- Associated Press - Saturday, February 22, 2014
Kentucky court overturns seizure of gambling sites

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky’s efforts to seize 132 Internet gambling domain names is on hold after an appeals court ruled Friday that a trade association may represent the owners of the sites trying to fend off forfeiture proceedings.

The decision by the Kentucky Court of Appeals allows the Interactive Gaming Council to step into the 6-year-old case and, at least temporarily, keep the identities of the owners of various Internet gambling sites from being publicly revealed.

Judge Allison Jones, writing for a unanimous three-judge panel, noted that Kentucky has treated the domain names as a group for much of the litigation but wants to handle them individually now to prevent the trade association from becoming involved.

“The Commonwealth cannot now turn the tables and ask the court to require each domain name owner to come forward individually and assert virtually identical legal arguments through separate counsel to resolve threshold, purely legal issues that affect the validity of the entire forfeiture procedure,” Jones wrote.

The appeals court sent the case back to Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas D. Wingate for further hearings.

“Obviously, we consider this a win,” said Interactive Gaming Council CEO Keith Furlong. “We are also proud to be a catalyst for this decision which provides guidance to all associations seeking to represent their members in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”

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Ky. lawmakers respond to Instant Racing ruling

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A state Supreme Court ruling on Instant Racing gambling machines drew a swift response Friday from some Kentucky lawmakers, who began drafting legislation to reinstate a tax on the slot-like games.

The state’s high court ruled Thursday that Kentucky can license and regulate Instant Racing.

But the justices returned the case to a lower court for more arguments on whether Instant Racing qualifies as a horse race or is illegal gambling. The Supreme Court also ruled that the Kentucky Department of Revenue lacks the authority to collect excise taxes on wagers placed on Instant Racing games.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo said Friday that lawmakers should take action in the coming weeks to tax the games. Failing to do so would provide a windfall for tracks offering the gambling machines, he said.

“The alternative would be to allow the racetracks that are currently licensed to conduct that activity to simply keep all the profits,” Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, told reporters. “It doesn’t make any sense to do that.”

Instant Racing games allow people to bet on the outcome of old horse races without knowing which contests they are betting on. The game is offered at Kentucky Downs in Franklin and Ellis Park in Henderson.

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House votes to guarantee teachers planning time

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A bill that would guarantee teachers have time for lesson-planning has passed the Kentucky House.

The measure would require teachers to be provided a minimum of 150 minutes per week for educational, nonteaching activities.

The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Rep. Rita Smart of Richmond, says that while some teachers are afforded time for classroom planning, others are not.

Opposition to the bill came from Republican Rep. Kim King of Harrodsburg, who says that school-based decision-making councils should continue to make choices about allotted planning time for teachers.

The measure passed from the House on an 85-8 vote. It now moves to the Kentucky Senate for consideration.

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Stumbo to fight subpoena for ethics hearing

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - House Speaker Greg Stumbo says he will fight a subpoena that he testify at a legislative ethics hearing about fellow Democrat and former Rep. John Arnold, who resigned from office last year amid accusations that he sexually harassed legislative staffers.

The Lexington Herald-Leader (http://bit.ly/1fGgamZhttp://bit.ly/1fGgamZ ) reports Stumbo believes the subpoena violates part of the state constitution protecting lawmakers from arrest or detention while they’re in session so they can conduct business. The General Assembly is meeting until April 15.

Republican Senate President Robert Stivers of Manchester said he and two other Republican senators will honor the subpoenas.

Stumbo and other Democratic House leaders plan to delay Tuesday’s legislative schedule to attend a fundraising event in Louisville for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, where former President Bill Clinton will appear.

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Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, http://www.kentucky.comhttp://www.kentucky.com

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