- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 19, 2014
House panel approves $4.5 billion road plan

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - House Democrats pushed through a two-year, $4.5 billion road spending plan on Tuesday that Republicans said was designed to punish them for their votes against a gas tax increase.

Most of the money comes from the federal government and bonds. Lawmakers had just over $1 billion in state money to spend on road construction. But the plan from Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear called for close to $2 billion in state spending. House Democrats cut that list to $1.2 billion, and last week voted to raise the gas tax by 1.5 cents per gallon to help pay for the difference.

Republicans loudly opposed the gas tax increase last week. And when they got their first look at the road funding bill Tuesday morning, Republicans noticed many of the projects in their districts were not funded.

House Minority Whip Joseph Carney, R-Campbellsville, noted a $43.2 million project in his district was removed, he said, “purely based on revenge from the majority leadership.”

“It’s a disgrace to be a member of this body today,” Carney told his colleagues before a committee vote on Tuesday.

Rep. Leslie Combs, D-Pikeville and the lead author of the House plan, denied targeting Republican projects. She pointed out several projects - including a $35 million interchange in Scott County and a $42 million bypass in Clark County - in Republican House districts that received funding.


Louisville boy stabbed on bus dies of injuries

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A 14-year-old Louisville boy who was stabbed on a city bus over the weekend has died from his injuries.

The Courier-Journal reports (https://cjky.it/1oqm1mJhttps://cjky.it/1oqm1mJ ) Me’Mequale Offutt died from his injuries on Tuesday afternoon He was stabbed in the heart on a bus near Broadway and 28th Street early Sunday morning.

He was placed in a medically-induced coma at University of Louisville Hospital and suffered seizures, community activist Christopher 2X said Monday.

A 13-year-old girl who was also stabbed during the incident was in stable condition at a local hospital Tuesday.

Anthony Rene Allen has been charged with two counts of assault and tampering with physical evidence. Police say he ran from the bus after the incident but was arrested five blocks away.



Election bill benefiting Paul passes Ky. Senate

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Legislation aimed at relieving Rand Paul from a potential quandary by allowing the Kentucky Republican to run for president and another U.S. Senate term at the same time was passed by the GOP-led Senate in his home state Tuesday.

The bill would clarify that Kentucky law preventing someone from running for multiple offices does not apply to candidates running for president or vice president. Paul is weighing whether to run for president in 2016 or focus solely on re-election to his Senate seat.

The measure passed the state Senate on a near party-line 25-13 vote.

Next up for the bill is the Democratic-led Kentucky House, where the proposal faces considerably longer odds. House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, has said that “a man that can’t make up his mind which office he wants to run for ain’t fit to hold either one.”

Paul senior adviser Doug Stafford called the Senate vote a step forward in clarifying that Kentucky law does not apply to federal elections.

“We thank the Kentucky Senate for recognizing the need to clarify the law to avoid a conflict with the U.S. Constitution,” he said. “Federal law governs federal elections, and the Supreme Court has made it clear that states cannot impose additional qualifications beyond those in the Constitution.”


Bill would allow coal sector to seek incentives

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Coal supporters took a first step Tuesday toward fixing what they see as a slight to Kentucky’s hard-hit coal sector.

The House Appropriations and Revenue Committee gave initial approval to a measure that would make the coal industry eligible to apply for some state economic incentives doled out to other businesses.

If the bill becomes law, coal mining or processing companies could seek approval for various tax incentives rewarding job creation and investment.

The proposal comes at a time when the Appalachian coalfields are mired in a downturn. Coal production has been the region’s economic backbone for generations, but thousands of good-paying mining jobs have been lost in the past couple of years.

The incentives are seen as a way to help enhance the coal industry’s competitiveness, supporters said.

“This is our attempt to try to give some advantage to get some of these jobs back and get people back to work,” said Democratic House Floor Leader Rocky Adkins, who is sponsoring the bill along with House Speaker Greg Stumbo and several other lawmakers, most of whom are from coal-producing regions.

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