Kentucky’s Tweeting Governor Blocks Critics On Social Media… And He’s Not The Only One

By Brendan McCarthy and June Leffler June 15, 2017

Gov. Matt Bevin in recent months has turned to social media platforms to slam local media and share his political views directly with followers.

But as Bevin ramped up his criticism and online dispatches, he’s also blocked more than 500 Twitter users from following him, according to records released this week by ProPublica, a national investigative newsroom.

Bevin’s list of blocked social media users — obtained by ProPublica through a records request — includes many people who have shared their disdain for Bevin or President Donald Trump.

Bevin’s not alone in booting folks from following his 140-character messages. Trump has banned more than a few. Even Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer had sought to silence some tweeting gadflies.

The practice, however, has potential legal ramifications and could soon play out in court.

Attorneys for several Twitter users blocked by Trump are arguing that his account is a public forum and that the government cannot constitutionally exclude critics, The New York Times reported this week.

The attorneys issued a letter to Trump and hinted that if the blocking continues, a lawsuit could follow.

Bevin’s office released the following statement Thursday:

Gov. Bevin is a strong advocate of constructive dialogue, and he welcomes thoughtful input from all viewpoints on his social media platforms. Unfortunately, a small number of users misuse those outlets by posting obscene and abusive language or images, or repeated off-topic comments and spam. Constituents of all ages should be able to engage in civil discourse with Gov. Bevin via his social media platforms without being subjected to vulgarity or abusive trolls.

The office also issue a tweet — citing a “#FAKENEWS ALERT” — along with a video criticizing the media.

Attorney General Andy Beshear said his office, which weighs violations of the Open Records Act, has never issued an opinion “about the nature of social media and whether blocking someone violates the open records law.”

To date, no one has filed an appeal challenging a public official’s social media blockade.

Beshear declined to share his views on the matter and called it inappropriate because the office may have to tackle the issue in the future.

Beshear said he has never blocked anyone on Twitter. The Twitter account of his predecessor, Attorney General Jack Conway, had barred several followers. Beshear said he had his staff unblock those users.

(How To Find Out Who Your Favorite Politician Is Blocking On Twitter)

CONTINUE READING…

Biotechnology company opens mosquito factory in Lexington

by Monica Kast

jmkast@herald-leader.com

Image result for Mosquito-fighting company to raise sterile mates in Lexington factory

A Lexington biotechnology company aimed at fighting mosquito-borne diseases such as the Zika virus opened a mosquito factory Wednesday on Malabu Drive.

MosquitoMate, founded by University of Kentucky entomology professor Stephen Dobson, will use the 6,000-square-foot space to raise millions of sterile, non-biting mosquitoes that will act as a “biopesticide” against other mosquitoes that sometimes carry infectious diseases. The company opened a research and development center on Regency Road four years ago, Dobson said.

According to MosquitoMate, the new lab will be able to raise more than 50 million eggs and three million male mosquitoes per week. Those male Asian tiger mosquitoes, or ZAP mosquitoes, do not bite and are sterile, so when they mate with a female mosquito, her eggs will not hatch.

The company and its partners have conducted successful trials in California, New York and Lexington that dramatically decreased the population of biting mosquitoes, according to a news release.

MosquitoMate grew out of research done at UK.

Dobson said MosquitoMate has been operating under an experimental use permit for the last few years, and the Environmental Protection Agency is currently reviewing its research.

If approved by the EPA, the company plans to sell its mosquitoes to homeowners, “ the people this technology is intended to serve,” he said.

“MosquitoMate has very much to be thankful for,” Dobson said. “We have come very far in just a few years.”

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and UK President Eli Capilouto attended the ceremony and noted the potential economic impact of the company, which plans to add 12 jobs at its new location. The company now has 10 employees.

“This story is a Kentucky story, a story of momentum,” Capilouto said. “There’s a lot more that can come out of the University of Kentucky.”

