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Governor Steve Beshear is the latest Kentucky official to ask Florida Governor Rick Scott to rethink his plans to cut a prescription drug tracking system.

It’s estimated that many of the prescription pills that are abused in eastern Kentucky come from Florida. In 2009, that state’s legislature approved a system to track prescriptions and reduce the number of so-called pill mills.

As part of his plan to cut spending, Governor Scott has proposed cutting the program. That first prompted a response from Congressman Hal Rogers of Kentucky, who asked his fellow Republican Scott to reconsider, saying that Kentuckians and Floridians alike are dying of prescription drug overdoses.

In a letter released Tuesday, Beshear echoed those sentiments. Kentucky has a prescription tracking system, and Beshear credits it for pushing pill mills out of the commonwealth.

A Greenup County sheriff has also reportedly taken issue with Scott’s plans to cancel the tracking program.

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by Tony McVeigh

A citizens group protesting mountaintop removal has met with Governor Steve Beshear.

Around 20 members of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth began a sit-in protest this morning in the lobby of the governor’s office. They said they wouldn’t leave unless they got an audience with Governor Beshear. Beshear initially said his schedule wouldn’t permit it, but finally emerged and fielded questions for about 30 minutes. The group wants an end to surface mining in Kentucky, but Beshear says he cannot support that.

“I understand where you’re coming from. I do think we can surface mine in a responsible way and reclaim the land and protect the water,” he said, eliciting laughter from the demonstrators. “I didn’t laugh at you when y’all were talking, so I would appreciate it if you would give me the same respect,” replied Beshear.

Among the protesters, who remained even after the governor went back to work, are author/poet Wendell Berry and novelist Silas House.

“I don’t think that we’re anywhere near the conversation that we’re going to have to have before we’re satisfied.  We represent a side, and it’s an authentic side, with substantive issues that need to be dealt with,” said Berry.

by Graham Shelby

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear hasn’t decided if he’ll sign a bill that would make medicine containing the meth ingredient and decongestant pseudoephedrine available by prescription-only.

The Governor says he wants to reduce the number of meth labs in the state, but is concerned about the effect of the measure on law-abiding citizens. In addition, he says it’s hard to know if any new law enforcement system is going to be effective before it’s implemented.

“When we first put our system that we have now in, for about the first two years, the lab numbers really dropped, and then of course they came back up as people figured out somehow how to get around the system. And I’m concerned that I don’t know how effective it will be,” he says.

Beshear says he intends to listen to the debate in Frankfort before making up his mind. That debate will continue next week. Proponents of the bill say the measure would drastically limit meth-makers access to a key component of the illegal drug methamphetamine.

Governor Steve Beshear spoke at the Kentucky School Board Association’s annual conference Friday. He encouraged the audience to support a bill that would raise the dropout age to 18. Similar legislation stalled in the General Assembly last year.

Beshear made other comments on education in his speech, and you can listen to his remarks here (mp3).

Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw says she will run for governor. Holsclaw previously told reporters she was considering entering the race, but had not found a suitable running mate. She has tapped retired Navy master chief Bill Vermillion of Grayson County to share the ticket, and the two plan to file their paperwork Tuesday.

Holsclaw will be the third Republican to enter the governor’s race. She will face State Senate President David Williams and Louisville businessman Phil Moffett in the primary. Democratic incumbent Steve Beshear is seeking re-election. Perennial candidate Otis Hensley is expected to challenge Beshear in the Democratic primary.

Independent Gatewood Galbraith is also in the race.

The first candidates forum in this year’s gubernatorial race will be held next week in Louisville. Republican candidates David Williams and Phil Moffett will be there. So will independent Gatewood Galbraith. Democratic incumbent Steve Beshear, however, will not attend.

From CN2:

[Campaign spokesperson Bill Hyers] pointed to the contested Republican primary and how, so far, no other Democrat has filed to challenge Beshear in the primary.  There will be plenty of time to discuss the issues once the Republican nominee is set, Hyers said.

“(Beshear) needs to be governor,” Hyers said in a phone interview. “It’s January for a November election. There will be plenty of times after the primary.”

 

Kentucky Secretary of State (and former Senate candidate) Trey Grayson is resigning to become director of the Harvard Institute for Politics. Governor Steve Beshear has appointed Bowling Green Mayor Elaine Walker to replace Grayson.

Here are the details.

We’re pursuing more on this, but here’s a quick update…

Governor Steve Beshear‘s office sent out an announcement this morning saying he, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer are planning to “explore options that could reduce the cost of the Ohio River Bridges Project by more than $500 million and still keep the entire two-bridge construction plan on track.”

From the Governor’s office:

The major cost savings for the project, which currently has an estimated price tag of $4 billion, could come from changes in these key areas:

  • Rebuilding Spaghetti Junction in the existing location rather than move it south
  • Reducing the East End bridge, roadway and tunnel from six lanes to four lanes, with the option to add two lanes later if traffic demand warrants
  • Completing the Big Four Bridge pedestrian walkway and bike path as an alternative to including pedestrian and bike paths on the new downtown bridge

In addition, the Louisville and Southern Indiana Bridges Authority will explore other cost-saving solutions in design, construction and financing by soliciting private-sector ideas at an industry innovation forum next month.

On WFPL’s State of Affairs, Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson said the statues that would grant tax breaks to the  proposed Ark Encounter theme park “cut both ways.” The state can’t deny the breaks outright because the park is religious. However, the park must follow all state operating, hiring and anti-discrimination laws in order to receive the breaks. When a caller asked whether he thought the park would hurt Kentucky’s image, Abramson said he likely share’s the caller’s logic, but the state can’t judge the park based on its image for the commonwealth.

That transitioned into a conversation about Louisville’s differences with the rest of the state.

Abramson is leaving office to run for Lt. Governor with incumbent Governor Steve Beshear on the top of the ticket. Beshear was on State of Affairs recently. He said he doesn’t think the Ark Encounter will hurt Kentucky’s image.

Full audio is here.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has thrown his support behind Ark Encounter, a Christian theme park that enforces the biblical interpretation of history, specifically the Noah’s Ark story. Ark Encounter will feature a replica of the Ark and the Tower of Babel, among other biblical attractions.

The park is planned for northern Kentucky. Beshear called it a “big deal,” and said the $150 million park is likely to create 900 jobs.

The park’s developers (Ark Encounters LLC and Answers in Genesis–the group behind the Creation Museum) are seeing tax incentives to build the park, saying it will ultimately bring money to the commonwealth. As Tony McVeigh reports, Beshear has promised the developers incentives, and says the government assistance does not violate any laws.

We have reviewed this from a legal standpoint and the application complies with our laws.  There is nothing even remotely unconstitutional about a for-profit organization coming in and investing a $150 million to create jobs in Kentucky and bring tourism to Kentucky.

From the C-J:

Louisville attorney David Tachau, who successfully sued over a state appropriation for a religiously affiliated pharmacy school, said he would have to further research the issue.

“It certainly sounds as if the mechanism for supporting a particular religious dogma would violate the establishment of religious prohibitions in the state and federal constitutions, but there may be slippery ways this could pass muster,” he said.

Edwin Kagin, a Northern Kentucky attorney who is also the national legal director for the group American Atheists, said it doesn’t appear to him to violate the law. If other projects with religious themes could qualify for the tax incentives, the law doesn’t discriminate.


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