- Associated Press - Thursday, January 23, 2014
Attorney warns of problems with 2 casino bills

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky lawmakers would violate their oath to uphold the Constitution if they passed two casino-related measures at the same time, an expanded-gambling opponent told a House committee on Wednesday.

A court challenge would likely result, said attorney Stan Cave, representing The Family Foundation.

Cave’s comments provided a new twist to a perennial debate about expanded gambling in a state with a long history of wagering on horses that has resisted casinos.

The testimony came as the House Licensing and Occupations Committee reviewed two gambling proposals sponsored by House Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark, D-Louisville. It did not vote on the measures.

One is a proposed constitutional amendment that would let Kentucky voters decide whether they want to legalize casinos. A companion bill would specify in state law how many casinos to allow, how the industry would be regulated and how the state’s share of revenue would be distributed.

Clark, the House’s second-ranking member, said Kentuckians deserve to know such specifics before getting a chance to decide on the ballot measure.


Rogers touts plan to expand Internet in Kentucky

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers said Wednesday that the federal government should have a continued role in spreading high-speed Internet access to the struggling coalfields of eastern Kentucky.

The Kentucky Republican said the federal spending bill passed by Congress last week included $10 million to expand broadband access to distressed areas of central Appalachia.

“I’m hopeful that this will be the beginning of federal investments for broadband in our hard-hit coalfields,” Rogers told reporters at the Kentucky Capitol.

As chairman of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, Rogers will have an influential voice in trying to direct more federal money to link underserved areas to high-speed broadband service. Rogers’ district covers much of eastern Kentucky, which has areas lacking such broadband access.

Rogers expressed support for a plan outlined by Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear on Tuesday to connect all of Kentucky to high-speed Internet service.

Kentucky ranks 46th nationally in high-speed broadband availability, and nearly a quarter of the state’s population lacks broadband access, Beshear said.


Throat cancer survivor speaks for McConnell in ads

WASHINGTON (AP) - A throat cancer survivor quietly praises Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell in two new ads, the first major buy of the Republican leader’s campaign for a sixth term against challenges from the right and left.

“These days, I don’t have much of a voice. But I - and so many Kentuckians - have been helped by someone with a strong voice. Mitch McConnell,” says Robert Pierce, who was exposed to radiation while working at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant from 1975-2001 and developed cancer in 1998.

Pierce credits McConnell with ensuring the establishment of a cancer screening program and compensation for sick workers. The ads end with McConnell, dressed casually in a sweater vest, shaking hands with Pierce.

“Mitch McConnell is a caring and powerful voice for Kentucky’s working families. And having a strong voice matters,” Pierce says.

Democrats dismissed the ad, arguing that it’s nearly identical to one that McConnell ran in 2008. The campaign of Democratic rival Alison Lundergan Grimes complained that McConnell was slow to respond to workers’ health problems and pointed to his recent vote against a massive spending bill that included $265 million for cleanup at the Paducah plant.

“It is insulting to Kentuckians for McConnell to haul out this old, dishonest play every six years when he’s on the ballot,” said Grimes spokeswoman Charly Norton.


Nashville Opera singer claims botched surgery

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A singer with the Nashville Opera Company is suing the federal government saying a botched childbirth operation at a military post has caused flatulence and incontinence and threatened her career.

Amy Herbst and her husband, former Army Staff Sgt. James Herbst, claim a nurse-midwife at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital at Fort Campbell, Ky., caused her injuries during the birth of her son in February 2012 when the nurse performed an episiotomy to enlarge the birth opening.

The couple, who live in Cincinnati, claims the nurse made the incision during the second stage of Herbst’s labor, without informing Herbst or getting her consent. During a follow-up visit, another nurse told Herbst attempts to repair the incision had been unsuccessful.

Herbst alleges she is unable to work as a professional opera singer as a result of incontinence and excessive gas, the lawsuit says.

Laura Boyd, a spokeswoman for the hospital, said in an email that the Army hasn’t had a chance to review the complaint and that it would be inappropriate to comment on a pending lawsuit.

An attorney for Herbst, Charles M. Allen of Glen Allen, Va., said in an email that Herbst will not be able to perform until the injury is repaired by surgery. The couple have delayed the surgery until they decide whether to have more children, Allen said.

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