Monica Kast: 859-231-1320, @monicakastwku

CONTINUE READING…

http://www.kentucky.com/news/local/counties/fayette-county/article156202794.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2946175/

(KY) GOV. MATT BEVIN AND AG ANDY BESHEAR GET SUED OVER MEDICAL MARIJUANA!

BECAUSE THIS STORY IS SO IMPORTANT IN KENTUCKY I HAVE INCLUDED TWO SOURCES OF INFORMATION.

PLEASE FOLLOW THE LINK TO THE VIDEO BELOW TO HEAR THE PRESS CONFERENCE WHICH WAS AIRED ON WLKY.

THE LAWSUIT WAS FILED TODAY, JUNE 14TH, 2017, IN JEFFERSON COUNTY KENTUCKY AGAINST GOV. MATT BEVIN AND AG ANDY BESHEAR BY DANNY BELCHER OF BATH COUNTY, AMY STALKER OF JEFFERSON COUNTY, AND DAN SEUM JR OF JEFFERSON COUNTY.

ky mj lawsuit

ABOVE:  LINK TO PRESS CONFERENCE VIDEO ON WLKY

FACEBOOK – WLKY PRESS CONFERENCE WITH COMMENTS

Mark Vanderhoff Reporter

FRANKFORT, Ky. —

Three people are suing Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear over Kentucky’s marijuana laws, claiming their rights are being violated by not being able to use or possess medicinal marijuana.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday morning in Jefferson Circuit Court, was filed on behalf of Danny Belcher of Bath County, Amy Stalker of Louisville and Dan Seum Jr., son of state Sen. Dan Seum, R-Fairdale.

Seum turned to marijuana after being prescribed opioid painkillers to manage back pain.

“I don’t want to go through what I went through coming off that Oxycontin and I can’t function on it,” he said. “If I consume cannabis, I can at least function and have a little quality of life.”

The plaintiffs spoke at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

Seum does not believe the state can legally justify outlawing medical marijuana while at the same time allowing doctors to prescribe powerful and highly addictive opioids, which have created a statewide and national epidemic of abuse.

That legal justification lies at the heart of the plaintiffs’ legal challenge, which claims Kentucky is violating its own constitution.

The lawsuit claims the prohibition violates section two of the Kentucky Constitution, which denies “arbitrary power,” and claims the courts have interpreted that to mean a law can’t be unreasonable.

“It’s difficult to make a comparison between medical cannabis and opioids that are routine prescribed to people all over the commonwealth, all over the country, and say that there’s some sort of rational basis for the prohibition on cannabis as medicine when we know how well it works,” said Dan Canon, who along with attorney Candace Curtis is representing the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit also claims Kentucky’s law violates the plaintiffs’ right to privacy, also guaranteed under the state constitution.

Spokespeople for Gov. Bevin and Beshear say their offices are in the process of reviewing the lawsuit.

In a February interview on NewsRadio 840 WHAS, Bevin said the following in response to a question about whether he supports medical marijuana:

“The devil’s in the details. I am not opposed to the idea medical marijuana, if prescribed like other drugs, if administered in the same way we would other pharmaceutical drugs. I think it would be appropriate in many respects. It has absolute medicinal value. Again, it’s a function of its making its way to me. I don’t do that executively. It would have to be a bill.”  CONTINUE READING…

Lawsuit challenges Kentucky’s medical marijuana ban

By Bruce Schreiner | AP June 14 at 6:38 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky’s criminal ban against medical marijuana was challenged Wednesday in a lawsuit touting cannabis as a viable alternative to ease addiction woes from opioid painkillers.

The plaintiffs have used medical marijuana to ease health problems, the suit said. The three plaintiffs include Dan Seum Jr., the son of a longtime Republican state senator.

Another plaintiff, Amy Stalker, was prescribed medical marijuana while living in Colorado and Washington state to help treat symptoms from irritable bowel syndrome and bipolar disorder. She has struggled to maintain her health since moving back to Kentucky to be with her ailing mother.

