State News in Brief

House passes bill to create statewide definition of bullying

FRANKFORT (AP) — A bill aimed at establishing a statewide definition of bullying in Kentucky’s public schools is headed to Gov. Matt Bevin after clearing the state General Assembly.

The measure passed the House with no debate on Monday. It cleared the Senate earlier this month.

The bill’s lead sponsor is Republican Sen. Danny Carroll of Paducah.

Carroll says the standardized definition would provide schools with more guidance in identifying and stopping bullying. He says the definition would be incorporated into codes of conduct at schools, and would allow schools to accurately report the number of bullying incidents.

The legislation is Senate Bill 228.


Kentucky House OKs bill to require CPR training in schools

FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky lawmakers have completed work on a bill aimed at requiring that public school students receive basic CPR training.

The measure was passed by the House without debate on Monday, two months after passing the Senate. The bill now moves on to Gov. Matt Bevin’s desk.

Republican Sen. Max Wise, the bill’s lead sponsor, has said basic CPR skills learned in school could help save lives.

The training could be given as part of health or physical education courses or during a Junior ROTC course.

The legislation is Senate Bill 33.


Northern Ky. sees record number of whooping cough cases

COVINGTON (AP) — Northern Kentucky is having a record year for whooping cough.

The Kentucky Enquirer reports that 184 cases of pertussis have occurred in Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton counties since November.

Epidemiologist Emmanuel Oga of the Northern Kentucky Health Department said Monday that 110 cases of the season total came in 2016 alone. Oga says the majority of the reported cases are in teenagers. He says health officials usually see the outbreak in young children and in groups of unvaccinated children.

Oga says the reason behind the outbreak is unclear. He says pertussis vaccinations are required for school attendance, so he doesn’t believe the outbreak is a result of unvaccinated children.


Brown replaces Longmeyer as deputy attorney general

FRANKFORT (AP) — Attorney General Andy Beshear has hired another veteran of his father’s administration to replace Tim Longmeyer, the former deputy attorney general who resigned and is now facing federal bribery charges.

Former Justice Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown will be the state’s new deputy attorney general. Brown and Longmeyer both worked for former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear. Longmeyer was charged Friday of accepting kickbacks to steer state business to a private consulting firm. He had resigned on Wednesday for personal reasons.

Brown is a former district court judge and was the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet secretary for eight years under former Gov. Steve Beshear. A military veteran, Brown was also the first African-American chairman of the Louisville Bar Association.

In a news release, Andy Beshear called Brown a steadfast leader.


Dying ash trees to be removed across Lexington

LEXINGTON (AP) — The city of Lexington is removing 78 dying ash trees.

The Lexington Herald Leader reports that the trees have been affected by the emerald ash borer, an invasive beetle that feeds on and kills the trees.

The insects have killed hundreds of ash trees in Lexington and across the state.

City officials say the trees are being cut down to avoid a safety hazard. Contractors will be working for the next 30 days to remove the trees.

Officials also say the trees will be replaced.


Judge awards $2 million in fees in same-sex marriage case

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal judge has awarded more than $2 million to attorneys who helped gay couples in Tennessee win a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allows same-sex marriage.

U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger ruled that the results the lawyers got in the case were “superb and far-reaching” and that they should be entitled to costs and fees. The $2.03 million awarded in legal fees and expenses was 15 percent less than what the attorneys wanted.

State Attorney General Herbert Slatery’s office had argued that the plaintiffs’ attorneys only deserved $1.1 million because of duplicated work, vague time-keeping and charging for attending news conferences. A Slatery spokesman said he had no comment.

In Michigan, lawyers representing same-sex couples were paid $1.9 million, while the attorneys in Ohio received $1.3 million, and in Kentucky they got $1.1 million.

The Tennessee lawyers who worked for the same-sex couples noted in court filings that they had already given the state a $1 million discount by not charging for more than 400 additional hours of work.

The attorneys worked for three couples who legally married in other states. They sued to challenge Tennessee laws that had banned recognition of their marriages.


Man gets 40 years for stabbing mother, shooting police K-9

COVINGTON (AP) — A northern Kentucky man has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for stabbing his mother and shooting a police K-9 last year.

Media outlets report that 35-year-old Daleon Rice of Covington was sentenced Monday after pleading guilty in Kenton County court to attempted murder, first-degree assault and assault on a police service animal.

Rice admitted in court to stabbing his mother in the head during a domestic dispute in April. When a Covington police officer tried to arrest Rice three days after the attack, the man opened fire on the officer and his K-9 partner, injuring the service dog. Rice escaped, but was found later that evening following a five-hour manhunt.

Rice will be eligible for parole after 20 years.


Former Kentucky Gov. Collins joins Baptist Health Paducah

PADUCAH (AP) — Former Kentucky Gov. Martha Layne Collins has been named the new executive-in-residence at Baptist Health Paducah and Baptist Health Foundation Paducah.

The Paducah Sun reports that Collins will participate in community initiatives and events, as well as contribute to development activities, including donor relationships and partnerships.

Collins, the commonwealth’s only female governor, served from 1983 to 1987.

She says she is excited to have a role in improving health in western Kentucky.

Money raised by the Baptist Health Foundation Paducah helps the hospital improve its patient care through technology, services and facilities.


Blasting, construction to start next week on AA Highway

MAYSVILLE (AP) — The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says crews are about to begin construction along a section of the AA Highway in northeast Kentucky.

A statement says blasting and other work to widen a 5-mile corridor to four lanes between US 68 at Maysville to just north of KY 435 at Fernleaf will begin next week. It is the first major step in an $18 million project that will add another 5 miles of four-lane roadway between Alexandria and Ashland.

Construction activity will continue into 2017. There will be daily blasting beginning in early April and lasting through September.

Officials say they will allow two-way traffic throughout the project, but the speed limit will be lowered to 45 mph.


Land Between Lakes prescribed burns to start Tuesday

GOLDEN POND (AP) — Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area says the U.S. Forest Service expects to conduct two prescribed burns at the park beginning Tuesday.

The two areas include about 2,600 acres at Franklin Creek and about 2,500 acres at Buffalo Trail.

Lane Between The Lakes says the burns will promote woodland conditions in the Buffalo Trail area and an oak savanna ecosystem in the Franklin Creek demonstration area.

The burns will be visible from all directions coming into the park. Smoke may also have variable short-term effects on surrounding communities. The bulk of smoke output will last two to three days with less smoke each day.

Weather conditions prevented previously scheduled burns.

Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area manages more than 170,000 acres in western Kentucky and Tennessee.

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