State News in Brief

Bill would create advisory committees for school start dates

FRANKFORT (AP) — A committee of business and tourism officials and educators would advise Kentucky school districts on when to start the school year under a bill that has cleared the Senate Education Committee.

Republican Sen. Chris Girdler of Somerset had wanted to prevent school districts from starting prior to the first Monday closest to Aug. 26 each year. He said the earlier start dates were hurting the state’s tourism industry.

But school officials and some lawmakers protested, arguing local districts should be allowed to decide for themselves. The compromise bill would create advisory committees to study the issue and make recommendations to local school boards. The school boards would then decide when the school year should start.

The bill now heads to the full Senate for debate.

The legislation is Senate Bill 50.


Bill has tougher rules for new Ky. abortion clinics

FRANKFORT (AP) — New Kentucky abortion clinics would have to meet more strict medical standards before they could open under a bill that has cleared a state Senate committee.

The bill would require abortion clinics to get a certificate of need from state regulators and meet standards of an ambulatory surgery center. The bill would apply to abortion clinics licensed after July 1. The state legislature exempted abortion clinics from the requirements in 1998.

Derek Selznick with the ACLU of Kentucky said the bill is designed to shutter the state’s few freestanding abortion clinics. Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration supports the bill, saying the state needs power to regulate the clinics to keep the procedures safe.

The U.S. Supreme Court is reviewing a similar law in Texas.


Bill to help veterans start business to head to House

FRANKFORT (AP) — A bill intended to help veterans start businesses in Kentucky by waiving registration fees will head to the state House of Representatives.

House Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Safety approved the bill Wednesday.

The “Boots to Business” initiative, sponsored by Rep. Jody Richards, of Bowling Green, would waive the initial registration fees for new veteran-owned business and the annual report filing fees for the first four years.

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who proposed the measure and touted it before the committee Wednesday, wrote in a statement that it is intended to help veterans transition back into civilian life.


Bill aims to help families open tax-free savings accounts

FRANKFORT (AP) — The Kentucky Senate has passed a bill aimed at helping families wanting to open tax-free savings accounts to cover the short- and long-term needs of relatives who have disabilities.

The measure is a response to a federal law that allows families to set aside money in those accounts and still qualify for government benefits.

Senators voted 36-0 Wednesday to pass the bill, sending it to the House. Some senators spoke about how the bill will help their families or their friends’ families.

The accounts will be offered through state-sponsored programs, and consumers can choose a plan sponsored by any state.

The bill also calls on the state treasurer’s office and advocates for the disabled to recommend whether Kentucky start its own program. The bill’s lead sponsor is Sen. Wil Schroder.


Missing New Jersey teen found in Philadelphia, man charged

HAMILTON, N.J. (AP) — Authorities have found a missing New Jersey 13-year-old in Philadelphia and they have arrested the young Kentucky man who was with her.

Hamilton police reunited Dania Hernandez with her family on Wednesday night. She was reported missing on Monday.

Police charged 18-year-old Lance Jyrkinen with child endangerment. He’s from Owensboro, Kentucky, and has a recent address in Trenton. It’s not known if he has a lawyer.

Police say the pair apparently met through social media.


University Hospital to sever ties with Planned Parenthood

LOUISVILLE (AP) — KentuckyOne Health, which operates the University of Louisville Hospital, has backed out of an agreement to provide Planned Parenthood patients emergency care in case complications arise during an abortion.

Planned Parenthood attorney Thomas Clay said that the organization was told Tuesday by hospital officials that they were under pressure to terminate the agreement, and that the hospital’s state funding was threatened. Clay said the hospital declined to say exactly where the pressure came from.

The state requires clinics that provide abortions to keep a transfer agreement with a local hospital in case of unexpected complications.

KentuckyOne Health spokeswoman Barbara Mackovic says despite the terminated agreement, “no patient will be turned away.”

Gov. Matt Bevin’s spokesman Steve Pitt says no one from the administration pressured University Hospital.


2 candidates for same race die, including the winner

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — By the time the votes were counted, two of the three candidates vying to be the Republican nominee for property assessor in Tennessee’s Unicoi County had died. One of them was the winner.

First, Interim Assessor of Property Wayne Peterson died of cancer last month, while early voting was underway. On election day Tuesday, candidate Margaret Seward died, apparently of a massive heart attack. Had she lived, she would have been declared the winner of the race after getting 48 percent of the vote, said Sarah Bailey, election administrator for the rural county straddling the North Carolina border.

“I have not spoken to anyone who has ever experienced two candidates dying while running for the same office,” Bailey said. She called the deaths “horrible, coincidental tragedies.”

Unicoi County Republican Party Chairman Jim Buchanan said Seward was only 54, and left behind three children and a husband.

Candidate Alan “Rocky” McInturrff, the lone living contender, received 34 percent of the vote, Bailey said, and Peterson captured 17 percent.

It will be up to the local GOP to decide who will be on the ballot in the August general election, Buchanan said.

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