“She comes back to her home state and she’s treated as a criminal for this same conduct,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Daniel Canon. “That’s absurd, it’s irrational and it’s unconstitutional.”

Stalker, meeting with reporters, said: “I just want to be able to talk to my doctors the same way I’m able to talk to doctors in other states, and have my medical needs heard.” CONTINUE READING…

“Leeper Act,” lifts Kentucky’s 33-year-old moratorium on nuclear power plant construction

Kentucky United We Stand, Divided We Fall

Commonwealth of Kentucky
Governor’s Office

MEDIA ADVISORY

Contact: Woody Maglinger
502-564-2611
Woody.Maglinger@ky.gov

Gov. Bevin to Ceremonially Sign “Leeper Act”

Wednesday in Paducah

SB 11 lifts 33-year-old moratorium on nuclear power plant construction

FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 12, 2017) – Gov. Matt Bevin will join state and local officials in Paducah on Wednesday to ceremonially sign the recently enacted Senate Bill 11. The legislation, known as the “Leeper Act,” lifts Kentucky’s 33-year-old moratorium on nuclear power plant construction.

McCracken County is home to the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, which produced enriched uranium from 1954 until 2013 and employed more than 1,000 local residents at its peak.

Who:

Governor Matt Bevin
Senator Danny Carroll
McCracken County Judge/Executive Bob Leeper

What:

Ceremonial Signing of Senate Bill 11 (“Leeper Act”)

When:

Wednesday, June 14
5:00 p.m. (CDT)

Where:

Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce
300 South 3rd Street
Paducah, Kentucky

###

More than 100,000 young men from across the United States trained at Camp Zachary Taylor in Louisville before being shipped overseas to fight in the Great War

Image result for Camp Zachary Taylor Louisville Ky


Lawmakers hear plans for state’s WWI centennial observances

FRANKFORT – More than 100,000 young men from across the United States trained at Camp Zachary Taylor in Louisville before being shipped overseas to fight in the Great War.

To highlight Kentucky’s contribution World War I, a life-replica of one of the camp’s barracks will be on display at the upcoming Kentucky State Fair, said Department of Veterans Affairs Deputy Director Heather French Henry while testifying before yesterday’s meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Projection. The replica will be part of an exhibit covering nearly a quarter acre that will also include a trench made of 480 sandbags, donated by Fort Knox, containing 20 tons of sand.

“There are over 600,000 folks that travel through the state fair,” said French Henry, a member of the Kentucky World War I Centennial Committee. “It is the most excellent way to get the word and message out to the most diverse population that enters into any realm in the state.”

The United States officially entered WWI on April 6, 1917. Seven months later, the sprawling Camp Zachary Taylor training facility opened. It was the largest of 16 camps that dotted the United States and contained more than 2,000 buildings that housed more than 40,000 troops.

“We had a profound effect on the servicemen that were going overseas and really contributed to the great Allied victory of World War I,” French Henry said.

The camp was auctioned off as 1,500 different parcels of land in 1921 and became the Camp Taylor neighborhood. Many of the parcels were bought by the soldiers returning to the area after completing their term of service.

“World War I is largely a forgotten war,” French Henry said. “It’s been over 100 years. We have no living World War I veterans.”

Kentucky’s last WWI veteran was Robley Henry Rex of Louisville.

“Even in his elderly years, he still had a great mind, could recognize faces,” French Henry said of Rex. “And he hugged about as tight as anyone else I have ever hugged in my life. He was a wonderful representative for us. But sadly, sometimes that history … goes by the wayside when they are not among us.”

Rex died four days before his 108th birthday, in April 2009, at the veterans hospital in Louisville, later renamed the Robley Rex V.A. Medical Center.

Kentucky had more than 2,000 casualties during WWI, and French Henry’s department has a casualty list by county.

“It happens that almost every county – all 120 – contributed their sons and daughters to the efforts of the United States in the Great War,” French Henry said. “Even if it is 100 years later, it is never too late to remember someone’s sacrifice and service.”

