- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Beshear: No special session for marriage licenses

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear will not call a special session of Kentucky’s legislature to deal with local officials who have stopped issuing marriage licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage.

Tuesday, Kentucky’s Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo asked Beshear to call the legislature back into session to pass a law to address the issue. But he did not say what that law would be.

“Now that the Supreme Court has ruled, I believe all states need to look at their laws to see what changes might need to be made to comply with federal law,” Stumbo said. “States need to act quickly so that there is certainty and consistency in the application of the new law.”

It would cost about $60,000 a day to call the legislature back in session, and Beshear said there was no need to do that for an issue the Supreme court has settled.

“It’s time for everyone to take a deep breath,” he said.

Beshear noted the “overwhelming majority” of county clerks are following the law and issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. He said his administration has continued to tweak state policies in response to the ruling, including issuing new guidelines about taxes and changing names on driver’s licenses.


Hundreds of Kentucky state engineers get sizable raises

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - About 550 engineers in the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet have received raises averaging 20 percent in a plan to curb high turnover and costly contracts for private engineers.

The pay increase took effect June 16 and will cost about $7.8 million a year, The Lexington Herald-Leader reports (https://bit.ly/1H75xbc).

The raises follow an order from Kentucky’s 2014 General Assembly for the state to make the Transportation Cabinet salaries more competitive with similar jobs in surrounding states and private businesses.

“Alarmingly high turnover in many of our engineering classifications has had costly consequences,” Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock said in a statement. “We have witnessed an exodus of our best talent for significantly better pay and benefits being offered by private engineering firms, highway contractors and even some of our local governments.”

Hancock said that among the 11 categories of engineers who received pay raises, the departure rate in 2014 was 33 percent, compared to 22 percent throughout state government.

Design engineering has been hit especially hard, Hancock said.


Conway launches first 2 TV ads in governor’s race

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Democratic nominee for governor Jack Conway began flexing his financial muscle on Tuesday by airing a pair of TV ads statewide.

The ads are the first of the 2015 general election campaign and highlight Conway’s family history and his record as the state’s attorney general. In one 60-second spot Conway talks about his family history in western Kentucky where his father owned a seed business. In another 30-second spot he touts his efforts as attorney general to combat Medicaid fraud and his recent plan to bring jobs to the state.

Conway enters the race for governor in a much stronger financial position than Republican nominee Matt Bevin, who survived a brutal four-way primary in May. Disclosure records show Conway has about $1.4 million available to spend while Bevin has about $15,000.


Heavy rain hits western Kentucky, flooding roads

PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) - First responders made multiple water rescues Tuesday morning after heavy rain inundated parts of western Kentucky.

McCracken County Emergency Management Director Jerome Mansfield said the “torrential downpour of rain” led to an apartment complex and a motel being evacuated and crews rescuing multiple people from vehicles that got stuck in high water, mostly in low-lying areas. He said he wasn’t sure how many people were evacuated and rescued.

The rain began shortly before 5 a.m. and didn’t let up for a couple of hours. The National Weather Service said radar showed that around 5 inches of rain fell Tuesday morning in areas of McCracken, Ballard, Marshall and Livingston counties.

No injuries were reported and Mansfield said officials are trying to assess the damage now that the rain has stopped.

West Kentucky Star (https://bit.ly/1IGHOTD) reports that Paducah police participated in at least 18 water rescues from stalled vehicles. In addition, photos on the station’s website show first responders using kayaks to help people out of the apartment complex that was evacuated.

Power has been restored to customers who reported outages during the storm.

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