competition following concussion-like symptoms.

A 2012 state law requires student athletes suspected of head injuries to stop playing and undergo a medical evaluation. The student can return to the game only if a licensed medical provider says the athlete does not have a concussion.

A bill by state Democratic state Rep. Mike Denham of Maysville would let officials keep the athlete out of the game if they suspect the medical evaluation had not been performed.

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association opposes the bill, saying it would be too burdensome for officials and worried it would deter people from working high school games.


Nonprofit forms to help support KSP

FRANKFORT (AP) — A nonprofit foundation has formed to help support Kentucky State Police.

A statement from police headquarters in Frankfort says the mission of the Kentucky State Police Foundation is to support the agency, its employees and the families of troopers who die in the line of duty.

Central Bank Chief Executive Officer Luther Deaton Jr. was elected president of the foundation and says he look forward to leading the organization.

The foundation plans to build public and corporate partnerships for financial support so that it can provide equipment, training and other resources when other funding isn’t available.

Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer said support from the foundation will have an impact on the agency for years to come.


Lawsuit accuses Louisville president of official misconduct

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A veteran compliance officer at the University of Louisville has resigned and accused President James Ramsey and other officials of interfering with his duties of enforcing conflict of interest rules.

News outlets report that Robin Wilcox, a deputy compliance officer who worked 10 years at the university, filed a whistleblower lawsuit Monday against Ramsey and the university.

Wilcox, whose Feb. 26 resignation letter was attached to the lawsuit, says Ramsey “intentionally and knowingly” committed official misconduct to benefit himself and others.

Among his accusations, Wilcox says Ramsey lied by saying allegations of misconduct against two vice presidents weren’t brought to the university’s attention until 2014. Wilcox says Ramsey knew about the complaints in December 2012.

University spokesman John Karman says the university typically doesn’t comment on pending litigation and hasn’t had time to review the lawsuit.


Hardin County files appeal in right-to-work case

BOWLING GREEN (AP) — Hardin County has appealed a federal judge’s order that overturned a local law banning mandatory union membership.

The Daily News of Bowling Green reports that the appeal was filed after a federal judge invalidated the so-called “right-to-work” law last month, saying that only state governments have the authority to opt out of a federal law regarding union membership.

The appeal will be heard in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati and was filed less than a week before the March 4 deadline.

Right-to-work laws prohibit companies from requiring employees to pay union dues as a condition of employment. Republican lawmakers have been trying for years to pass such a ban statewide, while Democrats have said the ban would diminish the influence of labor unions and lead to lower wages.


State: Henderson schools didn’t violate law in promoting tax

HENDERSON (AP) — Kentucky officials have concluded that Henderson County Schools didn’t violate the law by campaigning in favor of the school system’s nickel tax last year.

The Gleaner of Henderson reports that the Kentucky General Assembly’s Office of Education Accountability told the school system in a letter recently that school officials hadn’t taken any illegal steps by approving the use of about $3,500 in donated funds to promote the nickel tax on the Nov. 3 ballot.

The tax, which generates revenue for construction or renovation projects, narrowly passed last year.

Residents opposed to the tax had argued against the use of the campaign funds. They also said voters approved only a $0.05 tax per $100 of property valuation, not the $0.059 tax that was levied. The state is still investigating the ballot’s wording.


Center for social justice proposed at UK

LEXINGTON (AP) — A group of University of Kentucky faculty wants to establish a center that focuses on social justice and inequality.

Psychology professor Christina Brown tells the Lexington Herald-Leader that she has been working on the proposal for the UK Center for Equality and Social Justice since last fall. She says the center would be structured around three main topics: research, policy studies and law, and community engagement and advocacy.

“There are a lot of us at UK that do research on issues related to equality and social justice,” Brown said. “For many years we’ve held symposiums and taught classes on these topics, but we’ve never had an organization that brings all these scholars together.”

The center would have a speaker’s series and a scholar in residence, and it would offer graduate and undergraduate student fellowships.

Brown says startup costs would be low because so many resources already exist on campus.

Top administrators say they are excited about the prospect.

“Just as cures of chronic illness and disease are often found at the intersection of disciplines, so too are answers for issues such as income inequality, racial and ethnic disparities, and violence,” UK Provost Tim Tracy said in a statement. “UK’s distinctive depth and breadth make us an ideal institution for this kind of scholarly activity, which complements our strategic plan’s emphasis on inclusivity and diversity. … Although discussions are still very preliminary, there is a profoundly powerful idea behind bringing scholars together across disciplines to tackle some of the issues and challenges of the day.”

The proposal will go to the university’s faculty senate. If approved, the plan will be sent to the board of trustees for final action.


Wildfire at Land Between Lakes expected to burn itself out

GOLDEN POND (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service is expecting a wildfire at Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area to extinguish itself in the next couple of days as rain moves into the area.

The agency said in a news release the fire started Sunday afternoon in a forested area off Forest Service Road 120 in Lyon County. Firefighters from the Forest Service as well as Eddyville and Kuttawa responded, building a fire break to contain the fire.

The fire was still covering some 28 acres on Monday, and officials expected smoke to continue through Monday evening.

Land Between The Lakes Fire Specialist Todd Lerke said the fire is expected to stay within the contained area of about 43 acres.

The Forest Service said wetting rain was expected Monday night through Tuesday.

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