Committee Co-chair Rep. Tim Moore, R-Elizabethtown, said he was impressed that French Henry could organize such an exhibition since no state money was budgeted for it.

“I can’t tell you how impressed I am,” Moore said of the fair exhibit and other events planned for the centennial. “We expected something to come together, but not the incredible plethora of activities and educational opportunities you have outlined for us today.

In other news, French Henry announced that the Radcliff Veterans Center, a 120-bed skilled nursing facility, has now started accepting its first residents. Rep. Jeff Greer, D-Brandenburg, said there is a pent-up demand for such a facility in the region.

“I’m starting now to get phone calls all the time,” he said in reference to inquiries from veterans wanting to move there.

French Henry said a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the center is set for July 21.

— END –

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_Zachary_Taylor

http://camptaylorhistorical.org/

https://www.google.com/search?q=Camp+Zachary+Taylor+Louisville+Ky&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjfiaKZzbHUAhXFLSYKHSY2CSgQ_AUIBygC&biw=1366&bih=559#imgrc=k5JFnvxEge2qpM:

The mainframe computer processing all of Kentucky’s unemployment insurance claims was built a decade before the 1980s-era arcade game Pac-Man.

For Immediate Release

June 8, 2017

Legislative panel warns of tight budgets ahead

COVINGTON – The mainframe computer processing all of Kentucky’s unemployment insurance claims was built a decade before the 1980s-era arcade game Pac-Man.

“Think about that,” Deputy Secretary for Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Brad Montell said while testifying before the Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue yesterday at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center. “This thing is old. It’s slow. It’s not employer friendly at all. It runs from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and then it is done. It’s got to rest. It’s got to have time to think. And it will only run five-and-a-half days a week. We got to shut her down for the weekend – literally.”

Montell, who served seven terms in the state House before joining the executive branch in October, proposed upgrading the 1973 technology with a percentage of the employer contribution to the unemployment insurance trust fund. While he didn’t say what percentage would be redirected, the minimum amount needed to update the technology is estimated at $35 million.

After the Great Recession plunged the trust fund into nearly $1 billion in debt by January 2012, its coffers have since been replenished. The fund had a positive cash balance of $425.2 million as of June 1. Montell said federal authorities have advised his cabinet that the state needs about $800 million in positive cash flow for a healthy fund.

“Good things happen when our trust fund is healthy,” he said. “We are reaping the benefits of those good things.”

Benefits have increased while employer contributions continue to fall, Montell said. The next reduction for employer contributions is forecasted to take effect in January.

In addition to upgrading the 44-year-old mainframe, Montell said the state Office of Vocational Rehabilitation needs an additional $3.8 million in state tax dollars in order to receive the total amount of federal matching money earmarked for the state. Montell said Kentucky is losing about $10 million in federal tax dollars because the state doesn’t fully fund its vocational rehabilitation office. He said the lack of money means the office tasked with finding jobs for all Kentuckians with disabilities can only assist persons with the most severe disabilities.

“That is really a shame,” Montell said in reference to Kentuckians with disabilities who are turned away.

After hearing Montell’s testimony, committee Co-chair Christian McDaniel had a warning for state cabinets and advocates of various causes: Any additional tax dollars for capital projects should create enough savings within the budgeting cycle to pay for itself.

“The fact is, absent tax and pension reform, we can expect a double-digit cut in every sector of government,” said McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill. “The pension system has simply gotten into too bad of a state – been neglected far too long. When pension and Medicaid in a decade go from 18 percent to 38 percent of the commonwealth’s budget it’s got to come from somewhere.”

He said justice, social service and education advocates all have an interest in keeping the state pension systems solvent.

“You have skin in the pension game,” McDaniel said. “You’ve had it for a long time, but now a lot of long-term problems have to have very near-term solutions. It is going to be some tight budgeting times.”

