Kentucky moves ahead with plans to dismantle health exchange

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky's new Republican administration is moving forward with plans to shut down the state's health insurance exchange, becoming the first state to cut ties with one of the key pieces of President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

Gov. Matt Bevin notified federal officials in a letter dated Dec. 30 that the state exchange will cease operations "as soon as is practicable." That will be at least a year from now, according to federal law. It will not affect health plans sold for 2016.

More than 100,000 people have purchased private health insurance plans on kynect with the help of a federal subsidy. But Bevin said it was not fair for the majority of Kentuckians to pay for a system that just 2 percent of the population uses.

Bevin had promised on the campaign trail to shut down the exchange, known as kynect, if elected.

The expected changes won't affect anyone shopping for insurance for the current enrollment period, which ends Jan. 31. Anyone who signed up for Medicaid coverage through the kynect site also won't be affected.


Democrats apparently thwart GOP plan to pick off members

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Democrats appear to have thwarted a Republican plan to pick off one of their members as the two parties continued to struggle for power in the last legislative chamber in the South still controlled by Democrats.

Republican Floor Leader Jeff Hoover said Monday party leaders were in talks with some members to leave the Democratic caucus, but nothing happened on Monday. Last week, Hoover caused a stir when he said Monday could be a "historic day" in Kentucky.

Democrats called an unusual closed-door caucus meeting on Monday, but House Speaker Greg Stumbo emerged to tell reporters "I've still got my boots on."

Democrats have a 50-46 majority in the state House. But defections and resignations have given Republicans a chance to share power if they can capture four special elections scheduled for March 8.


Bill would bar posts from life-threatening events for 1 hour

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A Campbellsville lawmaker has proposed a bill that would bar people from posting information identifying people involved in life-threatening events on social media for one hour.

The Lexington Herald-Leader said the sponsor, Republican state Rep. John Carney, didn't respond to requests for comment Monday.

Pulaski County Public Safety Director Tiger Robinson, who has spoken to Carney about the bill, told the newspaper it's meant to stop posts in real time about car crashes and other life-threatening incidents while officials respond to the scene.

The bill would make exceptions for the news media, victims of the event and emergency responders at the event.

First Amendment expert and Louisville lawyer Jon Fleischaker says he thinks the bill amounts to "prior restraint" and is unconstitutional.

The bill proposes fines ranging from $20 to $100 per incident.


Bevin to promote Kentucky at auto show in Michigan

DETROIT (AP) — Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin is promoting the state's automotive industry at the North American International Auto Show in Michigan.

Bevin's office says the governor is traveling to Detroit on Tuesday to speak with auto industry leaders at the event. It's Bevin's first official trip outside the state as governor since taking office. Bevin says the show is an opportunity to promote Kentucky to some of the auto industry's most influential leaders.

The event is considered by industry experts to be the largest and most prestigious automotive showcase. The event features more than 750 vehicles and interactive displays by suppliers.

Kentucky ranks near the top nationally in auto production. Ford has two production plants in Louisville, Toyota has a production facility at Georgetown and General Motors makes Corvettes at Bowling Green.


Louisville police search for workplace gunman

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville police are searching for a gunman after two people were shot and injured at a business.

Police Sgt. Phil Russell told media outlets the shooting occurred Monday afternoon after an altercation took place between employees.

Russell says an ambulance carried one person to a hospital, and the other drove himself for treatment. Police spokesman Dwight Mitchell said later the person taken by ambulance was in critical condition.

Police said Monday afternoon the scene was secure.

The business, Cardinal Kitchens Inc., is located south of downtown Louisville and west of the airport.


Bill would let clerks deny marriage licenses to gay couples

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Republican lawmaker in Virginia is pushing legislation that would allow clerks to refuse to issue licenses for marriages they object to on moral or religious grounds.

Republican Sen. Charles Carrico of Galax said many of his constituents were concerned about what happened to Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who spent five days in jail last year for denying licenses to same-sex couples.

Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe has already vowed to veto Carrico's bill if it passes the GOP-controlled General Assembly. Republicans would need significant Democratic support to override a veto, which is unlikely.

James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia, said the Supreme Court's June ruling that effectively legalized same-sex marriage nationwide has sparked a rush of Virginia legislation that he considers "harmful or discriminatory" to the LGBT community.


1 found dead after residential fire in Flemingsburg

FLEMINGSBURG, Ky. (AP) — A 76-year-old man has died and a woman injured after a residential fire in northeastern Kentucky.

Kentucky State Police said the fire was reported Monday afternoon in Flemingsburg.

Authorities found Kenneth Wayne Hester of Flemingsburg deceased inside. Police said in a news release that 67-year-old Lena Hitch of Flemingsburg was taken to a hospital for treatment.

University of Kentucky Medical Center spokesman Andrew Shooner said Hitch was in fair condition Monday night.

The release from police said the incident remains under investigation.


Calipari: 'I plan on being at Kentucky for a long time'

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky coach John Calipari says he's not talking with "ANYBODY" about an NBA coaching job and plans on being with the Wildcats for a long time.

The Brooklyn Nets, whom Calipari coached to a 72-112 mark from 1996-99 while in New Jersey, fired Lionel Hollins on Sunday. Last summer, Calipari shot down reports about the New Orleans Pelicans' coaching vacancy that was filled by Alvin Gentry.

A message left with Calipari's management company, Creative Artists Agency, was not immediately returned.

The Hall of Famer said Monday via Twitter that he has the best coaching job in sports. Calipari added during the Southeastern Conference coaches' teleconference that "anytime you can be in the hunt for championships, you have one of the best jobs. ... One that I appreciate having."


Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.