In other business, Cabinet for Economic Development Deputy Commissioner John Bevington also testified at yesterday’s meeting that his cabinet hopes to entice more businesses to expand and locate in Kentucky to increase the tax base and ease the budget constraints.

Businesses have announced $5.8 million in new investment forecasted to create more than 9,500 jobs so far this year, he said. The largest of those investments is $1.3 billion to upgrade and retool of Toyota Motor’s assembly plant in Georgetown, $1.5 billion to locate Amazon’s air freight hub to Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in Hebron and $1.3 billion for Braidy Industries to build an aluminum rolling mill in Greenup County.

“We want to surpass the highest level of announced capital investment in the state’s history and announce more than 17,000 new jobs, “Bevington said of his cabinet’s goals. “We want to move the commonwealth into the top quartile of business-friendly state rankings.”

— END —

HB 410 was written to bring Kentucky into compliance with the federal REAL ID Act by Jan. 1, 2019…

Image result for kentucky real id bill

News Release

June 7, 2017

New transportation laws being rolled out

FRANKFORT – Coming to Kentucky roads this year: surplus military Humvees, three-wheeled vehicles dubbed autocycles and maybe even golf carts modified to deliver online purchases.

Legislation addressing these three types of vehicles were among the transportation-related bills passed during this year’s regular session of the Kentucky General Assembly, said Rick Taylor, the deputy commissioner of the Department of Vehicle Regulation. He testified on the progress of implementing these and other transportation-related bills into law during yesterday’s meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Transportation.

One of the first updates state legislators received was on House Bill 410. Known as the REAL ID Bill, HB 410 was written to bring Kentucky into compliance with the federal REAL ID Act by Jan. 1, 2019, and will by far affect more Kentuckians than the other transportation bills discussed at the meeting.

Taylor said he expects to hear by July 10 whether the Department of Homeland Security will extend a waiver allowing Kentucky to remain in noncompliance with the federal act until the new state driver’s licenses are available.

“Everything has been positive,” he said in reference to the extension request. “I don’t have any reason at this time to feel uncomfortable about that.”

Taylor said Kentucky will begin soliciting bids on Sept. 1 from companies able to produce driver’s licenses that meet the federal security requirements. The goal is to have a company selected by Jan. 1, 2018. He added that will allow time for the new licenses to be rolled out across the state’s 120 counties. 

“We will ask you to keep us up-to-date as this progresses because we have all lived through this controversy and the issues,” committee Co-chair Sen. Ernie Harris, R-Prospect, said in reference to a vigorous debate that took place about the best way to bring Kentucky into compliance.

The other transportation-related bills legislators received updates on include:

· House Bill 192 makes it easier for 16- and 17-year-olds in foster care to apply for driver’s permits and driver’s licenses. State officials have already drafted a nine-page application to ensure a child’s eligibility and a letter for foster parents to give local driver licensing clerks. Transportation officials said it will take a little longer to solicit bids for car insurance to cover children in the state foster-care system but who are not living with foster parents.

· House Bill 404 creates a commercial low-speed license plate for golf carts and other utility vehicles used for deliveries. It ensures that the vehicles have commercial insurance on file with the state. Transportation officials hope to have the license plates available by the middle of September so delivery companies can have the golf carts ready to deploy during this year’s holiday shopping season.

· Senate Bill 73 lays out guidelines on how autocycles, a type of three-wheeled vehicle growing in popularity, are to be licensed, taxed and insured. Transportation officials said the guidelines should be finalized by July.

· Senate Bill 176 allows for Humvees and other demilitarized vehicles to be licensed for use on public roads by the general public. (There is already an exception carved out for law enforcement.) The state began getting requests from civilians for such licenses after the Pentagon started auctioning the camo-covered, husky, troop-transporting High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV) to civilians in 2014. Transportation officials said they are on track to begin issuing the license plates for the vehicles on July 1.

— END –

http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/17RS/HB410.htm

http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article126502629.html